News from Sporting Agenda

  • Ryder Cup fever

    Well, after two years, and increasingly febrile hype, the 2018 Ryder Cup is finally upon us, and with it, Europe’s opportunity to avenge their drubbing at the hands of Davis Love III’s USA team at Minnesota’s Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016. Europe will be hoping to take advantage of the considerable home advantage by winning at Le Golf National, near Paris, only the second time the contest has been held in continental Europe. As ever it promises to be a highly charged affair, and with most of the biggest names in golf having been selected for one side or the other, all the ingredients are there for three days of pure excitement. Whilst Europe can boast the new world number one in Justin Rose, the man he replaced, USA’s Dustin Johnson will be out to prove a point, and the likes of 2018 Open winner Francesco Molinari, Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, not to mention Tiger Woods, who has rediscovered his winning ways, ensure that this is a stellar cast, and not one to be missed.

  • Sporting Agenda sponsored rider placed third in Intermediaire 1 Finals
    Sporting Agenda sponsored rider placed third in Intermediaire 1 Finals

    Yesterday Anne Marie and her horse Mumble went on a long journey to Devon to compete in the PetPlan Intermediaire 1 Finals. The duo were thrilled to score 68.46% and place third, at only their third attempt at a class at this level. Top two in the class qualifies directly for the National Dressage Championships at Hartpury College in April 2019 so Anne Marie and Mumble narrowly missed out on 1.5 points - luckily a handful of wildcards are allocated in January 2019 so with their high score it is possible to still get to the National Championships - we are all crossing our fingers and hoping for the best!

    If you would like to see more updates from Bork Eppers Dressage and follow their journey, then head to https://www.facebook.com/borkeppersdressage/ 

  • Davis Cup delight in Glasgow for Team GB

    After 118 years of Davis Cup tennis, this much loved global competition is shortly to be totally overhauled under plans drawn up by Spanish footballer Gerard Piqué. This left Great Britain with one more tie to negotiate to ensure that they are at the very least seeded when the new format is introduced in February. Their opponents at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow, the scene of many recent triumphs, were unfancied Uzbekistan. However, in the absence of the talismanic Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund, this tie was always going to be trickier than expected, and so it proved. Dan Evans, only recently back from his year-long drugs ban, was heroic in overcoming Denis Istomin, whilst Cameron Norrie managed to spectacularly choke when on the verge of a comfortable win against the lowly Karimov, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. However, the unflappably reliable Jamie Murray and his partner Dom Inglot won their doubles rubber before Norrie, inspired by a message from England rugby great, Jonny Wilkinson, recovered his form to comfortably win the tie for Great Britain 3-1.

    Whilst the Davis Cup changes have not proved universally popular, and its new structure might deprive us of many of the Union Jack-clad, tennis ball-earringed uber-fans who would look equally at home in the Royal Albert Hall and have fanatically but loyally urged Great Britain to the pinnacle of the sport, Team GB can anticipate the revamped format with renewed hope. With Murray and Edmund set to return, there is the exciting prospect of young Jack Draper, who, having reached the boys final at Wimbledon this year, has just won his first two senior titles in consecutive weeks and is now officially by far the best sixteen year old in the world of men’s tennis. There’s much to look forward to.

  • Cook and Anderson deliver at The Oval

    After the glorious weather we have been treated to this summer, what more could we have expected than a belter of a test series against India, and it certainly didn’t disappoint, producing one of the best in living memory. This all culminated in a brilliant and celebratory final test at The Oval, with England winning with an hour to go to take the series 4-1. But the match will long be remembered as the emotional swansong of former captain Alastair Cook and for the record-breaking exploits of his great friend Jimmy Anderson, both surely future knights of the realm and both of whom just about managed to remain dry-eyed in the post-match interviews. Cook, who began his test career in 2006 against India with a fifty and a hundred, repeated that feat at The Oval having announced it would be his 161st and final match for England, retiring as one of the leading run scorers and the most prolific left handed batsman in the history of test cricket. Anderson, meanwhile, took the final wicket of the match to become the most successful fast bowler in test history, eclipsing the great Glenn McGrath, having been McGrath’s final wicket himself. Whilst it wasn’t to be the hoped for “caught Cook, bowled Anderson”, there could be no more satisfying feeling than knocking the batsman’s middle stump out of the ground. Whilst England will undoubtedly miss Cook, the thought of Anderson blowing away Australia next summer to win back the Ashes is mouth-watering. Despite the obvious excitement and crash bang wallop of T20 cricket, there’s still nothing quite like test cricket at its best.

  • US Open rumpus

    Whilst the 2018 US Open has provided us with much dazzling tennis, the tournament will unfortunately also be remembered for the wrong reasons. Following the relatively incident-free tennis throughout, major controversy surrounded an explosive finale to the Women’s Singles event, during which Serena Williams, dressed as much for ballet as tennis, and taking Tiger Woods’ recent resurgence as her inspiration, had played superb tennis throughout to reach the final, including the demolition of her sister, Venus. However, amid accusations of on-court coaching, Serena took exception to some strict umpiring and went into complete meltdown, calling the umpire a “liar” and a “thief”. Having received a string of code violations and penalties, culminating in the loss of a game, Williams went on to lose in straight sets, and sadly for her opponent, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, this will always over-shadow her first ever Grand Slam win. The row has now escalated from a mere rumpus with the umpire to accusations of sexism and racism, following an incendiary cartoon published in an Australian newspaper. This one is sure to rumble on and on.

  • US Open the excitement is over

    After a fortnight of action and excitement, this year’s US Open has provided us with more than its fair share of headlines, and not all for the right reasons. Quite apart from trying to defeat one’s opponent, the players have also had to contend with extreme heat conditions, especially prevalent on the apparently poorly ventilated Arthur Ashe Stadium, leading to the introduction of 10 minute heat breaks. However, this in itself created a storm when Sir Andy Murray accused his opponent Fernando Verdasco of receiving coaching whilst he took a quick ice-bath during one such break. Murray went on to lose the Rd2 match, and subsequently took the difficult decision that he would not be physically up to representing GB in the upcoming Davis Cup match in Glasgow. Further controversy surrounded France’s Alize Cornet, who was warned for changing her top whilst on court, whilst Nick Kyrgios, never far from the limelight, appeared to receive a pep talk from the umpire whilst trailing during a match he then went on to win. It appears that an otherwise colourful tournament has a lot of grey areas.

  • Poignant US Open

    Despite its problems, the 2018 US Open at Flushing Meadow has, as ever, given us some scintillating tennis. Other than Roger Federer struggling in the heat and going out in Rd4, there were few early surprises, and sadly no great British success, with Kyle Edmund, Johanna Konta and Heather Watson all going out in Rd1, although Sir Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie did at least reach the second round. After Rafa Nadal’s semi-final retirement through injury, Novak Djokovic overcame Martin del Potro in a closely fought Men’s final to claim his 14th Grand Slam title and draw level with the great Pete Sampras, having also won this year’s Wimbledon, citing a hiking trip as his inspiration, along with the regular use of an oxygen chamber. British success, however, did come in the shape of Alfie Hewett, who brilliantly claimed both the Men’s Wheelchair singles and doubles, the latter with compatriot Gordon Reid, whilst Jamie Murray teamed up with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, retaining the Mixed Doubles title he won last year with the now retired Martina Hingis.