News from Sporting Agenda

 

  • The US Masters tees off this week

    The always hugely anticipated US Masters tees off this week at Augusta National, Georgia, and, whilst it’s typically difficult to pick a winner, it’s sure to be a spectacular first major golf tournament of the year. As ever, the home challenge is immense, with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods and Ricky Fowler all having realistic claims. However, with an in-form Rory McIlroy vying to finally complete his career grand slam, and other Europeans such as Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Henrik Stenson and Tommy Fleetwood, along with a number of Australians, South Africans and various others in the mix, all hoping to be there or thereabouts, the destiny of this year’s green jacket is anyone’s guess. The one certainty is that it will be enthralling from start to finish.

  • Tiger Roll does it again in the Aintree Grand National

    Hot on the heels of his classy and comfortable win at the Cheltenham Festival, Tiger Roll has now managed to emulate the legendary Red Rum by winning a second consecutive Aintree Grand National. In a brilliant, albeit not flawless, performance, the horse described by his owner as “a little rat”, but also “the horse of a lifetime”, picked his way through the diminishing field, superbly piloted by Davy Russell, to win with relative ease, thereby catapulting his name into equine immortality. With age, weights and perhaps a little bit of luck on his side, not to mention the consent and ambition of his connections, the comparatively small Irish trained Tiger Roll seems more than capable of equalling Red Rum’s third win in the race, and who’s to say he won’t one day surpass it. But for now, we can but stand back and admire a new sporting superstar.

  • Fantastic days racing from the Cheltenham Festival

    With the threat of rain and wind failing to fully materialise, last week’s Cheltenham Festival provided us with another fantastic few days of sport, with all its usual thrills and spills, a few tears and some emotionally charged results. Quite apart from high profile wins from, amongst others, Espoir D’Allen, Altior, Tiger Roll, Paisley Park and, in the Gold Cup, Al Boum Photo, the brilliant Bryony Frost made history on Frodon, becoming the first female winner of a Grade One race at the Festival. However, she was brought sharply back down to earth four days later, breaking a collar bone in a fall at Southwell, and will now sadly miss the upcoming Grand National meeting at Aintree, and with it the chance to emulate her father’s 1989 win on Little Polveir. Such are the ups and downs of a jump jockey.

  • National Hunt racing’s premier event, the Cheltenham Festival

    Having ridden out the equine flu scare and (all) weathered the boycotting over prize money, National Hunt racing’s premier event, the Cheltenham Festival, is upon us this week, as the racing world descends upon Prestbury Park, where a number of measures aimed at equine safety and welfare have been introduced. With upwards of 250,000 spectators expected over the four days, and, to name but a few, the likes of Altior, Native River, Tiger Roll, Thistlecrack and Clan des Obeaux, along with Tiger Roll and the usual large Irish contingent, among the runners, it promises to be a thrilling spectacle of jumping.

  • High hopes for English cricket

    Having recovered some pride with a convincing win in the final test, and despite their tag as favourites for this summer’s World Cup, England’s cricketers managed only a 2-2 draw in their ODI series with the West Indies, a series notable for some astonishing batting, particularly from Chris Gayle and Jos Buttler, as all sorts of six-hitting records fell. The subsequent T20 series was disappointingly one-sided, as England came away 3-0 winners against a pitiful West Indies side. With various options available, it all bodes well for England as they look to finalise their squad selection for the World Cup. Meanwhile, England’s women, having narrowly lost their ODI series in India, also managed a 3-0 win in the T20s, and now head to Sri Lanka with high hopes.

  • Britain’s girls at the Federation Cup

    In the wake of Naomi Osaka’s stunning victory in the Australian Open, adding a second Grand Slam to her US Open crown, the Fed Cup tennis tournament has rolled into Bath, with Britain’s girls drawn at home for the first time since 1993. Having battled past Slovenia and Greece without too much difficulty over the first two days, Anne Keothavong’s team, comprising Konta, Boulter, Watson, Dart and Swan, just need to defeat Hungary to reach the final against Serbia or Croatia and have a chance of a World Group II play-off in April. With the anticipation and local support growing, it promises to be an exciting contest.

  • England’s cricketers

    Following two utterly abject performances in the first two tests against a resurgent West Indies side, England’s cricketers are staring down the barrel as the third and final test takes place at Darren Sammy Stadium in St Lucia. With this being their penultimate test match before the eagerly awaited Ashes against Australia in August, and not to detract from an excellent all round performance from the West Indies, England will need to up their game somewhat and show some fight, especially with the bat, in order to avoid a pitiful three-nil whitewash. Despite this, England remain the likely favourites for the World Cup this summer, such is the strength and power in their limited overs game.