As always, there was plenty of sporting action on offer this Friday, but relatively little to show it on the results pages of the tournaments. Still, we work on what we have here on Sport Britain and that’s over ten sports to digest. So what if it’s almost an entire day late?
The biggest news, as covered earlier today, was the dual progress of Andy Murray and Jonny Marray into the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Finals. Whilst Murray progressed in style with a simple win against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Marray and Frederik Nielsen lost their final group game with victory already assured. That leaves the world number three to face Roger Federer for a place in the final, one which would likely see him with a rematch against Novak Djokovic in the final.
Great Britain’s ice hockey got off to an iffy start in the qualifiers for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In a thrilling 5-4 encounter, South Korea took the initiative and consigned our team to an opening defeat. Fortunately, Japan beat Romania 2-0, leaving GB third in the group. Closer to home, Edinburgh Capitals endured a 6-1 loss to Braehead Clan, ensuring they stay bottom of the Elite Ice Hockey League.
Olympian Scott Brash jumped to first place on his long-partnered horse Bon Ami in Vienna. Although he’d earlier succumbed to a lowly 22nd place on Ursula XII earlier in the day despite making no faults, he made it up for it on his second run of the day. Robert Whitaker took 5th place in a later event on Catwalk IV. Over in Verona, Michael Whitaker finished second on Ingliston Twister in the KEP Italia stakes, with Robert Smith taking fifth on Balourado prior to this.
London Lions racked up a brilliant 101 points against Durham Wildcats in one of three British Basketball League matches yesterday. A much-needed win for Sheffield Sharks saw them rise above the recently-kicked out Cheshire with their opponents, Mersey Tigers, remaining rock-bottom. A win for Newcastle Eagles at home to Manchester Giants allowed them to stay at the head of the table.
England’s male bowls team won all three of Friday’s matches to edge them closer to the play-offs. Scotland’s counterparts earned victories against HKPBC and Concordia, but were foiled in the opening fixture by HKFC. The ladies of Scotland weren’t so lucky, losing every game. The Welsh contingent, having not taken a male team, took up the slack and won everything.
A crushing day for the several British pool players ended in the Losers Qualification round. The day started well with Daryl Peach, Mark Gray and Imran Maijd all scraped through Stage 2, with only Richard Jones falling short. The trio joined him in the losers bracket soon after, all losing in the first winners round. Jones was unable to reach them in Loser Round 2 with a defeat to Finland’s Petri Makkonen. Majid was the next casualty, felled by Roman Hybler of Norway. With Peach dropping out in Round 3, only Gray made it to the “qualification” stage, only to succumb to Ralf Souquet. That leaves nobody behind, as far as I can see.
Rory McIlroy is the biggest golfing name in action this weekend, but he’s having a pretty slow start of it in Singapore. Elsewhere, Brian Davis, Greg Owen and Gary Christian all failed to make the cut after a second poor day – only Russell Knox from Scotland did well enough to progress.
Andrew Baggaley was the only Brit to reach the Last 64 of table tennis’ Polish Open and he made it one round further with a 4 sets to 2 victory over Bartosz Such of Poland.
Michael Spencer-Smith was the only high-ranked Englishman in badminton’s Iceland International, but he wasn’t good enough to get anywhere past the first round thanks to Korea’s Sung Min Park. In fact, only one made it to today’s games; Andrew Smith reached the quarters, beating qualifier Sean Vendy along the way.
Finally, there are two major ice skating competitions in progress but I don’t have the time schedule for the Icechallenge, so you’ll get that at the end (it’s looking good, though). The Rostelecom Cup saw Britons Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland take part in the short dance, but ended up on the bottom of a pile of eight figure skating teams.