Category Archives: Sports

Golfing legend Alison Nicholas MBE opens refurbished lounge at Hallamshire Golf Club

Alison Nicholas opens Hallamshire Golf Club's new lounge

Alison Nicholas, two-time open winner and current captain of the European Solheim Cup team was in Sheffield today to open Hallamshire Golf Club’s refurbished lounge.

Nicholas walked away with the winning trophy at both the 1987 British Open and the 1997 American Open.

Most recently she led Europe to victory as captain of the 2011 Solheim Cup team in what many have described as one of the greatest golf matches ever played.

‘A fabulous job’

At the opening, she commented that the lounge looks “absolutely great.

“You’ve done a fabulous job:  the carpet, the decor – absolutely wonderful.”

Nicholas, 50, currently lives in Birmingham but was a member of the club as an amateur golfer.

“I’ve got great memories of the club and all that I achieved here,” she said.

“It’s great to be back to see everybody.”

Reception ‘overwhelmingly positive’

The lounge was completed on time and on budget about a month ago. As Chairman of the club’s House Committee, Miles Pierce oversaw the development of the new lounge.

He commented: “It’s fantastic – the bar is being used by more and more people as a result.”

He also said that the reception from the golf club’s members had been overwhelmingly positive.

Steve Dodd is the Gentlemen’s Captain at the club. He had more praise for the refurbishment:  “I think the end result is really good – we’ve had an awful lot of compliments.”

The club’s Ladies’ Captain, Anne Savage, said it was “amazing” to have Alison at the club, and said that she enjoyed talking with her about Europe’s Solheim Cup success.

Solheim team ‘did the business’

In an interview with TGS News, Nicholas spoke about her tenure as the captain of the Solheim Cup team. She said that the strength of the 2011 team was a result of them “coming together as a unit.

“We managed to create a great atmosphere in the team, a sense of belonging and belief that we could win.”

“And they went out and did the business,” she said.

Nicholas explained that she is stepping aside from the role to give someone else the “honour and privilege” of captaining the team.

She told TGS News that she already knows who will captain the Solheim Cup team in 2013. The announcement will come in the next couple of weeks.

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Confident Drinkhall retains men’s singles title

Drinkhall celebrates after winning

English no.2 Paul Drinkhall has retained his men’s singles title at the English National Table Tennis Championships after defeating no.1 Liam Pitchford at Ponds Forge yesterday.

Drinkhall took the last four sets against the current English no.1, winning 11-4, 11-6, 11-3, 11-3 after losing the first 7-11.

‘Choy!’

The first game started with both players climbing steadily to 3-3, with Pitchford taking the upper hand, causing a panicked Drinkhall to overshoot on game point and lose 7-11.

But the twenty-year-old powered through the second winning 11-4, punctuating the winning points with his signature victory cry “choy!”

After losing the second set, Pitchford began to look increasingly uncomfortable. Yet another show of supreme dominance from Drinkhall secured the third set 11-6. An exasperated Pitchford then tossed his bat onto the table before turning to talk tactics with his trainer.

Drinkhall seized his new found momentum in the fourth, confidently winning the first five points with ease. Pitchford struggled to claw back just a few points, and gestured to the sky in frustration as Drinkhall took the set 11-3.

The English no.1 looked resigned to defeat in the fifth, shaking his head and laughing at his own errors. With a final “choy!” Drinkhall took the match 4-1.

‘Kept fighting’

Drinkhall commented that he knew his match against Pitchford was always “going to be tough.” He said: “I just kept fighting, found a tactic that worked and kept punishing him with that same tactic.”

A downbeat Pitchford reflected: “I’ve been playing well this morning. I don’t know what happened. I am tired, it’s been a long day.”

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Ruthless Sibley wins women’s table tennis final

Sibley with trophy

English no. 2 Kelly Sibley beat no.1 Joanna Parker to claim the trophy at the English National Table Tennis Championships yesterday at Ponds Forge.

Sibley won the final 4-1 (11-6, 3-11, 12-10, 11-9, 11-5) against a lacklustre Parker, who looked beaten from its offset.

Determined Sibley

The first set saw a familiar dynamic for the two players, with Parker staying defensive in response to Kelly’s offensive strategy. A slow start for Parker cost her the first set as Sibley took it 6-11.

In the second, Parker turned up the heat, leaving an intimidated Sibley off guard to attack. Sibley looked nervous and hesitant as Parker stormed through the first seven points, only giving a few points to Sibley before winning the set 3-11.

The third set was much different, with the two players neck-and-neck as they reached 3-3. The set however turned as Parker lost the next point, unleashing a squeal of frustration. After a few close rallies, it was Sibley that eventually took control of the match.

Parker had now lost her confidence by the fourth and was unable to withstand the continued onslaught from Sibley, losing the set 11-9.

An oddly relaxed Parker failed to fight back in the final game, with the English no.2 appearing to grow even stronger and more determined as the finishing line came into full view. She alternated between hard and soft shots taking the match with a comfortable four games to one.

‘Really really pleased’

After the match, Sibley commented on her victory: “I am really really pleased – very happy. I knew it was always going to be very tough against Jo.”

She admitted that she was apprehensive about facing the English no. 1, claiming that “her attack has improved so much – it was putting me under loads of pressure.”

She added: “I just dug in, and it was just for me on the day really.”

Parker seemed surprisingly positive post-match, saying “I think we both played really well – it was a good match.”

She added: “It was frustrating as two of the games were close.”

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