IRELAND remain on course to battle for a place in Test cricket in 2018 after beating Hong Kong by 70 runs in the Intercontinental Cup game at Stormont.After starting the final day on 199-6, Ireland were bowled out for 230 to leave Hong Kong needing 310 to win.Nizakat Khan’s superb 123 held up Ireland as he shared a ninth-wicket stand of 61 with Nadeem Ahmed.However, with the score on 239, Peter Chase trapped Ahmed and Khan was then dismissed by Tim Murtagh.Middlesex seamer Murtagh was the pick of Ireland’s bowlers on the final day as his closing dismissal, with Ed Joyce taking a simple catch, brought impressive figures of 4-29.George Dockrell and Kevin O’Brien chipped in with two wickets apiece but the Ireland attack laboured for most of the final afternoon as Khan and Ahmed looked comfortable during their 61-run partnership.Earlier, a quick victory looked on the cards as Murtagh’s first two wickets and O’Brien’s dismissals left Hong Kong on 114-5 before they slipped 147-7.Ireland were able to add only 31 runs for the loss of their final four wickets at the start of the day as O’Brien finished unbeaten on 16.The victory maintained Ireland’s winning run in the competition as they moved back to the top of the eight-team table.After four successive wins, Ireland lead Afghanistan by 19 points, with the two sides meeting in the next fixture in India next March.The winners of the eight-nation competition will play the bottom-ranked Test nation in 2018 for the right to earn four years of Test cricket status. (BBC Sport)
The top-ranked Trojans will look to remain undefeated on the season as they finish out six of their final 10 regular-season matches at home. The home stand will begin with duals against Washington and No. 15 Arizona State on Friday. The Huskies will kick off the day at 4 p.m. The team is 1-0 on the season, facing a much thinner schedule than other Pac-12 teams. The main event will take place at 6 p.m. when the Trojans take on Arizona State, a top-20 program that offers competition every year. USC has come out on top of all four previous meetings between the two teams, and the team brings the momentum of a 50-match winning streak into the dual.The Trojans will follow up Friday’s dual with a trip to Manhattan Beach on Saturday for the USAV Beach Collegiate Challenge. The team will face off against Loyola Marymount, rematch against Arizona State and finish up against Saint Mary’s College.While this weekend’s matches will give the Trojans a full bill of competition, they will also serve up an opportunity for seniors Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes to reach a 100-match win streak. The team is the only Trojan pair to reach 100 wins together, posting a 118-3 overall record in their career together. The duo has helped to lead the team to win 82 of its last 84 dual matches.Despite the veteran leadership of Claes and Hughes, the rest of the Trojans’ pairs are newly formed this season. However, that hasn’t kept them from excelling on the court. Junior Jenna Belton and Jo Kremer are 22-3 overall, notching an 18-1 mark in duals, and junior Terese Cannon and senior Nicolette Martin have notched 19 overall wins on the season. The No. 2 team of seniors Sophie Bukovec and Allie Wheeler, along with the No. 4 team of sophomore Abril Bustamante and freshman Joy Dennis, have both notched 12 victories so far.With the goal of defending their two-time role as national champions, the Trojans are also looking to defend their seat as the Pac-12 champions this season. The team hasn’t lost a match since March of 2016. With only three weeks left until the Pac-12 championships, the Trojans are looking to continue their dominant streak to remain at the top of the conference and the country.