I WILL start by congratulating Europe on that brilliant 16½ points to 11½ victory over the USA in the 40th Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
My stars in Perthshire were England’s Justin Rose, Ireland’s duo of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, Welshman Jamie Donaldson (who fired the match-winning stroke), Frenchman Victor Dubuisson and German Martin Kaymer but all credit (and more) to Paul McGinley’s wonderful team of golfers who thoroughly deserved their triumph after an impressive display of driving, pitching, chipping and putting.
Each and every player was ‘up for it’ from the first to the last tee and with tremendous support, one sensed there was only going to one winner… Europe!
An aggregate attendance of 133,672 watched, cheered and admired three days of truly great sporting action, some of the best seen for years.
FOOTBALL – Last weekend’s ‘big’ Premiership derbies, Arsenal-Spurs and Liverpool-Everton, both ended in 1-1 draws… leaders Chelsea, with another Diego Costa goal, defeated Aston Villa 3-0… Manchester City won 4-2 at Hull… second-placed Southampton edged QPR 2-1 with a brilliant Graziano Pelle strike… ‘wild’ Wayne Rooney scored and was sent-off as Manchester United beat West Ham 2- 1… Crystal Palace clipped Leicester 2-0 and WBA equalled their best-ever PL win by blitzing Burnley 4-0. Stoke met Newcastle on Monday.
Norwich went top of the Championship with a 3-1 win at Blackpool… Bristol City lead FL1 after beating MK Dons 3-2… Burton Albion, 1-0 victors over Cheltenham, head FL2… and Dundee United, who have beaten rivals Dundee in Cup and League recently, are first in the SPL.
Here in Spain, in-form Barcelona, with a Neymar hat-trick, whipped Granada 6-0 to stay top of La Liga. Real Madrid are also back in business; they beat Villarreal 2-0.
Looking further ahead… and in a week’s time there are crucial Euro 2016 qualifiers involving England-San Marino, Wales-Bosnia & Herzegovina, Northern Ireland-Faroe Islands, Eire- Gibraltar, Scotland-Georgia and Spain-Luxembourg.
There has been Champions League action this week and tonight Spurs, Everton and Celtic all compete in the Europa League, while this weekend it’s Chelsea- Arsenal, Spurs- Southampton, Aston Villa- Manchester City, Manchester United-Everton and Swansea-Newcastle in the PL; Forest-Ipswich is the top Championship game, and it’s Walsall- Bristol City and Burton- Cambridge in FLs 1 and 2.
CUP PAIRINGS – The draw for the 4th round of the League Cup is: Bournemouth v WBA; Fulham v Derby; Liverpool (who beat Middlesbrough 14-13 on penalties in the last round) v Swansea; Manchester City v Newcastle; giant-killers MK Dons v Sheffield United; Shrewsbury v favourites Chelsea; Stoke v Southampton (who knocked out Arsenal) and Tottenham v Brighton. The ties will be played during the week commencing October 27.
COUNTY CRICKET – Hampshire beat Glamorgan by 291 runs to win the Second Division title and clinch promotion ahead of Worcestershire who also rise to the top flight with Northants and Lancashire being relegated.
MOTOR SPORT – Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) won Spain’s rain-affected GP last Sunday after changing to dry tyres. His fellow countrymen, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa, stayed out on wets and both fell off, allowing Aleix Espargaro to finish second and Britain’s Cal Crutchlow third. This was Lorenzo’s first win of 2014.
BTCC – No joy for my fellow Black Countryman Matt Neal in last Sunday’s 25th round of this season’s Touring Car races at Silverstone, the overall result being Jason Plato (1st), Colin Turkington (2nd) and Mat Jackson (3rd).
FORMULA 1 – Right now the cars and crews are in Japan for Sunday’s F1 Grand Prix at Suzuka where Lewis Hamilton will be aiming to extend his lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg in the driver’s championship.
GYMNASTICS – The World Artistic championships take place in China from October 3- 12 and I expect GB competitors to collect a few medals.
MY CHOICE – Although technically it’s not sport, my tip to win BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing trophy this year is lead singer of The Saturdays pop group, Frankie Bridge (wife of footballer Wayne) and Kevin Clifton from Grimsby.