Sports roundup

Last updated 17:19 25/01/2014

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CYCLING

Alexandra's James Williamson has won today's Milford Mountain Classic cycle race.

The former national road champion cleared away from the field in the 120km race from Milford to Te Anau with veteran Queenstown multisporter Jim Hawkridge.

Hawkridge claimed the King of the Mountain title for the climb up to the Homer Tunnel, with Williamson going on to win the race by about two minutes.

CRICKET

Southland will look to push for an outright victory tomorrow in their Hawke Cup clash againt Mid Canterbury in Ashburton.

After losing the toss and being put into bat this morning, Southand posted 224 with Hamish O'Brien making 33 and Jared McKenzie top scoring with 47.

Ryan Duffy made 14 in his return to the Southland team after making his debut for Otago.

Southland quickly had their hosts under pressure with the ball, and by stumps the home team was teetering on 106 for nine.

Craig Smith was superb with the ball, claiming five for 14, with Mark Beer providing good support with two for 22.

Meanwhile, the Otago Sparks have won the women's domestic one day cricket competition with a three wicket victory over Auckland at Melville Park in Auckland.

Dual international Suzy Bates claimed a hat-trick, just the fifth in domestic women's history and the second this season, as Auckland made 245 before being dimissed with one ball left in their innings.

Bates then starred with the bat, making 99 to set up Otago for the win.

Needing six runs off the last over, Otago claimed the win with one ball remaining.

MOTORSPORT

Greg Murphy lived up to his new number as he decisively won the first race of the 2014 V8 SuperTourers championship at Highlands Motorsport Park today.

Known for using the number 51 for many years, Murphy turned up for the Fuchs 250 meeting - opening round of the Hankook Super Series - with the number one on his Holden Commodore, having won the right to that number by winning the championship last year.

"I had a bit of an argument with myself about the number but I decided to make the most of it and use the number one," Murphy, who is now back living in Hawke's Bay, said. "It's been a while since I had a number one."

Murphy had qualified on pole at the new Central Otago circuit and led all the way, with young Aucklander Andre Heimgartner's Holden the only car in his mirrors for most of the distance.

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"I seemed to have his measure," Murphy said. "He was fast in some places but I could pull away when I needed to."

Heimgartner was happy to finish second behind the champion.

"I couldn't get too close to Murph and anyway it's hard to pass round here," he said. "We just wanted to get some good points and not do anything too drastic."

Angus Fogg suffered a spectacular crash at the end of lap one, which brought out the safety car and left his Commodore looking a real mess.

Fellow Aucklander Mitch Cunningham had an all too close view of the accident.

"Angus hit the wall and bounced back," he said. "I saw it coming and moved as far to the right as I could, but I couldn't avoid hitting him."

Cunningham's Ford Falcon was also out of the race, but he expects it to be ready to run again tomorrow.

Hamilton's Ant Pedersen, second in the championship last year, ran his Falcon third all the way though under pressure from Aucklander Simon Evans for some laps - till Evans's engine failed.

"I'd just got in behind Ant and thought I had the edge on him," Evans lamented. "But we've got a spare engine so we'll be back tomorrow."

Murphy's young team-mate Richard Moore took fourth ahead of a new team-mate, Australian Morgan Haber.

Haber, 20 years old and from Mackay in Queensland, is driving Paul Manuell's Commodore this year and was pleased with his result. "I'm still learning the car, and the track," he said.

Sixth was Aucklander Mark Gibson, also driving someone else's car - he has taken over John McIntyre's Falcon for the season.

The BNT V8 SuperTourers have two more races tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Brazillian teenager Pedro Piquet, the son of former world F1 champion Nelson Piquet, has had to withdraw from the Toyota Racing Series after an undisclosed issue was found with his racing licence.

The matter is being dealt with by the licensing authorities (CBA) in Brazil and the FIA.

Unfortunately the issue could not be resolved in time to enable Pedro to continue to contest this year's series and he has had to withdraw, effective immediately.

The Piquets were delighted with the series so far and remain very keen to return to race in 2015, a statement said. 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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