Sport Shorts

Recuitment by degrees

Recuitment by degrees

ICE HOCKEY: After a frustrating start to summer recruitment, the Vipers have turned to academia to try and find an edge in attracting players. Rod Hinks was the latest to reject the Elite League club's advances, yesterday (correct) announcing he was ending his brief stint at Newcastle Arena for a more lucrative offer in the Swiss League. It is a depressingly familar story for the Vipers, who have missed out on a host of transfer targets. Now the club hopes to turn the tide by also offering an education to players. The club has agreed a link-up with Newcastle College and is close to another with Northumbria University which coach Rob Wilson hopes will pay off. "We're now in a position to offer our players foundation degrees, honours degrees and MBAs," said the 38-year-old. "We've worked hard on this over the last few years ... It's a great opportunity to play in Europe, get an education and earn a bit of money."

Human error

MOTOR RACING: Lewis Hamilton insists he is "only human" after his first accident of a grand prix weekend - then vowed to go even faster. The 22-year-old Formula One sensation is determined the smash during yesterday's (correct) second practice session for Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix will not hold him back. The leader of the drivers' championship walked away unharmed after ploughing his McLaren into a tyre barrier at Sainte Devote. He said: "It was a small mistake. Everyone makes mistakes and I'm only human."

McRae favourite

RUGBY LEAGUE: Former Great Britain hooker James Lowes will be short-listed for the coaching vacancy at Salford but Australian Shaun McRae - one-time Gateshead Thunder team chief - remains favourite to take over at the relegation-threatened Super League club. Reds hope to have a new man in place by the end of next week.

Three-way tie

GOLF: Denmark's Karen-Margrethe Juul, Australia's Sarah Kemp and Italy's Stefania Croce share the lead on eight under par after the second round of the BMW Ladies Italian Open. Scotland's Clare Queen (68) and England's Trish Johnson (70) held a share of fifth place on six under par.

Skipper focused

RUGBY UNION: Wales skipper Gareth Thomas insists he is fully focused on leading his country to victory in Australia rather than breaking personal records. The 32-year-old will become Welsh rugby's most-capped player with his 93rd appearance at Sydney's Telstra Stadium tomorrow(correct) - overtaking the 92-cap record he has held jointly with Bristol veteran Gareth Llewellyn since leading Wales to Six Nations victory over England.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer