Hertfordshire’s Jackie Foster and Katherine Russell of Sussex share the lead after a rain-soaked opening day at the English senior women’s championship at Ross-on-Wye Golf Club.Both posted impressive scores of one-over par 74 on a day which began and ended with torrential downpours, with plenty of regular rain in between. The start of play was delayed by 90 minutes, but the course stood up well to the challenge and won praise from the players.Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest) finished her round in the evening deluge, managing to birdie the 16th, but having to battle her way down 17 and 18.“It was very unsettling, on the 17th I pulled it into the trees but luckily was able to pitch out short, but I dropped a shot. On the 18th I had to take three off the tee, although I did find the first one and made par,” added Russell, (pictured top) a past British senior champion.Jackie Foster (Bishops Stortford) also handled the conditions in style – to her relief. “I’m not keen on playing in the rain so I just tried to keep it going,” she said. A couple of early birdies got her off to a good start and she played steadily, helped by a very nice chipping touch.“I’m very pleased I kept it going,” remarked Foster,(pictured left) who is a past captain of the Hertfordshire women’s first team.The players are targeting a place in the top 16 at the end of tomorrow’s second round – and with it a place in the matchplay stages to find the 2016 champion.The leaders are one shot ahead of former England cricketer, Karen Jobling of Yorkshire who credited a positive attitude as key to her score. “I wasn’t negative – and there were holes where I was really in trouble,” she said.It certainly worked – on the 11th she was in the trees, saw a small gap to the target and went for it, being rewarded with a birdie. “It was a positive shot and it came off,” said the Richmond player.In common with many of the players she wasn’t deterred by the weather: “We get inclement weather in Yorkshire – I played Ganton the week before last in the snow!”Chasing her is a group of three players on 76: defending champion Helen Lowe, Lancashire’s Helen Braddock and former British senior champion Cath Rawthore.Lowe (Scraptoft) confessed to some nerves as she began the defence of her title but she played steadily – and was rewarded by her investment in a putting lesson with Oli Leett, one of the club’s professionals, when she arrived at Ross-on -Wye. “He gave me a routine which helped me and I did putt well,” she said.Meanwhile Helen Braddock (Bolton Old Links) marked her debut in the championship with impressive play, armed with a new set of irons. “I usually play in the Northern vets’ championship but last year I didn’t play well and I decided to have a change – and I’m loving it,” she said after shooting 76.Cath Rawthore (Sale) joined them on the three-over mark commenting: “I struck it nicely and had a couple of birdies on 10 and 11, which I was happy about, because putts lipped out on 6 and 7 and I felt a bit robbed.”Ross-on-Wye’s home challenge is led by Pat Watkins – a three-time county vets’ champion – who is tied 36th, two shots ahead of Jan Armstrong.After tomorrow’s second round the top 16 players will go forward to the championship match play which takes place on Thursday and Friday, 12 and 13 May. Players finishing 17th-64th go forward to play in Flight Two, taking part in a 36-hole stroke play competition, with 18 holes played on each day.Image © Leaderboard Photography 10 May 2016 Foster and Russell lead in the rain
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Travis Snider, left, takes down Milwaukee Brewers’ Carlos Gomez, bottom, as Brewers’ Rickie Weeks, right, joins a skirmish between the teams during the third inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)MILWAUKEE (AP) — Carlos Gomez has no plans to apologize for his behavior that set off another brawl.The Brewers center fielder was ejected along with Pittsburgh outfielder Travis Snider and Milwaukee bench coach Jerry Narron after a shouting match escalated into a brawl during the third inning of the Brewers’ win Sunday.Gomez flipped his bat to watch his two-out drive off Gerrit Cole. Gomez said he thought the ball would be caught, but it hit the wall and he made a headfirst slide for a triple. Cole, near third base backing up the play, stormed toward Gomez and they exchanged words.Cole said he told Gomez: “If you’re going to hit it out of the ballpark, then you can stop and look at it. But it you’re going to hit just a flyball to center field, then don’t stand and look at it.’”Last Sept. 25, Gomez stood in the batter’s box at Atlanta after hitting a home run off Paul Maholm. Gomez and Maholm yelled at each other, as did Gomez and first baseman Freddie Freeman. Catcher Brian McCann met him about 20 feet up the third base line, and plate umpire Paul Nauert tried to separate them. A brawl developed, and Gomez and Atlanta outfielder Reed Johnson were suspended one game each.Major League Baseball did not issue discipline Monday for this brawl.“To be honest, I don’t know anything,” Gomez said before the Brewers hosted San Diego at Miller Park. “I’ve just been watching TV, and the only thing I hear is my dad and my mother talking to me. They don’t want to see something like that. I said, ‘I don’t mean to do that, but things happen in the game.’”Gomez said Sunday he would appeal a suspension but appeared to backtrack Monday.“Whatever they say, if I feel like it is not fair, I’m going to appeal,” Gomez said. “If I feel like it is fair, I’m going to take it.”Gomez said this incident was different from last September’s.“Last year was a different case,” Gomez said. “Last year, I disrespected the Braves. I’m not that guy. It was the heat of the moment, and I don’t try to disrespect nobody.”Gomez said he wasn’t trying to show up Pittsburgh.“Ask my teammates,” he said. “I ask every time, ‘Where’s the ball at?’ They say, ‘Is this a joke?’ I say, ‘No, I’m serious. I don’t look where the ball is at.’ I don’t look at the pitchers. That’s the way the way I throw the bat when I hit it. And I run the bases hard, like anybody, with my head down. That’s it. People get sensitive over stuff that I do every time. It’s not disrespect. It’s not like I’m showing people up. I’m not going to get sensitive when they strike me out. I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, why you throw me 98 (mph)? Why are you throwing me a slider in the dirt? Why? Why are you throwing me a ball in the neck?’ It’s baseball.“It’s 2014. It’s a game. Just enjoy it. Whoever does the best job on the field is the one that’s going to win games. That’s the only reason we are here, to win games. It’s not to go fight. It’s not for complicated stuff. It’s to win and compete. That’s what I like to do, compete.”Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he understood why Gomez reacted the way he did Sunday and had a brief chat with his leadoff hitter Monday.“Gomey needs to be himself and do what he does,” Roenicke said. “When things happen, yeah, he can be calmer than what he is. But there’s no way any player is not going to respond to a guy saying something to him and yelling at him right off the bat. There’s no way any player is just going to sit there and not say anything.”After Jonathan Lucroy caught all 14 innings Sunday, Roenicke started Martin Maldonado behind the plate Monday, admitting that he might not be able to get Lucroy a break if Maldonado is also suspended for his role in the brawl, when he punched Pirates outfielder Travis Snider.If Maldonado is suspended, utilityman Elian Herrera would serve as the Brewers’ backup catcher.