Abby Rugg

Name: Abby Rugg
Qualification: Gold Standard NCTJ Multi-Media Journalism Diploma. (Including 100 words-per-minute shorthand)
Employment: Worked at BBC Sport and Deltatre for London 2012.
Future Aim: To work in broadcast/production television.
Blog: Started in November 2011. Published on The Sports Investor and Value Horse Tips. Please comment on a post or follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013


*I know this event happened nearly two months ago, (Friday March 1) but it was my first sports byline in print and I wanted to share it with you!

My wristband. VIP guest! Top pros Simon Whitlock and Adrian Lewis 
were among the players I interviewed.

IN FRONT of a sell-out crowd at Lower Hyde, Shanklin, darts prodigy Keegan Brown lapped up the support at the IW Pro Masters.

Despite losing against winner Raymond van Barneveld 5-3, Keegan, 20, of Newport, scored six 180s during an impressive performance and came close to a nine-darter.

Keegan, who is 86th in the PDC order of merit, said he felt nervous during the first leg but got into a steady rhythm when the adrenaline kicked in.

“It was fantastic up there, to have everyone chanting your name was quality. You cannot beat it,” he said.

“This has been great for the IW. 750 people were here tonight and it felt the whole Island was here to support us. It was absolutely brilliant.”

Keegan stepped up to the oche with winners of the IW qualifiers, Gavin Hicks, Tony Broughton and Nick Popham and top pros Raymond, Simon Whitlock, James Wade and Adrian Lewis.

For the event, the IW players were drawn against the pros in a knock-out contest, with the semi-finals and final scheduled straight after.

It was the biggest stage for all four IW players, who said that playing against their idols was an incredible experience. 

Gavin Hicks, 30, of Freshwater, who lost 5-2 to Adrian, said: “Being up there, which was the biggest stage I have ever been on, was electric. 

“If you said to me before the game I would’ve got two legs against Lewis and score the first 180 of the match, I would have snapped your hand off.”

Adrian, who lost to Simon in the semi-finals, added: “I thought Gavin played really well. I thought it would be a tough game against him because he has one of the highest averages on the Island.”

Not only did the evening give a platform to the players, it showed the Island could benefit from hosting big sporting events.

One spectator Lee Dowding, 43, of East Cowes, said: “It’s been fantastic to see the professionals in person rather than on the television. It would be great to have another event like this again.” 

And organiser John Abbott added he hoped to host another IW Pro Masters next year, as Friday was a successful and entertaining evening.

“It’s the first time it has happened so far on the Island,” he said. “I think it has got people aware that we can put events like this on.”

“The tickets sold out in around four weeks and more than half of them were sold in 24 hours thanks to the County Press. 

“It wasn’t about the money, it was about having a good night and that’s why we organised it.”

Quarter-finals: Adrian Lewis 5, Gavin Hicks 2; Simon Whitlock 5, Tony Broughton 2; James Wade 5, Nick Popham 0; Raymond van Barneveld 5, Keegan Brown 3. Semi-finals: Adrian Lewis 3, Simon Whitlock 5; James Wade 3, Raymond van Barneveld 5. Final: Simon Whitlock 4, Raymond van Barneveld 5.

*Published in the Isle of Wight County Press

Saturday, 6 April 2013


1:45 - John Smith's Mersey Novices' Hurdle
Up and Go

2:15 - John Smith's Maghull Novices' Chase

2:50 - John Smith's Liverpool Hurdle
Celestial Halo (ew)

3:25 - John Smith's Handicap Chase
Opening Batsman

4:15 - John Smith's Grand National Chase
Cappa Bleu
Balthazar King

5:10 - John Smith's Handicap Hurdle

5:45 - John Smith's Champion Standard Open NH Flat Race 
Dakar Run
Purple Bay (ew)

Thursday, 4 April 2013


'WILL a female jockey win the Grand National?' is the question that has been hitting the headlines this week, and I think it could happen.

Katie Walsh, sister of champion jockey Ruby Walsh, is the only woman riding in the race and she will be partnering Seabass again, who finished third last year.

Seabass almost galloped to victory last year, but couldn't quite keep up with Sunnyhillboy and eventual winner, Neptune Collonges.

But I believe Katie has come back stronger this year and will charge past the post in prime position.

My money is on her.

I remember watching the 2012 Grand National. I was at my parents' house and we had a family friend over. 

He decided to watch the race with us, and when Katie was shown on our television screen, he said: "She won't win. She's a woman."

No one really knew how to answer him. But I did. I replied that being a woman makes no difference to winning or losing, and I believed Katie would produce a world-class performance, as she always does.

And she did. Third position is great - a fantastic achievement, the best position by any female jockey in the race.

But Katie can finish in a better position this year. She can win and everybody knows it.

At the moment, Seabass is around 10/1 to win, and Katie's brother, Ruby, is currently favourite with On His Own at 7/1.

A jockey needs a lot of luck in the Grand National, but with focus and determination, I am positive Katie will do the girls - and racing - proud.