Women’s Sports Column 2-8 April

LizzieArmitsteadThis week’s stories come from football, tennis, sailing, golf, cycling, athletics, cricket and netball,

There’s so much going on, I can’t keep up. This is a brilliant time for women’s sport, and yet, at the same time, we seem to have hit a new phase of unbelievably abysmal comment on just what a woman’s place in sport “should” be. Seems like everyone (men) has an opinion on this – and It’s usually not only misguided, but downright misogynistic.

But let’s crack on with the good stuff and deal with the rest later.

Lots of football news this week.

Former England coach, Hope Powell, has broken through yet another glass ceiling to become the first women appointed to the role of coach educator with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). She was the first woman to attain a UEFA Pro Licence in 2003.

Not such impressive news from America, where former USA favourite, Abby Wambach, has been arrested for drink driving. Wambach, who retired from football in December, has been a role model for American girls and women for a long time.

On her Facebook page she said:

“I take full responsibility for my actions. This is all on me,

“Those that know me know that I have always demanded excellence from myself. I have let myself and others down.”

The FA Cup semi-final line-up has been decided as the quarter finals took place this week:

 Chelsea 6-0 Aston Villa

 

It was only one-nil at half time and Villa must have thought they were in with a good chance of at least holding or even beating last year’s cup winners. They finally scored through Spence six minutes before the break. In the second the chances were converted to goals with Ji scoring a hat-trick and Kirby and Aluko chipping in with the others.

 

 

Manchester City 2-0 Sporting Club Albion

 

Goals from Parris and Ross saw Manchester City through to the semi-final as they beat the lowest-ranked club left in the competition.

 

Arsenal 2-2 Notts County (4-3 on penalties)

 

It took penalties for Arsenal to see off last year’s beaten finalists in a thrilling match that had a bit of everything. Smith scored the first for Arsenal, but Bradley-Auckland levelled the tie and then County took the lead through a Luik shot after a melee in the penalty area. White was sent off for County, who couldn’t quite hold on with 10 players – Sanchon equalising with just five minutes to go. The teams couldn’t be separated after extra time and the tie went to penalties. Both keepers saved two spot-kicks, and it was McCabe’s successful kick that put the Gunners through.

 

Sunderland 3-0 Reading

 

The home side were on top throughout as Mead scored the first and Williams the second as Sunderland went in 2-0 at half time. In the second half Reading had chances to reduce the arrears, but Chaplen added a third to put the tie beyond reach.

 

The semi-final draw has now been made. Both fixtures will be held on Sunday 17 April and will kick off at 2pm. Keep an eye out for details of broadcast coverage, as needless to say, it hasn’t been sorted yet.

 

Arsenal v Sunderland

Chelsea v Manchester City

 

 

 

Britain’s number two, Heather Watson, was knocked out in the first round of the Katowice Open this week. She lost to Czech player Kristyna Pliskova 6-2 3-6 6-4. The Czech is ranked 33 places lower than Watson, at 88 in the world. It was a tight match up to the last set, but Watson lost her first two service games of the third set to go 3-0 down and couldn’t recover.

 

Britain’s number three, Naomi Broady, went through to the second round after beating Karin Knapp in the first 6-7 6-4 6-4.

 

 

 

The worst news of the week comes from sailing. Sarah Young, an amateur sailor taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race died when she was washed overboard. She was recovered by the crew, who attempted to resuscitate her, but she didn’t regain consciousness.

The cause of death is thought to be drowning or exposure. The year-long race was sailing in the North Pacific at the time.

Because of the time it would take for the yacht to reach land, Ms Young was buried at sea, after consultation with her family.

Ms Young is the second person to die in this year’s event, after Andrew Ashman, a crew member on the same IchorCoal boat, died in September.

 

 

Good news from golf this week, as England’s Charley Hull finished joint second in the first women’s major of the year, the ANA Inspiration. Her previous best finish was tied seventh at the same tournament in 2014.

The wonderful Lydia Ko took the title on -12, with Hull and the Korean Chun, tied second on -11. Catriona Matthew of Scotland finished the tournament on -3 in a tie for 32nd place.

 

 

Lizzie Armistead took first in the women’s Tour of Flanders this week, which finished on Sunday 3 April. She won by only half a wheel from Emma Johansson of Sweden after a sprint finish. This is Armistead’s fourth win of the season, having already won at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda.

 

 

Nothing good coming out of athletics this week as the doping scandals go on and on. This week Russian Olympic and double world hammer champion Tatyana Lysenko was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Lysenko had previously been banned for two-years for steroid use in 2007.

Russia is currently banned from international athletics competition in the wake of the doping scandals last year. They are hoping to have the ban overturned in time to compete at Rio, but these continued revelations will not be helping their case.

 

 

By now you’ll all be aware of the outcome of the Women’s World T20 in India. I have written extensively on it for Women’s Sports Uk the past three weeks, including a full report of the final and today I have published my thoughts on the tournament as a whole.

The final was a great spectacle and West Indies worthy winners.

They may not have been able to take a fourth consecutive World T20 title, but Cricket Australia has announced that their female players are to receive a significant pay rise.

The top-ranked players will now earn $65,000 as basic, while those on the minimum will go from $19,000 to $40,000.

Cricket Australia is also the only governing body that guarantees its female national team will fly business class along with the men.

 

The latest round of Vitality Netball Superleague fixtures, on Saturday 2 April, brought the following results:

Yorkshire Jets 45-50 Team Northumbria

Manchester Thunder p-p Hertfordshire Mavericks

This match was called off after umpires expressed concern over the safety of the players because of water on the court.

Surrey Storm 52-42 Loughborough Lightning

Mavericks are now top by three points over Thunder in second, Storm in third and Bath fourth. Jets are still bottom having failed to win any games this season.

 

And finally, back to the sexist claptrap and misogyny that seems to have raised its ugly head this week. I think it all kicked off with the tennis: “women players should get down on their knees” and be thankful to the men for propping up the women’s game all these years lines that came from .., (no former) CEO of the Indian Wells tennis tournament. Since then it seems to have become fair game for men to stick their sexist oar in. Top of the pile is this execrable scribbling from Toby Young in the Daily Mail. I don’t really want to dignify it with a link, but read it and weep.  As it was published on 1st April, there was a rumour it was an April Fool’s joke, but I’m afraid not…

And finally, finally, sorry but no column next week as I’m away, but back the following week with all the news.

 

 

 

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