This week’s stories come from football, tennis, athletics, boxing, horse racing and hockey. There are also not one, but two “and finally” snippets for your delectation – couldn’t decide which one was worse so I thought I’d feature both.
The last FAWSL fixtures before the mid-season break took place this week. Manchester City have had their lead cut to four points.
Saturday 21 May
The game between Doncaster Belles and Arsenal was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. No date has been announced for the re-arranged fixture.
Wednesday 25 May
Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City
Liverpool had the better of the game, with their best chance coming 12 minutes from the end of the match with Rosie White heading against the bar from a Laura Coombs corner.
These are the first points dropped by City this season.
Chelsea 2-1 Sunderland
Chelsea kept the heat on City with a 2-1 triumph against Sunderland, who are still looking for their first win of the season.
Steph Roche gave the Lady Black Cats the lead after just six minutes, but Chelsea captain Katie Chapman equalised with a fine header from Karen Carney’s free-kick just 90 seconds later.
In truth, Chelsea could have had six if they hadn’t been so profligate in front of goal. As it was, Fran Kirby scored in the 21st minute to seal the three points. She perhaps deserved another in the second half, for sheer audacity if nothing else, when she bicycle-kicked just over the bar.
Sunderland remain second from bottom.
Kim Little has been voted BBC World Service Women’s Footballer of the Year 2016. The 25-year old Scotland midfielder beat Gaell Gaelle Enganamouit (FC Rosengard, Sweden), Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyonnais), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash) and Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City) to win the award.
This is not the Seattle Reign’s first award. She was named the FA’s Women’s Player of the Year in 2010 and was the first winner of the PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year award in 2013.
Thursday 26 May
Wolfsburg 1-1 Lyon
Lyon win 4-3 on penalties
Lyon won their third Champions League title on penalties after keeper Sarah Bouhaddi saved two spot kicks to seal the win.
Lyon took the lead in just the 12th minute through the competition’s top scorer, Ada Hegerberg. It looked as though this could be the winner until Alex Popp equalised with a fine header two minutes from time.
The teams couldn’t be separated in extra time, and the tie went to penalties. Although Hegerberg missed hers, the Lyon keeper saved from Nilla Fischer and Bussaglia. The winning penalty was converted by player of the match, Saki Kumagai.
Not much to be cheery about if you’re a British tennis fan. As I suggested last week, all four British women had tough first round draws at the French Open at Roland Garros. The only one of the four to get through to the second round was British number two, Heather Watson.
Most disappointing was the performance of British number one, Johanna Konta, who lost in straight sets by Julia Goerges, 6-2 6-3.
Laura Robson, who faced the hardest task, was ousted by 28th seed, Andrea Petkovic, 6-2 6-2.
Naomi Broady also perished in the first round, although she did manage to take it to three sets against American Coco Candeweghe, before losing 4-6 6-3 3-6.
Heather Watson beat her doubles partner, Nicole Gibbs, 5-7 6-2 6-2 in the first round, but couldn’t cope with 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second, 6-1 6-3. She tried hard, especially in the second set, but was outclassed by the 13th seed.
In other tennis news, Maria Sharapova, who is currently serving a suspension for doping, has been named in the Russian Olympic team for Rio in August. Sharapova is only provisionally suspended at the moment, and is waiting for the result of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) investigation.
If she is given a confirmed ban she will be replaced in the team by Ekaterina Makaraova.
Jockey Michelle Payne suffered a serious fall this week which will put her out of action until at least August. She is currently in hospital recovering from abdominal surgery. It means she will not be able to compete in the Shergar Cup team event at Ascot on 6 August.
The race to Rio is hotting up with athletes of all disciplines still working on qualifying. However, one athlete this week has expressed a doubt as to whether she wants to compete in the Games if Russia are allowed to take part. Russian athletes are currently banned due to allegations of widespread state-organised doping.
Goldie Sayers, British javelin record holder has said that she would think long and hard about competing if Russia were re-admitted for Rio. But she admits,
“But if they are reinstated and I didn’t compete I’d be cheating myself out of another opportunity at the Olympics.”
Let’s hope she doesn’t have to make the choice.
Brilliant news from boxing on 27 May. Nicola Adams has claimed gold in the flyweight division at the AIBA World Championships in Kazakhstan.
She beat Thailand’s Peamwilai Laopeam by a split decision.
Surprisingly this is Adams’ first World Championships gold, with three previous silvers in the bag. It now completes her set; Olympic, Commonwealth, European and World titles.
She has already qualified for Rio and who would bet against her taking gold again?
One event of which I have been made aware (thanks Martin) is the Euro Hockey Club Champions Cup (EHCCC). This is the hockey equivalent of the football Champions’ League. This year’s was won by Den Bosch in an all-Dutch final against SCHC – a replay of the 2015 final.
Den Bosch 1-1 SCHC
Den Bosch win on penalties
Den Bosch opened the scoring through a penalty corner converted by Pauman. They held the lead until the 40th minute, when SCHC were awarded a penalty stroke, which was taken and scored by van Massakker.
Den Bosch took the title in a shoot out.
The teams for next year’s tournament have already been announced. England’s representation will be from Canterbury and Surbiton, who also took part in this year’s competition, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. The countries are allotted a number of places as a result of their ranking.
Currently the Netherlands are top of the tree and will have two places, as will England. Germany, Spain, Ireland and Russia have one place each. This is the position at the moment, but Belarus and Belgium are closing fast in the rankings and could yet take one of the spots for next year’s contest.
Take your pick of “and finally” stories this week. The first is all too familiar and possibly a bit too predictable, but the second is something special – and no, I’m not providing photos.
Chris Gayle has struck again this week with another embarrassing interview with a female journalist. He bragged to Charlotte Edwardes from The Times that he has a
“very, very big bat….You think you could lift it? You’d need two hands.”
He asked Edwardes “how many black men I’ve had” and whether she had ever been in a threesome.
Don’t think I need to say anymore about that.
And finally (2), Ayr United plumbed the depths this week in launching their new kit for next season. They have done it by having a topless model with the “shirt” painted on in body paint, posing in several provocative situations. They have form. They have done it before regardless of the criticism faced, which shows a complete lack of sensibility. And of course, in reporting the story – yes you Daily Mail and Independent, the pictures had to be reprinted. This gives more publicity to a grimy idea – which is exactly what they want.
So Ayr United, who do you want at your games. Is it women? Is it children? Er no, probably not. I would suggest that they probably don’t matter to you.
This time they could be fined by the Scottish FA. Hit them in the pocket, I say.