Sporting Soprano, Laura Wright, composes anthem for England cricketers

laura 1I was there on Monday 20 June to hear the debut of “Heroes”.  It was a moving experience, even though the cricket was abandoned!  Read more of  my piece for WSUK here:

The somewhat truncated Women’s Sports Column 18 – 24 June

laura 1I wasn’t going to write a column today. I worked through the night at an EU Referendum count and thought I would be too shattered to write. Now I’m not only shattered, but thoroughly disheartened at the course the UK has decided to take.

But putting that aside (not quite sure how), I was pleased this morning to receive another fantastic sailing update from Abby Ehler (see below) and this has encouraged me to make a few scribbles of my own, if only to remind myself that there is still some good stuff going on out there. So here it is, short and sweet. No “And finally” this week, as I think the start of this post fulfils the criteria this time round.

Stories from football, cricket, tennis, hockey and sailing:

The FAWSL resumes this weekend after the international/mid-season break. I hope you can all remember where we were, but if not, here’s a quick re-cap:

Manchester City are top of FAWSL1 having won six of their first seven matches and having drawn their last match at Liverpool 0-0. Chelsea are hot on their heels with 15 points from six games. At the bottom it’s Doncaster Rovers Belles, who are yet to pick up a point this season, although they have only played three games.

This week’s Division 1 fixtures are:

Saturday 25 June

Arsenal Ladies FC v Sunderland AFC Ladies 2pm

Sunday 26 June

Manchester City Women v Liverpool Ladies 2pm

Notts County Ladies FC v Doncaster Rovers Belles 2pm

Wednesday 29 June

Sunderland AFC Ladies v Chelsea Ladies FC 7.30pm

Birmingham City Ladies v Arsenal Ladies 7.45pm
Doncaster Rovers Belles have also announced their new manager this week. It is Emma Coates, former first team coach. There has been some mutterings about the timing of the news as it seems that former manager, Glen Harris, was sacked up to two weeks ago, but the news wasn’t made public. The club says this is due to some backroom re-organisation, but there have been complaints that Harris was treated badly over the sacking. We’ll have to see how the new boardroom and management appointments work out.

The Deaf World Cup started this week in Capaccio-Agropoli, Italy. Britain’s women played Poland on 22 June. They drew 2-2.

Tonight (24 June) they play hosts Italy, then USA on 26 June, Turkey on 28 and Russia on 30 June.   The knockout stage/play-offs begin on 1 July.


A new era for English women’s cricket began this week with the first post-Edwards/Greenway internationals against Pakistan.

And England have made a storming start. After a disappointing start with no play at Grace Road on Monday (I was there), the reserve day came into play (I couldn’t be there) and England dominated from the start. Sorry, no in-depth report, but the scores were as follows:

Pakistan batted first and made 165 all out from 45.4 overs. This was actually their best score against England. Ameen scored 52 and new captain, Heather Knight, took an impressive 5/26.

England made light work of the reply, however, reaching their target of 166 for just three wickets in 31.5 overs. Tammy Beaumont looked in fantastic form with a career-best 70 and Knight weighed in with 50 not out and England won by seven wickets. Unsurprisingly, Knight was Player of the Match.

The second game, at Worcester on 22 June was even more one-sided. Records fell as England posted a massive 378/5, their record ODI total. The innings contained 39 fours and 11 sixes with 132 coming off the last 10 overs.

Openers Lauren Winfield and Tammy Beaumont scored 123 and 104 respectively and further down the order Nat Sciver scored a huge 80 off 30 balls.

Although Pakistan, bettered their highest score again, it was only by one run as they made 166 all out in 47.4 overs with Bismah Maroof taking 61 and vice-captain Anya Shrubsole took 4/19. England won by 212 runs. The Player of the Match award was shared between Beaumont and Winfield.

The third ODI takes place at Taunton on 25 June. It is live on Sky.


The first round of the Wimbledon draw has been made.

British number one Johanna Konta faces Monica Puig from Puerto Rico.

Heather Watson has drawn Annika Beck and Laura Robson has a tough task against Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber.

Tara Moore plays Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium, while Katie Swan faces the fearsome Timea Baos of Hungary, ranked 45 in the world.


The Hockey Champions Trophy is taking place in London this week. After Great Britain’s excellent recent series against Netherlands, they went into the tournament full of confidence. However, things have not turned out as they would have liked.

They started well with a 2-2 draw against Argentina in their first match and then lost 2-0 to 2012 Olympic champions, Netherlands.

They suffered a scond defeat, this time to New Zealand on Tuesday 1-0. To cap it all they lost again on Thursday, this time 2-0 to USA.

GB are now highly unlikely to take a medal of any colour.


Sailing update from Abby Ehler

Dee Caffari and Libby Greenhalgh recently competed in the Three Peaks Yacht Race.  This Race is unlike any other yacht race, it is so much more than a yacht race, in total, the team of five must sail 389 miles, climb 11.176ft, run 72 miles and cycle 36 miles.  The race is ranked amongst the 10 most difficult endurance races in the world, alongside the Marathon des Sables and the New Zealand Coast to Coast.  Dee was delighted to lead the Sail 4 Cancer Team this year in the 39th edition of the event but it was tough, much tougher than expected.  There is a reason the salty old seadogs do so well in this race, there are little tricks and secrets all along this coastline and experience pays dividends. Dee, despite her extreme experience was most definitely a rookie in this event, but loved it!  The aim for the team was to raise funds and awareness for the charity Sail 4 Cancer.  Dee is an ambassador for the charity, so to face a challenge for this great cause was a pleasure for her through all the discomfort the team would face, it is insignificant compared to what those families and individuals suffering from the effects of cancer experience.

An all-female team Team Concise/The Magenta Project competed in the Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race which started from Wicklow, Ireland on Saturday 18th June.  The team finished 3rd in their division, a great result for the team, battling fairly intense conditions that the Irish Sea had to offer.  Team Concise

This week in Hono Sweden, Team Magenta 32 hosted their first ever clinic for up and coming female sailors to experience sailing and racing in the high performance M32 catamaran, a much smaller scale but similar concept to the current America’s Cup boats. Team Magenta 32 are the only female team currently competing on the World Match Racing Tour and were keen to pass on their experiences to others to help promote and inspire girls at the high performance end of the sport.  “It’s been incredible to see the motivation of the sailors that came to try the M32” commented Kate Macgregor, former Olympian.  Following it’s success, The Magenta Project intend to pursue this initiative at varying location in the future.

In France, The “La Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro” race set off from Deauville on 19th June, the first leg of 350 miles cumulated in Cowes, IOW, before a further 3 legs finishing up in La Rochelle later this month.  The Race is a single handed race, the boats are 32 feet long and their skippers must learn to manage all aspects of the boat as there are no crew members to assist in sail changes or navigation.  The circuit has a huge following in France and this year is the first time the race has visited an English port.  Five female skippers are competing this year, including Britain’s Mary Rook, who is part of the UK’s Artemis Offshore Academy.  This is the first time in the history of the Race there have been so many female skippers so this marks a really positive shift in diversity in the fleet of Le Figaro. These women are top-level sailors and are an inspiration to many.

No column next week as I’m away.  Will be back (hopefully, and all being well) on the 8 July.

Women’s Sports Column 11-17 June

Lacrosse05This week’s stories come from lacrosse (yes, lacrosse – thanks Martin again), cricket, football, cycling, tennis, golf, rugby union, the Queen’s Birthday Honours, and your choice of two “And finally” gems this week – not positive fist-pumping ones, either, sorry.

Thanks again to Martin this week who has made me aware of the thriving lacrosse scene in England. England’s women have just won a test series in Australia. England had not beaten the home side since a friendly fixture in 2009, so they were very much underdogs.

On 9 June England won the first test in Melbourne 13-7. Australia levelled the series with a 9-8 win on the 10 and it was all to play for in the third match on 11 June.

Australia started incredibly well, taking a 5-1 lead before England knew what was happening. But from somewhere England dug deep to take control, winning the game 13-7, repeating the score of the first test.

For a little bit of background information, England are currently Europe’s number one side. In July they face the world number one side, USA in Guildford.

English Lacrosse’s Performance Manager is aware of the challenge:

“The game will definitely be exciting and a great showcase for top-level women’s lacrosse,

“We hope that lots of fans will be able to come along and support the England team. In return we are looking to put on a performance that will make the fans proud.

“We are Europe’s number one team and the prospect of playing the World Champions is one that we relish. If you want to be the best then you have to compete against the best. Bring it on!”

Next year the World Cup will be held in England, at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford between 13-22 July.

If you’re in the area, get down there on the 2 July to see the team in action.


The international cricket series between England and Pakistan begins next week. I have written a preview for Women’s Sports UK.

The England squad was actually announced today and, needless to say, is different from what I suggested in my article:

The only new member of the squad of 15 is left-arm spinner Alex Hartley. Surprisingly there is no place for either Becky Grundy or Tash Farrant.

Heather Knight (capt), Anya Shrubsole (vice-capt), Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Georgia Elwiss, Jenny Gunn, Alexandra Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones (wk), Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.

The first game is at Leicester’s Grace Road ground on Monday 20. Tickets are only £5, so get down there. I shall be there – come and say hello!

To coincide with the T20 series, Sky Sports have announced they will be holding Women’s Cricket Week. All games will be live and Charlotte Edwards will be part of the analysis team.

There will interviews with some of the biggest names in the game and Sky will be looking at the history of women’s cricket with an emphasis on encouraging more girls and young women into cricket.


In other cricket news, there have been a few withdrawals from the Super League this week. Australians Megan Schutt has pulled out through injury and Sarah Coyte for personal reasons. They have been replaced by New Zealand duo Morna Nielsen and Amy Satterthwaite. Nielsen will play at Southern Vipers and Satterthwaite at Lancashire Thunder.


Hibernian Ladies beat Glasgow City to win the SWPL Cup this week. Glasgow took the lead in the first half through Julie Fleeting but Hibs levelled before half-time. Hibs had been awarded a penalty and although Lizzie Arnot’s spot kick was saved, Lucy Graham pounced on the rebound to make it 1-1.

It looked to be heading into extra time when Arnot deflected a cross into the Glasgow net to take the game 2-1. It was sweet revenge for Hibs who lost to Glasgow in the final last year.

Some interesting news from Birmingham City Ladies this week. At the beginning of the week they announced that they have signed midfielder Andrine Hegerberg from Swedish side Kopparbergs Gothenburg. Hegerberg becomes their fourth foreign signing in three months after Germans Isabelle Linden, Marisa Ewers and Corina Schroder.

Later in the week England duo Jo Potter and Jade Moore announced they have bought themselves out of their contracts, both of which had six months to run.   Each released a similarly worded statement which included the words,

“A lot of things have happened in the last 12 months that I don’t wish to comment on”

There is obviously more going on than meets the eye here, and I will be reporting on it further should more information come to light.

More football news in “And finally….” (!)


The Women’s Tour started this week in Suffolk. The event is getting bigger and better with more backing, more sponsorship and much more media coverage than ever before!

The first stage was won by Christine Majerus. This was her first UCI Women’s World Tour victory. American, Alison Tetrick had made a break 21km from home, but was caught in the closing stages. Second was Marianne Vos, with Giorgia Bronzini in third. Lizzie Armitstead was first Briton home in 18th.

The second stage, through Warwickshire, was won by Dutch rider Amy Pieters. Germany’s Lisa Brennauer was second with Marianne Vos third. This third place took Vos into the overall lead, three seconds ahead of Christine Majerus.

Lizzie Armitstead was again 18th which takes her to 16th overall, 16 seconds off the lead.

Each day’s highlights are on ITV4.

In other cycling news, Dame Sarah Storey has been selected for her seventh Paralympics. Storey has already won 22 medals, including 11 golds. She will take part in the four events that she won in London and will be hoping to retain all four titles.

GB squad (women): Karen Darke, Hannah Dines, Megan Giglia, Lora Turnham & Corrine Hall, Sophie Thornhill & Helen Scott, Dame Sarah Storey.


Three British women have been given wildcards for Wimbledon, which starts on 27 June. They are former British number one Laura Robson, Tara Moore and Katie Swan. Moore, particularly, is in good form, having reached the quarter-finals at the Nottingham Open last weekend. Slovakian, Daniela Hantuchova is another wildcard recipient.


Canadian Brooke Henderson beat Lydia Ko in a play-off to win the Women’s PGA at Sammamish, Washington, last weekend.   This is the 18-year-old’s first major title. After she shot her first round 67, taking the lead, she shot two rounds of 73 to consolidate her contention, but it was a fourth-round 65, the best round of the week, that sealed her place in the top two.

It went to a play-off on the par 4 18th. Henderson hit her second shot to within three feet, while Ko could only manage 20 feet away. The Canadian tapped in for a birdie, Ko missed and the title was hers.

Henderson becomes the second-youngest winner of a major championship. Ko still holds the record as she was 18 and fewer months when she won the 2015 Evian Championship in France.


Great news from Scottish rugby union this week as it was announced that Jade Konkel will become Scotland’s first full-time professional rugby player.

She was one of 16 players selected in the second tier of the Scottish Rugby Academy and the first to make it to the full-time third tier. She will take part in a full-time programme at Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld.

The Scottish Rugby Union have also announced a new elite women’s scholarship, which aims to entice established athletes into rugby.


Several sporting women made it into the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this week:

Anna Kessel, sports journalist and founder of Women in Football was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and women’s sport.

Hayley Turner, former jockey, who retired last year, was awarded an OBE for services to horse racing.   She was the first female jockey to ride a Group One winner.

Claire Williams, deputy team principal at Williams Martini Racing becomes and OBE for services to Formula 1.

Emma Hayes, Chelsea manager receives an MBE

Marieanne Spacey, England Ladies assistant manager receives an MBE

Rachel Anderson, football agent, receives an MBE for her services to gender equality in football

Martine Wiltshire, sitting volleyball player and Paralympian, who lost both legs in the 7/7 bombings in London becomes an MBE for her services to sport.


And finally, a couple of stories to make you shudder this week. I was going to include the “news” that Manchester United have announced that they still have no plans to introduce a women’s team, but that’s not really news, is it?

So here we go – read it and weep – twice.


Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) vice- president, Seyi Akinwumni, has blamed the women’s national team’s slump in form on lesbians. Yes, lesbians. Nigeria are the most successful African women’s team, having won the African title nine times. They have also competed in every world cup since its inception in 1991.

However, they have failed to qualify for Rio and this slump, according to Mr Akinwumni, is because of lesbianism – “lesbianism kills teams”, he said.

It’s not the first time the NFF has run into trouble on this issue. In 2013, the former chairwoman of the women’s league, Dilichukwu Onyedinma, announced a ban on lesbianism in Nigerian football.

FIFA will be conducting an enquiry into the comments.


And finally (2), I can’t begin to tell you how unsettling I find this story. Connor Mayes, a male referee in the football league has been banned from football-related activity until 2019 after he set up fake Tinder accounts in the names of three female referees.

Mayes posed as Lucy Oliver, Amy Robinson and Paula Wyatt, making flirtatious comments which led to the three women receiving unwanted comments and approaches while they were at games and in their private time.

Unsurprisingly, Mayes accepted an improper conduct charge.

I’m not quite sure of his motivation here, but it all seems incredibly creepy. Why would anyone do this to a professional colleague?

Women’s Sports Column 4-10 June

sarah TaylorLots to get through again this week, so let’s crack on.  There seem to be a lot of medical stories this week – some good, some bad.   I have snippets from tennis, athletics, gymnastics, hockey, horse racing, swimming, rowing, golf, judo, cricket and football.

The biggest tennis news obviously surrounds Maria Sharapova. She has been banned from tennis for two years after failing a drugs test.

She tested positive for meldonium, a heart disease drug that has been on the banned list since January 2016. It has emerged that she has been taking the medication since 2006.

Sharapova is set to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.


On the positive side, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza won the French Open at Roland Garros on Saturday, beating Serena Williams in straight sets 7-5 6-4.

It was clear that Williams was suffering with an injury throughout the tournament and did not look herself. But an injured Serena is often as dangerous as a fit Serena and Muguruza must have been aware of that.

Williams was aiming to win her fourth French Open title, Muguruza her first. Williams was beaten by the better player on the day and was quick to dispel the idea that her opponent had won largely because of the injury;

“It was OK,” she said. “I’m not one to ever make excuses and say, like, ‘Oh, my adductor was hurting,’ or whatever.

“At the end of the day I didn’t play the game I needed to play to win and she did. Adductor or not, she played to win.

“She won the first set by one point. I mean, that just goes to show you that you really have to play the big points well, and she played the big points really well.”


This week has seen the start of the run-up to Wimbledon with the traditional warm-up tournaments being played. Britain’s top women have been in action at Nottingham, but have not fared too well.

Laura Robson went out in the first round, losing 6-3 7-5 to Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal. Heather Watson took the first set in her first round game against Magdalena Rybarikova, but eventually lost 4-6 6-0 6-4.

Naomi Broady fared no better, 6-2 6-1 to Su-Wei Hsieh.

This left British number one, Johanna Konta, and qualifier Tara Moore as the only Britons left in the competition.

Johanna Konta made it to the second round, beating Victoria Duval from the USA 6-3 6-0 in the first, before succumbing to Zheng Saisai, ranked 44 places below her, 6-4 7-5. Konta had to call a medical time out for what she called a “niggle” in her pelvis, but expects to compete fully in the run-up to Wimbledon.

Tara Moore, however, continues to fly the flag for Britain. She has, very impressively, reached the quarter-finals. In the first round she beat Donna Vekic of Croatia, 6-2 7-5 and conquered Christina McHale in the second round 6-2 6-2.


In athletics, long jumper Shara Proctor finished third at the Oslo Diamond League meeting this week with a season’s best 6.67m.

Anyika Onuora was fourth in the 400m and Tiffany Porter also fourth in the 100m hurdles.


Great Britain’s gymnasts produced an excellent performance to win silver at the European Gymnastics Championships in Bern, Switzerland, over the weekend. Becky Downie, Ellie Downie, Claudia Fragapane, Gabby Jupp and Ruby Harrold finished with a score of 170.312, second behind Russia.


New Zealand’s Black Sticks caused somewhat of an upset this week as they beat Australia in Darwin to win gold at the International Hockey Open.

They had been beaten by the Hockeyroos at the round robin stage, but had their revenge in the final, taking it 2-0. Goals from Kelsey Smith and Olivia Merry in the first half were enough to take te title.

This is great preparation for the side which flies to London next week to take parting the Champions Trophy in London from 19-27 June.


Jockey Michelle Payne was released from hospital this week after suffering a serious fall in May. She had surgery on her pancreas and has been told to rest for at least another month. There has been some speculations that her career may be at an end, but Payne is yet to make a decision on that front.

“I’m going to be guided by my doctors and how I feel in myself,” she said.


Commonwealth Games bronze medal winning swimmer Erraid Davies may not get a chance to compete at the Paralympics in Rio later on this year.

She was told in April that her disability may not be serious enough for her to compete. Davies has Perthes disease which affects her hip bones and joints.

She now faces a medical panel in Berlin to assess her eligibility. However, because of the classification issue she missed the British Para-swimming trials in Glasgow which is the only competition for swimmers to achieve the qualifying standard.

So not only does she not know if she can compete due to the re-classification of her condition, if she is passed able to compete, she may not be able to qualify in time. There seems something wrong there to me.


It looks as if rower Katherine Grainger’s quest to compete for a fifth Olympic medal is in doubt.   She did not meet the time required to qualify for the women’s eight and was not on the list of 43 announced by Team GB on Thursday.

She can still be selected for the double scull with Vicky Thornley and, if the comments of British Rowing’s performance director, Sir David Tanner, are anything to go by, Grainger will still feature;

“It’s my confident intention very soon to be announcing those two back in their double and racing for Team GB at the Rio Games.

“There is no uncertainty. The only issue is that we weren’t ready to get the announcement in in time for today. It’s quite straightforward,” he said in an interview with the BBC.


The Women’s PGA Championship is underway at the Sahalee Country Club in Washington.

After the first round, Canada’s Brooke Henderson is leading on -4 with Christina Kim of USA and Kim In-Kyung of Korea tied on -2 in second.   Henderson’s first round score included a hole-in-one at the par-three 13th.

Some of Britain’s best players are also in action; Melissa Reid and Jodi Ewart Shadoff are both five shots off the lead, with Charley Hull a further shot behind on +2. Catriona Matthew, however is in danger of missing the cut as she stands on +5.

There was good news from Bangkok, Thailand this week as British judoka, Steph Inglis, woke from her coma. Inglis was hospitalised in Vietnam after falling off a motorbike when her skirt got trapped in the wheel when she was on her way to her teaching job in Ha Long. She was initially given just a 1% chance of survival, but has now been transferred to Bangkok to continue her recovery.

She apparently had one eye open when her parents arrived to visit on Tuesday. Her mother asked her blink and she did and then reached for her father’s hand.

She obviously has a long way to go, but at least her family and friends have some encouragement at this point.


More details have emerged this week as to the cause of England cricket star Sarah Taylor’s reasons for taking a break from cricket. She has revealed that for the past four years she has been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

It’s really worth watching the BBC interview with Joe Wilson in full. In it Taylor speaks sensibly and frankly about her condition,

“My health is the most important thing and unfortunately my cricket has to come second,” she says.

Taylor is likely to miss the England series with Pakistan as well as the inaugural Kia Super League, which starts at the end of July.

She clearly realises that her recovery will take a while, but it is good to hear that she is confident of her return,

“I would like to say I’m 99% sure I will play cricket again.”

She also emphasises how grateful she has been for the support she has received from the ECB and, in particular, new England coach, Mark Robinson.

It has been well documented that cricket has always had a number of players who have suffered with mental health problems, and more than its fair share of suicides. Whilst the sport as a whole was slow to recognise this fact, it seems that now the support required is in place and providing a vital service. If you are interested in this subject, or if it affects you, you should also listen to the BBC TMS podcast interview with Graeme Fowler – one of my favourite players growing up, who revealed relatively recently his battle with depression. A moving and informative piece.


It’s be a great week for the England Lionesses with two thumping wins against Serbia on Saturday and Tuesday, and the news that they have qualified for the 2017 Euros with two games to spare.

On Saturday, England won 7-0 at Adams Park in High Wycombe. They took the lead early through Alex Greenwood and were 3-0 up by half-time through a Karen Carney penalty and a first goal for England from Rachel Daly.

In the second half England took complete control. Ellen White and Izzy Christiansen scored one each and Karen Carney sealed a hat-trick to make it 7-0. A crowd of 5.503 saw an impressive display, admittedly against a poor Serbia side.

On Tuesday it was the return fixture in Stara Pazova. And for the second time in four days, England put seven past their opponents.

Gemma Davison finally got on the scoresheet with two goals while Jill Scott opened the scoring and Ellen White added a second. Nikita Parris also bagged two goals, with the seventh coming from a Damjanovic own goal which completed another impressive and resounding win.

The week was capped for England when they were informed that through those two performances they had acquired the points they need to qualify for next year’s tournament. They still have to play Estonia at home and Belgium away to decide who finishes top.

Scotland had a mixed week in their quest for qualification. They suffered a terrible 4-0 home defeat to Iceland last Friday, but came back with an excellent win in Belarus 1-0 on Tuesday.

Scotland desperately want to avoid finishing second and going in to the play-offs. They have failed to get into the last two Euro Championships by losing in play-offs.

On Friday they were outplayed by Iceland, with BBC Player of the Year, Kim Little, also missing a penalty.

But on Tuesday it was a different matter. Jo Love scored the only goal in Minsk after 15 minutes and held on for the win to temporarily put themselves back on top of the table.

However, Iceland then beat Macedonia 8-0 to return to pole position and put Scotland under pressure once more.


And finally, former Chelsea doctor Eva Carneiro has settled her constructive dismissal case with Chelsea, but not before she had chance to reveal in court some of what went on at the club on a day-to-day basis. Chelsea had offered her the sum of 1.2 million pounds to settle out of court, but she turned them down.

Over the time between she turned them down and the details emerging of the treatment she suffered at the club, I heard more than one person expressing their disgust at her “greed” for not taking the money. Many of the mainstream newspapers took the same view, although, and somewhat surprisingly, I did see that the Metro front page described it in their headline as “hush money”.

And did Chelsea have something they needed to keep hushed?  They certainly did. They were forced to release a statement in which they said,

“The club regrets the circumstances which led to Dr Carneiro leaving the club and apologises unreservedly to her and her family for the distress caused.

“We wish to place on record that in running onto the pitch Dr Carneiro was following both the rules of the game and fulfilling her responsibility to the players as a doctor, putting their safety first.

It added: “Jose Mourinho also thanked Dr Carneiro for the excellent and dedicated support she provided as first team doctor and he wishes her a successful career.”

Dr Carneiro alleged that Jose Mourinho said that she had no place with the men’s first team,

“She works in academy team or ladies team, not with me.”

She was subjected to a barrage of sexually explicit comments, both from away fans and her own colleagues. And while the former could, unfortunately, be expected, she should not have had to put up with the latter. She claimed that the club took no notice of any of her complaints.

So, basically she was demoted then sacked for doing her job in a situation where she was constantly belittled and objectified. I would like to congratulate Dr Carneiro (called “girl doc” in a Daily Star headline – gosh she must have started her medical degree when she was nine) for having the guts to stand up to the machismo-machine that is the Premier League. Hopefully her example will make it easier for women currently suffering similarly to make their case.


Women’s Sports Column 27 May-3 June

greenwayThis week’s stories come from cricket, football, hockey, tennis, gymnastics, rugby and sailing – plus a good news “and finally” that should make you punch the air with delight!

Cricket stories coming thick and fast. Lydia Greenway became the latest senior England player to retire this week. This comes after the shock departure of Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor’s break from cricket for an unspecified period.

Greenway was an accomplished batter, scoring 4.108 runs in an international career which spanned 13 years. She won 14 test caps, 126 one-day caps and 85 in T20s.

But it is for her fielding prowess that she will be remembered. She took women’s fielding to another level with her athleticism and willingness to put her body on the line.

Head Coach, Mark Robinson, made it clear to Greenway that she has no part in his future plans – the Robinson revolution is now in full swing. She will still play for Kent in the county championship and for the Southern Vipers in the inaugural Kia Super League later in the summer.



In better news, the ECB announced today (Friday 3 June) that Heather Knight will take over from Charlotte Edwards as captain of England, with Anya Shrubsole stepping up to the vice-captain’s role.

Knight’s career has been impressive thus far; five test caps, 55 ODI caps and 33 T20I caps and while she has built her reputation on her batting, her bowling has improved immensely over the last couple of seasons and now she is seen as a significant threat with both bat and ball. With a top score of 157, she was named Player of the Series in the 2013 Ashes. Her bowling best is currently 4 for 47, achieved on the tour to New Zealand in 2015.


She should be under no illusion that this will be an easy task. In the past few weeks England has lost Edwards and Greenway, with Taylor unavailable for selection for an unspecified period. Many commentators on the women’s game are asking where the runs are going to be coming from. As well as captaining, Knight will be expected to score plenty and contribute with the ball.


Somerset bowler Anya Shrubsole has been appointed vice-captain. The 24-year old is currently enjoying her best England and domestic form and should be a great support to the captain. She was named Women’s Cricketer of the Year this year, taking 32 wickets in all formats in the last 12 months.


Knight’s first series as captain will be against Pakistan. The tourists will play three one day internationals and three twenty20 internationals. The first match will be at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road, Leicester on Monday 20 June.



The England Lionesses take on Serbia home and away in quick succession over the next week in two Euro 2017 qualifiers. On Saturday they are at Adams Park, home of Wycombe Wanderers. Kick-off is 5.30pm and will be live on BBC2 and 5Live Sports Extra.


Star striker Fran Kirby and defender Gilly Flaherty have withdrawn from the squad with injury.


England are currently second in the table, one point behind Belgium, who are away to Estonia on 3 June.

Also tonight (Friday 3) Scotland play Iceland at home, kicking off at 7pm, Northern Ireland v Georgia at the same time, while BBC2 Wales will show Wales v Norway on 7 June, kicking off at 5pm.



In domestic football, Brighton and Hove Albion have been promoted to WSL2 from the Women’s Premier League (yes, it is complicated). They beat Sporting Club Albion in the play-off 4-2.


They will take their place in Women’s Super League 2 in spring 2017 and are the second team to do so after Sheffield United were promoted last year. Even though they won the play-off they had to comply with licensing requirements of the Super League before they would be admitted.


The requirements included financial and business management checks, facilities and marketing capabilities. All of these have been satisfied and they will take their place next season in an expanded league of 20 teams.





The 2016 French Open final will between world number 1, Serena Williams, and world number 4, Garbine Muguruza in a repeat of last year’s Wimbledon final.


In the semi-finals Williams won a scrappy match with the unseeded Kiki Bertens of Netherlands 7-6 6-4. Both players seemed to be struggling with injury. Indeed Williams has not looked happy all week. Bertens should really have taken the first set, but Williams broke back in the tenth game to bring it back to 5-5. The sent went to a tie-break which went Williams’ way 9-7. After that it was difficult to imagine Williams letting it go – and she didn’t, taking the second set 6-4.


The second semi-final was a peculiarly one-sided affair, which was unexpected. Sam Stosur had been playing some spectacular tennis to get this far, but she was totally outplayed by Muguruza, winning the match in straight sets 6-2 6-4.


The final will take place, weather permitting, on Saturday 4 June.


Great Britain’s women’s hockey team put in two impressive performances this week to remain unbeaten in their two-test series against world champions Netherlands this week.

They won the first 2-1 in Amsterdam. GB took the lead through Lily Owsley but Netherlands equalised just before half time through Kitty van Male. Helen Richardson-Walsh’s 39th international goal took the match for Great Britain.

The second game, played on 2 June ended as a 1-1 draw. Alex Danson socred her 90th international goal with just three minutes to go after Netherlands had taken the lead through an Eva de Goede penalty.

The team’s next competition will be the Champions Trophy in London. They will compete against Netherlands, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and United States. The tournament begins on 18 June.



The European Gymnastics Championships have been taking place in Bern this week. Great Britain’s women have qualified in first place for the team final. They finished on 173.363, one tenth of a point ahead of Russia. The team final is on Saturday.


The individual competition is on Sunday with the women competing in the following disciplines:

Becky Downie – beam and uneven bars

Gabby Jupp – uneven bars

Ellie Downie – floor and vault

Claudia Fragapane – floor and vault



Australia have won their first Women’s Sevens Series title. They take the crown from New Zealand, who had won it for the previous three years.


They lost the final of the last round at Clermont-Ferrand in France to Canada but still finished 14 points ahead of New Zealand in the overall standings.


England finished fourth in the competition and also finished fourth in the last round, having been beaten by New Zealand in the third place play-off 22-5.


England will be greatly heartened by their performance during this series. They will be looking to put in a good show at the Olympics in Rio later in the summer, when Women’s Sevens makes its Olympic debut.


I have a new section to offer in the column this week. As everyone probably knows by now, my knowledge is not encyclopaedic, and one sport I know very little about is sailing. So I have to thank Abby Ehler, professional sailor and someone much more in tune with it than I, for this excellent update which will, hopefully, become a regular feature.

The Atlantic Cup

Libby Greenhalgh, former navigator onboard Team SCA, joined forces with Oakcliff Sailing (headed by Dawn Riley, legend in Sailing), to do a double handed race known as the Atlantic Cup.  The duo were new to short handed sailing, however they have finished 3rd on the podium, and were the first female team to compete in this event, so great news!  Here is a link to the event website news page.

World Match Race Tour

American, Sally Barkow, again ex Team SCA, is currently competing in the World Match Race Tour which is a series of events held around the world in high performance catamarans, she heads up Team Magenta 32 and they are currently competing in Newport, RI.  Sally is the first female World Match Race Tour card-holder. The World Match Racing Tour is the longest running, global, professional sailing series. This is the first time in its 22-year-history that a tour card has been awarded to an all-female team.

Sally and team have qualified through to the Super 16 and the Newport event concludes on Saturday, so all eyes on Team Magenta 32, who have steadily been progressing through the ranks throughout the events.

We will have more news mid June at the start of the Figaro single handed French Elite Champs, there are 5 girls competing, which is a record number for this event.

And finally, let’s have a good fist pump story, shall we? Australian netball has made a brilliant advert for its team and for women in sport in general. Watch it – it’s great. It encompasses everything I fight for regarding women’s sport.