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?

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