Welcome to this week’s column. Plenty of things to talk about again this week including stories from tennis, football, cricket, sailing and rugby. The “And finally” this week is another good new story – and a call to action to all of you out there!
It’s been a big tennis week as the world’s top players are still fighting for the right to play in the WTA Finals tournament in Singapore.
On Sunday, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki beat Japan’s Naomi Osaka 7-5 6-3 to claim the Pan Pacific Open title in Tokyo for the second time.
It was Osaka’s biggest game and she fought hard, especially in the second set when she came from 5-0 down to take it as far as 6-3.
The Wuhan Open began this week and we are now at the quarter-final stage.
Britain’s number one, Johanna Konta had been playing well up until this stage but she met an in-form Petra Kvitova on 29 September and was blown away. Kvitova had already put paid to the top seed, Angelique Kerber, in the third round, 6-7 7-5 6-4.
Konta met Kvitova at exactly the wrong time and was well beaten, 6-3 6-4.
In the other quarter finals fourth seed Simona Halep beat eighth seed Madison Keys 6-4 6-2, ninth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova beat third seed Agnieszka Radwanska 1-6 7-6 6-4 and tenth seed Dominika Cibulkova beat the unseeded Barbora Strycova 6-3 3-6 6-4.
The semi-final line-up will be Kuznetsova v Cibulkova and Kvitova v Halep.
Britain’s number two, Heather Watson did not even make it through her first match as she was forced to pull out through illness. She withdrew complaining of dizziness and a stomach bug. She had already suffered with dizziness at the US Open.
Indian cricket’s governing body, the BCCI has announced that opening batter Smriti Mandhana will become only the second Indian player to be signed up for Australia’s Women’s Big Bash. The 20- year old will play for Brisbane Heat.
“It feels great t be a part of Big Bash,” she is quoted as saying.
“I’ve always been looking forward to playing in that tournament. And getting this opportunity to participate at such a young age and getting to gain good experience from it, will help me immensely in the future.
“I’m very fortunate to have been signed with them.”
In other cricket news, Charlotte Edwards has been awarded the Cricket Writers’ Club Women’s Cricket Award at the club’s 70th anniversary ceremony.
This is the first time the women’s prize has been awarded. Yes, you read correctly – the first time in 70 years. To put it into context, the first CWC Young Player of the Year Award (this year won by Ben Duckett) was first awarded in 1950……..
The judging panel was chaired by the BBC’s Alison Mitchell.
“Charlotte Edwards has spent much of her career breaking new ground so she is a highly appropriate first winner,” she saidl.
At the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) Awards, Tammy Beaumont was named Women’s Player of the Summer. Her aggregate of 342 runs was a record for a three-match series. She followed this with 142 runs in the T20 series and played in the Kent team that won both the Royal London County Championship and the Natwest T20 competition.
Sailing with Abby Ehler
Big news in high performance sailing: For the first time in the 11 year history of the Extreme Sailing Series™, Sharon Ferris-Choat will lead an all-female team at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon next weekend. The new team are sure to attract plenty of attention with a Thalassa Magenta Racing crew roster that includes some of the world’s most successful female sailors. The race crew will be selected from a star-studded line-up including ocean racers Dee Caffari (GBR), Elodie Mettraux (SUI) and Abby Ehler (GBR); Olympians Sally Barkow (USA), Annie Lush (GBR) and Gemma Jones (NZL); Olympic Silver medalist Annemieke Bes (NED), Nacra 17 World Silver medallist Hannah Diamond (GBR) and 420 World and European champion Annabel Vose (GBR).
“To be the first all-female crew in the Extreme Sailing Series is a proud moment for all the women in our GC32 Squad. We have so many women wanting to compete at an elite level of sailing – there is a absolute need to create this opportunity.”
The event can be followed here: http://www.extremesailingseries.com
Manchester City were crowned champions of FAWSL1 on Sunday after beating Chelsea 2-0 at the Academy Stadium. They only needed one point to win the title with a game still to go, but they did it in style with a fine win over a lacklustre Chelsea side.
Manchester City Women 2-0 Chelsea Ladies
The first goal came from a Jill Scott header deflected into her own goal by Katie Chapman. The points, and championship, were sealed five minutes after half-time through a Toni Duggan penalty. And although the goals sound as if a bit of luck was involved, in truth City were much the better side.
A fantastic crowd of just over 4,000 were there to witness City crowned champions for the first time.
Saturday 24 September
Doncaster Rovers Belles 1-4 Reading FC Women
Another week, another loss for the Belles as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table and yet to take a point.
Reading were also looking for their first win of the season. The visitors were two up at half-time through as Emma Follis scored in the ninth minute and defender Nia Jones bagged a second in the 37th. When Emily Simpkins pulled one back for Belles just after the break, there was still everything to play for.
However, a second for Follis and a fourth for the team from Rachel Rowe secured the points for Reading and saw them jump up the table and out of the relegation zone.
Sunday 25 September
Birmingham City Ladies 2-1 Liverpool
Birmingham will need all the confidence boosting they can get if they are to overcome Manchester City in the Continental Tyres Cup Final this weekend. The win over Liverpool on Sunday was a perfect warm-up.
Corina Schroder scored the first on her Birmingham debut on 50 minutes. Liverpool levelled it with a Katie Zelem penalty, but Birmingham were not to be outdone and in the 70th minute defender Kerys Harrop scored the winner that takes the Blues to fourth in the table.
Notts County Ladies 2-1 Sunderland AFC ladies
The Lady Pies had to come from behind at home to beat Sunderland on Sunday. The visitors took the lead in injury time of the first half through Victoria Williams.
But County regrouped and came out refreshed in the second-half. A header from Rachel Williams levelled the score and Jess Clarke, again with a header, scored a second on 68 minutes to seal the win for County.
Off the pitch pioneering football journalist and broadcaster, Jacqui Oatley was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Wolverhampton this week.
She received an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree for her contribution to sports broadcasting and for promoting opportunity for women.
Worcester Valkyries 10 -60 Bristol Ladies.
Bristol is still the team to beat in the Premiership as they made it three from three with a thumping win over Worcester Valkyries at Sixways on Sunday. They ran in nine tries, taking the bonus point on the way.
Saracens Women 34-14 Richmond Ladies
Aylesford Bulls Ladies 45-5 DMP Sharks
Wasps Ladies 26-33 Lichfield Ladies
For more information on the above matches, please see my weekend round up for Women’s Sports UK.
And finally, October 3-10 is Women’s Sports Week (I know, we think every week should be women’s sports week).
The initiative, now in its second year, is the brainchild of Women in Sport.
Next week, individuals, teams, clubs, companies and organisations all over Britain will be going all-out to promote women’s sport.
Obviously I’ll be there to stick my oar in – probably more than once. Watch out for my “pithy” comments on Twitter @PennyHopkins3 and articles on my website.
The BBC is contributing with Body Talk, as they describe it, “an intimate and interactive discussion on body image issues for women in and around sport.”
Those taking part include Hannah Cockcroft, So Solid Crew’s [sorry lost me there) Lisa Maffia, Joanna Rowsell Shand, boxer Natasha Jones, Katarina Johnson-Thompson and many more.
The event takes place in Liverpool on 6 October at 2pm and will be broadcast live on the BBC Sport and BBC Radio 1Xtra websites.
If this isn’t for you, can I suggest you read about, watch, talk about and generally big-up women’s sport next week with as many people as possible. We are getting there, but it’s very, very slow. The more people who realise that a woman on a pitch, on the touchline, in the press box or the boardroom is not only “normal”, but admirable, the better. Let’s do it! Let’s shout about it!