Women’s Sports Column 19-25 November

boxing_gloves-2Welcome to this week’s column.  Don’t think I missed much last week – well I certainly didn’t read much anywhere else, so there couldn’t have been much going on.…

Anyway, stories this week come from golf, football, cricket, rugby, sports leadership, boxing and an “and finally” giving you the BT Action Woman Award shortlist (and wow, what a shortlist!).

Golf

Top billing this week goes to Britain’s Charley Hull who won her first LPGA tournament on Sunday.  She won the CME Group Tour Championship in Florida.

She finished her four rounds on -19, two ahead of South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon, with Jennifer Song of the US third on -15.

Fellow Britons Jodie Ewart Shadoff finished on -3 in a share of 36th place and Catriona Matthew level in 46th.

Hull had a one shot lead going into the final round.  She shot a fourth round 66 with six birdies and no bogeys to take the win with a tournament record score.

She took $500,000 in prize money and finishes the year as world number 29.

Boxing

In the ring

Katie Taylor makes her professional debut on Saturday at Wembley Arena.

She fights Poland’s Karina Kopinska.  Result and report next week.

Out of the ring

 Nicola Adams appeared on Desert Island Discs on Sunday 20 November on Radio 4.  If you missed it, it’s well worth a listen and is still available on the BBC I-player.

Football

On the pitch

Manchester City continued their great form (actually last week, but I feel I should report on it for the sake of continuity), as they made it into the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League.

They took a 1-0 first leg lead to Danish side Brondby and managed to secure a 1-1 draw away from home to take a 2-1 aggregate win.

In the 64th minute City took the lead through a fabulous curling shot from Toni Duggan, but the lead didn’t last long as Nanna Christiansen poked the ball in to make it 1-1.

City’s defences were not breached again and  they will now play in the last eight in March.

Off the pitch

Chelsea Ladies have signed Norway captain Maren Mjelde on a two year contract.

Mjelde, who plays in central midfield, has won 107 caps.  She will join the Blues on 1 January.

Football Association Women’s Football Awards

Jordan Nobbs was named England player of the year the FA Women’s Football Awards this week, while Chelsea’s Millie Bright was voted England young player of the year.

Manchester City manager Nick Cushing was named WSL manager of the year and City also won club of the year.

Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze took the WSL 1 player of the year.

Former England manager, Hope Powell, was also honoured, receiving the award for Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Football.

Cricket

On the pitch

England v Sri Lanka

England duly completed a 4-0 series whitewash over their much weaker opponents, sealing automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup in the process.

India v West Indies

After the home side took the three-match ODI series 3-0, it was West Indies turn in the three-match T20 series.

1st T20 18 November

India 150/4 (20 overs)
West Indies 154/4 (19.1 overs)

West Indies won by 6 wickets with 5 balls to spare.

2nd T20 20 November

West Indies 137/5 (20 overs)
India 106 all out (18.1 overs)

West Indies won by 31 runs

3rd T20 22 November

West Indies 139/4 (20 overs)
India 124/3 (20 overs)

West Indies won by 15 runs

New Zealand v Pakistan

New Zealand completed a clean sweep in their five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

They also played one T20 which they also won.

T20 ODI 21 November

New Zealand 118/9 (20 overs)
Pakistan 104 all out (20 overs)

New Zealand won by 14 runs

Australia v South Africa

With two more ODIs to play in a five-match series, Australia have already clinched it.  They won the first three:

1st ODI 18 November

South Africa 226/5 (50 overs)
Australia 230/8 (49.5 overst)

Australia won by 2 wickets with 1 ball remaining.

2nd ODI 20 November

Australia 278/4 (50 overs)
South Africa 119/5 (31.2 overs)

Australia won by 66 runs by D/L method

Meg Lanning scored 134 for Australia.

 3rd ODI 23 November

South Africa 173/8 (50 overs)
Australia 174/1 (27.1 overs)

Australia won by 9 wickets with 29 balls to spare.  Lizelle Lee made her maiden century, scoring 102 off 89 balls.

Off the pitch

The ICC has awarded Pakistan six points towards the ICC Women’s Championship for the three-match series that should have been played against India before the end of October.

The series was never played and so considered forfeited by the ICC.

This now means that both India and Pakistan will have to qualify for the World Cup as both are in the bottom four of the championship table.

The PCB was due to host the series in the UAE, but the BCCI did not respond to the PCB’s queries regarding the series and a scheduling agreement could not be reached.

The ten-team qualification tournament will take place in Colombo in February 2017.

It also means that West Indies gain the last automatic qualification place.

There are four World Cup places up for grabs and the qualification tournament participants will be: Pakistan, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

Rugby union

On the pitch

England 20 – 25 New Zealand
19 November

England lost a tight match to World Cup favourites, New Zealand, at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Rochelle “Rocky” Clark set a new international caps record as she won her 116th to beat the record held by Scotland’s Donna Kennedy.

On the field things didn’t go so well for the Red Roses.  England started confidently with Fiona Pocock scoring a try in the first minute.  It went unconverted.

The Black Ferns came back and scored a try through Renee Wickliffe just before half-time which was converted by Kendra Cocksedge to make it 7-5 to the visitors at the break.

England came out for the second-half with renewed vigour.  First Harriet Millar-Mills and then Lydia Thompson went over for two more tries and with one conversion by Katy McLean the score was 17-7 to the home side.

Enter Cocksedge again.  The scrum-half scored two tries in five minutes, converting one to take them ahead again 17-19.

Emily Scarratt then kicked a penalty for England and they were in front again on 20-19.

But New Zealand and Cocksedge were not to be outdone.  She kicked two late penalties to secure the win – the Black Ferns’ ninth in a row and their fifth unbeaten against England.

Ireland 7-48 Canada
19 November

Canada are currently second in the world rankings, and from this performance it’s easy to see why.

It was all over as a contest by half-time as Canada ran in tries from DaLeaka Menin, Julianne Zussman and Karen Paquin, all of which were converted by Andrea Burk.   Burk also popped over a penalty to make it 0-24 to the visitors at the break.

Seven minutes into the second half Ireland had their first score, a try from Nikki Caughey which she then converted.

But then normal service was resumed as Canada scored another four tries; Emily Belchos, Laura Russell, Magali Harvey and a second for Sussman.  Burk converted two from four to make the final score a chastening one for Ireland.

Canada 10-20 New Zealand
22 November

In a shoot-out between the top two the Black Ferns came out winners at Donnybrook on Tuesday.

It was 8-0 to New Zealand at half-time with an unconverted try from Selica Winiata and a penalty from Kendra Cocksedge.

In the second-half Canada scored a try of their own through Magali Harvey after an interception by Latoya Blackwood.  This went unconverted and the score was 5-8.

Almost immediately New Zealand were over again, this time through Aotearoa Mata’u.

Both sides were reduced to 14 after first Canada’s Brittany Waters and then New Zealand’s Eloise Blackwell were sin-binned.

Canada’s Laura Russell came off a driving maul to go over the line to bring the score back to 10-15 with 15 minutes left.

But New Zealand struck straight back once more.  Cocksedge missed a penalty, but Winiata scored her second try of the match to seal the win for the Black Ferns.

Remaining Fixtures:

26 Nov: England v Canada (Twickenham Stadium)
27 Nov: Ireland v New Zealand (The Bowl, Dublin)

Sports politics and leadership

Christine Ohuruogu has commented on the barriers faced for BAME people wanting to get into sports administration – male or female.  We already know how hard it is for women to get onto sports boards or into senior administrative roles.  You can multiply this several times when you add ethnicity to the mix.

Sporting Equals, an organisation that promotes ethnic diversity in sport has completed an audit and found that of 601 board members, just 26 (just over 4%) are from BAME backgrounds.   Only two chairs or chief executives are from BAME backgrounds.

When interviewed, Ohuruogu said,

“Talking to other athletes and sportspeople, they are expressing concern that it is a world not open for them.

“They won’t be welcomed, won’t be valued and it is very negative. They have gone as far as they can as athletes but they don’t feel there is any more room for them to go.”

The scary thing (if these figures were not scary enough) is that the 26 board members figure is UP BY 17 from last year!

It is in everyone’s interest that wider society is reflected in the boards and organisations that run our sports.  While my main is to campaign for greater inclusion for women, it is good to be reminded that there are other groups who also need a voice.

And finally,

The BT Action Woman 2016 shortlist is out.  And what a list it is!  It has been a stellar year for women’s sport and this shortlist reflects some of the best performances, breakthroughs and results of the year.

The shortlist is:

Nicola Adams

Defended her Olympic boxing title in Rio, the first British boxer to do so since 1924.

Rachel Atherton

Won all seven rounds of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup and the world title for the fouth time.

Hannah Cockcroft

Three more sprint gold medals from Rio to add to her Paralympic tally.

Kadeena Cox

The first British Paralympian to win golds in multiple sports in the same Games for 32 years.  She won gold on the track in the T-38 400m and then in the cycling C4-5 time trial.

Charlotte Dujardin

Defended her individual dressage gold in Rio, taking her total to three Olympic golds.

Maddie Hinch

GB’s hockey goalkeeping superstar helped her team to win gold in Rio.  She save four penalties in the final shootout against Netherlands.

Jade Jones

Another woman who successfully defended her Olympic title in Rio.  She took -57kg gold, to be the first British athlete to win more than one taekwondo Olympic medal.

Johanna Konta

The first British female tennis player to reach the world top 10 since 1984.  Won her first title on the WTA tour in Stanford, beating Venus Williams in the final.  Truly a breakthrough year.

Dame Sarah Storey

Overtook Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian after winning the C5 3000m individual pursuit gold medal to take her total to 14 golds.

Laura Kenny ( formerly Trott)

Britain’s most successful female Olympian.  She repeated her London golds in the omnium and team pursuit to have a total of four.

To vote for your favourite, go to http://sport.bt.com/vote-action-woman-2016-01364108169407. The closing date is 5 December, with the awards ceremony, shown live on BT Sport 1 on Monday 12 December.

Women’s Sports Column 4-11 November

rugby ballIn another week when the importance of sport recedes into the background, it is still necessary that we remind ourselves that women are making progress, achieving and winning.  And luckily there are plenty of women in sport who have been doing just that this week.

So let’s crack on.  Stories this week come from football, cricket, rugby union, tennis, sailing, cycling, rowing and a positive “And finally” from the world of men’s rugby.

Football

The draw has been made for next year’s European Championships.  England, in the top pot of seeds, have been drawn against Scotland.  Here’s the draw in full:

Group A: Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway
Group B: Germany, Sweden, Russia, Italy,
Group C: France, Iceland, Austria, Switzerland
Group D: England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal

Scottish Women’s Cup

Hibernian 1-1 Glasgow City
Hibs win 6-5 on penalties
6 November

Hibs completed the Scottish Cup double this week as they beat Glasgow City on penalties to win the Scottish Women’s Cup after they had won the League Cup in June.

Hibernian took the lead through a Lisa Robertson header in the first half, but Hayley Lauder equalised in the second.

The two teams could not be separated in extra time so the final went to penalties.

Robertson missed her penalty for Hibs, but Jenna Fife saved Lauder’s and Sam Kerr hit her penalty over the bar and the cup belonged to Hibernian.

Champions League last 16 – First leg

Manchester City Women 1-0 Brondby

Keira Walsh’s strike was the difference between the two sides at the Academy Stadium on 9 November.

It was a game of few opportunities and so when Walsh scored with 16 minutes to go, there was always the chance it would be the winner.

City would have liked a bigger cushion going into next week’s second leg in Denmark, but after this tight game they will just be glad of the lead.

The second leg will be on 16 November.

FAWSL

It was the final round of matches in the FAWSL Last weekend.  Manchester City had already played out and won the title but there was still plenty to play for.  There was a big result for Doncaster as they bowed out of WSL1 with their first win of the season, while Birmingham City put the season to bed with a thumping win at Sunderland to finish fourth in the league.

WSL1

Liverpool Ladies 3-5 Arsenal Ladies
Notts County Ladies 1-3 Chelsea Ladies
Reading FC Women0-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Sunderland AFC Ladies1-7 Birmingham City Ladies

Yeovil duly sealed the WSL2 title on Sunday with a fine win against Sheffield Ladies.  They won the league on goal difference from Bristol City Women who are also promoted.

WSL2
Aston Villa Ladies 4-0 Watford Ladies
Durham Women 2-1 Millwall Lionesses
London Bees 3-4 Everton Ladies
Oxford United Women0-5 Bristol City Women
Yeovil Town Ladies 3-0 Sheffield Ladies

For full reports on each match check out the excellent FAWSL website.

Off the pitch

Former England captain Casey Stoney has left Arsenal Ladies for the second time.

She rejoined the Gunners in January 2014, having played for them first from 1999-2002.

There is no indication where she is off to – her Twitter feed was somewhat vague:

“I’m sorry I never got the chance to say goodbye.  But I would like to say a big thank you to my team-mates and all the amazing fans for all your support.  Looking forward to my next chapter.”

New Zealand international Rosie White is leaving Liverpool Ladies to join Boston Breakers.  She had been with Liverpool since July 2015.

Rugby Union

The draw has also been made for the next year’s World Cup.  England will be pleased with their draw.  The “Europe 3” place is between Spain and Scotland.  So England could meet Scotland in both the football and the rugby group stages in 2017!

The hosts, Ireland, may not be so pleased with the draw:

The draw in full:
Pool A: Canada, New Zealand, Wales, Asia/Oceania 2
Pool B: England, USA, Italy, Europe 3
Pool C: France, Ireland, Australia, Asia/ Oceania 1

World Rugby’s awards shortlists

England’s Sarah Hunter has been shortlisted for Women’s Player of the year alongside Fiao’o Fa’amausili (NZ) and Gaelle Mignot (FR).

The Women’s sevens player of the year shortlist is Charlotte Caslick (AUS), Emily Scarratt (ENG) and Portia Woodman (NZ).Top of Form

Old Mutual Wealth Series

England 10-5 France
9 November, Twickenham Stoop

A good win for England in a tough first match of this series, but the night belonged To Rochelle “Rocky” Clark, who won her 114th England cap to equal Jason Leonard’s record.

In the only score of the first half Amy Cockayne went over but the try went unconverted.

France obviously had a rocket during the break and played with much more determination in the second half.  It only took one loose ball for Christelle le Duff to pounce and level the score.

Camille Grassineau was sin-binned towards the end and England took full advantage.  Marlie Packer drove over and England took the game.

It was a tight, but scrappy match and the Red Roses will have to up their game significantly if they are to make an impression in their next match against New Zealand at Twickenham on 19 November.

Women’s Senior Cup

Last weekend saw the first round of the Cup with the results as follows:

Pool  1

Darlington Mowden Park Ladies 5-14 Aylesford Bulls Ladies
Firwood Waterloo Ladies 24-34 Worcester Valkyries

Pool 2

Lichfield Ladies 45-5 Bristol Ladies
Richmond Ladies 12-30 Wasps Ladies

Cricket

Sri Lanka v England

England’s ODI series against Sri Lanka began on Wednesday with a resounding win for the tourists.

Sri Lanka 168-7 (50 overs)
England 171-2 (29.3 overs)
England won by 8 wickets

Captain Heather Knight starred with both bat and ball as England won the first game convincingly.  She took 2/29 and scored 45 not out to steer the team home.  The other standout performances were Katherine Brunt with 2/35 and Nat Sciver top scoring with 47 not out.

There are three games to go in the series, all of which score towards the ICC Women’s Championship, and, therefore, qualification for next year’s world Cup.  England only have to win one of these matches to qualify.

The second game at the R Premadasa Stadium takes place on Saturday (starts 4.30am).  Good luck to anyone who can find a way of following it other than the scorecard on Cricinfo.

India v West Indies

India are playing West Indies in a three-match ODI series and a three-match T20 series.

West Indies 131 all out (42.4 overs)
India 133 – 4 (39.1 overs)

India were impressive with both bat and ball to win the first game of the series.  Wicket keeper Merissa Aguilleira top scored in the Windies innings with 42. Only Hayley Matthews with 24 and Stafanie Taylor with 19 provided any other meaningful contribution.  Rajeshwari Gayakwad took 4/21 off 9.4 overs, while Ekta Bisht took 3/14 off 8.

The home side had no trouble knocking off the target.  Vida Krishnamurthy top scored with 52, Mithali Raj chipped in with 46.

New Zealand v Pakistan

New Zealand are also taking on Pakistan in a series of five ODIs and one T20.

Pakistan 156 all out (49 overs)
New Zealand 157-2 (23 overs)

New Zealand won the toss and put Pakistan in to bat.  Both Nain Abidi and Asmavia Iqbal scored 49, but it was never going to be enough.  Lea Tahuhu took 3/37 off her 10 overs and Morna Nielsen 2/27 from her 10.

The home side coasted with all players making contributions; Suzie Bates 64, Sam Curtis 55 not out, Amy Satterthwaite 18 and Katey Martin 13 not out.

Cycling

There was another good medal haul for British women’s cyclists at the Track Cycling World Cup in Glasgow last weekend.

The team pursuit title was claimed by Emily Kay, Manon Lloyd, Emily Nelson and Eleanor Dickinson as they beat the Italian team in the final by 1.89 seconds.

Katie Archibald, who is in storming form at the moment and Manon Lloyd, took the inaugural women’s madison.  They crashed into Russian and Belgian riders on lap 18 of 80, but recovered to be only two points behind the French teams going into the final sprint.  They won this to take the event on 25 points, two ahead of France.

Unfortunately, as a result of the crash Archibald fractured her wrist and will now be off the track for a while until it heals.

On the second day Emily Kay won the new-look omnium.  The race has been reduced from six races over two days to four in one day.  She won by one point ahead of Lotte Kopecky in second and Tatsiana Sharakova in third.

 Rowing

Heather Stanning announced her retirement from rowing this week.

Stanning, 31 with her partner Helen Glover retained their coxless pairs title in Rio this year – the first British women rowers to win back-to back golds.

The pair have now won 39 consecutive races, including two world championships.

Helen Glover is now considering her own future. She has already rowed successfully with another partner, Polly Swann.  As a pairing they became world champions in 2013, while Stanning was on duty in Afghanistan and European champions in 2014 when Stanning was injured.

Tennis

The WTA Elite Trophy title went to Petra Kvitova as she beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina 6-4 6-2 in the final.

Svitolina beat top seed Johanna Konta 2-6 6-1 6-4 in the semi-final, while Kvitova beat home favourite and wildcard Zhang Shuai in straight sets, 6-2 6-2.

Sailing

Olympic champions Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark have been awarded the female World Sailor of the Year Award.

Having taken silver in London, they went one better in Rio this year, taking gold in the Women’s 470.

And Finally

And finally, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is forming a panel to tackle sexism in its culture after a number of issues have arisen involving its players.

It recognises that the “macho” aspect of New Zealand Rugby is damaging the sport and has no place in society.

I’m not going to go into the events that have caused this “Respect and Responsibility Review” as they have been widely reported in the red tops, but the panel’s remit is clear:

“In the same way that rugby seeks to do better on the field, we must constantly seek ways to improve off the field,” said NZR Chief Executive Steve Tew.

The panel seems to have deliberately appointed a woman Chair, Kathryn Beck of the Law Society.  Other members include Olympic athlete Lisa Carrington, former All Blacks Michael Jones and Keven Mealamu and Sport NZ board member Jackie Barron.

A preliminary report is expected to be delivered in April 2017, with recommendations in May.

And finally (2) – No column next week as I’m away but back in two weeks for more great stories from women’s sport.

Women’s Sports Column 29 October – 4 November

gambia-goalkeeper

Welcome to this week’s column.  As usual there are plenty of great stories and good news out there this week, but I start with a crushingly awful story – something I never thought I’d have to write.  And it’s back to the sexist rubbish we all have to put up with for this week’s “And finally” to send you all off in a good mood!

Let’s crack on.  Stories this week from football, rugby, Fast5 netball, ice hockey, golf, cricket, cycling, tennis and speed skating.

Fatim Jawara

This week it was announced that the goalkeeper of the Gambia’s women’s national side died crossing the Mediterranean on a migration boat from Libya.  More than 3,300 migrants have died in this crossing in 2016.

Jawara, who was just 19, made her debut in 2015 in a friendly against a team from Glasgow.

According to UN figures, 60% of the population of the Gambia live in poverty and a third live on $1.25 or less a day.

While we in Britain campaign for better pay in sport for women, we should perhaps remember that Britain’s women are in clover compared to others throughout the world.  This doesn’t mean we should stop campaigning, but perhaps sometimes we should take a wider view.  Mind you, perhaps those male footballers who “live” on hundreds of thousands of pounds a week should also think about it too.

Football

We now know that it’s Yeovil and Bristol Academy who will be promoted to FAWSL1 next season.

London Bees 2-0 Yeovil Ladies

The Lady Glovers secured promotion at the London Bees at the weekend with a 2-0 win.  They still have the chance to win the title, but at the moment have to be satisfied with the fact they will be playing in WSL1 next season.

After a goalless first half, Yeovil took the lead in the 56th minute through Kayleigh Green.  They doubled their lead ten minutes from the end with a goal from Nadia Lawrence.

All teams have just one game to go and it is between Yeovil and Bristol Academy for the title.  At the moment the Somerset side are top on goal difference.

WSL1

Arsenal Ladies 2-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

It was also a goalless first half at Boreham Wood, although Arsenal were always in control.  The deadlock was finally broken in the 65th minute when Jodie Taylor finished from close range.  She got her second eight minutes later to seal the win for the home side.

Manchester City Women 1-1 Birmingham City Ladies

WSL1 champions, Manchester City drew in their last match to ensure they went through the season unbeaten.

Birmingham took the lead in the sixth minute through an Aoife Mannion penalty after Andrine Hegerberg was brought down in the box by Lucy Bronze.

It took Manchester City until the 54th minute to equalise when Demi Stokes hit the top corner.

Chelsea Ladies 3-2 Reading Women

Chelsea have ensured they will finish as runners-up in WSL1, securing their Champions’ League place in the process.

Eni Aluko scored Chelsea’s first and Ana Borges doubled the lead before Lauren Bruton pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Aluko scored a second from close range to take the Blues 3-1 up.  Melissa Fletcher got Reading’s second in second-half stoppage time, but it was merely a consolation.

Off the pitch

FiFA has announced the shortlist for Women’s Player of the Year.  No British representation, but an impressive line-up.

Camile Abily (FRA)

Melanie Behringer (GER)

Sara Däbritz (GER)

Amandine Henry (FRA)

Saki Kumagai (JPN)

Carli Lloyd (USA)

Dzsenifer Marozsán (GER)

Marta (BRA)

Lotta Schelin (SWE)

Christine Sinclair (CAN)

Rugby Union

It was round seven of the Women’s Premiership last weekend.  Bristol won yet again, but it was another thumping defeat for Wasps.

29/10/16

Worcester Valkyries 12-34 Lichfield Ladies

DMP Sharks 20-28 Richmond Women

30/10/16

Aylesford Bulls Ladies 59-0 Wasps Ladies

Bristol Ladies 27-5 Saracens Women

For more details of these games please see my report for Women’s Sports UK.

Netball

The Fast5 World Series was won by New Zealand last weekend as they beat Australia 41-16 in the Grand Final at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.  The hosts were unbeaten after the league stage, but New Zealand were too strong for the Aussies in the final to take the trophy for the sixth time.

The league table finished:

PL W D L PTS
Australia 5 5 0 0 10
New Zealand 5 4 0 1 8
England 5 2 1 2 5
Malawi 5 2 0 3 4
Jamaica 5 1 0 4 2
South Africa 5 0 1 4 1

 England will be happy with their performance.  They beat Malawi 43-22 and Jamaica 32-19 in the group games.  They only lost by a point to New Zealand, but they lost their second game against Malawi, the play-off, 32-35.

Ice Hockey

Great Britain’s women have never qualified for the Winter Olympics.  Now they are just three stages away from qualification for the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

They are currently playing in a qualifying series in Kazakhstan in a round-robin tournament against the home side, Mexico and Poland.

In the first match they came from two goals down to win 3-2.

Kimberley Lane pulled the first goal back midway through the third period.  Saffron Allen levelled the game with just 81 seconds left on the clock and Angela Taylor scored again with a minute to go to clinch the win.

GB couldn’t reproduce this form in the second game as they went down to Poland 3-4.

Schedule:

Thursday, 3 November

Great Britain 3-2 Mexico

Kazakhstan 1-4 Poland

Friday, 4 November

Great Britain 3-4 Poland

Kazakhstan v Mexico

Sunday, 6 November

Mexico v Poland

Kazakhstan v Great Britain

Cycling

On the track

This weekend the Track World Cup takes place in Glasgow.

Katie Archibald will be looking to continue the good form she showed at the European Track Championships in Paris last month.

Archibald will race alongside Emily Kay, Danni Khan, Manon Lloyd and Emily Nelson in the endurance events, but there will be no female sprinters competing.

Off the track

Big news from British Cycling this week as they announced that its ex-technical director, Shane Sutton, was indeed guilty of using sexist language towards Jess Varnish.

Varnish alleged that Sutton told her to “go and have a baby” as he was not going to select her for the world class programme.

The British Cycling Board found that Sutton “used inappropriate and discriminatory language”.

It’s a case that has split British cycling.  Victoria Pendleton backed Varnish in her claims while Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins expressed scepticism at the alleged comments.

Sutton has suggested that he will appeal the decision.

“I can categorically state I never made those comments I was originally alleged to have made,”

he said.

Golf

After two rounds of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Open in Abu Dhabi the leaderboard stands as follows:

-13 O Kristinsdottir (Ice); -10 G Hall (Eng), G Nocera (Fr), B Allen (US), H Clyburn (Eng)

Georgia Hall is currently lying in joint second largely due to her second round course record of 64.  It was a round that contained eight birdies.

Speed Skating

The speed-skating World Cup begins in Calgary on 4 November.

Top British speed-skater Elise Christie will be hoping that she has a better experience than she had at the Olympics in Sochi in 2014 when she was disqualified three times.

Last season she won races at the World Cup and in Europe.

She took some time out of training this week to speak to the BBC about her preparation for Calgary. She has been trying out new ideas including racing against men to improve her overtaking skills in the face of greater power.

The GB women’s squad comprises Elise Christie, Charlotte Gilmartin, Kathryn Thomson, Jennifer Pickering, Samantha Morrison and Hannah Morrison.Top of Form

Tennis

Dominika Cibulkova has taken the end of season WTA Finals title in Singapore.

She beat world number one Angelique Kerber in the final 6-3 6-4.

She had lost to Kerber at the round-robin stage – in fact she only won one game from three, but she secured her place in the final with a three set win over Svetlana Kuznetsova on Saturday.

Meanwhile in Zhuhai, China the top 12 players who didn’t qualify for Singapore are playing in the WTA Elite Trophy.

The players are divided into four pools of three with the woman finishing top of each group going through to the semi-finals.

Britain’s Johanna Konta confirmed her semi-final place this morning after beating Caroline Garcia 6-2 6-2 in her final round-robin match.

She will play Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina on Saturday while the other semi-final will be between Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and home favourite Zhang Shuai.

All games are shown live on BT Sport.

Cricket

England pace bowlers Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt have signed up for the WBBL.  They will both play for Perth Scorchers.

Former England captain Charlotte Edwards has already signed for the Adelaide Strikers, while current England captain Heather Knight will play a second time for Hobart Hurricanes.

The tournament begins in December and will, according to its website, be covered by BT Sport.

England Performance Pathway

This week the ECB announced the restructuring of the women’s performance pathway.  Over 120 players will be involved at some level and the system will now comprise four elements:

  • England Women’s Squad – run by England Women’s Head Coach, Mark Robinson and Assistant Coach, Alastair Maiden, New central contracts will be announced by the end of 2016.
  • England Women’s Senior Academy – John Stanworth will take up the new role of Head Coach of the England Women’s Senior Academy. 19 players have been selected from 13 counties for the Senior Academy programme, which will be based at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough.
  • England Women’s Academy – Loughborough Lightning coach Salliann Briggs will lead the Academy programme for emerging talent, which is also based at Loughborough. Centre. 17 players from 10 counties have been selected for the Academy.
  • Regional Development Centres – six Regional Development Centres will be directly aligned to the Kia Super League structure, providing a local base for young players to gain experience.

And finally,

Harvard University, that esteemed seat of learning, has had to suspend its men’s soccer team after it was found that its members had been making copious notes about their female counterparts, not about their footballing talent, but a ratings system based on their attractiveness and what sexual positions they thought the players would prefer.

The men’s team, currently lying top of the Ivy League, will now forfeit the rest of its games for the season.

It seems that this ratings document was not a one-off but a tradition stretching back to 2012.

In the University newspaper, the Harvard Crimson, the female players made a statement saying they were

“appalled that female athletes who are told to feel empowered and proud of their abilities are so regularly reduced to a physical appearance.

“More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives.”

And so say all of us.

However, the men’s coach Pieter Lehrer did not seem to condemn his players but rather concentrated on the fact that his team would now miss out on a possible title.  He said that the team was,

“beyond disappointed that our season has ended in this way, but we respect the decision made by our administration”.

Hardly a damning indictment of their reprehensible conduct……