Welcome to this week’s somewhat shortened column. Apologies for the brevity of the reports, but hopefully you will still find something to interest you. Stories from netball, football, cricket, and rugby union. On form again with an “And finally” that takes us back to the Stone Age.
The new Superleague season began last weekend. The scores were:
Friday 17 February
Hertfordshire Mavericks 53-48 Team Northumbria
Saturday 18 February
Celtic Dragons 41-51 Team Bath
Loughborough Lightning 59-45 Manchester Thunder
Surrey Storm 58-50 Severn Stars
Tuesday 21 February
Sirens 43-57 Wasps Netball
This weekend sees a “Super Ten” event with all teams playing at the Genting Arena in Birmingham. From 4pm on Saturday you can watch three games live on Sky Sports.
World Cup Qualifying Tournament
The qualifying tournament has now concluded with India coming out on top and the four teams to qualify for this summer’s World Cup being India, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
At the point of reporting last week there were still three Super Six matches to be concluded before the final. These went as follows:
Sunday 19 February
India 70/3 (22.3 overs)
Pakistan 67 all out (43.4 overs)
Pakistan collapsed to 67 all out with only two players making it into double figures; Ayesha Zafar made 19 and Bismah Maroof 13. The Indian star bowler, not for the first time was Ekta Bisht who took 5 for a miserly 8 runs off her 10 overs.
India made light work of the chase. DB Sharma top scored with 29 and Harmanpreet Kaur 24 as they sailed home easily in under half the allotted overs.
Sri Lanka 197/9 (50 overs)
Bangladesh 68/5 (21 out of 21 overs)
Sri Lanka won by 42 runs via the D/L method
Jayangani top scored with 84 for Sri Lanka as they posted an impressive score batting first. But the game was affected badly by rain and reduced to just 21 overs. The revised total of 111 was too tough an ask for Bangladesh who made only 68. Nigar Sultana made 24 and Shaila Sharmin 21 not out, but they never kept up with the required run rate.
Ireland 166 all out (49.5 overs)
South Africa 82/1 (21 out of 21 overs)
South Africa won by 36 runs via the D/L method
The third game of the day was also curtailed due to rain. Ireland batted first and made a decent total with good contributions from Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Gaby Lewis and Mary Waldron.
But the revised total of 47 from 21 overs was easily knocked off by South Africa for the loss of only Lee for 14.
The final, which took place on Tuesday 21 February, went to the wire.
India 245/9 (50 overs)
South Africa 244 all out (49.4 overs)
India won by 1 wicket
South Africa must have thought they had done enough to win it. The top eight all made excellent contributions with Mignon du Preez 40,Lizelle Lee and Dane van Niekerk 37 apiece and Sune Luus 35.
But India were not to be beaten. After fine knocks from Mona Meshram (59) and Deepti Sharma (71), Harmanpreet Kaur made a standout 41. India needed nine to win off the last over, to be bowled by Marcia Letsoalo. They ran one on the first ball but Yadav was run out going for a suicidal second. There were then three dot balls and India needed eight off the last two balls. On the fifth ball of the over Kaur launched Letsoalo for six. Kaur then took two off the last ball to win the match by one wicket.
Australia v New Zealand
Meanwhile in Australia, two World Cup favourites have been warming up in a keenly fought three match T20 series.
1st T20, 17 February
Australia 151/4 (20 overs)
New Zealand 111/8 (20 overs)
Australia won by 40 runs
Elyse Villani scored 73 not out and captain Meg Lanning 60 as Australia posted a decent total of 151.
New Zealand made a good start to their response, but lost wickets at regular intervals and fell short in their chase. Amy Satterthwaite was 40 not out for the White Ferns. Amanda-Jade Wellington took three wickets for 15 from her four overs.
2nd T20, 19 February
New Zealand 101/9 (20 overs)
Australia 61/9 (13 overs – target revised to 70 from 13)
New Zealand won by 8 runs via D/L method
Australia would have been confident of chasing down 102 in 20, but in the end a rain-affected game meant they had to chase 70 from 13.
New Zealand got off to a good start with the top three into double figures. But they subsided after Suzie Bates was out for 30 in the fifteenth over, with the score on 76. In the end they posted a low 101.
Australia got off to a bad start and were three down for just 28 in the sixth over. Anna Peterson then took three wickets in one over to rip the heart out of the Australian innings and New Zealand had drawn level in the series.
3rd T20, 22 February
New Zealand 113/8 (20 overs)
Australia 66 all out (16 overs)
New Zealand won by 47 runs
An unusual and catastrophic collapse by the Southern Stars saw New Zealand take the series 2-1 in Adelaide.
The away side batted first and made 113. Top scorer was Suzie Bates with 31 and there were good contributions from Rachel Priest (17) and Amy Satterthwaite (18). Wellington was again pick of the Aussie bowlers with figures of four for 16 from her four overs.
But Australia were in trouble for the off – slumping to nine for five in the fifth over. There was some resistance from Healy and Blackwell, but with little support they had no chance and New Zealand had secured an historic series win.
The Six Nations returns this week:
24 February 6.20pm
Scotland v Wales
Broadcast on S4C and BBC Wales
25 February 1pm
England v Italy
Broadcast on Sky and Eurosport IT
26 February 12.45pm
Ireland v France
Broadcast on RTE/France 4
Mark Sampson has announced his squad for the She Believes Cup, which will begins on March 1 with England v France. There is a surprise recall for former captain Casey Stoney.
The squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading)
Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Liverpool), Demi Stokes (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal)
Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Notts County), Ellen White (Birmingham City).
Meanwhile it was an exciting weekend in the SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round
Coventry Ladies 0-1 Aston Villa Ladies
Durham Women 2-2 Everton Ladies
Everton win 4-3 on penalties
Millwall Lionesses 3-1 Nottingham Forest
Sheffield Ladies 0-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Tottenham Ladies 1-0 Brighton Ladies
West Bromwich Albion Women 2-1 Leicester City Ladies
The fifth round sees the entrance of the big guns and the draw has thrown up some mouthwatering ties, including three derbies; on Merseyside, in the West Midland and North London.
The draw in full:
Notts County Ladies v Yeovil Town Ladies
Liverpool Ladies v Everton Ladies
Arsenal Ladies v Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
Sunderland Ladies v Aston Villa Ladies
Birmingham City Ladies v West Bromwich Albion Women
Bristol City Women v Millwall Lionesses
Manchester City Women v Reading Women
Chelsea Ladies v Doncaster Rovers Belles
In a surprise move, Director of Women’s Football, Tatjana Haenni has been sacked from her post. Haenni had held the position for 18 years.
In a statement FIFA said that the decision was based on organisational restructure.
Haenni has also released a statement:
“At the end of January, FIFA dismissed me, ended the employment contract and released me as soon as possible.
“I look back on 18 interesting, motivating, fascinating years in international women’s football. I have done my work and my activities with full commitment, conviction for the cause and with a lot of passion.
“For the future, I would like all sports organizations to make efforts to promote women’s sports and the representation of women in the decision-making committees and to make available adequate resources.”
Another good news story in the world of women’s football this week as a new professional women’s league gets underway.
There will be 18 teams with three round-robin groups of six and each team will play home and away.
At the end of the round-robin stage the top two from each group and the two best third-placed teams will compete in quarter-finals.
The overall winner will represent Colombia in the Copa Libertadores.
Group A: Real Cartagena, Petrolera, R. Santander, Union Magdalena, Bucaramanga, Envigado.
Group B: Equidad, Santa Fe, Patriotas, Atletico Huila, Cucuta, Fortaleza.
Group C: Pasto, Cortulua, Pereira, Quindio, Orsomarso, America.
And finally, just when you thought Australia had women’s sport in the bag (cricketing pregnancy clauses not withstanding), we revert to the Stone Age.
A boxing promoter on the Gold Coast is planning to hold two bouts of “lingerie boxing” in a boxing card at Surfers Paradise next week. Surprisingly this will not be a professional bout, but seemingly between two women unused to the sport and are being trained especially for the fight.
As usual I’ll leave you all to draw your own conclusions and let you fume in the privacy of your own homes. But it’s just another case of two steps forward, one back for women’s sport.
Mind you the same promoter is the man who also brought Australia the delights of “midget” boxing in 2008. Say no more.