Welcome to this week’s column. Over the next few weeks my posting may be sporadic due to a family bereavement – totally unprofessional to mention, but I’ll make every effort I can to keep the column going. There’s so much going on that it will give me purpose and encouragement to carry on writing.
So, on that note, let’s crack on. News this week comes from tennis, netball, winter sports, football, cricket, This Girl Can, rugby, Be a Game Changer and the biggest news from Australia for a while – the introduction of the Women’s Aussie Rules Football league.
Be a Game Changer Awards 2017
The public nomination period for the Women’s Sports Trust “Be a Game Changer” Awards 2017 is open from 1-15 February. Check out the Women’s Sports Trust website for details.
The categories for nomination are:
Sporting Role Model (individual), Sporting Role Model (team), Ambassador of Women’s Sport, Sponsor Partnership of the Year, National Governing Body of the Year, Inspiring Initiative (National), Inspiring Initiative (Local/Grassroots), Photographer/Filmmaker of the Year, Imagery of the Year, Media Initiative of the Year, Media Individual of the Year, Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Sport.
If there’s someone you think should be recognised in any of these categories, don’t wait as the nomination period is a short one.
The Quad Series is currently underway. This is the story so far:
Saturday, 28 January, Durban
Australian Diamonds 57-50 New Zealand Silver Ferns,
South Africa Proteas 55-60 England Roses (After extra time)
Tuesday, 31 January, Durban
South Africa Proteas 46-62 Australian Diamonds
Thursday, 2 February, Echo Arena, Liverpool
England Roses 37-61New Zealand Silver Ferns
Sunday, 5 February, SSE Arena Wembley, London
England Roses v Australian Diamonds (live on BBC Two from 1pm)
New Zealand Silver Ferns v South Africa Proteas
Don’t forget it’s the start of the Six Nations this weekend.
It all kicks off tonight (Friday) with Scotland v Ireland at the Broadway Stadium. Kick-off is 6.35.pm. It will be covered in Ireland by RTE.
Ireland will be favourites to win even though they will be without regular captain Niamh Briggs.
Scotland: Chloe Rollie (Murrayfield Wanderers), Megan Gaffney (Edinburgh University), Lisa Thomson (Edinburgh University), Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers, capt), Rhona Lloyd (Edinburgh University), Helen Nelson (Murrayfield Wanderers), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers/Edinburgh University); Tracey Balmer (Worcester), Rachel Malcolm (Lichfield), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wanderers), Deborah McCormack (Aylesford Bulls), Karen Dunbar (RHC Cougars), Louise McMillan (Hillhead Jordanhill), Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill).
Replacements: Lucy Park (Murrayfield Wanderers), Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill), Katie Dougan (Edinburgh University), Sarah Bonar (Lichfield), Jemma Forsyth (Hillhead Jordanhill), Jenny Maxwell (Lichfield), Lauren Harris (Melrose), Eilidh Sinclair (Murrayfield Wanderers).
Ireland: M Coyne (Connacht); N Kavanagh (Munster), J Murphy (Leinster), S Naoupa (Aylesford Bulls), A Miller (Connacht); N Stapleton (Leinster), A Hughes (Leinster); L Peat (Leinster), L Lyons (Munster), A Egan (Belvedere); O Fitzsimons (Leinster), ML Reilly (Leinster); C Griffin (Munster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), P Fitzpatrick (Leinster) capt.
Replacements: J Finlay (Leinster), I Van Staden (Ulster), C O’Connor (Connacht), E Anthony (Munster), N Fryday (Connacht), M Healy (Connacht), C McLaughlin (Ulster), E Considine (Munster)
Second to kick off will be Italy v Wales in Acona at 2pm on Saturday 4 February.
Wales: Dyddgu Hywel (Scarlets), Elen Evans (Scarlets), Kerin Lake (Ospreys), Robyn Wilkins (Ospreys), Adi Taviner (Ospreys), Elinor Snowshill (Newport Gwent Dragons), Keira Bevan (Ospreys), Caryl Thomas (Scarlets), Carys Phillips (c) (Ospreys), Amy Evans (Ospreys), Rebecca Rowe (Newport Gwent Dragons), Mel lay (Ospreys), Sioned Harries (Scarlets), Rachel Taylor (Scarlets), Shona Powell-Hughes (Ospreys)
Replacements: Lowri Harries (Scarlets), Cerys Hale (Newport Gwent Dragons), Gwenllian Pyrs (Scarlets), Siwan Lillicrap (Ospreys), Alisha Butchers (Scarlets), Sian Moore (Newport Gwent Dragons), Gemma Rowland (Newport Gwent Dragons), Jessica Kavanagh-Williams (Scarlets)
England v France takes place on Saturday at Twickenham at 7.35pm (after the men’s game). This is already being billed as the Six Nations decider.
The game will be live on Sky Sports and on the radio on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra. There will also be highlights on BBC TV.
DMP Sharks second row, Tamara Taylor will receive her 99th England cap.
England: Danielle Waterman (Bristol), Lydia Thompson (Worcester Valkyries), Emily Scarratt (Lichfield), Amber Reed (Bristol), Amy Wilson Hardy (Bristol), Katy Mclean (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Natasha Hunt (Lichfield), Rochelle Clark (Worcester Valkyries), Amy Cokayne (Lichfield), Laura Keates (Worcester Valkyries), Tamara Taylor (Darlington Mowden Park Sharks), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Izzy Noel-Smith (Bristol), Marlie Packer (Bristol), Sarah Hunter (Bristol)
If you can’t find TV or radio coverage, try the Six Nations You Tube channel.
This Friday and Saturday sees the next round of the World Seven Series, this time in Sydney.
England finished third in Pool C on Friday as they beat Spain but lost to both Russia and the USA. They failed to make the Cup quarter finals and now face Papua New Guinea in the Challenge Trophy semi-final.
England Women squad, Sydney
- Natasha Brennan, 2. Abbie Brown (C), 3. Alice Richardson-Watmore, 4. Millie Wood, 5. Lauren Cattell, 6. Rachael Woosey, 7. Heather Fisher, 8. Kelly Smith, 9. Fran Matthews, 10. Jo Richardson-Watmore, 11. Katie Mason, 12. Chantelle Miell
Pool C results
Friday 3 February
England 19-10 Spain
England 14- 22 USA
Russia 31-5 England
New Zealand, Australia and Russia finished unbeaten in their respective pools on day one.
Ireland beat Fiji and Brazil and lost to Australia in Pool B and to finish second. They will face USA in their Cup quarter-final.
The full Cup quarter-final line-up is as follows:
New Zealand v France
Ireland v USA
Australia v Fiji
Russia v Canada
Australian Rules Football
Possibly the biggest thing to hit women’s sport in Australia in years. The AFL has, at last, launched a women’s league and it is set to be huge.
The first game took place today and a crowd of 24,500 (with reportedly 1,000 locked outside) saw Carlton beat Collingwood 46-11.
No-one can say it hasn’t been a long time coming. I’d love to go through the history here (perhaps a new column for WiSP Sports?), but I haven’t got time or space. For a quick introduction try this piece by Russell Jackson in The Guardian.
For weeks on end now my social media timeline has been buzzing with the league’s imminent arrival. Cricket Australia and other sports governing bodies must be quaking in their boots.
It’s not my game, I admit it now, but the enthusiasm is infectious and if I can find a reliable source for news, coverage and information I’ll certainly feature it in the future.
One thing’s for certain – the AFLW means business.
As I mentioned last week, the new Indian Women’s league is now go. I’m happy to give the results so far:
Jeppiaar Institute FC 1-7 Eastern Sporting Union FC
Rising Student FC 6-1 Aizawl FC
FC Pune City 0-0 Alakhpura FC
Eastern Sporting Union FC 1-2 Rising Student FC
FC Pune City 1-0 Jeppiaar Institute FC
Alakhpura FC 6-2 Aizawl FC
Eastern Sporting Union FC 3-1 FC Pune City
Rising Student FC 0-1 Alakhpura FC
Aizawl FC 2-3 Jeppiaar Institute FC
The threat of the demise of Notts County Ladies seems to have receded and they have started making signings again. This week they signed striker Kirsty Linnett from Birmingham City.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have strengthened their forward line by signing England Under-23 striker, Beth Mead, from Sunderland. This may have something to do with the news a few week ago that Sunderland are reverting to part-time status, while Arsenal could offer Mead a full-time contract.
I’m hoping this doesn’t signal an exodus from Sunderland, especially as they club went to such pains to reassure us all that their part-time decision was agreed by all – players and staff alike.
However, this week also saw midfielder Brooke Chaplen out of the door as she signed for Reading on an 18-months contract.
This Girl Can
Sport England launched the second phase of its This Girl Can campaign this week.
Since its inception in 2015, 1.6 million women and girls aged 14-40 have taken up or restarted sport.
The next four-week campaign will tackle fear of judgement, preventing women giving up sport and widening the approach to women in their 50s and 60s.
Look out for the adverts on social media, TV and the new fantastic billboards and posters at bus-stops.
It is well known that the governing body of Indian Cricket, the BCCI, is undergoing a period of change and reform. A new panel of administrators has been appointed to run the body. And surprisingly, there is just one ex-player in the panel of four – and that ex-player is a woman. Diana Edulji played for the Indian women’s team from 1976 to 1993. She took 63 test wickets in 20 matches and 46 ODI wickets in 34 matches during this time.
Since her retirement she has been involved in sports administration, and is, thus, well qualified to help restructure the BCCI.
Needless to say she went through the ignominy suffered by so many cricketing women when she was refused entry to the inner sanctums of Lord’s even though she was in charge of the Indian tour of England in 1986. Apparently she suggested that the MCC be renamed MCP (Male Chauvinist Pig).
She also clashed repeatedly with former BCCI president N Srinivasan who told her that regarding women’s cricket,
“I’m not interested, we have no choice but to run it, so we are running it for the sake of running it.”
She has also been a devoted advocate of better conditions and pay for the women’s game and is not afraid of wading into an argument.
Watch this space to see how it goes.
Kia Super League
Big news from the Kia Super League this week, with not only the fixtures being announced, but also a new broadcast package from Sky and TMS.
Thursday 10 August – Southern Vipers v Western Storm (Ageas Bowl, live on Sky Sports)
Friday 11 August – Yorkshire Diamonds v Lancashire Thunder (Headingley, live on Sky Sports)
Saturday 12 August – Western Storm v Loughborough Lightning (Taunton, live on Sky Sports)
Sunday 13 August – Surrey Stars v Yorkshire Diamonds (Kia Oval, live on Sky Sports)
Tuesday 15 August – Loughborough Lightning v Southern Vipers (Derby, live on Sky Sports)
Wednesday 16 August – Lancashire Thunder v Surrey Stars (Emirates Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports)
Friday 18 August – Loughborough Lightning v Yorkshire Diamonds (Loughborough)
Sunday 20 August – Lancashire Thunder v Loughborough Lightning (Blackpool CC)
Sunday 20 August – Southern Vipers v Surrey Stars (Ageas Bowl)
Sunday 20 August – Yorkshire Diamonds v Western Storm (York CC)
Wednesday 23 August – Lancashire Thunder v Southern Vipers (Liverpool CC)
Wednesday 23 August – Surrey Stars v Western Storm (Guildford CC)
Saturday 26 August – Surrey Stars v Loughborough Lightning (Guildford CC)
Saturday 26 August – Western Storm v Lancashire Thunder (The Brightside Ground, Bristol)
Saturday 26 August – Southern Vipers v Yorkshire Diamonds (Arundel)
Friday 1 September – Finals day (1st Central County Ground, Hove, live on Sky Sports)
There will be six double-headers with the T20 Blast. There will be coverage from every round on Test Match Special. Personally I’m still not convinced about the efficacy of double-headers in either the cricket fashion (women playing before) or rugby fashion (women playing afterwards.). I’d be happy to hear what you think.
Perth Scorchers were unable to do the double last Saturday as the women’s team lost to the Sydney Sixers at the WACA in the final of the second WBBL.
The Sixers batted first and scored a respectable 124/5. Alyssa Healy, in storming form throughout the tournament, was top scorer with 40 and Marizanne Kapp scored 34 not out. English fast bowler Anya Shrubsole took 2/17.
The Scorchers were unable to reach the target though, falling short by seven runs. They finished on 117/7 off their 20 overs. Katherine Brunt top scored with 35 not out. Nicole Bolton scored 34. Sarah Aley took 4/23.
So that’s two from two for Sydney as the Thunder took the inaugural competition in 2016.
World Cup Qualifying Tournament
The World Cup Qualifying tournament in Sri Lanka gets underway on 7 February.
Group A comprises: India, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Zimbabwe and Thailand
Group B comprises: South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Scotland and PNG
Four places are still up for grabs.
Serena Williams claimed her 23rd Grand Slam title on Saturday as she beat her sister Venus to win the Australian Open in Melbourne.
She won the match in straight sets, 6-4 6-4.
More success for Britain in winter sports this week.
Snowboarder Katie Ormerod won a bronze medal in slopestyle at the X Games in Aspen, Colorado.
She scored 80.33. The gold was taken by Julia Marino on 94.66.
Meanwhile, in bobsleigh, Mica Moore and Mica McNeill won junior Bobsleigh World Championship gold in Winterberg, Germany.
Moore of Wales and McNeill of England only teamed up this winter but have already won four medals in competition. They won in Winterberg in a time of 53.96 seconds. Anna Koehler and Franziska Fritz of Germany won silver with compatriots Kim Kalicki and Lisa-Sophie Gericke taking bronze.
French League Un club, Lille, have offered free match tickets to women after sexist banners appeared in the crowd with their match at Lyon.
I’m sure most of you have seen the banners; one was a picture of a man with the word “stadium” underneath, while the second was a woman with the word “kitchen” underneath.
Ironic really, as the Lille women’s team have won the French title 14 times…..