Welcome to this week’s column. I’m going to have to be brief about it, due to time pressures, but here goes. Stories this week come from athletics, football, ice hockey, tennis, netball, curling, rugby union, squash and gymnastics.
It was round six of the Vitality Netball Superleague last weekend. Storm and Lightning are still unbeaten at the top of the league on 18 points. Results were as follows:
Friday 24 March
Team Bath 47-38 Team Northumbria
Wasps Netball 52-58 Manchester Thunder
Saturday 25 March
Surrey Storm 69-47 Celtic Dragons
Hertfordshire Mavericks 57-66 Loughborough Lightning
Monday 27 March
Severn Stars 54-45 Sirens
This weekend sees round seven with Sky’s televised match on Monday 3 April being Thunder v Mavericks. The action starts at 7.30pm.
Jo Konta has become the first British woman to get to the final of the Miami Open.
She beat Venus Williams 6-4 7-5 in the semi-final and will now play Caroline Wozniacki in the final on Saturday.
Wozniacki beat Karolina Pliskova 5-7 6-1 6-1.
If Konta takes the title she will rise to seven in the world rankings.
Bristol finished unbeaten and at the top of the table in the Women’s Premiership. The final round of matches finished as follows:
25 March 2017
Lichfield Ladies 48-0 Richmond Women
26 March 2017
Aylesford Bulls Ladies 44-17 Worcester Valkyries
DMP Sharks 5-21 Saracens Women
Bristol Ladies 48-7 Wasps Ladies
The unfortunate Lichfield played a marvellous final Premiership game and ended up second in the table, just one point behind Bristol.
|3||Aylesford Bulls Ladies||14||10||4||222||9||49|
The play offs will be on 9 April:
12pm Portway Rugby Development Centre
Bristol v Saracens
1pm Cleve RFC
Lichfield v Aylesford Bulls
The Grand Final will be on 23 April at 12pm.
Team Muirhead were at it again this week as Scotland took bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championships.
They beat Sweden 6-4 to take the medal, while the gold went to Canada as they defeated Russia 8-3 in the final.
It was the British Gymnastics Championships in Liverpool last week.
Ellie Downie just gets better and better, taking vault, bars and all-round gold medals.
Phoebe Turner won gold on the beam.
There was a surprise result in the floor when the title went to 15-year old newcomer Maisie Methuen, beating Claudia Fragapane into silver.
Women’s Champions League quarter finals
Manchester City Women 1-0 Fortuna Hjorring
City win 2-0 on aggregate.
It was a tight affair at the Academy Stadium and became clear early on that it was unlikely to be a goalfest. In the end City made one of their few chances pay when Lucy Bronze headed home from a Mel Lawler corner just before half-time. US star Carli Lloyd has a great chance earlier in the half after speeding through the Danish defence, but she hit it wide. In the second half she was quieter but had a header cleared five minutes from the end.
In the other games:
Lyon 0-1 Wolfsburg
(Lyon win 2-1 on aggregate)
Paris Saint Germain 4-0 Bayern Munich
(PSG win 4-1 on aggregate)
Barcelona 2-0 Rosengård
(Barcelona win 3-0 on aggregate)
City play cup holders Lyon in the semi-final.
FA Cup quarter finals
Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland
Sunderland took the lead through a Lucy Staniforth penalty, but after that it was all Chelsea. Two goals from Ramona Bachmann and two from Hannah Blundell plus one from Drew Spence saw Chelsea into the semis.
Liverpool 2-0 Notts County
The home side were two up before half-time, with County unable to respond. Caroline Weir scored in the third minute with Natasha Harding hitting a second before the break.
The Lady Pies were unable to break down the Liverpool defence in the second half.
Birmingham City 1-0 Arsenal
The holders went out to a single goal from Marisa Ewers. After a goalless first-half the winning strike came in the 77th minute after Arsenal had missed several chances.
Birmingham goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger had a stormer, saving from Kim Little, Danielle Carer and Danielle van de Donk in the first-half and Katie McCabe and Jordan Nobbs in the second.
Bristol City 1-2 Manchester City
Bristol took the lead as Hayley Ladd headed an unfortunate own goal, but by half-time Manchester were level through Claire Emslie.
Nikita Parris hit the winner just before full-time, when it seemed likely the tie was heading into extra time.
FA Cup Semi-final draw
Manchester City v Liverpool
Birmingham City v Chelsea
Both ties should take place on Monday 17 April.
Jo Pavey has been awarded a bronze medal from the 10,000m at the 2007 World Championships, after the original second-place finisher, Turkey’s Elvan Abeylegasse was stripped of her title for a doping offence. American Kara Goucher has been upgraded to silver and Pavey to bronze.
Laura Massaro won her second British Open title this week when she beat fellow English woman 11-8 11-8 6-11 11-6.
In doing so she became the first English woman for 66 years to win two British Open titles, having first won it in 2013.
Three cheers for the US women’s ice hockey team this week. They were so fed up over the lack of equality with the men’s game that they threatened to boycott their own world championships in protest.
Just two days before the championships were due to begin they called off the protest as it was announced an agreement with USA Hockey had been reached.
The fine details have not been released but are thought to include a new improved pay deal plus better marketing and promotion from the governing body. There will also be more support for women’s hockey at grassroots level.
Britain’s Chris and Gabby Adcock are through to the quarter-finals of the India Open. They beat Yang Lee and Hsu Ya Ching of Taiwan 23-21 22-20 to get there.
They face Bodin Isara and Savitree Amitrapai of Thailand in the next round.
But Marcus Ellis and Lauren Smith are out of the mixed doubles and Smith and Sarah Walker out of the women’s doubles.
A quick tribute to Hazel Irvine, who has announced that she will anchor the BBC’s Masters coverage for the last time in April 2017.
Irvine was a real trailblazer for broadcasting women, particularly in sports considered traditionally “male”. She has fronted the BBC’s golf broadcasts for 25 years.
I’m a big admirer of Hazel’s. She is understated, intelligent and knowledgeable, but doesn’t ram her knowledge down the viewer’s throat.
Glad to say she will continue to present the snooker and other major events.
And I’m also pleased to say that Eilidh Barbour will take over in the golf hot seat, and will start with the PGA Championship in May.