Welcome to this week’s column. After the turmoil of last week, this week seems to have returned to some semblance of normality and I’m all for it. News this week comes from netball, football, rugby union, athletics, gymnastics, speed skating, golf, tennis and hockey.
It’s the Netball Europe Open Championships in Cardiff from 5-8 October.
England Roses are defending champions and the top side in the world to be competing at three in the world rankings.
The other teams taking part are Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Fiji (invitational team).
There will be coverage on the BBC via Connected TV, online and the BBC Sport App.
Fixtures are as follows:
Thursday, 5 October
16.25 Fiji v Scotland
18.25 Wales v Northern Ireland
Friday, 6 October
11.55 England v Scotland
17.55 Fiji v Wales
19.55 England v Northern Ireland
Saturday, 7 October
10.25 Fiji v Northern Ireland
15.55 Wales v Scotland
17.55 England v Fiji
Sunday, 8 October
09.55 Scotland v Northern Ireland
11.55 England v Wales
Plenty of football news, as you would expect, this week. There were WSL1 and WSL2 league matches at the weekend, plus the round of 32 first leg fixtures in the Champions League, midweek. But first, some World Cup news.
Equatorial Guinea has been expelled from the 2019 Women’s World Cup after it emerged that it fielded 10 ineligible players in the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympics.
The team had already been banned from the 2020 Olympic Games.
Not only were some players ineligible, but others used forged or false documents in order to qualify. The country’s football association has also been fined $102,000.
Former Hibernian Ladies manager, Chris Roberts, has been appointed as Bristol City Women’s first team coach and technical director.
Roberts had been at Hibs since 2014.
He rejoins his former Hibs boss, Willie Kirk, who is currently Bristol City manager.
St Polten 0-3 Manchester City Women
All the goals came in the first half in Austria with England trio, Demi Stokes, Steph Houghton and Nikita Parris all hitting the back of the net. The tie would seem to be over and City will be looking forward to the return leg.
Chelsea Ladies 1-0 Bayern Munich
It was a case of hanging on for Chelsea as they scored early on, but were unable to add further goals at Kingsmeadow.
The Blues had an outstanding first half, attacking all the way and were unlucky to in at half-time just one up, through Drew Spence.
The second-half was a completely different matter. Munich pressed constantly but were profligate in front of goal. They had countless corners and set pieces, but were unable to score.
Unsurprisingly Chelsea tired in the second-half and never looked like adding to their tally. They may rue not scoring more in the first period when they go to Munich.
BIIK-Kazygurt 3-0 Glasgow City
Glasgow will do well to come back from a three-goal deficit. After a goalless first-half, the home side scored three goals in the first ten minutes of the second, effectively putting the tie beyond Glasgow.
Begaim Kirgizbaeva, Kaelyn Korte and Gulnara Gabelia scored the goals for the home side.
Wednesday 4 October
Medyk Konin 0-5 Lyon Féminines
Apollon Ladies FC 0-1 Linköpings FC
FC PAOK 0-5 Sparta Prague Women
Gintra Universitetas 1-1 FC Zürich Frauen
ZFK Minsk 1-3 Slavia Prague Women
Avaldsnes IL 0-4 Barcelona Femenino
LSK Kvinner 0-0 Brøndby IF Ladies
Ajax Vrouwen 1-0 Brescia Femminile
Atlético de Madrid Femenino 0-3 VfL Wolfsburg Ladies
Firenze Femminile 2-1 Fortuna Hjørring
Montpellier Féminines 0-1 Zvezda 2005 Women
Thursday 5 October
CFF Olimpia Cluj 0-1 Rosengård Women
Stjarnan Women 1-1 WFC Rossiyanka
Friday 29 September
Liverpool 0-3 Reading
Saturday 30 September
Manchester City 5-2 Arsenal
Bristol City 1-0 Yeovil Town
Sunderland AFC 0-6 Chelsea
Sunday 1 October
Birmingham City 2-1 Everton
Saturday 30 September
Sheffield FC 3-1 London Bees
Sunday 1 October
Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 Durham
Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Millwall Lionesses
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Aston Villa
Watford 1-3 Oxford United
Check out this week’s upcoming fixtures on the excellent FAWSL website here
The current British champion javelin thrower Joanna Blair has been provisionally suspended after failing a doping test.
She tested positive for a “prohibited substance”, although it has not been revealed what the substance was.
She now has the right to a hearing and right to appeal the decision.
South Korea’s Choi Min-jeong took all three titles at the first World Cup event of the season in Budapest at the weekend.
Britain’s Elise Christie finished fourth in the 1500m and third in the 1000m.
Kim Boutin of Canada took silver in both events while Deanna Lockett of Australia finished third in the 1500m.
In the 500m Arianna Fontana of Italy was second and Shim Suk Hee of South Korea, third.
The other World Cup events take place in the Netherlands, China and South Korea.
Golf – New Zealand Open
This event saw some atrocious weather as the golfers tried their very best to complete their rounds.
If you’d like to get a flavour of what conditions were like in the final round on Sunday, check out this video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/41460869
The eventual winner was 20-year old Canadian Brooke Henderson. She somehow managed a -3 69 fourth round to win by five strokes – a total of -17.
The weather finally caused the final round to be suspended on Sunday and the remainder played on Monday. Henderson had played six holes when play was suspended.
China’s Jing Yan finished second with Hee Young Park of South Korea in third at -11.
The conditions were slightly better on Monday but the players still had to play on through strong winds. The organisers were criticised for making the players continue on Sunday, but most of the players seemed to support the move.
Third round leader Belen Mozo of Spain finished tied fifth with fellow Spaniard Beatriz Recari and Su Oh of Australia.
The British number one has pulled out of next week’s Hong Kong Open with a foot injury.
She hopes to be able to compete the following week in Moscow.
We’re at the quarter-final stage of the China Open and three of the four matches have been played:
Petra Kvitova (12) beat Barbora Strýcová 6-3 6-4
Simone Halep (2) beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2 6-1
Jelena Ostapenko (9) beat Sorana Cirstea 6-4 6-4
The fourth quarter-final is between third seed Elina Svitolina and Caroline Garcia.
Ostapenko faces Halep in the first semi-final on Saturday, while Kvitova must wait until later on Friday 6 before she knows who her opponent will be.
The EuroHockey Club Cup in May 2018 will be held at Surbiton Hockey Club. It will be the first time the competition has been hosted by an English club.
The teams taking part will be Surbiton, two Dutch clubs; HC’s-Hertogenbosch and AHBC Amsterdam, two German teams; UHC Hamburg and Mannheimer HC, Club Campo Villa de Madrid from Spain, Irish club UCD Ladies HC and HC Victorya Smolevichi from Belarus.
Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Results from 30 September
Surbiton 3-1 Clifton Robinsons
Holcombe 3-1 University of Birmingham
Bowdon Hightown 0-0 Slough
Leicester 2-0 East Grinstead
Buckingham 4-2 Canterbury
Fixtures Saturday 07 October
Surbiton v Leicester
Bowdon Hightown v East Grinstead
Buckingham v Holcombe
Clifton Robinsons v University of Birmingham
Slough v Canterbury
Surbiton are top on goals scored after two games. Three other teams are also unbeaten; Slough, Bowdon and Holcombe. All four have the same goal difference.
The World Gymnastics Championships are taking place in Montreal on 2-8 October.
Claudia Fragapane is looking to get to the final of the floor, while Georgia-Mae Fenton looks to do the same in the uneven bars.
Amy Tinkler, recently returned from injury, is likely to make the all-round final
Off the Pitch
For the second week running, it’s all happening at Wasps. Soon after the column had been published last week, Wasps made their fifth Red Rose signing, this time Danielle Waterman, from Bristol. This squad is now truly formidable, and even if they take some time to “bed in”, it can’t be long before they start storming up the table. Indeed they recorded their first win at the weekend – see below for details.
But on the debit side, Elizabeth Crake appeared before an RFU disciplinary hearing this week after being cited for biting in Wasps’ match against Gloucester-Hartpury Women. Crake admitted biting Ceri Large and has been suspended for six weeks.
On the Pitch
Results from last weekend in the Premier 15s
30 September 2017
DMP Sharks 28-32 Wasps Ladies
Gloucester-Hartpury Women 29-0 Richmond Women
Firwood Waterloo Ladies 16-20 Bristol Ladies
Worcester Valkyries 0-74 Saracens
Loughborough Lightning 19-40 Harlequins Ladies
This week saw a first win of the season for Wasps as they showcased their new signings. Gloucester-Hartpury Women, Harlequins Ladies and Saracens all remain unbeaten, with Gloucester-Hartpury top on points difference. Saracens are third on 14, having failed to secure maximum bonus points. Worcester Valkyries are yet to register a point, while the other two teams without a win are Firwood Waterloo and DMP Sharks, who have one losing bonus point and two losing bonus points respectively.
Fixtures this weekend:
7 October 2017
Saracens Women v Wasps Ladies (2pm Allianz Park)
Harlequins Ladies v DMP Sharks (3pm Surrey Sports Park)
Loughborough Lightning v Firwood Waterloo Ladies (3pm, Loughborough)
Bristol Ladies v Gloucester-Hartpury Women (4.30pm Portway Rugby Development Centre)
Richmond Women v Worcester Valkyries (5.15pm Richmond Athletic Ground)
So whatever your sport, make sure you get out this weekend to support the fantastic women the length and breadth of the country who give their all for their teams, clubs and fans every week. If you can’t get out, follow your sports via media coverage (where possible!) and make sure you talk about it! Get the message out there – women’s sport deserves to be talked about too!