Welcome to this week’s column. With news of Lindsey Vonn’s last race, the wonderful Six Nations, football, netball, hockey, athletics, volleyball, cricket, speed skating and tennis I’d better get on…
Last weekend’s results:
Sunday 10 February
Bristol City 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Manchester City 2-2 Chelsea
Wullaert 12’, Stanway 24’
So-yun Ji 50’, 89’
Sunday 10 February
London Bees 0-3 Tottenham Hotspur
Dean 14’ (Pen), Johnson 22’ (OG), Wiltshire 47’
Leicester City 2-3 Crystal Palace
James 68’, Dugmore 74’
Whinnett 57’, Bryan 64’, 84’
FA Cup – Remaining Fourth Round Ties
We now know the full fifth round line-up, after the fourth was completed at the weekend:
Durham 5-1 Cardiff City
Millwall Lionesses 1-0 Lewes
Reading 13-0 Keynsham Town
Liverpool 6-0 MK Dons
Loughborough Foxes 0-2 Sheffield United
Charlton 3-3 Huddersfield Town (Huddersfield won 5-4 on penalties)
Stoke City 1-2 Aston Villa
Yeovil Town 1-3 Birmingham City
The fifth round takes place this Sunday, 17 February.
Hockey – on the Pitch
Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
The league was back after its winter break last weekend:
Buckingham 2-1 Surbiton
Slough 1-1 Canterbury
University of Birmingham 2-2 Clifton Robinsons
Beeston 2-1 Bowdon
East Grinstead 1-2 Holcombe
Bowdon 4-1 Slough
All teams have played 11 now except Bowdon and Slough who have played 12. With Surbiton suffering their third defeat of the season, Holcombe are now top with 25 points. Surbiton are second on 22 with East Grinstead third on 19. At the bottom, Canterbury have four points from 11, and Slough are just above them on eight, having played the extra game.
This weekend’s fixtures will take them all to 12 games played:
Clifton Robinsons v Buckingham (1pm, Coombe Dingle P1)
Holcombe v Beeston (2pm, Holcombe HC P1)
Canterbury v University of Birmingham (4pm, Polo Farm SC, P1)
Surbiton v East Grinstead (4pm, Surbiton HC Water)
Hockey – off the Pitch
Maddie Hinch has been named FIH Female Goalkeeper of the Year for the third year running.
Ayeisha McFerran (Ireland), Rachael Lynch (Australia), Maria Ruiz (Spain) and Ye Jiao (China) were also shortlisted.
Elise Christie won silver in the 500m at the last World Cup event of the season in Turin.
Martina Valcepina of Italy took gold and Maame Biney of the USA the bronze.
After crashing out in her penultimate race, the super-G at the Alpine World Championships in Are, Sweden the previous Tuesday, Vonn made amends in her last race, the downhill, winning bronze. Defending champion Ilka Stuhec took gold and Corinne Soutar, silver.
In winning the bronze, Vonn became the first female skier to win a medal at six World Championships. What a way to go out!
Alyssa Healy scooped three prizes at the Australian Cricket Awards this week. She won female ODI player of the year (6 matches, 329 runs at an average of 54.83), female T20I player of the year (17 matches, 578 runs at an average of 41.29) and also the Belinda Clark Award.
The Betty Wilson young cricketer of the year award went to Georgia Wareham and female domestic player of the year was Heather Graham.
Rugby Union – Six Nations
England 41-26 France
Quite surprisingly, this game was only ever going one way. England were 24-0 up and coasting at half-time, and although France came back to put a good number of points on the scoreboard, it was never going to be enough to overhaul the Red Roses.
A record crowd of 4,674 were at Doncaster to see it.
Tries: Breach (2), Cleall (2), Smith, Botterman, O’Donnell
Conversions: Mclean (3)
Tries: Bourdon (2), N’Diaye, R Menager
Conversions Bourdon (3)
Italy 3-3 Wales
Stalemate in Lecce as neither side could make the decisive score to win the match. Robyn Wilkins scored a penalty to give Wales the lead after 30 minutes. In the second half, Michaela Sillari drew the home side level with a penalty on the hour.
Wales thought they had snatched it late on when Jasmine Joyce went over from a breakaway, but the visitors were pulled back for a forward pass.
The home side then had a chance to win it, but a second Sillari penalty went wide.
Scotland 5-22 Ireland
Ireland opened the scoring through Aoife McDermott, but Scotland drew level through Hannah Smith.
It looked as if they would go into the break level, but Ireland had other ideas as Leah Lyons went over again to make it 10-5 to the away side at half-time.
Straight into the second-half Ireland were on the attack again and five minutes in Alison Miller grabbed their third try of the match.
Anna Caplice bagged the bonus point try just before the hour, picking up the ball from the back of a ruck to crash over.
Tries: McDermott, Lyons, Miller, Caplice
Other Rugby News
It was announced this week that England will play the Barbarians at Twickenham in June. The Barbarians’ women’s side was only formed in October 2017. This will be the first time they have played England.
They will play before the men’s team in a double-header on Sunday 2 June.
The game kicks off at 12.45pm with the men’s following at 3pm.
Tennis – on the Court
Great Britain 2-0 Hungary
Katie Boulter triumphed in the first rubber against Dalma Galfi 6-4 6-7 7-6. This was followed by another three set victory for Jo Konta 6-2 6-7 7-6.
Greece 2-1 Slovenia
Valentini Grammatikopoul beat Kaja Juvan 7-6 5-7 6-3. Maria Sakkari defeated Dalila Jakupovic 4-6 6-4 6-3. The doubles rubber was a walkover for Slovenia.
Serbia 2-1 Croatia
Olga Danilovic defeated Jana Fett in the first rubber 2-6 6-2 7-6. The second went to Croatia as Donna Vekic beat Aleksandra Krunic 1-6 7-5 6-1. The deciding doubles went to Danilovi and Krunic as they beat Jurak and Konjuh 1-6 6-1 6-4
Turkey 3-0 Georgia
Cagla Buyukakcay defeated Mariam Bolkvadze in the first rubber 6-4 6-1. In the second, Pemra Ozgen beat Ekaterine Gorgodze 7-6 6-3. The doubles were a walkover to Turkey.
Great Britain and Serbia finished top of their respective groups, each winning three from thee ties. They faced each other in the promotion play-off
GB 2-0 Serbia
In the play-off, both Boulter and Konta kept up their tremendous run of form:
Boulter beat Ivana Jorovic in the first rubber 6-4 6-3 Konta struggled in her match and was visibly distressed at the end through physical exhaustion. She came through her match against Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 3-6 6-2. The doubles rubber was not played.
The World Cup Group II play-off draw was also made this week and GB have a home tie.
They will play Kazakhstan in April with the venue yet to be announced, although it may well be at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Meanwhile, the World Group semi-finals look like this:
France v Romania
Australia v Belarus
Having seen off Sam Stosur in qualifying (7-6 3-6 6-4), unseeded Anna Blinkova then put out seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova 7-6 6-4. She finally succumbed in the next round, to Barbora Strycova in a bizarrely scored match, 6-0 3-6 6-0 to the unseeded Strycova.
We are now at the semi-final stage, which will be completed today, Friday 15 February:
Simona Halep (1) v Elina Svitolina (4)
Angelique Kerber (3) v Elise Mertens
We are also at the semi-final stage in the doubles, with only one seeded pairing left in the competition. Both games again today, 15 February:
Chan Hao-Ching/Latisha Chan v Jelena Ostapenko/Veronika Kudermetova
Alison Riske/Ons Jabeur v Demi Schuurs/Anna-Lena Grönefeld (4)
Tennis – off the Court
Maria Sharapova had withdrawn from next month’s Indian Wells tournament.
She is suffering ongoing problems from a shoulder injury that has forced her to withdraw or retire from two of her last three events since playing in the US Open in September.
Last weekend’s results from the Women’s Super League Top 5 were:
Durham Palatinates 3-0 Malory Eagles UEL (25-16, 25-18, 25-22)
London Orcas 0-3 Tendring VC Ladies (17-25, 14-25, 15-25)
Durham are top with 29 points from 10 games. Tendring are second with22 from nine.
Women’s Super League Bottom 4:
Sheffield Hallam 3-1 Birmingham Volley Club1 (25-17, 25-22, 25-27, 25-16)
All teams have played nine games. Sheffield are top with 12 points, then come Polonia SideOut London (6), Bristol VC1 (4) and Birmingham Volley Club1 (3).
British Indoor Championships
More team GB places have been booked as we build up to the European Indoor Championships in Glasgow in March.
Results in full:
Pole vault: 1. Holly Bradshaw (4,80m), 2. Jade Ive (4.40m), 3. Sophie Cook 4.30m)
Triple Jump: 1. Naomi Ogbeta (14.05m), 2. Laura Samuel (13.61m), 3. Alexandra Russell (13.27m)
60m hurdles: 1. Cindy Ofili (8.16), 2. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (8.27), 3. Gabriella Ade-Onojobi *13.21)
60m: 1. Asha Philip (7.19), 2. Rachel Miller (7.20), 3. Kristal Awuah (7.35)
3000m: 1. Laura Muir (8:48.03), 2. Melissa Courtney (8:50.61), 3. Amy Eloise Neale (8:59.86)
Shot Put: 1. Sophie McKinna (17.97m), 2. Amelia Strickler (17.28m), 3. Adele Nicoll (15.58m)
5000m walk: 1. Heather Lewis (22:55.15), 2. Madeline Shott (25:15.58), 3. Pagen Spooner (26:43.74)
Long Jump: 1. Katarina Johnson-Thompson (6.46m), 2. Jahisha Thomas (6.36m), Abigail Irozuru (6.35m)
High jump: 1. Morgan Lake (1.94m), 2. Bethan Partridge (1.87m), 3. Nikki Manson (1.80m)
400m: 1. Zoey Clark (52.85), 2. Amber Anning (53.00), 3. Laviai Nielsen (53.03)
200m: 1. Hayley Mills (23.59), 2. Kiah Dubarry-Gay (24.01), 3. Melissa Roberts (24.28)
800m: 1. Shelayna Oskan-Clarke (2:05.04), 2. Mari Smith (2:05.68), 3. Adelle Tracey (2:05.72)
1500m: 1. Jemma Reekie (4:17.08), 2. Sarah McDonald (4:18.10), 3. Katie Snowden ( 4:19.34)
Last weekend’s Vitality Superleague results were as follows:
Friday 8 February
Strathclyde Sirens 46-50 Celtic Dragons
Saturday 9 February
Severn Stars 49-62 Manchester Thunder
Loughborough Lightning 50-75 Team Bath
Monday 11 February
London Pulse 49-69 Surrey Storm
Wasps Netball 54-50 Saracens Mavericks
Wasps are still top with four wins from four. Manchester Thunder are second on the same points but with an inferior goal average. Team Bath are third on nine points from four games. At the bottom, there are two teams with three points from five games; London Pulse and Strathclyde Sirens.
This weekend’s round six fixtures:
Saturday 16 February
Manchester Thunder v Loughborough Lightning (5pm)
Severn Stars v Surrey Storm (6pm)
Saracens Mavericks v Team Bath (6pm – Live on Sky Sports)
Monday 18 February
Celtic Dragons v Wasps Netball (7pm)
London Pulse v Strathclyde Sirens (7.30pm)
Is she a woman? Is she a man? It still seems that no-one can agree. While they debate her physical make-up, what happens to Caster Semenya’s mental health? How does she feel having her gender debated in this way? Will she have to undergo treatment to lower her testosterone levels? If so, when tested she will have show the lower levels six months before competition.
Earlier this week it was reported that the IAAF’s lawyers will say Semenya is a “biological male”. The organisation has denied this.
Now Semenya’s lawyer has said that she is “unquestionably a woman”.
Semenya herself says,
“It is not fair. I just want to run naturally, the way I was born.
“It is not fair that I am told I must change. It is not fair that people question who I am.”
I’m not arguing with her. I just want her to be able to run – where she wants to run.
Not here next week, so more news and views in a fortnight.