Welcome to this week’s column. Lots to catch up with again this week with stories from cycling, tennis, netball, football, golf, cricket and athletics.
So let’s crack on.
Just when you thought New Zealand had collapsed in a terminal heap, they came back in the third ODI to beat England convincingly and take a precious two points in the ICC Championship.
England 219 all out (47.4 overs)
New Zealand 224/6 (44.4 overs)
NZ women won by 4 wickets
It looked to be a case of same old, same old when England started with a stand of 10. Beaumont was first to fall with 53 from 66 balls. Winfield fell soon after on just five, but Jones was still going strong until she was stumped by Martin off the bowling of Watkin for 78.
After that, however, there was a succession of poor shots that saw England dismissed for 219.
Leigh Kasparek was, by far, the pick of the bowlers with 5/39 off 9.4 overs.
It should never have been enough, but we had seen collapses aplenty from this White Ferns side for nothing to be certain.
In fact it all went wrong to begin with when Jess Watkin was given lbw to Brunt for a duck in the first over. But Sophie Devine was having none of it. She smashed 117 not out from 116 balls, ably assisted first by Green (23), then Satterthwaite (25) and finally by Martin (23) to see them home with 32 balls to spare.
Sadly that sees the end of England’s international summer (July!) and now begins the women’s T20 showpiece, the Kia Super League.
The squads have now been announced. It’s a quality product, so can I please suggest if you’re anywhere near a game, you go out and support it? You can view all of the upcoming fixtures here:
Georgia Elwiss (C), Rachael Haynes, Sophie Devine, Kirsty Gordon, Georgia Adams, Tara Norris, Jenny Gunn, Sarah Glenn, Elyse Villani, Sonia Odedra, Lucy Higham, Abbey Freeborn, Amy Jones, Jo Gardner.
Heather Knight (C), Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson, Stafanie Taylor, Smriti Mandhana, Rachel Priest, Alice McLeod, Sophie Luff, Amara Carr, Naomi Dattani, Rebecca Silk, Claire Nicholas, Lauren Parfitt, Danielle Gibson, Freya Davies.
Lauren Winfield, Katherine Brunt, Beth Langston, Alice Davidson-Richards, Beth Mooney, Chamari Atapattu, Delissa Kimmince, Helen Fenby, Katie Levick, Sophie Munro, Bess Heath, Thea Brookes, Alice Monaghan, Gwen Davies, Katie Thompson.
Danielle Hazell (C), Kate Cross, Emma Lamb, Sophie Ecclestone, Natalie Brown, Natasha Miles, Amy Satterthwaite, Ellie Threlkeld, Nicole Bolton, Georgie Boyce, Rachel Dickinson, Alice Dyson, Alex Hartley, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur.
Georgia Adams, Suzie Bates, Arran Brindle, Ellen Burt, Izzy Collis, Charlie Dean, Mignon du Preez, Charlotte Edwards, Tash Farrant, Katie George, Hayley Matthews, Tara Norris, Carla Rudd, Linsey Smith, Danni Wyatt.
Nat Sciver (C), Aylish Cranstone, Sophia Dunkley, Grace Gibbs, Gayatri Gole, Eva Gray, Hannah Jones, Marizanne Kapp, Lizelle Lee, Laura Marsh, Bryony Smith, Sarah Taylor, Rhianna Southby, Dane van Niekerk, Mady Villiers.
This weekend’s fixtures are on Sunday 22 July:
Surrey Stars v Southern Vipers (Woodbridge Road, Guildford, 2.30pm)
Western Storm v Yorkshire Diamonds (County Ground, Taunton, 2.30pm)
Lancashire Thunder v Loughborough Lightning (Trafalgar Road Ground, Southport 2.30pm)
Angelique Kerber took the singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Serena Williams in straight sets 6-3 6-3.
The doubles title went to third seeds Barbora Krejčíková and Katerina Siniaková, who beat Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke (12) 6-4 4-6 6-0
Alexander Peya and Nicole Melichar (11) took the mixed doubles title, who defeated the unseeded Jamie Murray and Victoria Azarenka 7-6 6-3.
In the wheelchair singles, number one seed Diede De Groot beat the unseeded Aniek Van Koot 6-3 6-2
Diede De Groot then went on to take the doubles title with partner Yui Kamiji, as the number one seeds beat Sabine Ellerbrock & Lucy Shuker 6-1 6-1.
The tournament has caused plenty of movement in the world rankings. Serena Williams is up to 28th, but Jo Konta is down to 50th.
Mikki Austin has been appointed as Surrey Storm’s first Director of Netball.
Austin has played for the Storm since 2015, but she was injured for much of the 2018 season.
In an interview with the Netball Superleague website, Austin said,
“I am thrilled to be appointed as Director of Netball at Surrey Storm and, whilst the new season seems like a long way off at the moment, I cannot wait to get started on our preparations to make it a successful one.
“I am focusing on making sure we can attract some new players to add strength and bolster our already strong squad, so we are ready to compete at the highest level as we aim to compete for a top four spot.
“I have enjoyed every moment of my time with Storm so far, especially as we have enjoyed some great successes which I really want to be part of again; I have big aspirations for what we can achieve and I look forward to building an exciting next generation of Surrey Storm.”
Dame Laura Davies has won the first US Senior Women’s Open.
She took the title by a huge 10 shots at the Chicago Golf Club at the weekend.
Davies finished on 16 under par. American Juli Inkster was second on six under and England’s Trish Johnson in third on four under.
The biggest news of the week is that Marieanne Spacey-Cale is to leave the FA to take up the role of Head of Girls’ and Women’s Football at Southampton FC.
With 91 England caps to her name, Spacey-Cale is considered to be one of England’s best ever female players. She had been at the FA for 11 years as was part of Mark Sampson’s staff at the 2015 World Cup.
She was also Under 23s head coach and, most recently, England Women’s Player and Coach Developer.
This is a big move for Spacey-Cale and a big loss for the FA. Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s Head of Women’s Football, must be wondering how to replace her.
“On behalf of everyone at The FA, I would like to wish Marieanne well – she leaves behind a great legacy through her work which has had a positive impact on the female game,” Campbell said on the FA website.
It also shows Southampton’s commitment to their women’s programme.
The transfer roundabout shows no sign of slowing.
- England international Lianne Sanderson signed for Juventus, thus joining up with good friend Eni Aluko.
- Scotland striker Christie Murray has signed for Liverpool.
- Kirsty Smith and Lizzie Arnot also left Glasgow City this week, having been offered contracts at Manchester United.
- Goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley has left Birmingham City to join Bristol City.
- West Ham are still in the market and this week have signed American defender Brooke Hendrix from Brescia and Republic of Ireland striker Leanne Kiernan from Shelbourne Ladies.
- Erin Cuthbert has signed a new three-year contract with champions, Chelsea.
Of course the major hoop-la of the week surrounded the announcement of the Manchester United squad. England defender Alex Greenwood is club captain. It is, no doubt, an impressive squad, packed with talent. They have, however, got to work from scratch to make it into a team. It will be fascinating to see what happens this season.
The squad in full:
1 – Siobhan Chamberlain, 13 – Emily Ramsey, 22 – Fran Bentley
2 – Martha Harris, 3 – Alex Greenwood, 4 – Amy Turner, 12 – Naomi Hartley, 15 – Lucy Roberts, 20 – Kirsty Smith
6 – Aimee Palmer, 8 – Mollie Green, 10 – Katie Zelem, 14 – Charlie Devlin, 16 – Lauren James, 17 – Lizzie Arnot, 21 – Millie Turner
7 – Ella Toone, 9 – Jess Sigsworth, 11 – Leah Galton, 18 – Kirsty Hanson, 19 – Ebony Salmon
The largely unheralded inaugural Athletics World Cup went to United States. The US finished 57 points ahead of Poland, with Great Britain a further seven points behind in third.
The top GB women’s performance came from the 4 x 100m relay team of Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot, Bianca Williams and Shannon Hylton in 42.52 ahead of Jamaica in second in a time of 42.60 and China third in 42.94. The US team didn’t finish.
The other GB performances of notes: Lorraine Ugen continued her good form with a win in the long jump with a distance of 6.86m. Holly Bradshaw also won the pole vault with a season’s best 4.75m.
Beth Morgan won silver in the high jump, while Adelle Tracey also took silver in the 800m. Sophie Hitchon came second in the hammer with a season’s beat 73.48m and Meghan Beesley was also second in the 400m hurdles.
Beth Dobbin won bronze it the 200m as did Jemma Reekie in the 1500m.
Final Athletics World Cup standings:
- United States 219 points
- Poland 162 points
- Great Britain 155 points
- Jamaica 153 points
- France 146 points
- Germany 137 points
- South Africa 135 points
- China 81 points
Annemiek van Vleuten retained her La Course title on Tuesday after overtaking Anna van der Breggen in the final 25 metres.
The one-stage race from Annecy to Le Grand-Bornand was undertaken by 112 riders from 20 teams.
Van der Breggen looked odds-on to take the title as she pulled away up the final climb on the Col del a Colombiere and then further ahead on the descent.
But Van Vleuten was not to be beaten and took her chance as Van de Breggen tired at the very end.
Ashleigh Moolman Pasio of South Africa had kept up with the two Dutch riders, but falling away hung on to take third.
Top Ten Finishers:
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) 3hrs 20mins 43secs
- Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) +1sec
- Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (SA/Cervelo-Bigla) +1min 22secs
- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den/Cervelo-Bigla) +1min 58secs
- Megan Guarnier (US/Boels-Dolmans) +2mins 19secs
- Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol/Canyon SRAM) same time
- Katharine Hill (US/UnitedHealthcare) +2mins 22secs
- Amanda Spratt (Aus/Mitchelton-Scott) same time
- Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa/Ale Cipollini) +2mins 24secs
- Erica Magnaldi (Ita/Bepink) same time
And so ends the women’s version of the Tour de France for another year. Although it was a good race, there is no doubt that it is still a very unsatisfying experience, both for fans of women’s cycling and the cyclists themselves.
When will the (growing amount of) muttering stop and the action start? When will we see a multi-stage event for women alongside the Tour de France? I’m not holding my breath. Until the big sponsors get on board there will be no change. The will is there from the athletes and the teams, but without proactive movement from the governing body, the UCI, don’t expect anything to happen.
Other Cycling News
Lizzie Deignan will head up the new Trek Factory Racing team when she returns to the sport next season.
She is expecting her first child in September, but plans to be back in training in December.
In a telling statement she said,
“I chose Trek because rather than see me as a risk in pregnancy, they saw me as an investment and as a valued athlete.
“For me that was the biggest sign towards truly believing in equality.”
She leaves Boels-Dolmans at the end of the season, having ridden for them for five years.
I’ve been listening to the BBC 5 Live coverage of The Open over the last two days. And while I could definitely do without John Inverdale, there was a great discussion this morning about the perception of golf and how young people, minority ethnic people and women can be more attracted to it. Absolutely loved Iain Carter’s impassioned arguments – brave of him to declare that however much the clubs and governing body say they are doing to be inclusive, there is, without doubt, still a problem with women in the game and they could and should be doing so much more. I have a great respect for Carter – I pulled him up once for calling Caroline Wozniacki “Rory’s Belle” – she was engaged to Rory McIlroy at the time. He responded to me immediately and was very apologetic that he had not recognised Wozniacki in her own right, but only as an appendage to McIlroy. Keep at it Iain, perhaps they’ll listen eventually.
More news and views next week.