Women’s Sports Column 10-16 December

fieldhockeysticksWelcome to the last column of the year.  It’s been a big year for women’s sport (but isn’t every year?).  I’ve tried to reflect that in the best way I know how, and looking back over the last twelve months, I’m pleased with the breadth of stories I’ve been able to include.  I hope you’ve enjoyed it too.

So without further ado, let’s crack on with stories from speed skating, rugby, netball, cricket, Aussie Rules and Australasian sports administration, football, golf, boxing, cycling, bowls, taekwondo, the BT Action Woman Awards and SPOTY.  This week’s “And finally” is probably predictable, but bears repeating one more time….

Rugby Union

Bristol won again this weekend to leave them top of the table over the Christmas break.

The scores were:

10 December

Aylesford Bulls Ladies 17-24 Lichfield Ladies

Wasps Ladies 33-12 Richmond Women

11 December

Worcester Valkyries 15-22 Saracens Women

Bristol ladies 48-0 DMP Sharks

As ever, a longer round-up of these matches, written by me appears on the Women’s Sports UK website.

Bowls

Wales’ women won a silver medal in the triples at the World Bowls Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand this week.

Anwen Butten, Kathy Pearce and Emma Woodcock were beaten in the final by Carla Krizanic, Natasha Scott and Rebecca Van Asch of Australia.

They had beaten England (16-12) and Malaysia (18-16) on the way to the final.

Australian Rules Football                                                                                   

Good news for Aussie rules fans this week as it was announced that every game in the inaugural AFL women’s competition will be shown live on television.

Fox Footy is to show all 28 league games and the Seven Network will broadcast eight prime-time matches, including the first game of the season and the Grand Final on 25 March.

The action begins 3 February 2017.  Not sure if they will be streamed in Britain, but nevertheless it’s great news for AFL fans.

Australasian Sports Administration

1) Kate Palmer has been appointed the Australian Sports Commission’s first female chief executive.  She joins after an historic spell as the head of Netball Australia, in which she brokered a landmark pay deal for players and also oversaw a huge increase in revenue for the sport.

2) Dr Farah Palmer, three-time World Cup winning captain has been elected to the Board of New Zealand Rugby.  She is currently a member of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board and will replace the former Maori representative, Wayne Peters, who has retired.

“Women on sports boards” seems to be the in-vogue cause at the moment.  Not surprising really, as the current percentage of women on sports boards in the United Kingdom is 30%, having risen from 21% in 2009.  There is progress, undoubtedly, and more needs to be done.  Personally, I’m still more concerned with lack of media coverage which stubbornly stands at 7%.  But progress cannot not be concentrated on a single issue and we should celebrate any victories we achieve, however small.

Cricket

New England central contracts

The ECB has announced new and improved central contracts for England’s women.  Two-year contracts have been issued to:

Tammy Beaumont, Katherine Brunt, Kate Cross, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Jenny Gunn, Alex Hartley, Danielle Hazell, Amy Jones, Heather Knight, Beth Langston (rookie contract), Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor, Fran Wilson, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt.

Becky Grundy has lost her contract and Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway are no longer a part of the set-up having retired from international cricket last season.

Australian contracts

Just when you’re feting all things Australian, Cricket Australia drops an enormous clanger.

The executive general manager of strategy at Cricket Australia has confirmed that female cricketers’ new one-year contracts will have a clause that will require them to “warrant” that they are not pregnant when they sign.

They insist that the clause is there “for the player’s safety and that of their unborn child” and that that any disclosure would be confidential and made to the medical officer.

Female players are also excluded from the parental leave policy, although women in non-playing roles can have four to 12 weeks’ paid leave.

And, as ever, although things are improving, there is a great discrepancy in pay; the national minimum for men is $270,000 excluding superannuation, but for women it is $40,000 including superannuation.

Cricket Australia says that it is all being negotiated, but the union says contract conditions are ‘contrary to acceptable employer behaviour’,

Watch this space for further fallout.

WBBL

After the first weekend of WBBL matches it’s all square all the way down as each team won one and lost one!  Sydney Sixers are top on net run rate, but it’s early days.  The results so far are as follows:

10 December

Perth Scorchers 119/6 off 20 overs

Hobart Hurricanes 120/5 19 overs

Hurricanes won by 5 wickets

 

Adelaide Strikers 116 all out (19.3 overs)

Melbourne Renegades 102 all out (19.1 overs)

Strikers won by 14 runs

 

Melbourne Stars147/8 (20 overs)

Sydney Thunder 141/4 (20 overs)

Stars won by 6 runs

 

11 December

 Adelaide Strikers 128/6 (20 overs)

Melbourne Renegades 131/3 (19.3 overs)

Renegades won by 7 wickets

 

Perth Scorchers 142/4 (20 overs)

Hobart Hurricanes 125/9 (20 overs)

Scorchers won by 17 runs

 

Sydney Sixers 138/6 (20 overs)

Brisbane Heat 142/5 (19.2 overs)

Heat won by 5 wickets

 

12 December

Brisbane Heat 83/9 (20 overs)

Sydney Sixers 86/2 (16 overs)

Sixers won by 8 wickets

 

13 December

Melbourne Stars 116/9 (20 overs)

Sydney Thunder 121/2 (18.5 overs)

Thunder won by 8 wickets

Live matches and highlights are on BT Sport and the WBBL also has a very detailed website:  www.bigbash.com.au/wbbl

BT Action Woman Awards

The ceremony for the BT Action Woman of the year took place this week.  Winners of Team of the Year were the GB Hockey team for their brilliant gold medal in Rio.  Katherine Grainger won a Lifetime Achievement award, which she knew nothing about and looked a bit grumpy about to start off with!

Winner of Action Woman of the Year 2016 was mountain biker Rachel Atherton.  She won all seven rounds of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup this year and took the world title for the fourth time.

Boxing

Katie Taylor won her second professional bout against Viviane Obenauf of Brazil last week.  She won on points 60-53.

Obenauf was knocked down in the second round and also suffered a cut near her left eye, but she managed to take it distance before being outpointed.

Netball

It was announced this week that New Zealand will play Wales in two test matches in February 2017.

The two games will take place at the Sport Wales National Centre in Cardiff on 7 and 8 February.

Sports Personality of the Year 2016

Although the main event is not broadcast until 18 December, the winner of the Young Sports Personality of the Year award has already been announced.

Swimmer Ellie Robinson is this year’s winner.

She won a gold medal and a bronze at the Rio Paralympics aged just 15.

She won the S6 50m butterfly in a Games record time and broke the British record in the 100m freestyle to take bronze.

Earlier in the year Robinson had bagged one silver (50m butterfly) and three bronzes (50m, 100m and 400m freestyle) at the IPC European Championships.

Taekwondo

There was plenty of success for Britain’s women at the World Grand Prix Final in Baku last weekend.

Charlie Maddock set the ball rolling as she beat Olympic champion Sohui Kim in the -49kg to take gold.

Jade Jones and Bianca Walkden followed suit on Saturday as Jones beat Hedaya Malak of Egypt in the -57kg final and Walkden defeated Zheng Shuyin of China to take gold in the +67kg category.

Rachelle Booth lost to South Korea’s Lee Ah-reum in -62kg bronze-medal match.

Speed Skating

Great Britain’s Elise Christie won double gold at the World Cup event in Shanghai last weekend.

She won the first of two 500m races in 43.590 seconds and took the second in 42.590.

Christie leads the 500m overall ranking from Fan Kexin from China and Marianne St-Gelais of Canada.

Shanghai is the third in the series of World Cup events.  The fourth is in Gangneung, South Korea, from 16-18 December.

Golf

Shanshan Feng won a record fourth Dubai Ladies Masters at the weekend.  She took the title on -10, two ahead of England’s Charley Hull.

Going into the final round, Felicity Johnson was leading, but she faded in the last carding a three over 75 to finish six shots off the lead.

Cycling

The dispute between British Cycling and cyclist Jess Varnish continues.

After last week’s revelation that only one of nine of her complaints against Shane Sutton was upheld, Varnish has now requested that British Cycling release her personal data under the Data Protection Act so that she can see Sutton’s text messages and the organisation’s report into his conduct.

I feel there’s still probably plenty to come out of this story yet.

Football

Birmingham City Ladies

David Parker resigned as Birmingham City ladies’ manager on Monday.  He had been in charge for five years.

There was no delay in announcing his successor as the WSL1 club announced they have appointed Marc Skinner to the post.

Skinner had been director of the Blues Ladies’ centre of excellence.

Casey Stoney

After a period of silence it has been announced that former England captain, Casey Stoney, has signed for Liverpool Ladies.

She left Arsenal at the end of the season causing much speculation as to her future plans.

Liverpool manager Scott Rogers said,

“Her reading of the game and ability on the ball is fantastic so I have no doubt that she will prove to be a great signing for us.”

New rules for WSL2

It was announced this week that WSL2 will introduce relegation for the first time in the 2017-18 season, when the league swaps to a winter season.

This means that the bottom team will drop into the Women’s Premier League.

In other WSL news, the league has also revealed that applications for WSL licences for the 2018-19 season will only be open to the existing clubs.  If, however, a club fails to meet the specified criteria, other clubs will be allowed to apply.

FA funding will increase as follows:

WSL1 up to £92,500 (up from £70,000)

WSL2 up to 62,500 (up from £35,000)

Whilst any increase is welcome, make no mistake, this money is still just a drop in the ocean when it comes to running a WSL club. 

Nigeria’s continued protest

As I reported last week, the Nigerian women’s football team is currently fighting for outstanding payments due to them after they won the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations on 3 December.

On Tuesday, one of the players, quoted anonymously by the BBC, said that they are prepared to continue their sit-in at the Agura hotel until they receive all bonuses, believed to total £23,650 USD per player.

“We are tired of the lies and false promises from the NFF,”

The NFF is directly funded by the Nigerian government and is currently strapped for cash after Nigeria slipped into recession in August.

But the Super Falcons coach, Florence Omagbemi and her assistants have only received one month’s pay since March.

The NFF general secretary, Mohammed Sanusi, met with players and officials at the hotel on Tuesday. In a statement he said,

“The NFF is not happy owing players and coaches, but present severe economic challenges inform that it can only continue to seek the understanding of these persons, as well as hoteliers, travel agents, management and staff until the situation improves,”

“We know we have financial commitment to you (players and officials of Super Falcons) and we have not at any time stated otherwise. But the money is not readily available.

“I have come to appeal to you, to understand the situation of the federation, to understand the situation of the country at the present and exercise patience.

“We will pay you all monies you are being owed as soon as we receive same from the government.”

The stalemate continues.

And finally, I’m sure you’ve all seen it already but it’s three boos for the Football Association this week (God bless ‘em).

In their wisdom, the FA have revealed their ideas for attracting more girls into football.  The plan, posted on the Sussex FA website includes:

Pink whistles

Nice smelling bibs (we all want those, don’t we?)

Allowing girls breaks so they can check their phones.

Advertise “where girls go” such as “coffee shops or the backs of toilet doors”

Slogans to attract girls could include:

“You won’t even notice you’re getting fit!” and “Who needs Facebook friends?”

Not saying anything else.  Don’t need to, do I?

 

As I said at the beginning, that’s all for this year.  I’m currently writing a history of women’s field hockey for WiSP Sports, so please check in to read that if you’re so inclined.

Also next week, although there will be no column, I am publishing something which means a lot to me.  Earlier this year I interviewed someone and got some great copy.  I tried to sell the resultant article but to no avail.  Although he has now moved on from his post, the subject of the article has just read it and he loved it, so I would like to reproduce it on my site.  Look out for it – I’m really happy with it and I hope you like it too.

Hoping you all have a lovely, peaceful and sporting Christmas and let’s all wish for more sporting success in 2017

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Women’s Sports Column 19-25 November

boxing_gloves-2Welcome to this week’s column.  Don’t think I missed much last week – well I certainly didn’t read much anywhere else, so there couldn’t have been much going on.…

Anyway, stories this week come from golf, football, cricket, rugby, sports leadership, boxing and an “and finally” giving you the BT Action Woman Award shortlist (and wow, what a shortlist!).

Golf

Top billing this week goes to Britain’s Charley Hull who won her first LPGA tournament on Sunday.  She won the CME Group Tour Championship in Florida.

She finished her four rounds on -19, two ahead of South Korea’s Ryu So-yeon, with Jennifer Song of the US third on -15.

Fellow Britons Jodie Ewart Shadoff finished on -3 in a share of 36th place and Catriona Matthew level in 46th.

Hull had a one shot lead going into the final round.  She shot a fourth round 66 with six birdies and no bogeys to take the win with a tournament record score.

She took $500,000 in prize money and finishes the year as world number 29.

Boxing

In the ring

Katie Taylor makes her professional debut on Saturday at Wembley Arena.

She fights Poland’s Karina Kopinska.  Result and report next week.

Out of the ring

 Nicola Adams appeared on Desert Island Discs on Sunday 20 November on Radio 4.  If you missed it, it’s well worth a listen and is still available on the BBC I-player.

Football

On the pitch

Manchester City continued their great form (actually last week, but I feel I should report on it for the sake of continuity), as they made it into the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League.

They took a 1-0 first leg lead to Danish side Brondby and managed to secure a 1-1 draw away from home to take a 2-1 aggregate win.

In the 64th minute City took the lead through a fabulous curling shot from Toni Duggan, but the lead didn’t last long as Nanna Christiansen poked the ball in to make it 1-1.

City’s defences were not breached again and  they will now play in the last eight in March.

Off the pitch

Chelsea Ladies have signed Norway captain Maren Mjelde on a two year contract.

Mjelde, who plays in central midfield, has won 107 caps.  She will join the Blues on 1 January.

Football Association Women’s Football Awards

Jordan Nobbs was named England player of the year the FA Women’s Football Awards this week, while Chelsea’s Millie Bright was voted England young player of the year.

Manchester City manager Nick Cushing was named WSL manager of the year and City also won club of the year.

Manchester City defender Lucy Bronze took the WSL 1 player of the year.

Former England manager, Hope Powell, was also honoured, receiving the award for Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Football.

Cricket

On the pitch

England v Sri Lanka

England duly completed a 4-0 series whitewash over their much weaker opponents, sealing automatic qualification for next year’s World Cup in the process.

India v West Indies

After the home side took the three-match ODI series 3-0, it was West Indies turn in the three-match T20 series.

1st T20 18 November

India 150/4 (20 overs)
West Indies 154/4 (19.1 overs)

West Indies won by 6 wickets with 5 balls to spare.

2nd T20 20 November

West Indies 137/5 (20 overs)
India 106 all out (18.1 overs)

West Indies won by 31 runs

3rd T20 22 November

West Indies 139/4 (20 overs)
India 124/3 (20 overs)

West Indies won by 15 runs

New Zealand v Pakistan

New Zealand completed a clean sweep in their five-match ODI series against Pakistan.

They also played one T20 which they also won.

T20 ODI 21 November

New Zealand 118/9 (20 overs)
Pakistan 104 all out (20 overs)

New Zealand won by 14 runs

Australia v South Africa

With two more ODIs to play in a five-match series, Australia have already clinched it.  They won the first three:

1st ODI 18 November

South Africa 226/5 (50 overs)
Australia 230/8 (49.5 overst)

Australia won by 2 wickets with 1 ball remaining.

2nd ODI 20 November

Australia 278/4 (50 overs)
South Africa 119/5 (31.2 overs)

Australia won by 66 runs by D/L method

Meg Lanning scored 134 for Australia.

 3rd ODI 23 November

South Africa 173/8 (50 overs)
Australia 174/1 (27.1 overs)

Australia won by 9 wickets with 29 balls to spare.  Lizelle Lee made her maiden century, scoring 102 off 89 balls.

Off the pitch

The ICC has awarded Pakistan six points towards the ICC Women’s Championship for the three-match series that should have been played against India before the end of October.

The series was never played and so considered forfeited by the ICC.

This now means that both India and Pakistan will have to qualify for the World Cup as both are in the bottom four of the championship table.

The PCB was due to host the series in the UAE, but the BCCI did not respond to the PCB’s queries regarding the series and a scheduling agreement could not be reached.

The ten-team qualification tournament will take place in Colombo in February 2017.

It also means that West Indies gain the last automatic qualification place.

There are four World Cup places up for grabs and the qualification tournament participants will be: Pakistan, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Ireland, Papua New Guinea, Scotland, Thailand and Zimbabwe.

Rugby union

On the pitch

England 20 – 25 New Zealand
19 November

England lost a tight match to World Cup favourites, New Zealand, at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Rochelle “Rocky” Clark set a new international caps record as she won her 116th to beat the record held by Scotland’s Donna Kennedy.

On the field things didn’t go so well for the Red Roses.  England started confidently with Fiona Pocock scoring a try in the first minute.  It went unconverted.

The Black Ferns came back and scored a try through Renee Wickliffe just before half-time which was converted by Kendra Cocksedge to make it 7-5 to the visitors at the break.

England came out for the second-half with renewed vigour.  First Harriet Millar-Mills and then Lydia Thompson went over for two more tries and with one conversion by Katy McLean the score was 17-7 to the home side.

Enter Cocksedge again.  The scrum-half scored two tries in five minutes, converting one to take them ahead again 17-19.

Emily Scarratt then kicked a penalty for England and they were in front again on 20-19.

But New Zealand and Cocksedge were not to be outdone.  She kicked two late penalties to secure the win – the Black Ferns’ ninth in a row and their fifth unbeaten against England.

Ireland 7-48 Canada
19 November

Canada are currently second in the world rankings, and from this performance it’s easy to see why.

It was all over as a contest by half-time as Canada ran in tries from DaLeaka Menin, Julianne Zussman and Karen Paquin, all of which were converted by Andrea Burk.   Burk also popped over a penalty to make it 0-24 to the visitors at the break.

Seven minutes into the second half Ireland had their first score, a try from Nikki Caughey which she then converted.

But then normal service was resumed as Canada scored another four tries; Emily Belchos, Laura Russell, Magali Harvey and a second for Sussman.  Burk converted two from four to make the final score a chastening one for Ireland.

Canada 10-20 New Zealand
22 November

In a shoot-out between the top two the Black Ferns came out winners at Donnybrook on Tuesday.

It was 8-0 to New Zealand at half-time with an unconverted try from Selica Winiata and a penalty from Kendra Cocksedge.

In the second-half Canada scored a try of their own through Magali Harvey after an interception by Latoya Blackwood.  This went unconverted and the score was 5-8.

Almost immediately New Zealand were over again, this time through Aotearoa Mata’u.

Both sides were reduced to 14 after first Canada’s Brittany Waters and then New Zealand’s Eloise Blackwell were sin-binned.

Canada’s Laura Russell came off a driving maul to go over the line to bring the score back to 10-15 with 15 minutes left.

But New Zealand struck straight back once more.  Cocksedge missed a penalty, but Winiata scored her second try of the match to seal the win for the Black Ferns.

Remaining Fixtures:

26 Nov: England v Canada (Twickenham Stadium)
27 Nov: Ireland v New Zealand (The Bowl, Dublin)

Sports politics and leadership

Christine Ohuruogu has commented on the barriers faced for BAME people wanting to get into sports administration – male or female.  We already know how hard it is for women to get onto sports boards or into senior administrative roles.  You can multiply this several times when you add ethnicity to the mix.

Sporting Equals, an organisation that promotes ethnic diversity in sport has completed an audit and found that of 601 board members, just 26 (just over 4%) are from BAME backgrounds.   Only two chairs or chief executives are from BAME backgrounds.

When interviewed, Ohuruogu said,

“Talking to other athletes and sportspeople, they are expressing concern that it is a world not open for them.

“They won’t be welcomed, won’t be valued and it is very negative. They have gone as far as they can as athletes but they don’t feel there is any more room for them to go.”

The scary thing (if these figures were not scary enough) is that the 26 board members figure is UP BY 17 from last year!

It is in everyone’s interest that wider society is reflected in the boards and organisations that run our sports.  While my main is to campaign for greater inclusion for women, it is good to be reminded that there are other groups who also need a voice.

And finally,

The BT Action Woman 2016 shortlist is out.  And what a list it is!  It has been a stellar year for women’s sport and this shortlist reflects some of the best performances, breakthroughs and results of the year.

The shortlist is:

Nicola Adams

Defended her Olympic boxing title in Rio, the first British boxer to do so since 1924.

Rachel Atherton

Won all seven rounds of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup and the world title for the fouth time.

Hannah Cockcroft

Three more sprint gold medals from Rio to add to her Paralympic tally.

Kadeena Cox

The first British Paralympian to win golds in multiple sports in the same Games for 32 years.  She won gold on the track in the T-38 400m and then in the cycling C4-5 time trial.

Charlotte Dujardin

Defended her individual dressage gold in Rio, taking her total to three Olympic golds.

Maddie Hinch

GB’s hockey goalkeeping superstar helped her team to win gold in Rio.  She save four penalties in the final shootout against Netherlands.

Jade Jones

Another woman who successfully defended her Olympic title in Rio.  She took -57kg gold, to be the first British athlete to win more than one taekwondo Olympic medal.

Johanna Konta

The first British female tennis player to reach the world top 10 since 1984.  Won her first title on the WTA tour in Stanford, beating Venus Williams in the final.  Truly a breakthrough year.

Dame Sarah Storey

Overtook Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson as Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian after winning the C5 3000m individual pursuit gold medal to take her total to 14 golds.

Laura Kenny ( formerly Trott)

Britain’s most successful female Olympian.  She repeated her London golds in the omnium and team pursuit to have a total of four.

To vote for your favourite, go to http://sport.bt.com/vote-action-woman-2016-01364108169407. The closing date is 5 December, with the awards ceremony, shown live on BT Sport 1 on Monday 12 December.

Women’s Sports Column 23-29 July

CiUasEcWsAAh-HkWelcome to this week’s column. Apologies for the lack of a column last week, but some of you may have seen I was invited to the Isle of Wight to watch the Magenta Project giving some professional female sailors the chance to sail a 32ft foiling catamaran. And most exciting it was too. Hopefully, if someone is interested enough, they will take the resulting article from me and you will all be able to read it. It’s such a great story and deserves to be spread far and wide.

Anyway, enough self promotion. This week I have stories from tennis, rugby union, football, cycling, golf, an Olympic snippet, cricket and a good-news “And finally” to send you into the weekend happy.

After her disappointing second round defeat at Wimbledon, Joanna Konta came storming back this week to win her first WTA title when she beat Venus Williams 7-5 5-7 6-2 in the Stanford Classic in California.

She looked to be cruising at 7-5 4-1, but Venus is never one to give up. She came back to win six out of the next seven games and take it to a deciding set.

Konta took the title on her third match point.

Her good form has continued into the Rogers Cup this week. She is now into the quarter finals after she beat American qualifier Vania King 7-5 6-1 in the third round and Varvara Lepchenko 6-3 6-2 in the fourth. Lepchenko beat British number three Naomi Broady in the first round, 6-4 3-6 6-3.

 

Stunning news from rugby union this week as the RFU announced that they will be awarding 48 professional contracts to England women players for the season 2016/17. After the Olympics in Rio, 16 players will be awarded full-time contracts to focus on 15-a side rugby. An additional 16 players will receive part-time contracts to focus on sevens. Then 16 short-term contracts will be awarded to allow players to attend residential camps ahead of major tournaments such as the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup.

In making the announcement, RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie said,

 “The RFU is committed to supporting the growth of women’s rugby. We are immensely proud of England Women’s achievements and we want to provide the best support to continue this success.

“More women and girls in this country are playing rugby than ever before and England Women are important role models to encourage more people to try our sport.”

This is a seismic shift in the position of women’s rugby in England and will be key in the build-up to the World Cup in Ireland in 2017. Mind you, it also means that big things will be expected of the squad – if they could win the World Cup without contracts, what should they be able to do with them?

 

The Women’s Under-19s Euros have been taking place in Slovakia over the past two weeks – who knew? (and the answer to that is no-one if you just follow the mainstream sports media)

The teams into the final tournament group stage were France, Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Austria. France finished top of group A and played runners up in group B, Switzerland, in the semi-final. Spain topped group B and played Switzerland, runners up in Group A, in their semi-final.

28 July

France 3-1 Switzerland

Switzerland took the lead just before half-time through Géraldine Reuteler. But an inspired substitution from France saw replacement Clara Mateo score in the 46th minute, set up another for Marie-Antoinette Katato in the 50th and put away the third and her second in the 54th minute to secure their place in the final.

Spain 4-3 Netherlands

The other semi-final was a thriller. Netherlands took the lead twice before succumbing to a hat-trick from Spain’s star striker Sandra Hernàndez.

Suzanne Admiraal scored the first for Netherlands in the 22nd minute, but Hernàndez struck back almost immediately to make it 1-1. Netherlands then took the lead for a second time through Jill Roord, but 10 minutes later Hernàndez scored her second to level it once again. Spain then made it 3-2 through defender Marta Cazalla, with Hernàndez completing her hat-trick in the 81st minute. Michelle Hendriks got a third for Netherlands, but it was nothing more than a consolation and Spain had booked their place in Sunday’s final.

The final is on Sunday 31 July. There is an excellent UEFA website dedicated to this tournament. If you would like to read more about it, here’s the link: http://www.uefa.com/womensunder19/

 

In the FAWSL Manchester City are looking more and more unbeatable. They demolished Notts County at Meadow Lane 5-1 to maintain their unbeaten record with 23 points from nine games – seven wins and two draws.

Notts County Ladies 1-5 Manchester City Women

City took the lead after just five minutes through Jane Ross. On 25 minutes Jill Scott doubled the lead with a header. It was 4-0 at half-time when Ross scored a second on 41 and in injury time Georgia Stanway made it four. After half time, County pulled one back through a penalty, scored by Jess Clarke, but it was not to be the start of a comeback and Izzy Christiansen scored City’s fifth to inflict County’s worst defeat in the Women’s Super League.

Chelsea Ladies 4-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

Still no joy for the Belles as Chelsea ran out comfortable winners at Staines Town. Eni Aluko scored the first after 13 minutes, but this was the only goal in the first half and Doncaster must have gone in at the break with hope. However, they were unable to penetrate in the second half and Chelsea doubled their lead in the 68th minute through Ji So-Yun. Aluko got her second with seven minutes to go, and Beth England completed the rout in the 89th. Belles are still winless, and indeed pointless, after six games.

Sunderland AFC Ladies 0-4 Arsenal Ladies

Early goals seem to be key to success, if this week’s results are anything to go by. Arsenal struck in the 10th minute through Vicky Losada. Jordan Nobbs made it two with a stunning strike on 24 after a fine passing move with Dan Carter at the heart of it. After the break, Carter herself grabbed a goal and Fara Williams the fourth for Arsenal from the penalty spot in the 53rd minute, after missing another penalty earlier in the game.

Reading FC Women1-1 Birmingham City Ladies

Reading were denied their first Super League win by German international, Isabelle Linden, who scored her first goal in English football on Sunday. Melissa Fletcher put the home side in front with a header early in the second half. Birmingham’s equaliser came on the 73rd minute and the points were shared.

Sunday 24 July 2016

FA WSL 2

Yeovil Town Ladies FC 4-0 Durham Women FC
Oxford United Women 0-1 Everton Ladies FC
Sheffield FC Ladies 2-2 Millwall Lionesses
Watford Ladies FC 0-2 Aston Villa Ladies FC

Saturday 23 July 2016

FA WSL 2

Bristol City Women 3-0 London Bees

 

The International Crown golf tournament was won by United States this week. This biennial competition, played in even-numbered years, is contested by eight countries determined by the World Ranking of the top four players from each country. Countries must have a minimum of four ranked players to be eligible. The top four ranked players from each qualifying country should make up their team, but if a player chooses not to or is unable to play, their place should be taken by the next ranking player.

The competition takes place over four days. It comprises three days of four-ball rounds and one of singles. After the four-balls, the bottom three countries are eliminated.

The eight countries finished in the following order: USA, Korea, England, Chinese Taipei, Japan, China, Thailand and Australia. The last three on this were eliminated after the four-balls.

England led after the first round of four-balls, but couldn’t maintain their good form. USA finished the tournament on 13 points, with Korea second on 12. England and Chinese Taipei tied for third on 11. The England team was made up of Charley Hull, Melissa Reid, Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Holly Clyburn.

 

It’s the Women’s British Open at Woburn this week and it’s good to see it on terrestrial TV. Check it out on BBC2 if you get the chance.

After the first round the leaderboard is as follows:

10 M Lee (Kor); -7 A Jutanugarn (Tha); -6 S Feng (Chn); -5 S Lewis (US), MH Lee (Kor)

Selected others:

-3 C Hull (Eng); -2 C Matthew (Sco), B Law (Eng); -1 JE Shadoff (Eng); +1 C Woods (US), L Young (Eng); +2 L Davies (Eng), L Ko (NZ)

South Korea’s Mirim Lee made a storming start with a course-record 10 under 62. She is already three shots ahead of Ariya Jutanugam of Thailand with Shanshan Feng a further stroke behind in third. England’s Charley Hull, playing on her home course, had a steady start and is currently tied 11th on three under par.

 

In cycling, the 89km-long La Course took place on Sunday in Paris. Australian Chloe Hosking sprinted away down the Champs Élysées to win with Finland’s Lotta Lepisto in second and Marianne Vos third.

The 13-lap race included several crashes, one of which involved Hosking’s Wiggle High5 teammate, Briton Dani King.

An interesting Olympic snippet has emerged this week. For the first time, the Australian team will have more men than women competing. It was a close-run thing, but the late expulsion of the Russian women’s rowing eight meant that the Australian squad was called-up as replacement.

The team now comprises 212 women and 207 men.

“It’s a very strong statement that shows women’s sport is genuine sport,” said Australian Olympic team boss Kitty Chiller.

“It’s about time the female athletes were given the credit, recognition and accolades they so richly deserve.”

I think we all agree with that, don’t we?

 

I wouldn’t be doing my cricket-promoting-loving job if I didn’t give one more plug to the Kia Super League, which starts on Saturday. The ECB has been on overdrive over the last fortnight, getting the women on TV, radio and in print wherever they can. Pity it hasn’t been a bit more of a consistent build-up to keep people thinking about it, but there we go. I’m hoping it’s not panic on the ECB’s behalf – I haven’t heard anything about ticket sales.

My WSUK colleague Simon Cafferty and I have previewed the six teams for WSUK; here’s the link http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/.

It’s no secret that I’m backing my local team, Loughborough Lightning, for the title (which has probably put the mockers on them). I would encourage my readers to get out and see a game if they can. It’s not on television (scandal, no room to talk about that here), but there are several matches on Test Match Special on 5Live Sports Xtra.

Here are the fixtures again:

Sat 30 Jul Yorkshire Diamonds v Loughborough Lightning (Headingley 14.30)

Sun 31 Jul Southern Vipers v Surrey Stars (Ageas Bowl 14.00)

Sun 31 Jul Western Storm v Lancashire Thunder (Taunton 14.30)

Wed 3 Aug Loughborough Lightning v Lancashire Thunder (Haslegrave 16.30)

Thurs 4 Aug Surrey Stars v Yorkshire Diamonds (Kia Oval 18.30pm)

Fri 5 Aug Lancashire Thunder v Southern Vipers (Stanley Park, Blackpool 14.30)

Fri 5 Aug Loughborough Lightning v Western Storm (Haslegrave 16.30)

Sun 7 Aug Western Storm v Surrey Stars (Bristol 14.30pm)

Mon 8 Aug Southern Vipers v Yorkshire Diamonds (Ageas Bowl 14.00)

Tues 9 Aug Surrey Stars v Lancashire Thunder (Guildford 14.30pm)

Fri 12 Aug Loughborough Lightning v Surrey Stars (Haslegrave 16.30pm)

Fri 12 Aug Western Storm v Southern Vipers (Taunton 17.00)

Fri 12 Aug Lancashire Thunder v Yorkshire Diamonds (Old Trafford 18.00)

Sun 14 Southern Vipers v Loughborough Lightning (Ageas Bowl 14.00)

Sun 14 Yorkshire Diamonds v Western Storm (Headingley 14.30)

 

Finals day is Sunday 21 August at the Essex County Ground, Chelmsford.

 

And finally, doctors gave her just a 1% chance of survival following a motorbike accident in Vietnam, but now Scottish judoka Stephanie Inglis is going home.

In the accident she suffered two neck fractures and a serious head injury. Whilst in hospital she contracted infections including pneumonia and septicaemia. She’s had deep vein thrombosis and was also unable to talk after undergoing a tracheotomy.

She has been in Edinburgh hospital for six weeks, but now returns to Inverness to continue her recovery.

A crowdfunding campaign, set up by her judo teammate and friend Khalid Ghelan, raised over £304,000 to help pay for her treatment in Bangkok.

She obviously has a fearsome amount of determination;

“My physio is helping me improve every day, I’m feeling much more confident on my feet plus I have an occupational therapist and a speech and language therapist, so I think my speech is back to normal.”

What can I say that won’t sound trite or insincere? Inspirational, humbling: definitely. And with that kind of drive and courage, who’s to say she can’t return to the top? A great way to end this week’s column.