Welcome to this week’s column. Only one top story this week and it’s not the one I was hoping for. England were comprehensively outplayed by Australia in the first of their three T20s and Australia have, as a result, retained The Ashes with two games to spare. Details to follow. Hopefully this week’s offering will be a bit less controversial than last week’s, but there are still things to be said!
Stories this week come from cricket, football, rugby league, rugby union, hockey, winter sports and cycling.
Let’s crack on…
The joy of the summer’s World Cup win is officially over and we England cricket fans are now in mourning once again as Australia retained the Ashes this week.
The Test at the North Sydney Oval ended in a draw. No space here to discuss the pros and cons of it, but suffice it to say, the surface was not conducive to producing a result, which was not fair to the excellent crowd present and viewing/listening. Thus there then proceeded a raft of discussion about the merits (or otherwise) of Test match cricket in the women’s game. “No appetite for it”, “Not going to be a major feature any time soon”, etc, etc, yelled the governing bodies. Rubbish. The players want it, the viewers want it, the crowds want it. The only ones who don’t want it are the administrators. They can’t be bothered to schedule it in. And, crucially, they can’t be bothered to spend the money to host it. I could go on – and I will at another time, but here are the match details:
England 280 all out
Australia 448/9 declared
Ellyse Perry was the standout superstar of this game. She scored 213 not out in Australia’s first innings total of 448. But the pitch did no-one any favours and it was always going to be hard for Australia to get 10 wickets in a day and an hour. The England openers managed to see off a tricky night session to remain unbeaten going into day four. Winfield (34) and Beaumont (37) built a platform that Knight and Elwiss took on, finishing undefeated on 79 and 41 respectively.
First T20 17 November
England 132/9 (20 overs)
Australia 134/4 (15.5 overs)
It was never enough. England rallied late on but a score of 132 was never going to be enough to worry the Aussies. A disastrous opening saw England slump to 16/4. Knight lasted two balls before she was caught behind by Healy. Taylor was then given out to a ridiculous lbw decision – too high and possibly down leg side – apart from that it had everything going for it (!). Brunt was culpable, though, a first ball slash and another catch for the excellent Healy. Wyatt showed some resistance, building a partnership with Sciver. But when she was run out on 50, it all went to pot again. The Aussies also dropped five catches – things could have been much worse.
The batting was poor, not confident enough, not enough push and the Southern Stars would have been rubbing their hands and desperate to get out there to knock the total off.
And they did. A fine 86 from Beth Mooney was enough to see them home. The ball crashed to the boundary with monotonous regularity. The bowlers huffed and puffed, but to no avail. Brunt was off-key all day and suffered badly, conceding 33 in three overs.
Well done to Australia. They outplayed England from the beginning of the game, and indeed, the beginning of the series.
The two remaining T20s are:
Sunday 19 November, Manuka Oval Canberra – 03.35 (GMT)
Tuesday 21 November, Manuka Oval Canberra – 8.10 (GMT)
Possibly as a distraction manoeuvre, the ECB released England’s fixtures for 2018 this week, so let’s look ahead to the summer:
Royal London ODIs v South Africa
9 June: First ODI, New Road, Worcester (11am)
12 June: Second ODI, The 1st Central County Ground, Hove (D/N) (1pm)
15 June: Third ODI, Canterbury (D/N) (2pm)
IT20 Tri-Series – England, South Africa and New Zealand
20 June: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, South Africa v New Zealand, 1pm; England v South Africa, 5:40pm
23 June: The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, England v South Africa, 1pm; England v New Zealand, 5:40pm
28 June: The Brightside Ground, Bristol, South Africa v New Zealand, 1pm; England v New Zealand, 5:40pm
1 July: Final, The Cloud FM County Ground, Chelmsford (3pm)
Royal London ODIs v New Zealand
7 July: First ODI, Emerald Headingley (11am)
10 July: Second ODI, The 3aaa County Ground, Derby (D/N) (1pm)
13 July: Third ODI, The Fischer County Ground, Grace Road (D/N) (2pm)
Tickets on sale from 12 December
England’s women began their World Cup campaign with a fine win over the PNG Orchids.
England 36-18 PNG Orchids
Tries from Hoyle, Hardcastle, Stanley, Booth (2), Bound, Sutcliffe and goals from: Stanley (4) saw England home in their first match. PNG’s scores came from tries from Kaupa and Oiufa.
In the other opening games Australia defeated Cook Islands 58-4 and New Zealand beat Canada 50-4.
England’s next game is against Australia on Sunday 19 November.
On the Pitch
It was back to league action last weekend with a full programme of WSL1 and WSL2 matches. Here are the scores:
Saturday 11 November
Yeovil Town 0-2 Everton Ladies
Liverpool Ladies 1-0 Birmingham City Ladies
Sunday 12 November
Reading Women 2-2 Chelsea Ladies
Arsenal 3-0 Sunderland Ladies
Manchester City Women 4-0 Bristol City Women
Durham Women 0-0 London Bees
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-0 Sheffield FC
Aston Villa Ladies 4-0 Watford Ladies
Millwall Lionesses 1-0 Oxford United Women
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1-4 Doncaster Rovers Belles
So in WSL1 Chelsea drop their first points of the season at Reading. They are replaced at the top of the table by unbeaten Manchester City with 15 points from five games. Chelsea are second with 13 and Arsenal third on 10. At the bottom Yeovil are still yet to claim a point. One up from them are Everton with three, after taking their first points of the season in beating the bottom side on Saturday.
In WSL2 Doncaster Rovers Belles lead the way with 11 points from five games. Durham, Millwall and Brighton are just behind on 10. At the bottom beleaguered Watford have just one point from five as do London Bees. Aston Villa took their first points of the season against Watford.
Manchester City and Chelsea eased into the Champions League quarter-finals this week. And not to denigrate the earlier rounds, but here they cannot avoid meeting the big teams.
The round of 16 second leg results this week were:
Wolfsburg 3-3 Fiorentina
Wolfsburg through 7-3 on aggregate
Rosengård 0-1 Chelsea
Chelsea through 4-0 on aggregate
No score at half-time but in the 53rd minute Crystal Dunn put Ji So-Yun through to score for Chelsea and confirm their passage into the quarter-finals.
Lyon 9 (nine)-0 BIIK Kazygurt
Lyon through 16-0 on aggregate
Linköping 3-0 Sparta Praha
Linköping through 4-0 on aggregate
Barcelona 3-0 Gintra
Barcelona through 9-0
Montpellier 6-0 Brescia
Montpellier through 9-2 on aggregate
Slavia Praha 0-0 Stjarnan
Slavia Praha through 2-1 on aggregate
Manchester City 2-1 LSK Kvinner
Manchester City through 7-1 on aggregate
LSK took the lead in the second leg through Marie Berget, but the comeback really was never on. A minute into the second-half Izzy Christiansen and Nikita Parris scored the second for City to take the win and a place in the quarter-finals. Defender Megan Campbell (she of the long throw) was stretchered off for City, which will be of some concern.
The quarter-final draw is on 24 November. News next week.
We’re coming to the business end of the Conti Cup with the quarter-finalists almost decided. The teams already qualified are Sunderland, Arsenal, Reading and Liverpool.
This week the scores were:
Liverpool Ladies 5-1 Aston Villa Ladies
Reading Women 4-0 London Bees
Yeovil Town Ladies 0-2 Bristol City Women
Sheffield FC Ladies 1-1 Sunderland AFC Ladies
Everton Ladies 4-0 Oxford United Women
Watford Ladies 0-6 Arsenal
Special mention to Reading this week as their game, marketed brilliantly and played at the Madejski Stadium drew a crowd of 2,110. Fabulous for a mid-week Conti Cup match. Well done to all at Reading.
Off the Pitch
After the doom and gloom of last week, it’s good to bring you details this week of some clubs who are going to apply for a WSL licence.
London Bees announced this week that it is to apply. A club statement said,
“London Bees has strategic planning to achieve growth, sustainability, increased financial investment and the exponential support for its players and staff. Our approach will promote effective use of the Grade A facilities here at The Hive London with new and exciting developments to the infrastructure, including a brand new Medical Centre.
“London Bees are delighted that new developments to our match day experience has led to increased attendances thanks to direct links with our community projects which reach across the county. We are proud to continue working with our existing partners and FA sister clubs as well as sponsors Canons High School for the coming seasons as we push the club to the next level.”
And after it looked as if it was not going to happen, Yeovil Town Ladies are also putting in a bid,
“After a lengthy and very detailed process of collaborative thinking and working with a number of interested parties, Yeovil Town Ladies FC has today submitted what it considers to be a very strong submission for a Tier One application for the 2018/19 season, to continue to play football at the elite level of the women’s game.
“The collaborative approach will not only see full-time players training 19.25 hours per week (rising to 20.25 in the 2020 season), but it also has a strong mission and vision, for the new academy programme.
“With an already strong and established partnership with Bridgwater and Taunton College, this will see the education partners not only become an essential part for the clubs future elite players, whereby players aged sixteen plus can study and play, but it also becomes the clubs full time training ground, with access to grass pitches, 3G, gym, performance lab, medical room, classrooms, analysis suite, plus more.
“Furthermore, the club has devised a strategic plan, which will focus on building its links even more in the community, with plans to engage with 20,000 children in the 2018/19 season.
“The application relies solely on developing and growing its own financial resources and is based on long term self sustainability which the Club has always placed at the heart of its ethos. It is not reliant in any way on any investment from Yeovil Town Football Club, which is named as the parent Club in the application.”
Next week sees the first of two World Cup qualifiers for England. They play Bosnia & Herzegovina at the Banks’s Stadium, Walsall on Friday 24 November. Kick-off is 7.05pm.
On Tuesday 28 they play Kazakhstan at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in Colchester. Kick- off is also 7.05pm.
Mo Marley has already named her squad:
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading), Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Defenders: Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Jess Carter (Birmingham City), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Liverpool)
Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Reading), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Reading), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Danielle Carter (Arsenal), Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Melissa Lawley (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal).
Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson have been handed their first senior call-ups.
Tickets are still available for both games. See here for details.
Last weekend’s Tyrell’s Premier 15s results were as follows:
Richmond Women 5-43 Harlequins Ladies
Saracens Women 44-19 DMP Sharks
Worcester Valkyries 5-51Wasps Ladies
Gloucester-Hartpury Women 29-22 Firwood Waterloo Ladies
Bristol Ladies 8-12 Loughborough Lightning
England’s women will receive a match fee for the first time this autumn. They have come to an agreement with the RFU and Rugby Players’ Association.
The figures have not been released but will apply to the three match series against Canada, which begins this Friday at Allianz Park.
Let’s face it, it won’t make up for the scrapping of contracts for the 15-a-side players, but it is a start.
The Old Mutual Wealth Series fixtures:
Game 1: 17 November, Aliianz Park 19.30
Game 2: 21 November, Twickenham Stoop 19.45
Game 3: 25 November, Twickenham 17.40 (after the men’s game against Samoa)
Coverage is via the England Rugby website, and allegedly, although it took me a long, long time to find it, the BBC will have radio coverage via their website.
Munster 0-19 Barbarians
Players from eight countries took part in the Barbarians’ first match in Limerick. In the first-half the visitors took the lead through a penalty try as Munster stood up in the scrum and then prevented Kelly Russell from playing the ball.
In the second-half Irish prop Ailis Egan went over after a sustained drive. It was converted by Player of the Match, Megan Goddard.
The Barbarians’ third came from the best move of the match. The Baa-baas turned the ball over on their own 22, Nora Stapleton and Christelle LeDuff working the ball down the left wing to put England’s Georgina Roberts away to score.
Track Cycling World Cup
Great Britain’s women won two golds and a silver at this, the second of five World Cup events, in Manchester last weekend.
Elinor Barker and Katie Archibald started the ball rolling on Saturday with a win in the madison. The beat current world champions, Belgium, by two points with Italy third. They then teamed up with Emily Nelson and Neah Evans to take gold in the team pursuit, beating the Italian team in the final by almost five seconds.
Archibald also took silver in the omnium with American Jennifer Valente taking gold.
In other events Katy Marchant and Sophie Capewell reached the semi-final of the women’s team sprint, but lost to Germany.
Emily Kay was seventh in the scratch race, which was won by Rachele Barbieri of Italy. Eleanor Dickinson finished eleventh and Hayley Jones of Wales twelfth.
Round three takes place in Milton, Canada from 1-3 December.
Katie Ormerod won silver at the first Big Air World Cup event of the season in Milan last weekend.
She had let going into the final round, but Anna Gasser of Austria snatched victory from her, pushing her into second.
But bad news from bobsleigh this week as Donna Creighton has announced her retirement from the sport.
Creighton was the pilot of the second team that was trying to raise £30,000 to compete at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in February 2018. Unfortunately, while Mica McNeill and Mica Moore succeeded in their bid, Creighton’s bid raised only £12,000 by the deadline.
With the failure of the crowdfunding bid, Creighton has taken the difficult and distressing decision to call it a day.
Elise Christie and Charlotte Gilmartin are both through to the semi-finals of the 1500m at the World Cup event in Seoul this weekend. They are drawn in separate heats in the semis which take place on Friday 17 November.
Christie is also through to the quarter-final of the 500m and both are through to the quarter-final of the 100m where they are both drawn in heat two.
News of how they got on next week.
Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Last weekend’s results were as follows:
University of Birmingham 4-1 Leicester
Surbiton 1-2 Buckingham
Canterbury 1-0 Bowdon
Clifton Robinsons 3-4 East Grinstead
Holcombe 3-0 Slough
After eight games Surbiton and University of Birmingham are joint top on 16 points. They cannot even be separated on goal difference or goals scored! Buckingham lie third, just a point behind. Canterbury are at the bottom on five points from eight games, with Bowdon and Leicester above them on seven, with Leicester two better on goal difference.
You will all know by now, that to me cricket is more dear to me than life, so I make no apologies for this: come on England (men), you have to beat those Aussies. This is even more poignant now that the women have so horribly failed in their attempt to regain the women’s version. So, Root, Cook, Anderson, et al, I am relying on you for this winter not to be a complete disaster.