Welcome to this week’s column. Plenty to get through yet again this week. So here we go. Stories and news this week come from football, tennis, netball, squash, cricket, golf, rugby league, motorsport and cycling.
Let’s crack on.
Motorsport – the W Series
History was made last weekend as the women-only W Series began in Hockenheim.
Britain’s Jamie Chadwick won the first race with compatriot Alice Powell in second with Marta Garcia of Spain in third. Chadwick had been on form all weekend; she was fastest in both rounds of qualifying and took pole by two seconds.
Races to come:
Round 2 – Belgium
Zolder, 17-19 May
Round 3 – Italy
Misano 7-9 June
Round 4 – Germany
Norisring, 5-7 July
Round 5 – Netherlands
Assen, 19-21 July
Round 6 – UK
Brands Hatch, 10-11 August
Tennis – on the Court
Jil Teichmann defeated Karolina Muchova in the final of the Prague Open. It went to a deciding set and the final score was 7-6 3-6 6-4.
Meanwhile in Rabat, Jo Konta missed out on a first title of 2019, losing in the final to Maria Sakkari of Greece 2-6 6-4 6-1. Konta was a set and a break up, but Sakkari came back and in the end was too strong for Konta in the final set.
This week the tennis world moves to Madrid. Sam Stosur went out in the qualifiers. Caroline Wozniacki retired during her first round match. Fourteenth seed, Anett Kontaveit, went out Aliaksandra Sasnovich in three sets after taking the first set 6-0. Thirteenth seed Madison Keys was also defeated in the round of 64, losing to Sorana Cirstea 3-6 6-4 6-1.
We are now at the semi-final stage. Number one seed and world number one Naomi Osaka crashed out at the quarter-final stage, losing out to Belinda Bencic in three sets 3-6 6-2 7-5.
Bencic faces third seed Simona Halep, while in the other semi, Sloane Stephens (8) plays Kiki Bertens (7). More news on how it all panned out next week.
Tennis – off the Court
Britain’s number two, Katie Boulter, has withdrawn from the French Open. She will miss the rest of the clay court season with a back injury.
Football – World Cup
Phil Neville has named his squad for the World Cup which begins on 7 June.
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Man City), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Man Utd), Steph Houghton (captain, Man City), Abbie McManus (Man City), Demi Stokes (Man City) Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Jade Moore (Reading), Jill Scott (Man City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Keira Walsh (Man City)
Forwards: Toni Duggan (Barcelona) Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Man City), Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign), Ellen White (Birmingham City)
No sign of the Scotland squad announcement as yet.
FA Cup Final
Manchester City 3-0 West Ham United
In the end West Ham were well beaten, but they gave Manchester City a few scares along the way, fighting with every breath until the final whistle.
The first-half was tight with the underdogs matching City in every department.
But the pace and pressure told in the second-half as West Ham tired and Manchester City took advantage.
Keira Walsh hit City’s first from outside the penalty area on 52 minutes. Georgia Stanway doubled the lead on 81 and Lauren Hemp hit the third two minutes from time.
With their win, City completed the domestic cup double, having won the Continental Cup final against Arsenal on penalties in February.
West Ham can certainly take great heart from their performance. They competed well for the majority of the match and they have come a long way from those uncertain days when then manager Julian Dicks had to plead for every scrap of kit, every resource and any recognition at all.
One disappointment was that the crowd, although a good one at 43,264, was nearly two thousand down on that at last season’s final. Not quite sure what went on there – I had heard 52k being bandied about in the days leading up to the match.
One player Manchester City will not have next season it seems is Nikita Parris. She is out of contract at the end of the season, and the word is she is looking to follow England stars such as Lucy Bronze and Izzy Christiansen in a move abroad. Both Lyon and Bayern Munich are thought to be interested in signing her.
Just one result to report and what a score!
Yeovil Town 0-8 Chelsea
England 4’ 27’ 47’, Cuthbert 16’ 51’, Engman 28’, Kirby 84’ 87’
Chelsea are now up to third in the table. Bristol City have played their 20 games, everyone else has one game left to play, which takes place this Saturday, 11 May at 12.30pm.
The final round of Championship matches also take place on Saturday, 11 May and start at 5.30pm.
After the eighteenth and final round of the regular season we now know the final four teams contesting the semi-finals this Saturday, 11 May.
Final round results:
Loughborough Lightning 67-56 Celtic Dragons
Saracens Mavericks 50-45 Strathclyde Sirens
Team Bath 72-50 London Pulse
Severn Stars 45-60 Wasps Netball
Surrey Storm 55-60 Manchester Thunder
Wasps finished six points ahead of the field with 45 points from 18 games. Manchester Thunder, Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning all finished with 39 in second, third and fourth respectively on points difference.
As I said, the semi-finals are this Saturday and both are live on Sky Sports
Wasps Netball v Loughborough Lightning (5pm, Warwick University Sport & Wellness Hub)
Manchester Thunder v Team Bath (7pm, Wright Robinson College)
The third-place play-off and grand final are on Saturday 18 May, at the Copper Box. Both Games live on Sky Sports from 3pm.
I know it’s a bit redundant to say this to you knowledgeable sports-lovers out there, but don’t forget this is not the end of the netball for this year. The World Cup is coming! It all begins in Liverpool on Friday 12 July.
Tour de Yorkshire
Marianne Vos ended the two-stage Tour de Yorkshire as overall victor as she won the second stage from Bridlington to Scarborough.
Lorena Wibes, also of the Netherlands, had won the first stage. Christine Majerus of Luxembourg was second, with Alison Jackson (Can), Roxane Fournier (Fra) and Lisa Brennauer (Ger) third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Vos led a three-rider break with Mavi Garcia and Soraya Paladin during the second stage. She eventually outsprinted them to take the stage and the overall title.
Second stage result: 1. Marianne Vos (Ned) 3hrs 59mins 16secs, 2. Mavi Garcia (Spa) Same time, 3. Soraya Paladin (Ita), 4. Christine Majerus (Lux), 5. Amanda Spratt (Aus).
This led to a final classification of:
- Marianne Vos (Ned) 7hrs 34mins 27secs
- Mavi Garcia (Spa) +7secs
- Soraya Paladin (Ita) +9secs
- Christine Majerus (Lux) +1min 28secs
- Amanda Spratt (Aus) +1min 35sec
Of the British riders, the top three finishers were Hannah Barnes in eighth, Elizabeth Banks ninth, and Georgi Pfeiffer eighteenth. Lizzie Deignan, in her first competition since giving birth in September, finished twenty-ninth.
Coral Challenge Cup
It was the first round of the Challenge Cup at the weekend, with the big sides yet to enter the competition. The results from Sunday were:
Rochdale Hornets 12-56 Barrow
Halifax 24-14 Hull KR
Featherstone Lionesses 18-48 Stanningley
Widnes Vikings 16-14 Oulton Raidettes
Keighley Albion 26-22 Hull FC
Army RL 34-12 Huddersfield Giants
RAF Ladies 28-18 Leigh Miners Rangers Ladies
The next round is on Sunday 26 May and we are back to league action this weekend.
I hope you all took advantage of the Bank Holiday to get out and see some women’s county cricket. Last weekend’s divisions one and two were as follows:
Hampshire 131 all out (6 pts) lost to Yorkshire 190 all out (17 pts)
Kent 233/3 (18 pts) beat Warwickshire 232 all out (5 pts)
Surrey 241/7 (8 pts) lost to Lancashire 242/9 (17 pts)
Sussex 127 all out (6 pts) lost to Nottinghamshire 150 all out (17 pts)
Berkshire 296/4 (18 pts) beat Worcestershire 77 all out (2 pts)
Devon 136/7 (17 pts) beat Cricket Wales 132 all out (5 pts)
Somerset 269/6 (18 pts) beat Durham Cricket Board 103 all out (4 pts)
For all fixtures please check out here.
Three from four of the matches in Jaipur have been played with the results so far:
Trailblazers 140/5 (20 overs)
Supernovas 138/6 (20 overs)
Trailblazers won by two runs
Trailblazers lost Suzie Bates for just one but Smriti Mandhana showed her class to put on 90 from just 67 balls, ably supported by Harleen Deol, who scored 36 from 44. Deol fell in the nineteenth over and Trailblazers suffered a mini-collapse, suffering the loss of three wickets in the last over.
Radha Yadav took 2/26 from her four overs.
Supernovas started equally poorly with Priya Punia falling for one in the second over. Chamari Atapatthu and Jemima Rodrigues steadied the ship and the lower order all contributed except Nat Sciver who was out for just one. Sophie Devine scored 32 from 22 balls.
Supernovas needed 19 from the last over and Harmanpreet Kaur was not going down without a fight. She hit the first four balls, off Jhulan Goswami no less, for four. They needed three from the last ball but Tahuhu was run out attempting a bye and Trailblazers had won by two runs. Sophie Ecclestone contributed with a fine 2/11 from her four overs.
Trailblazers 112/6 (20 overs)
Velocity 113/7 (18/20 overs)
Velocity won by three wickets with 12 balls remaining
Although Bates this time got a start, it was Mandhana who failed on this occasion, falling for 10 in the third over. Deol batted well again, top-scoring with 43, but there was little contribution from anyone else in the lower order and Trailblazers subsided to just 112 off their 20 overs.
Ekta Bisht and Amelia Kerr took two wickets each.
In response, Velocity lost Hayley Matthews early, for just five. Shafali Verma (34) and Dani Wyatt (46) took it on before, I’d love to say it, the curse of Nelson struck and they lost no less than 5 wickets on 111. Somehow they managed to sneak over the line though with two overs to spare. Deepti Sharma took 4/14 off her four overs, including three in the eighteenth.
Supernovas 142/3 (20 overs)
Velocity 130/3 (20 overs)
Supernovas won by 12 runs
Rodrigues top-scored with 77 not out for Supernovas as they put a good score together against Velocity. She was supported by Atapatthu who scored 31 and Punia 16.
Velocity fell well short. Matthews went early for 11 and Shafali Verma for 2. Despite Wyatt (43), Raj (40) and Krishnamurthy (30) scoring well, they could not overhauls the Supernovas’ total. However, it has been suggested that Velocity played to up their net run rate to get themselves into the final, rather than aiming to win the match.
This they achieved and so the final will be between Velocity and Supernovas on Saturday 11 May. News of how this went in next week’s column.
Sei Young Kim of South Korea won the LPGA Mediheal Championship after a play-off with England’s Bronte Law. Law came from 10 shots back to get herself into a three-way play-off with Kim and Jeongeun Lee, also of South Korea.
Final round leaderboard:
-7 S Y Kim (Kor), J Lee (Kor), B Law (Eng); -5 C Hull (Eng), L Thompson (US), EH Ji (Kor), A Yang (Kor)
Kim won the tournament with a par on the first play-off hole, while Law and Lee made bogeys.
Former world champion Laura Massaro will retire from squash at the end of this season.
In her distinguished career, Massaro became World Champion in 2014. She won three Commonwealth Games silvers, two in doubles and one in singles and was world number one in January 2016.
She won the World Series Finals in 2016 and 2017, the US Open twice and the British Open twice.
More news and views next week.