Welcome to this week’s column. Plenty to get into again this week, from England’s perhaps surprising progress into the final of the World T20 to the loss of Jordan Nobbs for Arsenal, and the possibility that she will miss next year’s World Cup. Stories this week come from hockey, golf, football, netball, rugby, cricket, motor racing, volleyball and sailing. Plus, another bout of rather miserable and somewhat predictable misogyny from the keyboard warriors living in their parents’ basements…
So let’s crack on.
Cricket – International
T20 World Cup
Well, we’re nearly there. It seems to have passed in a flash and, to be honest, as much as I love my cricket (as you all know), I can’t say that I’ve been inspired by this tournament. There have been no surprises, no shocks and no team has come through as a “dark horse”. Australia were favourites at the start and have pretty much lived up to that status, although they proved against India that they are fallible. West Indies fell very much short against Australia in the semi-final when they had a distinct chance of going through, and India lost disappointingly to England in the other semi-final. I would have loved to have seen India win the World Cup and finally fulfil their potential.
It all comes down to Australia v England on Saturday – midnight start UK time.
How the semi-finals played out:
Australia 144/5 (20 overs)
West Indies 71 all out 17.3 overs)
Australia won by 71 runs
I actually thought West Indies had this until Deandra Dottin imploded in the 19th over and conceded 17 runs. Up until that point, Australia had looked impressive but struggled to get away from a fairly efficient West Indies bowling side.
But in the 19th over Dottin lost it. Two wides and three boundaries from Rachael Haynes left the Windies exasperated and Dottin mutinous.
Beth Mooney went early, but the restored Alyssa Healy took it on, scoring 46 from 38 balls. Lanning was slow but steady, anchoring the innings as wickets fell around her. But it was Rachael Haynes 25 from 15 at the back end of the innings, including the dismantling of Dottin that did the damage as the Aussies posted 144.
West Indies’ poor end to the innings seemed to infect their batting. Hayley Matthews was first to go, run out for just five as the jitters went through the hosts. Dottin never recovered her cool and went for six from 11 balls. Stafanie Taylor tried to offer some resistance as all around her was chaos, but she was the only player to make double figures; 16 from 28 balls.
Australia shared the wickets round with Perry, Kimmince and Gardner taking two each and Schutt, Molineux and Wareham one apiece.
It was a sad end to a fine tournament for the defending champions.
India 112 all out (19.3 overs)
England 116/2 (17.1 overs)
England won by 8 wickets
The second semi-final was equally one-sided. India won the toss and elected to bat. They started well, scoring 43 before the fall of the first wicket. But after the top four were out, no-one else got into double figures. Three run-outs in the Indian innings didn’t help.
Captain Heather Knight (why doesn’t she bowl herself more often?) took 3/9 off two overs while Sophie Ecclestone and Kirstie Gordon took two each as India were reduced to 112 all out.
India would have taken heart with their start with the ball after the openers were out cheaply, Tammy Beaumont for one and Danni Wyatt for eight.
But Amy Jones and Nat Sciver took hold of the situation, scoring 53 and 52 respectively as England cruised home.
Coverage of the final is via BBC TMS on the radio and Sky Sports on TV.
Cricket – Domestic
Meanwhile, the ECB seem to be on the verge of throwing away the biggest and best development in English women’s cricket in recent memory. Perhaps it was a good time to “bury bad news” as England went into the final of the T20 World Cup?
It was already in the cards that the KSL would go with the advent of The Hundred, but it seems that the ECB needs to cut its costs in a big way and that could hit the women’s game.
The ECB has said that there will be no reduction in the number of teams or matches but that “efficiency savings” will come from cutting match-day costs and economising on flights for players coming from overseas.
Cuts could be in the region of 12-20 per cent.
If the cuts go ahead and the overseas players don’t come, it will be a huge backwards step for the women’s game and for the KSL in particular.
And, I’m afraid it’s yet another example of two steps forward, one back from a governing body, when it comes to the promotion of the women’s game.
For a more in-depth analysis of this latest news, see George Dobell’s excellent piece for Cricinfo:
Most motorsport crashes are high profile, but if it’s a woman and she’s just 17, the column inches are going to stack up.
Last Sunday, Formula 3 driver, Sophia Florsch, crashed in the Macau Grand Prix and fractured her spine.
She hit the back of the car driven by Jehan Daruvala, went over the inside kerb and then hit the car of Sho Tsuboi and over the barriers. She was travelling at approximately 171.6mph.
She has now been through 10 hours of surgery in which bone from her hip has been used to repair one her of vertebrae.
It is thought she will not suffer any paralysis.
See my “And finally” for more on this story.
Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last weekend at Everton – an injury that may not only put her out for the rest of the season, but may impact on her participation in next year’s World Cup in France.
Nobbs had been having a storming season, both for Arsenal and for England and this will be a big blow to both.
Every England fan will have to cross fingers and indeed toes in the hope that she will have recovered by next summer.
Last weekend’s results:
London Bees 2-0 Sheffield United
Littlejohn 55’, Gibson 78’
Crystal Palace 0-5 Manchester United
Arnott 17’ 55’, Green 59’ 83’, Greenwood 75’ (Pen)
Milllwall Lionesses 1-5 Durham
Hepple 2 ’9’, Gears 4’, Wilson 37’, Ness 56’
Lewes 1-1 Aston Villa
Tottenham 1-0 Charlton Athletic
Tottenham are still top of the Championship with 21 points from eight games. Manchester United have 19 in second, but have played a game fewer. Millwall are still bottom with just a single point from eight games and Crystal Palace are just above them on four.
Chelsea 5-0 Yeovil Town
Bright 20’, So-yun Ji 27’, Cuthbert 42’, Bachmann 45’, England 79’
Birmingham City 3-0 West Ham Utd
Harrop 1’, Follis 40’, Staniforth 79’
Bristol City 2-1 Liverpool
Graham 16’. Rutherford 21’
Brighton & Hove Albion 1-4 Reading
Hourihan 20’ (OG), Chaplen 58’, Williams 65’, Davison 81’
Everton 0-4 Arsenal
Van de Donk 44’, Nobbs 49’, Miedema 50’ 65’
Arsenal are still yet to drop a point this season. They lie top with 24 points from eight games. Manchester City are second with 18 and Chelsea third with 16. There was still no respite for Everton at the bottom. They have two points, with Yeovil just above them on three.
This weekend sees a programme in the top two divisions plus the first round of the FA Cup. For a complete list of FA Cup fixtures click here.
Hockey – International
Netherlands have been a class apart so far in this tournament. They are yet to be tested, having won four from four and are happily through to the final with a game to spare. They will finish top by a mile. Australia are second with two wins and a draw from four games. China have six points, China 3, GB and Japan both have two.
Great Britain have had a poor event so far and need to win their last match against Argentina to make it into the bronze medal match.
They opened with a draw against hosts China, twice coming from behind. Xu Wenyu scored China’s first in the first quarter, but Hannah Martin equalised at the end of the first period.
In the second quarter China took the lead again through Peng Yang, but Lily Owsley brought GB level again and that’s where the scoring ended.
In their second match, GB lost 2-0 to Australia. Australia scored early in the first quarter through Brooke Peris and doubled their lead in the second through Kalindi Commerford.
They still couldn’t catch a break in their third match, drawing 2-2 with Japan. Japan were 2-0 down thanks to goals from Tessa Howard and Sophie Bray in the first quarter. But they couldn’t maintain their superiority. Japan were level by half-time with two goals from Hazuki Nagai.
Netherlands were comfortable victors against Great Britain in their fourth match 4-0. They were 2-0 up by half-time with goals from Marijn Veen and Margot Zuidhof. Ginella Zerbo got the third in the third quarter and Zuidhof scored her second in the fourth quarter to complete the win.
Most worryingly for Great Britain, they had only three shots in the match.
They play Argentina in the last group match on Saturday 24 November.
Hockey – Domestic
Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division
Last weekend’s results were as follows:
Canterbury 1-2 Surbiton
University of Birmingham 2-3 East Grinstead
Beeston 1-3 Holcombe
Slough 2-2 Bowdon
Buckingham 1-2 Clifton Robinsons
Surbiton are still top with seven wins and one draw from nine and 22 points. Holcombe lie second with 19 and East Grinstead third with 16. At the bottom, Canterbury have three points, and Bowdon are just above them on seven.
This weekend’s fixtures are the last before the winter break. The league recommences on 9 February 2019:
Clifton Robinsons v Canterbury (1pm, Coombe Dingle, P1)
Bowdon v Buckingham (1.45pm, Bowdon Club)
Holcombe v University of Birmingham (2pm, Holcombe HC, P1)
East Grinstead v Slough (4pm, East Grinstead HC)
Surbiton v Beeston (4pm Surbiton HC Water)
Rugby Union – International
France 20-27 New Zealand
A crowd of 17,102 saw France beat the Black Ferns in Grenoble in a pulsating game.
France opened the scoring through Julie Duval but the away side were soon level through Stacey Waaka.
Then France made a double strike; Maëlle Filopon with the first and Romane Menager with the second had France pulling away. After half an hour France had a 19-7 lead.
But before half-time New Zealand were back in it. Fiao’o Faamausili scored a try that was converted to make it 19-14.
After the break France extended their lead again through Caroline Drouin, but New Zealand hit back through Selica Winiata after a lineout on the French 5m line. Then, out of nowhere, New Zealand were level as Kendra Cocksedge kicked a penalty to make it 24-24 with 26 minutes to go.
Just one minute later Ruahei Demant was yellow-carded and France took advantage as Drouin converted the penalty to put them back ahead.
Drouin kicked another penalty on 70 minutes, but Cocksedge did likewise almost directly afterwards, 30-27.
The Black Ferns had the pressure in the last 10 minutes to take the game, but France were defending for their lives. Both teams had chances, but neither could score and France held on for a memorable win.
England 27-19 Canada
England continued their winning form with five tries against Canada in Doncaster.
The Roses went ahead early through pack dominance with tries from Lark Davies with her first and international try, Poppy Cleall bagged England’s second and Davies went in again for the third. All three went unconverted.
Canada struck back before the break as Alex Tassier crossed the line after picking up Anaïs Holly’s kick. The score was converted by Brianna Miller, taking it to 15-7 at half-time.
In the second-half Canada came quickly out of the blocks, scoring their second try through Elissa Alarie.
But England were not done. They brought on Katy Daley-Mclean and the difference was evident. Kelly Smith went over in the corner to score England’s fourth try and soon afterwards the fifth came through Abbie Scott.
Canada had the last word though, with Courtney Holtkamp going over from close range and Magali Harvey converting to take the score to 27-19.
Ireland 10-19 USA
USA Eagles claimed their first test win since the World Cup with their defeat of Ireland at Donnybrook.
Ireland started well, but despite having all the early pressure, they couldn’t convert it into points.
Eventually USA took the lead as Kimber Rozier went in, converting her own try to make it 7-0 in the 13th minute.
Each side then had some pressure, but no added points were scored until Kaitlyn Broughton went down the right wing to score and make it 12-0 to the Eagles.
Ireland struck back before half-time as Laura Sheehan went over on the left but it was unconverted and the home side went in 12-5 down.
On the resumption each side again had a period of pressure, but it was the USA who took their chance as Meya Bizer went over the line and the try was converted by Rozier.
Ireland worked tirelessly and hard until Eimear Considine finally crossed the whitewash for the home side’s second try. The conversion was again missed and the visitors took the win.
This week’s fixtures:
England v Ireland (5.40pm, Twickenham)
Wales v Canada (11.30am, Cardiff Arms Park)
Scotland v Canada (7pm, Scotstoun)
Rugby Union – Domestic
Premier 15s is back this weekend. The fixtures, all on 24 November, are:
Richmond v Bristol Bears (2pm, Richmond Athletic Ground)
Worcester Valkyries v Firwood Waterloo (2pm, Sixways Stadium)
Wasps v Gloucester-Hartpury (2pm, Twyford Avenue Sports Ground)
DMP Sharks v Harlequins (3pm, Northern Echo Arena)
Saracens v Loughborough Lightning (3.45pm, Allianz Park)
Women’s Super League
There were a full set of fixtures in the Super League last weekend:
London Orcas 3-0 TeamBU Wessex (25-16, 25-21, 25-13)
Sheffield Hallam 0-3 Mallory Eagles UEL (19-25, 14-25, 19-25)
Durham Palatinates 3-0 Birmingham Volleyball Club 1 (25-5, 25-12, 25-17)
Bristol VC1 3-1 Polonia SideOut London (25-22, 12-25, 25-21, 25-21)
Sheffield Hallam 0-3 Durham Palatintes (18-25, 20-25, 17-25)
Durham are top, but they have played more than everyone else. They have 20 points from seven games. London Orcas are second with 11 from five games. Mallory Eagles are one point behind them but have played only four. At the bottom, Birmingham are the only team still to get off the mark and have played four games.
Golf – Solheim Cup
European Captain Catriona Matthew has named her final Vice Captain for the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles; Dame Laura Davies really needs no introduction, but suffice it to say that she has played in 12 Solheim Cups and is the event’s leading points scorer, with 25. She has featured in four winning teams, in 1992, 2000, 2003 and 2011.
This means that her three vice captains, Davies, Suzann Petterson and Kathryn Imrie, have the grand total of 21 Solheim Cup appearances between them and have scored 45½ points for Europe. If experience has any bearing on the outcome, Europe should be well-placed!
Tickets for the event, which takes place from 9-15 September 2019 are already on sale. Check out the website, www.solheimcup2019.com.
The England Roses v Uganda series starts on Tuesday 27 November. There are three matches – the first is at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Tuesday. The other two, at the Copper Box in London are on
Friday 30 November and Sunday 2 December.
It should be an exciting and tight series. Tickets are still available. Click here for information. If you can’t be there in person, it’s all live on Sky Sports.
In the immortal words of Britney Spears (!), “oops, I did it again.” In other words, yes I looked at some of the comments on the BBC sports Facebook and Twitter pages. In particular, I looked at what “people” had to say on the Florsch crash and on the Nobbs injury. I was pretty sickened by both.
Florsch, who could easily have lost her life or been paralysed was offered little in the way of either sympathy or respect, with many (yes, many) comments along the lines of “typical of women drivers”. Crass, rude, and not acceptable in any way. There were a few males coming in telling the Neanderthals their comments were not acceptable, but they were few, and unfortunately far between.
The comments on the Nobbs injury were, possibly, more insidious. Several dismissed it as “an irrelevance” – well not to Nobbs, her teammates, friends, family and England Lionesses’ supporters everywhere. How can you dismiss someone’s possibly dashed hopes of a World Cup appearance as an irrelevance? It’s a pitiful attitude, chaps.
I realise it’s a reflex action with most of them – it’s a story about a woman in sport, therefore we have to demean it, insult it and dismiss it, but it’s pretty damned infuriating to read it all the time.
Rant over. That’s all for this week. Sorry, no column next week as I am busy elsewhere. I’d just like to wish England good luck in the World T20 final on Saturday night. I hope you’ll all be listening/watching.