Back to usual this week with a new column. It’s a relief really after seeing (or not seeing) the rained off Aus V NZ Champions Trophy match at Edgbaston on Friday. And thanks also must go to the foul-mouthed Kiwi who was sitting behind me f-ing and blinding throughout. He was so miserable that when the kids came on to play kwik cricket all he could say was “those kids suck at cricket”. At least he didn’t say “those f-ing kids suck at cricket”. Hey ho. Let’s crack on.
Stories this week come from netball, canoeing, judo, cricket, football, tennis, hockey, triathlon, mountain biking and cycling.
The Final Four line-up is decided. I went to see Lightning v Team Northumbria on 27 May. Loughborough won comfortably, having already qualified for the Final Four, but I was a bit concerned about some of the complacent play that took place later on in the game. It wasn’t very professional, and better opponents would have taken advantage. Altogether, though, a job well done and on to the Finals.
Results from round 18
Sirens 57-43 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Celtic Dragons 52-47 Team Northumbria
Wasps Netball 49-35 Team Bath
Manchester Thunder 60-45 Severn Stars
Loughborough Lightning 71-63 Surrey Storm
So, in the regular season, Lightning finish top of the table by a whopping nine points on 51. Wasps Netball, the only team to defeat Lightning, finished second with 42, Manchester Thunder third on 39 and fourth were Team Bath on 33. Last season’s champions, Surrey Storm, finished fifth on 30 and do not qualify.
The Final Four extravaganza will take place this weekend at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, the event having been moved from the Manchester Arena. The two semi-finals and the final will be live on Sky and the fixtures are:
Saturday 10 June
Loughborough Lightning v Team Bath (15.30)
Wasps Netball v Manchester Thunder (17.45)
Sunday 11 June
There will also be a 3rd-4th place play-off.
All will be covered on Sky Sports
Britain’s Sally Conway won a silver medal at the European Judo Open in Romania this week. She was lost in the final of the -70kg category by Marie Eve Gahie of France.
Conway had beaten fellow Briton Gemma Howell in the semi-final. Howell went on to take bronze by defeating Carola Paissoni of Italy.
It is all good build-up for them as they work towards the World Judo Championships, which take place in Budapest from 18 August to 3 September.
On the Pitch
England played a World Cup warm-up match against West Indies at Loughborough on 7 June.
Nat Sciver was outstanding with both bat and ball. West Indies won the toss and chose to bat first. They were bowled out for 150 in the 50th over. Captain Stafanie Taylor top scored with 59, while for England Sciver took 4/39 from her 10 overs. Offspinner Dani Hazell took 3/21.
England reached their target with 14 overs to spare, but the teams decided that England would bat out their 50 overs for practice. Sciver made 85 and Tammy Beaumont a half-century. Katherine Brunt hit quick 49 and England made 281/7 off their 50 overs.
Off the Pitch
Cricket Australia announced this week that from now on their international sides will be known as “Australian men’s cricket team” and “Australian women’s cricket team”. This may sound like nothing new, but actually it’s a big deal. When do you ever hear the Men’s Cricket World Cup described as the Men’s Cricket World Cup and not the Cricket World Cup? They have also dropped the “Southern Stars” name unless using it colloquially. It puts the two teams on an equal footing when being spoken or written about. And that’s got to be good news for women’s sport in Australia.
The Women’s Tour started on Wednesday 7 June. The first stage, from Daventry to Kettering in Northamptonshire was won by Katarzyna Niewiadoma of Poland. Marianne Vos of the Netherlands came in second with compatriot Christine Majerus in third. Highest placed Briton was Alice Barnes who came in seventh.
The second stage was through Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire and was won by Dutch rider Amy Pieters. Second was Hannah Barnes, who took over the best-placed Briton position from sister Alice.
In general classification, Niewiadoma is still first with Vos in Second and H Barnes in third.
The third stage on Friday 9 June will be Atherstone to Leamington Spa, while the fourth is on Saturday and is Chesterfield and Derbyshire.
The whole race finishes on Sunday 11 June in London with a route that begins and ends in Regent Street St James.
Full details of the winners and timings next week.
There was a tight sprint finish to the Cicle Classic in Melton Mowbray on Sunday. Katie Archibald took the win with Laura Massey in second and Nikki Juniper, third.
After four of nine rounds, Chanel Mason leads overall.
Chelsea Ladies were crowned Spring Series champions on Saturday. It went down to the wire on the last day as any one of the top four could have clinched the title. But Chelsea were in pole position and there was no way they were going slip up.
Saturday 3 June
Sunderland 1-1 Reading Women
Reading had most of the pressure in the first half-hour before they finally took the lead on 30 minutes through Mel Fletcher.
But Reading were rueing their missed chances on 53 when substitute Beverly Leon unleashed a fierce shot which nestled in the bottom corner of the Reading goal, earning the home side a point.
Liverpool Ladies 1-3 Manchester City Women
The visitors took the lead on 29 minutes when Jill Scott headed home a Jennifer Beattie flick from a Toni Duggan corner. The lead was doubled on the stroke of half-time when Mel Lawley hit a shot from 20 yards into the top corner.
After the break City soon got their third when a Megan Campbell free kick from 25 yards slipped in and the game was over as a contest.
Liverpool grabbed a consolation goal in the 90th minute from another long-range shot.
Liverpool will be disappointed with their season’s end as they were going well as early leaders in the Spring Series.
Bristol City Women 0-5 Arsenal Ladies
Arsenal ended their campaign with a storming win at Bristol on Saturday, and in doing so ended the Spring Series unbeaten.
It was all square until just before the half-hour when defender Louise Quinn headed home for Arsenal’s first.
Despite pressure, there was no further scoring in the first-half, but after the break it took Jordan Nobbs only four minutes to get their second from a Jodie Taylor pass.
Chloe Kelly scored Arsenal’s third in the 73rd minute with substitute Danielle Van De Donk getting the fourth five minutes later.
Beth Mead was last on the scoresheet when she put away Arsenal’s fifth on 83.
Birmingham City Ladies 0-2 Chelsea Ladies
Chelsea sealed the title with a 2-0 win at Solihull Moors on Saturday.
After a tight opening spell Chelsea were awarded a penalty when Birmingham goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger fouled Fran Kirby in the area and Karen Carney scored the resultant penalty.
Gemma Davison and Kirby missed relatively easy chances to increase the lead before half-time, but could not take them and the league leaders went in just 1-0 up.
Kirby turned poacher on 58 when she turned in from close range after Berger lost a Davison cross.
After that the champions-elect never looked in trouble and duly celebrated their deserved win at full time.
The table finished with Chelsea on 19 points from eight games. Manchester City finished second with an inferior goal difference to Chelsea’s. Arsenal Ladies finished third a point behind, with early leaders Liverpool fourth on 14.
Lucy Charles won the inaugural triathlon Championship in Samorin, Slovakia at the weekend. She finished the event in four hours, 13 minutes and 59 seconds.
Annabel Luxford of Australia was second.
The women’s final will be between the unseeded Jelena Ostapenko and number three seed Simona Halep. Ostapenko becomes the first unseeded woman to reach the final at Roland Garros since 1983.
Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) beat Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) (11) 4-6 6-2 6-2
Ostapenko lost the first five games of the match
Tamea Bacsinszky (SWI) (30) beat Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) (13) 6-4 6-4
Karolina Pliskova (CZE) (2) beat Caroline Garcia (FRA) (28) 7-6 6-4
Simona Halep (ROM) (3) beat Elina Svitolina (UKR) (5) 3-6 7-6 6-0
Semi-Finals 8 June
Ostapenko beat Bacsinszky 7-6 3-6 6-3
Halep beat Pliskova 6-4 3-6 6-3
The final is on Saturday. Radio coverage is on 5Live from midday.
There was elation and disappointment for Rachel Atherton this week at the Mountain Bike World Cup Downhill at Fort William.
She qualified well ahead of the field in five minutes 29.222 seconds, a full 13 seconds of Tracey Hannah of Australia, who finished second.
Fellow Britons Tahnee Seagrave and Manon Carpenter both crashed, although Carpenter recovered to qualify in fourth.
Myriam Nicole of France finished qualified third.
But it was not to be for Atherton in the final. She had to pull out before the race even began after dislocating her shoulder in a practice run.
Tracey Hannah won the race and Manon Carpenter finished fourth.
The next round is this weekend in Leogang, Austria.
The Canoe Slalom European Championships were held in Slovenia from 1-4 June.
Great Britain’s women claimed two golds the individual gold in C1 went to Kimberley Woods and she was also part of the three that claimed top spot in the C1 team event.
Woods won individual gold with 110.31 points, ahead of Tereza Fišerová of the Czech Republic on 112.90 with Nadine Weratschnig of Austria on 116.19 in bronze.
The C1 team of Woods, Mallory Franklin and Eilidh Gibson won the event for the second year in a row. Their points tally was 153.24. Silver went to Germany on 157.32 with the Czech Republic winning bronze on 158.48.
Surbiton’s and Canterbury’s women were in action representing English hockey in the EuroHockey Club Cup in Den Bosch last weekend.
Eight teams took part with Surbiton finishing fourth and Canterbury sixth.
Surbiton beat CSV Complutense of Spain to reach the semi-finals, but couldn’t overcome hosts HC‘s-Hertogenbosch, losing 7-1. They lost the 3rd/4th place play-off to the other Dutch team, AH&BC Amsterdam 3-1.
Canterbury lost their 5th/6th place play-off to CSV Complutense.
- HC’s-Hertogenbosch (Netherlands)
- UHC Hamburg (Germany)
- AH&BC Amsterdam (Netherlands)
- Surbiton (England)
- SPV Complutense (Spain)
- Canterbury Ladies HC (England)
- Hermes – Monkstown HC (Ireland)
- CSP Krylatskoye (Russia)
Long jumper Jazmin Sawyers admitted this week that she pulled out of a competition in Boston because of the “very bad periods” from which she suffers.
And boy did she pay for that admission on social media.
Even though she said,
“Can’t walk, intense pain radiating down my legs, head spinning, full body sweating, shouting, crying kind of bad,”
It brought out all the “boys” with their “ugh – too much information” kind of comments. Fabulously Sawyers bit back,
“Ah so lovely to see so many men with insightful things to say in response to this article.”
And interestingly she also said that those making comments on the BBC site are usually the worst. Funnily enough this is what I have also found. It seems to be a platform for jokers and fools (and worse).
At last women in sport and in all walks of life are beginning to speak out about their period problems. And it’s only by discussing, analysing and gaining more information that we are going to be able to develop possible solutions. Sorry chaps if it offends your delicate sensibilities, but I’m afraid you’re going to have to deal with it.