Women’s Sports Column 4-10 May 2019

golf

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

Prague Open

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.

Rabat Open

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.

Madrid

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Britain’s number two, Katie Boulter, has withdrawn from the French Open.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.

Nikita Parris

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.

FAWSL

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.

FAWC

The final round of Championship matches also take place on Saturday, 11 May and start at 5.30pm.

Netball

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.

Cycling

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:

  1. Marianne Vos (Ned) 7hrs 34mins 27secs
  2. Mavi Garcia (Spa) +7secs
  3. Soraya Paladin (Ita) +9secs
  4. Christine Majerus (Lux) +1min 28secs
  5. 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.

Rugby League

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.

Cricket

County Cricket

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:

Division One
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)

Division Two
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.

T20 Challenge

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.

Golf

 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.

Squash

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. 

 

Women’s Sports Column 30 April – 6 May

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Welcome to this week’s column.  Plenty of news again this week and I’m afraid it’s back to the age of the dinosaurs again for my “And finally”.  Sorry about that, but necessary, I’m afraid.

This week’s stories come from football, cricket, tennis, squash, cycling, sailing and netball.

 

This Bank Holiday weekend’s FA Women’s Superleague 1 matches saw Manchester City stride on, a thriller at Meadow Lane and a couple of draws that suited no-one!

Sunday 1 May

Arsenal Ladies 0-0 Birmingham City Ladies

Chances were few and far between in this match.  Birmingham could have taken the lead through Remi Allen, but she hit the bar from six yards.  Arsenal had only two chances; Dan Carter’s volley was saved by Birmingham goalie Sophie Baggaley and with the last kick of the game Dominique Janssen’s free-kick hit the bar.  Stalemate.

Monday 2 May

Reading Ladies 1 -1 Sunderland Ladies

Both Reading and Sunderland are still looking for their first wins of the season after their Bank Holiday Monday match ended in a draw.  The away side took the lead through Beth Mead.  She pounced on the rebound after her penalty had been saved by Mary Earps in the Reading goal.  It was a game of two penalties, with the Reading equaliser coming through a Helen Ward spot-kick in the second half.  Stephanie Bannon was sent off for the handball that gave away the penalty.

Manchester City Women 6-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

High-flying Manchester City went six points clear in the table after demolishing bottom of the table Belles.

They were 5-0 up at half-time with goals from Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Jane Ross, Jen Beattie and Kosovare Asllani.  The relatively quiet second half saw only one addition to the scoring from Toni Duggan.

Notts County Ladies 3-2 Liverpool Ladies

A cracking match at Meadow Lane which nearly saw County throw it away with only 10 minutes to go.  I was there and reported on it for Women’s Sports UK.  Catch up with my report here:

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/football/match-report/notts-county-ladies-3-2-liverpool-ladies

FA Women’s Super League 1 table as it stands:

1 Manchester City Women 5 5 0 0 13 0 13 15
2 Chelsea Ladies 3 3 0 0 8 2 6 9
3 Arsenal Ladies 5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 7
4 Notts County Ladies 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4
5 Liverpool Ladies 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 4
6 Birmingham City Ladies 4 1 1 2 2 4 -2 4
7 Sunderland Ladies 4 0 3 1 4 6 -2 3
8 Reading Women 5 0 3 2 6 9 -3 3
9 Doncaster Rovers Belles 3 0 0 3 2 12 -10 0

 

Hurrah!  It’s the cricket season.  Do go and support your local team if you get the chance.  It’s going to be a big summer for English women’s cricket so now’s the chance to watch the women in action.  If you can’t get to the county games, please try to get to the Super League in August.  I will be profiling the Super League and covering it in detail.  It’s a big innovation in the women’s game so give it a go!

The Royal London One-Day County Championship got underway last weekend. 

Division one scores:

Sunday 1 May

Somerset 58 all out
Kent 279-4
Kent won by 221 runs.

Kent Captain Charlotte Edwards and fellow opener Tammy Beaumont continued the good form they showed in the T20 World Cup as they scored 79 and 72 respectively, as Kent posted an excellent 279 from their 50 overs.  Newly-promoted Somerset were never at the races – at one point they were 31-6.

Warwickshire 130-4 (28.4 overs)
Sussex 126 all out
Warwickshire won by 6 wickets

Warwickshire put Sussex into bat and were ruthless in their pursuit of wickets.  Sussex lost their first three batters for 13, including debutant Danni Wyatt for a duck and Georgia Elwiss for just two.  They never quite recovered from this poor start and were bowled out for just 126.  In contrast, Warwickshire needed just 28.4 overs to complete their six wicket victory.

Staffordshire 130-9 (reduced to 38 overs)
Berkshire 131-2 off 29.5 overs
Berkshire won by 8 wickets

Although the other newly-promoted side, Staffordshire, posted a decent total in difficult conditions, Berkshire made light work of their reply with captain Heather Knight hitting 56 off 64 balls.  Amanda Potgieter was excellent with both bat and ball.  She took 3-12 in 8 overs and scored 19 not out to see Berkshire home.

Middlesex 165 all out (41.2 overs)
Surrey 99 all out
Middlesex won by 66 runs

Surrey won the toss and put Middlesex in to bat.  It looked good for Surrey as they bowled the hosts out for 165.  Fran Wilson top scored with 63 from 60 balls and best bowling came from Cecily Scutt with 5-30.  However, the Surrey reply never got going and they were all out in 36.4 overs.  Holly Huddleston took 3-9 and Alex Hartley 3-27.

Monday 2 May

The typical Bank Holiday weather struck on Monday with Staffordshire v Somerset called off after just two overs and Yorkshire against Warwickshire abandoned without a ball being bowled.  Consequently only two games went ahead.

Sussex 173 all out (29.4 overs)
Kent 131 all out (27.2 overs)
Sussex won by 42 runs

Kent won the toss and put Sussex in.  They posted a poor score of 173 all out with Elwiss 20 and Georgia Adams, 53 getting them off to a good start.  This was as good as it got though and it took an Izy Noakes 38 to get them to 173.  Charlotte Pape continued her good start to the season, taking 3-20 off 3.4 overs.  It should have been if not quite a formality, a fairly easy chase for Kent, but as soon as Charlotte Edwards was dismissed for just one, Kent looked fragile.  Beaumont, Greenway and Marsh all contributed to  the score, but Kent subsided to 131 all out in 27.2 overs.  Danni Wyatt took 3-23.

Surrey 153 all out
Berkshire 154-6 (40.1 overs)
Berkshire won by 4 wickets

Two wins in two days for Berkshire as they put Surrey in to bat on Monday.  They bowled Surrey out for 153.  Opener Kirstie White made 69 with Bryony Smith and Amy Jenkins 13 each, but no-one else reached double figures.   Heather Knight took 3-17 from 10 overs and Amanda Potgieter 3-31 from nine.  Surrey didn’t give it away easily with Holly Knight taking 2-26 but Berkshire wicketkeeper Carla Rudd scored 34 and Alex Rogers 20 to take Berkshire to 154-6 in 40.1 overs.

 

It’s been all rather bizarre at the Madrid Open tennis this week.  Before the tournament started Serena Williams pulled out with flu and since then world number 13 Lucie Safarova withdrew with food poisoning and British number one Johanna Konta with a  respiratory problem.  Added to this, Radwanska, Kerber, Kvitova and Muguruza all went out in the early rounds.  Latest to withdraw is fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, who has a back injury.

British number two, Heather Watson, also succumbed in the first round, losing in straight sets to Gavrilova 7-5 6-4.

So the somewhat surprising semi-final line-up is:

Halep (6) v Stosur
Cibulkova v Chirico

The doubles semis will be contested by:

Garcia & Mladenovic v Makarova & Vesnina
Hingis & Mirza (top seeds) v King & Kudryavtseva

Laura Robson is trying to continue on the comeback trail, but lost in the second round this week at the Rabat Open in Morocco.  She lost 6-1 6-2 to the fifth seed Timea Babos of Hungary.

 

On Saturday 30 April Britain’s number one squash player, Laura Massaro, lost in the final of the World Championship to Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in Malaysia.  This defeat means that El Sherbini will also take Massaro’s world number one ranking.  The 20-year old Egyptian took the title 6-11 4-11 11-3 11-5 11-8.  The first two games belonged overwhelmingly to Massaro, but El Sherbini came back to take the third and fourth equally convincingly.  The decider was tight – at one stage 8-8, but El Sherbini was just too strong, taking the following three points without reply.

Also in squash, it was announced that next year’s women’s World Champion will take home equal prize money with the men’s for the first time.

 

It was brilliant to see the women’s Tour de Yorkshire covered in such depth last weekend.  It would have been even better to see some live coverage, as promised by ITV, but a technical problem with the plane sending the relay signal meant that no live feed was available.

Anyway, the race was a stunning one with a close sprint finish.  World Champion, Lizzie Armitstead was part of an early breakaway, but the pack eventually caught up, giving Dutch rider Kirsten Wild the chance to claim victory in a sprint finish.

Britain’s Lucy Garner was second with Floortje Mackaij third.

It was a proud day for Armistead as the race began from her home town of Otley.

“The start was brilliant.  I had a couple of bike problems to begin with which was difficult but it was a goose pimple moment for me at the beginning to be supported by my community,” she said.

Armistead finished in a big bunch behind the winners, eventually being placed 26th.

 

After Alison Young’s brilliant sailing gold last week, the British women were at it again this week at the Hyeres World Cup regatta.  Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won gold in the 470 women’s race on the final day of the event.  The pair began in second place, a point behind the French team of Lecointre and Defrance and one point ahead of the Brazilians Oliviera and Barbachan.

The Brazilians took the early lead, while the Britons were fighting it out with the French favourites.  But the Brazilian team were overtaken by New Zealanders Aleh and Powrie.

Bryony Shaw took silver in the women’s windsurfing and Alison Young continued her good form, taking bronze in the Laser Radial event.

 

It will be Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm in the Vitality Netball Superleague final this weekend.

The semi finals, played on 30 April, went as follows:

Manchester Thunder 53-46 Team Bath

Thunder were looking to obliterate the memory of last year’s shock semi-final defeat to Hertfordshire Mavericks and Team Bath were the unlucky side to come up against them.

By the end of the first quarter Thunder were 17-6 up, mainly due to good shooting from Helen Housby.  In truth, Bath never troubled the Thunder and were well beaten by the time the final hooter sounded.

Hertfordshire Mavericks 51-53 Surrey Storm

Surrey will take on Manchester after they came out on top in a much tighter game against the Mavericks.  At one point Storm were seven goals down, but came back to take the victory and seal their final place.

Mavericks were up 13-11 after the first quarter, extending the lead to seven after the half.  But former England captain, Pamela Cookey and Rachel Dunn were not to be defeated, combining to take the storm 40-39 up with one quarter to go.  In the end it went to the wire, but now the Storm will play in their fourth final in five seasons on Saturday 7 May at the Copper Box Arena.

The match begins at 5pm and will be live on Sky Sports.

In a shameless plug for my own writing, I would like to say this week I had the pleasure of interviewing Salliann Briggs, Head Coach of the new KSL Loughborough Lightning team and also Matthew Alexander, CEO of Notts County Ladies.  They were both great to talk to; committed, knowledgeable and not afraid to answer my questions!  I will be writing both up for publication in the near future, so watch out for them!

 

And finally, which I may rename “read it and weep corner”, we have yet another middle-aged white male telling women what they’re no good at.  Actually, he’s telling his other male readership, but you see what I mean.  This gem comes from Rod Liddle in the Spectator.  There are two things about this piece; firstly he’s totally missing the point (surprise) in that he’s comparing the men’s and women’s game and secondly please go on to read the comments if you can stomach it.  It quickly degenerates into a general anti-women rant and includes comments on their ability (or otherwise) to serve on a military front line and to throw a grenade, or anything for that matter.

It is, thankfully, a short piece!

http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/04/why-pretend-that-female-footballers-are-as-good-as-male-ones/