Welcome to this week’s column. After the marathon of the previous one, I’m hoping this offering can be more in the way of a sprint! Stories this week come from football, triathlon, rugby union, athletics, cricket, tennis, golf, judo, mountain biking and…. darts!
So let’s crack on.
Dina Asher-Smith broke her own British 100m records at the Diamond League Bislett Games in Oslo on 7 June. She clocked 10.92, beating her previous best by 0.07 seconds. In the race she finished second behind Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast, but beat Commonwealth Games 100m champion Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago into third.
No doubt as to the disappointment of the week, when the much-anticipated match between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at the French Open was scuppered by Williams withdrawing through injury. Anyone who reads this column regularly will know whose camp I am firmly in, and although Serena was the underdog, I would have loved to have seen her take on and beat Sharapova without breaking sweat.
Needless to say, there has been much comment since Williams withdrew, for and against both players. I’m not passing judgement. I wish she had been out there, but an arm injury that would have prevented her serving to the best of her ability was not something she could have played through.
The final of the French Open will be between number one seed Simona Halep and tenth seed Sloane Stephens and the tournament progressed as follows:
Sloane Stephens (10) beat Daria Kasatkina (14) 6-3 6-1
Madison Keys (13) beat Yulia Putintseva 7-6 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (3) beat Maria Sharapova (28) 6-2 6-1
Simona Halep (1) beat Angelique Kerber (12) 6-7 6-3 6-2
Sloane Stephens (10) beat Madison Keys (13) 6-4 6-4
Simona Halep (1) beat Garbine Muguruza (3) 6-1 6-4
The final is on Saturday 9 June and will be broadcast in the UK on ITV and ESPN and on the radio via BBC 5 Live.
The England squad for the one-day series against South Africa has been announced.
Coverage of the first match, which is on Saturday 9 June is on TMS on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and via the BBC website and begins at 11am.
Heather Knight (capt, Berkshire), Tammy Beaumont (Kent), Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancashire), Georgia Elwiss (Sussex), Jenny Gunn (Warwickshire), Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire), Amy Jones (wicketkeeper, Warwickshire), Laura Marsh (Kent), Anya Shrubsole (Somerset), Nat Sciver (Surrey), Sarah Taylor (wk, Sussex), Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire), Danni Wyatt (Sussex).
England’s fixtures this summer:
England v South Africa
9 1st ODI, Worcester (11:00 BST)
12 2nd ODI, Hove (d/n) (13:00 BST)
15 3rd ODI, Canterbury (d/n) (14:00 BST)
20 South Africa v New Zealand, Taunton (13:00 BST)
20 England v South Africa, Taunton (17:40 BST)
23 England v South Africa, Taunton (13:00 BST)
23 England v New Zealand, Taunton (17:40 BST)
28 South Africa v New Zealand, Bristol (13:00 BST)
28 England v New Zealand, Bristol (17:40 BST)
1 Final, Chelmsford (15:00 BST)
England v New Zealand
7 1st ODI, Headingley (11:00 BST)
10 2nd ODI, Derby (d/n) (13:00 BST)
13 3rd ODI, Leicester (d/n) (14:00 BST)
English Women’s County Championship
Hampshire have won the County Championship for the first time after beating Middlesex, which also condemned them to be relegated to division two.
Hampshire, promoted to division one this season and under new Director of Cricket, Charlotte Edwards, won six of their seven fixtures to secure the title.
Yorkshire finished as runners-up, while Middlesex and Somerset were relegated. Sussex and Surrey are promoted from division two.
There are both men’s and women’s Aboriginal XIs touring England at the moment. On Thursday 7 both sides played a Surrey XI at The Oval and on Friday 8 June they play a Sussex XI at Hove.
Thursday 7 June
Surrey Women 149/6 (20 0vers)
Aboriginal XI 113 all out (19.6 overs)
Surrey women won by 36 runs
Surrey captain Hannah Jones won the toss and elected to bat. England’s Bryony Smith top scored with 58 with Amy Gordon making 37. Aboriginal captain Ashleigh Gardner had the best bowling figures, taking 2/28 from her four overs.
In response Gardner opened the batting but was out for six. Hannah Darlington top-scored with 32 and there were good contributions from Emma Manix-Geeves (21) and Sally Moylan (27), but wickets fell too regularly for them to have a chance and the tourists fell short by 36 runs.
Great Britain’s Tahnee Seagrave won the Fort William leg of the Downhill World Cup last weekend. She took the title in a time of 05:10.960, ahead of Myriam Nicole of France in second, 05:19.211 and Britain’s Rachel Atherton in third, 05:20.016.
Seagrave now lies second in the rankings on 1751 points, behind Myriam who has 1950.
England Head Coach, Phil Neville, will have decisions to make on Friday as there have been a series of withdrawals from his squad for Friday’s qualifier against Russia.
Captain Steph Houghton was the first to withdraw and now faces some time on the sidelines as she undergoes knee surgery.
Earlier this week Izzy Christiansen and Jordan Nobbs also withdrew. Christiansen has a thigh problem, while Nobbs has a foot injury.
Lucy Staniforth of Sunderland and Lauren Bruton of Reading have been called up as cover and Lucy Bronze had been named captain.
Just to remind you, the Russia game will be on the BBC Red Button and online from 5pm.
Wales took a one-point lead in Group A after beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 1-0 in Swansea on 7 June.
Kayleigh Green scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute after Wales had spurned numerous chances, including a penalty, which was missed by Helen Ward.
Wales play again on Tuesday 12 June in Newport when they face Russia.
Scotland 2-1 Belarus
Scotland are up to second in Group B, three points behind Switzerland after they came from behind to beat Belarus at the Falkirk stadium on 7 June.
Belarus took the lead through Karina Olkhovik. Scotland had plenty of chances to equalise and Jane Ross had a goal disallowed before Erin Cuthbert finally drew them level just before the break.
Cuthbert bagged her second on 65 minutes to give the Scots the win.
They play again in Poland on Tuesday 12 June, with leaders Switzerland travelling to Belarus on the same day.
Other football news
There has been another flurry of transfers/releasing of players/new contracts this week. Here are the highlights:
- Biggest news of the week, Reading and England goalkeeper Mary Earps has signed for German champions Wolfsburg on a one-year deal. This will be great experience for the 25-year old.
- Second biggest news must be the appointment of former Liverpool coach Matt Beard as the new Head Coach of West Ham Ladies. Watch out, West Ham obviously mean business.
- Birmingham City have released Freda Ayisi, Maddy Cusack and Coral Haines.
- Manchester City have signed Scotland international Caroline Weir from Liverpool.
- Fran Kirby has signed a new three-year contract with Chelsea.
- David Haley is to step down as Celtic manager after five years to take charge of the Celtic Women’s Academy
Great news from the world of darts this week as it was announced that from 2019 the PDC World Championship will include two female players as part of an expanded field.
There will be 96 players taking part, an increase from 72. There will be two women’s qualifying events for the UK and Rest of the World. The winners of these events will get to the main draw.
The tournament takes place at the Alexandra Palace and runs from 13 December to 1 January.
Great Britain took silver in Nottingham on Thursday 7 June in the first of the Mixed Relay Series events.
The team, comprising Jonny Brownlee, Non Stanford, Tom Bishop and Vicky Holland finished 29 seconds behind the USA, who completed the course in one hour 21 minutes and 16 seconds.
France finished third in a sprint finish, nine seconds behind Brownlee and one second ahead of Australia’s Ryan Bailie in fourth.
Mixed Relay will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and the Nottingham event was the first to earn teams Olympic qualifying points.
The second event will be in Edmonton, Canada, from 27-29 July.
This weekend sees the final leg of the Women’s World Sevens in Paris. Australia are currently top of the standings with 74 points, New Zealand lie second with 70 with France back in third on 54. News and results next week.
It was also announced that next season’s series will include an extra leg, an opening event in Glendale, Colorado. This will mean the women’s circuit will comprise six rounds; USA, Dubai, Sydney, Kitakyushu, Langford and Paris.
It was round 15 of the Netball Super League at the weekend and the results were as follows:
Friday 1 June
Team Bath 54-45 Benecos Mavericks
Saturday 2 June
Manchester Thunder 53-42 Wasps Netball
Team Northumbria 58-47 Celtic Dragons
Surrey Storm 51-44 UWS Sirens
Loughborough Lightning 59-44 Severn Stars
With Wasps’ second defeat in a row, they and Lightning are level on points at the top on 36, but Wasps still have a game in hand. Thunder are third, three points back but also with a game in hand over Loughborough. The Dragons are bottom on six points with Northumbria above them on nine.
It’s round 15 this weekend – just three rounds to go until the semis and final!
Friday 8 June
Team Bath v Loughborough Lightning (7.30pm)
Saturday 9 June
Celtic Dragons v Wasps Netball (4pm)
Benecos Mavericks v Manchester Thunder (6pm)
Surrey Storm v Team Northumbria (6pm)
Monday 11 June
Severn Stars v UWS Sirens (Live on Sky Sports, 7pm)
There were no Super League games last weekend as it was a Challenge Cup weekend. There were some big scores for the more established sides with Castleford Tigers knocking out current Challenge Cup holders, Bradford Bulls, in the process. The quarter-final draw has been made. Ties take place during the weekend of 30 June-1 July.
Barrow v York City Knights
Castleford Tigers v St Helens
Featherstone Rovers v Wigan Warriors
Leeds Rhinos v The Army
Britain’s Sarah Adlington took a silver medal at the European Judo Open in Madrid last weekend.
She was beaten by Kristin Bussow of Germany in the final of the +78kg category.
Golf – US Open
Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand won the US Open on the fourth play-off hole in Alabama last weekend.
She had a seven-shot lead going into the back nine of the final round, but in the end had to settle for a play-off as she finished level with Hyo Joo Kim of Korea on -11.
They were still level after a two-hole play-off before it went to sudden death. At their third play-off hole they both parred again before Jutanugam won the fourth with a par to win her second major.
Spain’s Carlota Ciganda finished third. Charley Hull finished in a share of tenth place and was the highest placed Briton.
No spitting or ranting “And Finally” this week (relief all-round there), but I’ll be back next week with more news, scores and views.