Women’s Sports Column 5-11 August 2017

rugby ballWelcome to this week’s column.  I realise I am terribly late with my Rugby World Cup preview, and the KSL also returned this week, but, as you know, I’m struggling for time at  the moment – the World Athletics Championships have nearly passed me by completely!  I will do the best I can to keep up, but I’m giving my apologies now if I fall short.  The good stuff just keeps on coming with the Solheim Cup and the Netball Quad Series still to look forward to.

So, less blathering, more reporting.  This week’s stories come from rugby, golf, athletics, tennis, hockey, netball, football and cricket.

Firstly to the football and the final of the Women’s Euros.


Women’s Euros Final

Netherlands 4-2 Denmark

What a fitting final to grace an excellent tournament!  It had everything; goals, tackles, great defending, great goalkeeping, mistakes and a fabulous crowd.

The largely orange crowd were silenced after six minutes when Nadia Nadim slotted home a penalty, but the Dutch were level four minutes later Vivianne Miedema poked in from close range.

Player of the tournament, Lieke Martens scored the Netherlands’ second with a 20-yard strike.  But five minutes later the Danes were level again through Pernille Harder.

2-2 at half-time after a breathless, end-to-end 45 minutes.

The second-half was just as competitive.  Six minutes after the re-start through a Sherida Spitse free-kick.  Denmark gave everything they had to come back, but in the 89th minute Danish hearts were finally broken when Miedema got her second.

Netherlands were the best team overall, no doubting that.  England’s Jodie Taylor received the Golden Boot for her five goals.

Other football news

It was announced on Wednesday that the English FA will bid to host the 2021 Women’s Euros.  England last hosted the tournament in 2005 and the current boom in the women’s game has prompted the FA to bid again.

FA Chief Executive, Martin Glenn, said,

“The Lionesses’ performances at the Euros this summer gave the country great pride.  It also showed the significant impact that hosting a major European tournament can have on growing and developing women’s football.”

Can’t wait for unreconstructed man commenting on this.

The bidding process begins in September, with a decision due in 2018.

The FA has also announced that it is looking into fielding a women’s GB side at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.  Let’s hope the home nations come to an agreement in time, after their singular failure to do so for Rio.

Women’s Under-19 Euros

Hot on the heels of the Euros comes the under-19 version, which is taking place in Northern Ireland from 8-20 August.

Eight teams have qualified for the finals – split into two groups of four.

Group A: Germany, Spain, Northern Ireland, Scotland

Group B: Italy, France, Netherlands, England

The first round of matches produced the following results:

Group A:

Scotland 0-3 Germany

It could have been more for Germany had it not been for the excellent display from Scots goalkeeper Rebecca Flaherty.  Germany took the points with goals from Giulia Gwinn (19), Annalena Rieke (39) and Ereleta Memeti (80).

Northern Ireland 0-2 Spain

Likewise Spain were too strong for the host nation.  Lucia Garcia scored the first on the half-hour with captain Patricia Guijarro scoring on 53 minutes to seal the win.

Group B:

France 0-2 Netherlands

The Netherlands scored an impressive win over Cup-holders France with two goals in the first-half.  Victoria Pelova opened the scoring after just 10 minutes and an own goal from Julie Piga sealed the points for the Netherlands.

Italy 1-2 England

Two goals from Georgia Allen in the second-half were enough to take the points against Italy.  Italy pulled one back in second-half injury time through Annamaria Senturini.

The second round takes place on Friday 11 August.

Women’s Rugby World Cup

Having watched most of the first round of games, I can, with some relief, say that my original thoughts as to the ultimate destiny of the Cup have not changed significantly.  There were some unsurprisingly big wins as minnow were rolled over, with the undoubted highlight of the round being the game between Ireland and Australia.

England and New Zealand are the teams to beat and everyone will be looking to overturn them.  Canada and France will also be in the mix and as dark horses we have to include Ireland.  Can the “Netherlands effect” work in their favour?  It certainly helped at the first game against Australia.  Actually Australia were a good deal sharper than I expected and their sevens speed will be an asset, but I do question their ability, with so many sevens players in the squad, to last 80 minutes on a regular basis.

Right, on with the scores:

England 56-5 Spain

Clinical, but not perfect for England

England ran in 10 tries in their first game with four for Kay Wilson.  The other tries came from Emily Scarratt, Amy Cockayne, Harriet Millar-Mills, Alex Matthews, Lydia Thompson and Megan Jones.  Conversions came from Kay McLean (2) and Emily Scarratt.

Spain’s dogged persistence finally paid off towards the end of the first half as they scored from and England handling-error through Diana Gasso.

Although this was a good first result for England they know they will have to tighten up in certain areas if they are to progress.  They had 88% of territory, making 911 metres compared with Spain’s 258.  But the kicking was not too sharp and the line-outs positively ropey.  Their next game is against Italy on Sunday.

New Zealand 44-12 Wales

It was a tough start for Wales and by half-time they were 20-0 down.  Sioned Harries and Melissa Clay went over for Wales, but they were undone by merciless attacking speed from the Black Ferns, whose tries came through Winiata (3), Waaka, Wickliffe (2), Woodman and Blackwell.

USA 24-12 Italy

A tight game saw the Eagles claim the win with four tries to Italy’s two.  Kris Thomas scored the USA’s first after just two minutes with Kimber Rozier adding the conversion. Rozier went in for a try of her own on 17 minutes, but missed the conversion, to make it 12-0 to the USA.  Nine minutes later Italy were back in with scoring through Lucia Cammarano, which was converted.   In the second-half Thomas and Gustaitis went in for the USA.  Italy pulled one back with a late try from Giordano after Thomas had been yellow-carded.  A good confidence-building win for the USA.

Canada 98-0 Hong Kong

A crushing win for Canada, not really doing anything for the game, but Hong Kong have to start somewhere.  I fear for Hong Kong as things don’t get any easier as they face the Black Ferns next on Sunday 13 August.

Ireland 19-17 Australia

What a match!  Gosh, so tempting it is to trot out a whole line of clichés – they went toe to toe, knocking lumps out of each other, no quarter asked or given, etc.  But it’s also all true!  Before the game I thought Ireland, even without Niamh Briggs, would have it in the bag against such and inexperienced 15s side.  But Aussies never know when to quit (another cliché) and it was mighty tight to the end.

Ireland took the lead with at try from Larissa Muldoon, converted by Nora Stapleton.  But Australia hit back with a try of their own from Mahalia Murphy.  In what soon became a kicking nightmare for Australia, the conversion was missed by Samantha Treherne as the ball fell from the kicking tee just as it was about to be kicked.

After half-time Australia silenced the crowd by going in front with a try from Shannon Parry but there was further embarrassment in the kicking department as Treherne then took, what I would consider, to be one of the worst kicks I’ve ever seen.  We all laughed at the time, but in the end the difference was two points.

Ireland went back in front with a converted try by Ciara Griffin.  And when they scored again with ten minutes to go, the try by Sophie Spence adjudged legitimate by the TMO, Ireland were well ahead and the Aussies seemed to be tiring.

But it was Australia who were to have the last word, prop Hilisha Samoa tunnelling her way through a pile of Irish bodies to get over the line.

The TV coverage kept cutting to poor Niamh Briggs in the stand who was clearly playing every ball.  I hope she has some less-close matches to watch otherwise she’ll have no nails left.

France 72-14 Japan

Japan were touted as a possible outside threat before the tournament began, but this first game surely showed that they still have some way to go before being competitive in the big arena.  Twelve tries for France saw them win easily and a red card for Makiko Tomito for Japan in the second-half did not have improved the situation.

Live coverage is on ITV4.  It’s quite good (thank goodness for Maggie Alphonsi) – sorry can’t be more enthusiastic than that.  And as beggars can’t be choosers, I’d encourage you to tune in.

Tennis – Rogers Cup

There was disappointment for Heather Watson this week as she pulled out with injury in the first round of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

She was behind 6-1 4-1 to Naomi Osaka of Japan when she forfeited the match with a shoulder injury.

The quarter-finals take place on 11 and 12 August and the line-up is as follow:

K Pliskova (1) v C Wozniacki (6)

S Stephens v L Safarova

E Svitolina (5) v G Muguruza (4)

C Garcia v S Halep (2)

Athletics – World Championships

I think it’s safe to say that this has not been a vintage World Championships for Team GB.

So far we have only one medal – a gold for Mo Farah in the 10,000m.

Best results for British female athletes:

Laura Muir was a whisker away from taking a bronze in the 1,500m as she came in fourth.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson came in fifth in the heptathlon after really blowing her chances on the first day.

Holly Bradshaw came a creditable sixth in the pole vault but was not far away from getting a medal.

Sophie Hitchon came seventh in the hammer and Eilidh Doyle eighth in the 400m hurdles.

We still have potential medallists though on Friday 11 August with Dina Asher-Smith qualifying for the 200m and Lorraine Ugen in the long jump final.

There are plenty of events still to come through the weekend, so keep watching.  Blanket coverage on the BBC.


The netball Quad Series begins at the end of the month with England’s first game against Australia in Brisbane on Saturday 26 August at 6am.

They then play New Zealand in Auckland on Wednesday 30 August (8.30am) and South Africa in Invercargill on Sunday 3 September (3am).

Australia have already suffered a blow with top (and scariest) defender Sharni Layton pulling out of the squad, having been diagnosed with physical and mental exhaustion.

England have named a full-strength squad:

Ama Agbeze (captain), Jade Clarke (vice-captain), Joanne Harten (vice-captain), Sara Bayman, Eboni Beckford-Chambers, Eleanor Cardwell, Beth Cobden, Kadeen Corbin, Stacey Francis, Jodie Gibson, Serena Guthrie, Helen Housby, Geva Mentor, Chelsea Pitman.

Reserves: Summer Artman, Sasha Corbin, George Fisher, Natalie Haythornthwaite


Just a quick notice!  The public ballot for tickets to the 2018 World Cup, to be held in London from 21 July -5 August opens on 19 August.  Follow this link to register – it’s a short window, the ballot closes on 6 September.


Solheim Cup

The teams, including the captains’ picks, are in!  The Solheim Cup is nearly upon us.  The USA are the current holders, having won in Germany in 2015, 14½-13½.

Europe captain Annika Sorenstam had four wildcard picks and chose Anna Nordqvist (Swe), Madelene Sagstrom (Swe), Caroline Masson (Ger) and Emily Pedersen (Den).

Julie Inkster had two wildcard picks for the USA and chose Austin Ernst and Angel Yin.  Although not originally included, Paula Creamer has now been drafted in, as Jessica Korda has pulled out through injury.

The teams in full:

Europe: Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Mel Reid, Florentyna Parker, Carlota Ciganda, Karine Icher, Suzann Pettersen. Wildcards: Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Masson, Emily Pederson, Magdalene Sagstrom.

USA: Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Danielle Kang, Michelle Wie, Brittany Lang, Brittany Lincicome, Lizette Salas. Captain’s Picks: Austin Ernst, Angel Yin.

The Solheim Cup takes place at the Des Moines Country Club in Iowa from 18-20 August and is live on Sky Sports.

British Open

Kim In-Kyung of Korea has won the British Open at Kingsbarns in Scotland at the weekend.  She won by two shots over Jodie Ewart Shadoff of England, finishing on -18.  Michelle Wie of the United States took a share of third with Caroline Masson of Germany and Georgia Hall of England as they finished on -13.

Kim had a six-shot lead going into the last round, but in the end she had to hold on as Ewart Shadoff shot a storming course-equalling round of 64 to pull the deficit back to just two shots.


Kia Super League

The second season of the Kia Super League gets underway this week.  Each team still only plays each other once, with Finals Day this year at Hove on 1 September.

The ECB has revealed this week that next year’s competition will be expanded so that each team will play a more usual format of home and away ties.  This good news comes in the wake of an earlier announcement that the ECB has shelved plans for a similar women’s 50-over completion.  When the T20 competition was announced, the ECB said its plans were to extend it to a 50-over competition in a matter of a couple of years.  This is a massive U-turn and somewhat of a slap in the face for a country that has just won a 50-over World Cup.

Not sure how many times I’ve said this, but the various governing bodies have to stop using women’s sport as a guinea pig – so many initiatives announced, so many either dropped before they’ve started or after a limited time – see the RFU and its contract scandal, for example.

The ECB obviously want the women to be concentrating on T20, when really it is the grassroots county game that needs the money.  Where will the much vaunted “pathway” be for county players to get into the England one-day side? It’s a huge jump.

The odds are it will all change again in 2020 when the men’s “franchises” (hush my mouth, dirty word) for the T20 Blast will be revealed.  It is thought that the women’s Super League will then be revamped in line with these franchises.

Anyway, it all began again on Thursday 10 August with a somewhat underwhelming start at the Ageas Bowl as reigning champions the Southern Vipers took on Western Storm.

Western Storm 70 all out (18.5 overs)
Southern Vipers 73/1 (9 overs)

Not a storming start (sorry) to the KSL as the Vipers thrashed the Storm, knocking off their target in just nine overs.  Not even the missing Anya Shrubsole could have turned this round.

Top scorer for Storm was opener Georgia Hennessy, who dug in in the face of the carnage around her.

England captain Heather Knight, made only one before being bowled by Linsey Smith.  The only other player to make double figures was Fran Wilson who made 10.

In an attempt to up the scoring to make some kind of defendable total, Storm suffered three run-outs towards the end of the innings, including that of Sophie Luff who was dismissed by a direct hit from Charlotte Edwards.

In response the Vipers made it look all too easy.  They have a truly scary batting order, which was not needed on this occasion.  Hayley Matthews was the only wicket to fall as she hit out with freedom in attempt to get the game won.  She was caught by Hennessy off the bowling of Stafanie Taylor for 15.

New Zealand captain Suzie Bates (47) and Georgia Adams (3) saw them home.

Coverage is on Sky and BBC TMS.

And finally,

I still must try harder to stop reading the comments sections, particularly on the BBC.  I thought the rugby had cracked it and it was accepted that the women’s game is a quality product (not that I care whether you accept it or not), but this is not the case.  Cue the usual misogyny on the BBC comments sections.  Bored now.

Sorry, no column next week as I’ll be working elsewhere.  Don’t forget, if you’ve enjoyed reading the column please share it with your networks.  I’m also happy to discuss any (non-troll) aspects of women’s sport.

Women’s Sports Column 31 July -5 Aug

Schofield 2It’s Olympics time! Once every four years those of us who love women’s sport revel in the fact that it nearly (I said nearly) gets equal coverage at the Olympics. And we should make the most of it because come September we will go back to being very much second-class citizens.

However, I would still suggest that while you enjoy the Olympic coverage, you do keep a close eye on it. Will the women’s 100m enjoy the same profile as the men’s? Will the women’s football be on as much as the men’s? To be fair about it though, there will probably be more about the heptathlon (come on Jess!) than the decathlon…. I don’t want to be a killjoy, but although it will be good, it won’t be equal and there’s no use pretending it will.

Anyway, lecture over. In this week’s column there are stories from golf, tennis, football, cricket, cycling and sailing. The last couple of “And finally” pieces have been positive, so it’s time to redress the balance with one of those stories you have to read twice before you believe it actually happened……

The Women’s British Open ended with a win for Ariya Jutanugarn of Thailand. In winning, she became Thailand’s first major champion. Mirim Lee of Korea had been way in front over the first two days, but Jutanugarn played the more consistent golf over the last two rounds. She took a two shot lead into the final round and was never headed, winning by three shots on -16.

Lee finished joint second with USA’s Mo Martin on -13 with Stacy Lewis on -11. Catriona Matthew, who had been right up with the leaders after the second round, finished joint fifth on -10 with Karrie Webb of Australia.

Home favourite, Charley Hull, could only finish on -5, after a disastrous 75 on Saturday put her out of contention.


In tennis, the Rogers Cup was claimed by Simona Halep. She beat Madison Keys in the final, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3. It was her third title of the year so far.

Halep also featured in the doubles final with partner Monica Niculescu, but the Romanian pair were beaten by Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

British number one, Johanna Konta was beaten in the quarter-final by qualifier Kristina Kucova, 6-4 6-3. If she had progressed, she would have entered the top 10 rankings, joining Jo Durie, Virginia Wade and Sue Barker as the only British women to have done so. As it is she stands at 13 in the world.

It’s been a busy week in the FAWSL. :

Wednesday 3 Aug


Reading FC Women 1-2 Manchester City Women
Bruton 88                           Christiansen 38, Duggan 80

Sunday 31 July


Manchester City Women 3-0 Sunderland AFC Ladies
Stanway 17, 55, 82

Reading FC Women 1-1 Notts County Ladies FC
Follis 65                              Buet 40

Arsenal Ladies FC 1-2 Liverpool Ladies FC
Williams 9                      Van de Sanden 21, Weir 75

Durham Women FC 3-0 Watford Ladies FC
Hepple 17, 69
Roberts 65

Aston Villa Ladies FC 0-2 Yeovil Town Ladies FC
Short 4,Heatherson 49

Oxford United Women 4-2 London Bees
Umotong 30, 61          Popadinova 36, 54
Allison 32
Noble 36

Saturday 30 July


Doncaster Rovers Belles 0-1 Birmingham City Ladies
Linnett 61


Everton Ladies FC 1-1 Sheffield FC Ladies
Turner 20                        Dale 48

Millwall Lionesses 1-2 Bristol City Women
Babajide 62                      Emslie 10, 67

The quarter-finals of the Continental Cup take place from today into the weekend. Here are the fixtures:

Friday 05 August 2016

19:00 Arsenal Ladies FC v Notts County Ladies FC (The Hive)

Sunday 07 August 2016

14:00 Birmingham City Ladies v Liverpool Ladies FC (Solihull Moors)
14:00 Manchester City Women v Doncaster Rovers Belles (Academy Stadium)
14:00 Sheffield FC Ladies v London Bees (Sheffield FC)


In case you hadn’t noticed, and you should have done considering the ECB has gone into overdrive (panic) over the last week or so to promote it, the Kia Super League is up and running.

So far the games have been good and largely tight affairs.

I have, unashamedly done as the ECB has said to do and #showyourcolours, by supporting the Loughborough Lightning, my local team.

The Lightning kicked it all off on Sunday 31 July at Headingley against Yorkshire Diamonds. The away side put in an excellent performance beating the Diamonds by a whopping 43 runs and therefore earning themselves a bonus point.

Loughborough Lightning 128/9 (Devine 52)
Yorkshire Diamonds 85 all out (Grundy 3/21
Lightning win by 43 runs

Western Storm v Lancashire Thunder (Taunton)
Thunder 83 all out (18.3 overs) (Taylor 4/14)
Storm 86/6 (15.3 overs) (Knight 23)
Storm win by 4 wickets

August 3

Loughborough Lightning v Lancashire Thunder (Haslegrave Ground, Loughborough)
Thunder 164/8 (Satterthwaite 52, Dottin 42)
Lightning 158 all out (Eccleston 3/23, Matthews 3/25)
Thunder win by 6 runs

I was there to see Lightning’s second match at home against Lancashire Thunder on Wednesday. They lost by six runs after nearly completing an amazing comeback when they needed 91 off the last 10 overs with just four wickets remaining. I wrote a full report of the match for Women’s Sports UK, which you can read here: http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/match-report/lightning-comeback-in-vain-as-thunder-take-the-points-at-haslegrave

August 4

Surrey Stars v Yorkshire Diamonds (The Oval)
Diamonds 134/5 (Armitage 43)
Stars 135/4 (Beaumont 47) 18.1 overs
Stars win by 6 wickets

August 5

Lancashire Thunder v Southern Vipers (Blackpool)
Vipers 132/4 (McGlashan 54 not out)
Thunder 121/7 (Lamb 34, Satterthwaite 31)
Vipers win by 11 runs

Loughborough Lightning v Western Storm (Haslegrave Ground)
Lightning 158/8 (A Jones 46, Perry 44)
Storm 153/5 (Knight 74)
Lightning win by 5 runs

I was also present for this game. It was a much improved performance from the Lightning. The batting was good, bowling much better (especially Ellyse Perry) and the fielding was tighter. There were also fewer extras given away. It was an excellent game – my nerves were shredded three overs from the end when Heather Knight was going so well. Special mention too for the bowling of Sonia Odedra who took two wickets in a over which possibly changed the course of the game.

South Africa played Ireland this week in a two-match T20 series. The tourists are without some of their best players, including Marizanne Kapp, Shabnim Ismail and Dane van Niekerk, who are currently playing in the Kia Super League.

However, Ireland played well in both games, and bowled South Africa out in a low-scoring second match to win and draw the series.

August 1

First T20 International
Ireland 140/4 (Shillington 30, Joyce 31)
South Africa 144 off 20 overs (du Preez 55)
South Africa win by 4 wickets.

August 3

Second T20 International
Ireland 115/7 (Shillington 48)
South Africa 95 all out 19.3 overs (4 run outs)

Ireland win by 20 runs

A series of four One-Day Internationals began on 5 Aug

August 5

South Africa 283/7 (Tryon 92, Wolvaardt 55)
Ireland 194 all out 44.5 overs (Luus 6/36)
South Africa win by 89 runs

In other cricket news, Harmanpreet Kaur has become the first Indian woman cricketer to be signed up by the Australian Big Bash. She will play for reigning champions Sydney Thunder in the next tournament which begins in December.


Lizzie Armitstead has admitted that people will doubt she is clean after missing three drug tests. She was suspended and could have missed the Olympics if the first test had not been declared void.

She took her case to the Court of Arbitration for sport, which ruled that the official

“didn’t do what was reasonable and necessary” to find her and complete the test.

If she had not won her case she could have been banned for two years.

The 2016 Ride London Classique was won by Dutch cyclist Kirsten Wild. She outsprinted fellow Netherlander Nina Kessler, with Canada’s Leah Kirchmann finishing third. She had already won the Tour de Yorkshire in April.

Sailing with Abby Ehler

In sailing this week Dee Caffari has been leading an all female team, with a mixture of girls from Oman and from the UK competing in the Farr 30 International’s in Barstad, Sweden. Dee has worked with the women’s program within Oman Sail for a number of years with the aim of encouraging the sport of sailing in Oman and providing opportunities for women to excel through sport.  This week’s event in Sweden has been a fantastic training opportunity for the Omani girls to gain exposure to different conditions and to learn from the professionals working with them who include Libby Greenhalgh, Abby Ehler, Kate MacGregor and Liz Wardley.

Next week is the Uk’s largest Sailing event; Cowes Week. This year for the first time The Magenta Project will be at Cowes Week aligning with Slingsby’s Ladies Day providing the opportunity for people to meet the Magenta team, for upcoming female UK talent to experience the high performance M32 catamaran.  Several members of The Magenta Project will be there including  Sam Davies (skipper of Team SCA and Vendee Globe competitor), Dee Caffari (5 times Round the World Sailor and World Record holder) and Libby Greenhalgh who are also all past winners of the Ladies Day Trophy as well as former Team SCA members Abby Ehler (2x Volvo Ocean Race sailor) and Annie Lush (2012 Olympian) will be on hand to share their experiences about the road to becoming professional sailors, balancing families and careers, the dedication and the challenges.


And finally, (American) football assistant coaches Jeff Banks and Jim Turner held a female fan event at Texas A&M University recently. There were 700 attendees. Part of the event was a slide show, meant to be educating the audience on various dos and don’ts of the game. But, oh dear. These are the four slides they came up with:

Pass – Blocking rules – the don’ts

  1. Don’t let him inside
  2. Keep your hips down
  3. Don’t go down

Pass – Blocking rules – the dos

  1. Spread them again
  2. Get erect
  3. Stay erect
  4. Bang him hard

Run – Blocking rules – the don’ts

  1. No penetration
  2. Never bend over
  3. Don’t end up on your back

Run – Blocking rules – the dos

  1. Spread your legs
  2. Enter front/not behind
  3. Push hard
  4. Finish on top

Yes, well. No doubt they thought it humorous at the time, but in retrospect how they must be regretting it. Head coach, Kevin Sumlin was not amused and has suspended the pair for a fortnight. In a statement he said,

“There is absolutely no place in our program or in our University community for inappropriate conduct or degrading comments towards women, or anyone, regardless of intent.”

I think we can all agree with that.

The Column will be back next week, although I know I won’t be able to keep up with all the Olympic news. It will, therefore, be a mixture of Olympic and non-Olympic stories, which I hope you will all find interesting. Enjoy the Games