Welcome to this week’s column. There’s a lot of positive news this week, which makes a change. Maybe it’s because I’ve been weaning myself off the comments sections of any piece on the BBC website (or even a Tweet) that pertains to women’s sport. Long may it last.
Stories this week include a round-up of the last few days of the European Championships, cricket, football, hockey, tennis and netball.
Danny Kerry has left his role as head coach of the GB and England women’s hockey teams to take up a similar post with the men’s.
He had been in the role for 13 years.
There has been no indication as to who will take over from him.
The remaining days of the European Championships produced some excellent performances from Team GB.
Dina Asher-Smith in the 200m and was part of the 4x100m team that also won gold with Asha Philip, Imani Lansiquot and Bianca Williams.
Grace Reid in the 3m springboard diving.
Laura Muir 1,500m
Alicia Blagg in the 3m springboard diving.
Michele Thomson, Connor Syme, Liam Johnston and Meghan Maclaren in the mixed team golf competition.
Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the heptathlon
Eilish McColgan 5,000m
Zoey Clark, Anyika Onuora, Amy Allcock and Eilidh Doyle in the 4 x 400m relay
Shara Proctor won bronze in the long jump.
Meghan Beesley in the 400m hurdles.
Laura Weightman in the 1,500m
Last weekend saw number one seed Simona Halep win the final of the Rogers Cup. She defeated third seed Sloane Stephens in three sets, 7-6 3-6 6-4.
Britain’s Jo Konta reached the third round. She had a good win over French Open champions Jelena Ostapenko in the first round, 6-7 6-1 6-2. In the second round she beat Viktoria Azarenka 6-3 6-1, but lost in the third round to fifth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 6-4.
This week it is the Cincinnati Masters and they have been suffering with the weather. There are still three games to complete in the third round. Only two quarter-final line-ups have been decided so far: Petra Kvitova (8) v Elise Mertens (15) and Madison Keys (13) v Aryna Sabalenka.
Jo Konta went out in the first round to Sabalenka 4-6 6-3 6-4.
Under-20 World Cup
England have finished top of Group B as they beat Mexico 6-1 in their last group game.
The Young Lionesses were behind at half-time through a Jacqueline Ovalle goal. But after the break Alessia Russo drew them level and Chloe Kelly scored the second to take them ahead.
Georgia Stanway got the third and then Lauren Hemp bagged a hat-trick to make it a convincing win.
England now face the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on 17 August.
Two quarter-finals have already taken place:
Spain 2-1 Nigeria
France 1-0 Korea DPR
Delabre (29 pen)
The semi-finals are on 20 August. Spain play against France and the winner of the Netherlands/England match play the winner of the fourth semi between Germany and Japan.
The final is on Friday 24 August. There is TV coverage on Eurosport.
BT sport has revealed that it will show Manchester United Women’s first match, against Liverpool in the Continental Cup group game, live at 2pm on Sunday 19 August.
They will be covering WSL, FA and Continental Cups this season.
Sunday 19 August: Liverpool v Manchester United (Conti Cup) – BT Sport 2 from 2pm
Sunday 9 September: Chelsea v Manchester City (WSL) – BT Sport 3 from 2pm
Sunday 23 September: Brighton & Hove Albion v Liverpool (WSL) – BT Sport 1 from 12.15pm
Sunday 14 October: Chelsea v Arsenal (WSL) – BT Sport 1 from 2pm
Kirsty Linnett has signed for Liverpool, having been released by Reading at the end of her contract.
Liverpool have also signed goalkeeper Fran Kitching from Sheffield United.
Manchester City have signed Canadian international forward Janine Beckie on a one-year contract.
Birmingham City have signed full-back Harriet Scott from Reading on a one-year contract.
Defender Megan Alexander has moved from Millwall to Yeovil.
Bristol City have also been busy signing striker Ella Rutherford from Millwall and defender Poppy Pattinson from Manchester City this week.
Glasgow City played their second Champions League group game this week, beating FC Martve of Georgia 7-0.
Abbi Grant scored two in the first-half, Kirsty Howat bagged a hat-trick and the other goals came from Jenna Clark and Jo Love.
City are now joint second in the group and play their last game against Polish side Gornik Leczna on Monday. If they win that game by two goals they will top the group and go into the last 32.
In the other game in the group Gornik Leczna beat Anderlecht.
Netball – on the court
World Cup Regional Qualifiers – Africa
Six teams are vying for two places at next year’s World Cup at the African regional qualifier in Lusaka, Zambia. The teams taking part are Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
All of the teams have played three matches now and Uganda are top with three wins from three. Zimbabwe lie second on the same points but with an inferior goal average. Zambia lie third on four points.
Malawi have already qualified for the World Cup by right.
The tournament ends on 18 August. More news next week.
Netball – off the court
Great news for the Vitality Super League – Serena Guthrie will be back to play in UK for the 2019 season.
The England centre who was, in my opinion, the outstanding England player of the Commonwealth Games in April, has been playing Super Netball in Australia for Giants since 2017.
Guthrie has given no indication as to which club she will join, although I’m sure many will be vying to sign her up.
Kia Super League
We already know two out of the three teams that have made it to finals day at Hove on 27 August. Western Storm and Loughborough Lightning have been battling it out for top spot all tournament and it’s not over yet! Lightning scored a famous victory against the Storm this week which took them back to the top of the table, but there’s still time for it all to change. The race is still on for third, although Southern Vipers, usually a safe bet to reach finals day, are out of it.
Here’s what has happened so far this week:
Lancashire Thunder 136/7 (20 overs)
Loughborough Lightning 137/1 (14.3 overs)
Lightning won by 9 wickets with 33 balls remaining
Amy Satterthwaite top-scored for the Thunder with 47 from 41 balls with back-up Georgia Boyce (38 from 33) and Nicole Bolton (19 from 20). But Loughborough’s bowling was disciplined as they restricted the Thunder to under 140. Sophie Devine took 2/22 from her four and Kirstie Gordon 2/29 off her four.
Loughborough knocked off the total with over five overs to spare as Lancashire took only one wicket. Amy Jones, having a great tournament, scored 66 from 39, Rachael Haynes 40 from 37 and Sophie Devine, unluckily run out, scored 22 from 12.
Southern Vipers 62/2 (8.5 overs)
Western Storm (did not bat)
Surrey Stars 66 all out (16.4 of 20 overs)
Yorkshire Diamonds 67/1 (9.3 overs)
Diamonds won by 9 wickets with 63 balls remaining
Disaster for the Stars as they were skittled by Yorkshire for just 66 at York. Only Lizelle Lee (13) and Marizanne Kapp (13) got into double figures.
Beth Langston took 3/14 off 3.4 overs.
In response Lauren Winfield’s was the only wicket taken as she was caught by Sophia Dunkley off the bowling of Laura Marsh for 14 but by then the Diamonds already had 55 on the board. Beth Mooney top-scored with 44 off 30 as Yorkshire won easily.
Southern Vipers 147/9 (20 overs)
Surrey Stars 148/6 (19.3 overs)
Stars won by 4 wickets with 3 balls remaining
Just two days after their thrashing at the hands of Yorkshire, the Stars made a great return to form, beating the Vipers and thus ending the Vipers’ chances of qualifying for finals day.
Without Suzie Bates the Vipers’ scorecard would have been grim reading. The New Zealander scored 82 from 57 balls. The next best score was from Danni Wyatt who scored 15.
Best bowling figures came from Nat Sciver, who took 4/32 off her four overs.
It was a competitive target, though. Surrey tackled it steadily and all contributed. Sciver top-scored with 46 from 33 and as wickets fell as they headed towards the target, it was a little too close for comfort. The Stars finally closed it out with three balls to spare.
Lancashire Thunder 154/9 (20 overs)
Yorkshire Diamonds 145/8 (20 overs)
Thunder won by 9 runs
Harmanpreet Kaur stole the show at Blackpool as she struck 74 from 44 balls to take the Thunder to a good total of 154. Nicole Bolton also scored 46.
The Diamonds battled valiantly, ultimately just falling short. Winfield fell for just two at the top of the order, but Beth Mooney and Thea Brookes then put on a partnership of 47 before Brookes fell for 22. Down the order Brunt top-scored with 44 and Alice Davidson-Richards 33, but Yorkshire lost wickets at crucial stages. Kate Cross effected two run outs and Yorkshire ran out of steam.
Western Storm 124/6 (20 overs)
Loughborough Lightning 125/1 (12.3 overs)
Lightning won by 9 wickets with 45 balls remaining
A brilliant all-round performance saw the Lightning defeat the Storm and return to the top of the table.
Kirstie Gordon took 3/19 off her four overs and Sophie Devine 2/27. Even Smriti Mandhana couldn’t quite get it going, scoring 29 from 27 balls until she fell victim to Gordon, caught by Ellyse Villani.
It never looked to be a big enough total. And so it proved. Loughborough knocked it off with the minimum of fuss. Haynes scored 66 not out from 40, Sophie Devine 38 from 30 and Amy Jones saw the end with 6 not out from 6.
Storm had no answer to the Lightning’s performance. The question is, can Loughborough replicate this on finals day?
It’s safe to say that this season’s tournament has been the best so far by a distance. I think it was obvious to most of us that a five-game competition was never going to be long enough. The advent of away and home ties has been brilliant and has produced cricket of a high standard with overseas stars, home favourites and up-and-coming youngsters all having the chance to shine.
If you’re in the Hove vicinity on Bank Holiday Monday, get down there!!
Those of you who have been following the column for a while will remember that I used to have a fairly regular sailing update from Abby Ehler from the Magenta Project, an organisation committed to “accelerate women to the top of sailing”. Whilst I don’t have the regular updates anymore, I do keep up with what the team at Magenta is doing and I’m thrilled to say they have just announced a new mentoring programme to:
“link up aspiring female sailors with mentors across the industry for the purpose of supporting their sailing development. The mentors will work with the mentees to help plan their sporting development, overcome hurdles, find industry sponsors and inspire them to succeed at the highest level possible.”
All the information on how to apply to be mentored is on the website, and if you’re at all interested I would urge you to take a look.
I will hopefully be revisiting this subject in a few weeks to see how it’s going and what the response has been.
That’s all for this week – short and sweet for a change! More news and views next week.