Welcome to this week’s column. I’m back! Didn’t miss much did I? Just the end of the Kia Super League, the start of the WSL, the start of the rugby union Premier 15s season, the Lionesses qualifying for the World Cup? No, not much.
I can’t pretend to give you updates on all that, so I hope you managed to get your women’s sport fix elsewhere over the last couple of weeks. Mind you, I also hope you’re back to read my column again this week!
But my goodness, there’s plenty to get through this week including stories from cycling, tennis, golf, football, cricket, netball, athletics, rugby union and mountain biking.
Before we start though, congratulations to Surrey Stars for their Kia Super League triumph on 27 August. Just when I thought Loughborough Lightning may bag the title at last, they completely crumbled in the final and Surrey Stars were the winners. Without resorting to saying “cricket was the winner” this year, I’d just like to say that the tournament this season was excellent – the new expanded fixture list to include both home and away ties makes so much more sense. Shame it’s all going to go in 2020…..
Cycling – Kristina Vogel
I was going to start with the US Open women’s singles final, but hey, some things are more important and Kristina Vogel’s story is one of them.
Back at the end of June double Olympic champion Kristina Vogel crashed into another rider during training.
The spinal injury she sustained has left her unable to walk.
In an interview with Der Spiegel she said,
“I believe that the sooner you accept a new situation, the sooner you learn to deal with it.
“I was in pain, but there are no words….On the first X-ray images my spine looks like an Ikea folding table.
“In the meantime, I really thought that I was dying. But I said to myself: ‘I cannot let go here now.’
“No matter what fate holds for you, life goes on, in my case now on four wheels instead of two wheels. My arms are now my legs too.”
Without wanting to sound mawkish, one does imagine that, having come to terms with her situation, she will be incredibly determined and ultimately successful in whatever she tackles next.
You can here Vogel talking about the crash and its aftermath in the BBC’s BeSpoke podcast:
Tennis – US Open
Where to start with this?
Williams v Osaka
Sticking to the facts: Naomi Osaka in the US Open champion and a worthy winner. She won in straight sets 6-2 6-4.
In addition to this, Williams was given a code violation for coaching, penalised a point for smashing her racquet and finally docked a game for verbal abuse.
That much we know and is fact. The rest is now so bound up in name-calling, claim and counter-claim that whatever I say would not change any minds or make things clearer.
Any regular reader will know that I admire Serena immensely and the greatest feeling I have about this whole episode is sadness. I am said that Osaka did not receive the recognition she deserved at the time – in fact I’m just sad that any of it happened.
I’m not going to say Serena was right in her prolonged outburst, but I do understand her frustration. There are faults on both sides. There is sexism in the game of tennis (as there is in most sports). I saw a tweet from someone who showed a picture of a baseball player with his finger in the umpire’s face and it was described as “arguing a strike”. Serena’s similar picture with the pointing finger is described as “having a meltdown”.
How is it remedied? By calling it into question, certainly, but not, as Serena did, during a championship final. Serena has been fighting both racism and sexism throughout her career and I think, at this point, at the age of 36 she probably was just wondering why she was still having to battle with it. She went too far. I nearly put, “but that’s who she is”, but that is the Kevin Pietersen defence and I don’t hold with it.
Women’s tennis has a long way to go in its fight for equality. The sight of a frustrated Williams endeavouring to fight her corner will have, unfortunately, done nothing to help.
Thirteenth seeds Ash Barty and Coco Vandeweghe won the women’s doubles, coming from a set down to beat second seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos 3-6 7-6 7-6.
Both pairings were unseeded in the mixed doubles final. Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jamie Murray won it, beating Alicja Rosolska and Nikola Mektic 2-6 6-3 11-9.
After dropping the first set they fought back to level and the third went to a match tie-break. They went 4-1 down in the tie-break, but came back again and won it on their fourth match point.
In the wheelchair singles, number two seed Diede de Groot defeated 2017 champion and top seed Yui Kamiji 6-2 6-3.
Rachel Atherton claimed her fifth Mountain Bike World Championship title at the weekend. She won the downhill final in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
She finished nearly ten seconds ahead of fellow Briton Tahnee Seagave. Myriam Nicole of France was third.
Another week, another championships, this time the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Last weekend saw Team Americas claim the title, beating defending champions, Europe, by 29 points.
For those who are unfamiliar with the event, the Continental Cup takes place every four years. This year’s was the third event, with the Americas having won the first and Europe the second. Teams from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa take part. It replaced the World Cup for individual nations in 2010.
There were seven British women taking part.
Dina Asher-Smith finished second in the 100m in 11.16 seconds. The winner was Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast who ran in a time of 11.14 seconds.
Kristal Awuah, Bianca Williams, Imani Lansiquot and Asher-Smith finished second in the 4 x 100m in a time of 42.55 seconds. The Americas won by just under half a second.
Meghan Beesley finished fourth in the 400m hurdles behind Janieve Russell of Jamaica.
Shara Proctor finished fifth in the long jump as Colombia’s Caterine Ibarguen claimed the triple jump/long jump double.
The Americas also won the 100m hurdles through Jamaica’s Danielle Williams as team-mate Kendra Harrison of USA finished second.
Americas sealed the win by claiming victory in the mixed 4x400m relay. Their team of Christian Taylor, Luguelin Santos, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Shaunae Miller-Uibo won in a time of 3:13.01 ahead of Africa in second and Asia in third. The European team was disqualified. Miller-Uibo won three titles including the 4 x 400m, 4 x 100m and the 200m.
Caster Semenya won the women’s 800m for Africa in one minute 54.77 seconds.
Great North Run
It was a Kenya 1-2-3 in the women’s race. Vivian Cheruiyot won it with a personal best time of 67 minutes 43 seconds. Brigid Kosgei (67:52) was second and Joyciline Jepkosgei (68.10) came third.
Martyna Snopek of Poland won the women’s wheelchair race in 63 minutes 02 seconds.
Two results from last weekend in the Women’s Super League:
Featherstone Rovers 12-20 York City Knights
Wigan Warriors 10-12 Castleford Tigers
With most teams having played 10 games, St Helens lie top on points difference with 15 points from Wigan Warriors. Leeds are third with 14, but have only played nine games. At the bottom, York City Knights claimed their first win of the season at the weekend and are now level with next to bottom Featherstone Rovers on two points.
It’s the final women’s major of the season this weekend, the Evian Championship in France.
After the first round Carlota Ciganda of Spain and Maria Torres of Puerto Rico are on -6, one shot ahead of Austin Ernst of USA. Ryu So-yeon (Korea), Brooke Henderson (Canada) and Nasa Hataoka (Japan) are one further back on -4.
Georgia Hall lies -3, Bryony Hall -2 and Charley Hull +1.
A double blow for Loughborough Lightning this week as top players Peace Proscovia and Beth Cobden both confirmed they are to leave to play In Australia. Proscovia is going to Sunshine Coast Lightning (yes, lightning), In Australia. She gave an emotional interview, which you can see here:
She finishes studying for her MSc at Loughborough this autumn and then will go on to do a PhD at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Loughborough’s loss will very much be Sunshine Coast’s gain. We will be able to see Peace back in this country when she plays for Uganda at next year’s World Cup in Liverpool in July. If you can’t wait that long, England play Uganda in a three-match series in November/December this year. Check out www.netballengland.co.uk for details.
Cobden is off to play for Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Netball World Cup
Qualifying is finished and we now know the 16 teams who will be vying for the World Cup crown in July.
England (host nation), Australia, New Zealand Jamaica, South Africa and Malawi.
Qualifers from regional tournaments:
Scotland, Northern Ireland, Fiji, Samoa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
The group draw will be made on 15 September. More news of that next week.
General tickets go on sale on 19 September – get in as soon as you can. Click here for details.
India and Sri Lanka are warming up for the T20 World Cup in November with a three-match ODI and five-match T20 series in Sri Lanka.
India have already clinched the ODI series, having won the first two matches with points counting towards the ICC Women’s Championship.
11 September, Galle
Sri Lanka 98 all out (35.1 overs)
India 100/1 (19.5 overs)
India won by 9 wickets
It was a one-sided start in Galle. Sri Lanka could only muster 98, skittled out with nearly 15 overs to go. Captain Jayangani top-scored with 33, but only two other players made it into double figures.
Joshi took 3/16 and Goswami 2/13.
India knocked off the total with 181 balls to spare. Raut was the only wicket to fall, caught by Surangika off the bowling of Ranaweera for 24. But Mandhana scored 73, Raj came in to face two balls, not scoring and India had won the match.
13 September, Galle
India 219 all out (50 overs)
Sri Lanka 212 all out (48.1 overs)
India won by 7 runs
The second ODI, by contrast, was a tightly fought affair with Sri Lanka only falling just short in their chase.
India started relatively poorly and at one stage were 36/3. Bhatia top-scored with 68 and Raj scored 52 as they posted what they probably thought would easily be a winning score.
But Sri Lanka showed they can be doughty competitors. Jayangani top-scored again with 57 and there were much better contributions throughout the batting order. Siriwardene scored 49 before she was run out and de Silver 31, but they couldn’t quite get over the line. Three run-outs did not help their cause.
Further news and scores next week.
Meanwhile South Africa begin a five-match ODI series against the West Indies in Bridgetown at the weekend. Again there will be news of this next week.
England do not play again until 4 November, when they begin their World T20 warm-ups against Australia.
The new Premier 15s season got underway last weekend:
Firwood Waterloo 5-38 Saracens
DMP Sharks 27-24 Worcester Valkyries
Bristol Bears 17-32 Wasps
Gloucester-Hartpury 24-38 Harlequins
Loughborough Lightning 22-19 Richmond
After the turmoil of the restructure, this season should be all about consolidation and improvement. There should be some good contests out there and the more support we show women’s rugby, the more it will thrive (as with all women’s sport). There is tremendous goodwill towards the sport at the moment, especially at domestic level, so if you can, get out there and give them your support.
This weekend’s round two fixtures:
Wasps v Loughborough (1.35pm, Ealing Trailfinders RFC)
Saracens v Worcester (2.30pm, Allianz Park)
DMP Sharks v Gloucester-Hartpury (3pm, Northern Echo Arena)
Richmond v Firwood Waterloo (5pm, Richmond Athletic Ground)
Harlequins v Bristol Bears (5.30pm, The Stoop)
After all the Wales v England and Scotland’s qualification for the World Cup excitement a couple of weeks ago (all of which I missed), it was back to domestic duty this week as the WSL kicked off and midweek also saw the first leg of the Round of 32 of the Champions League.
Reading 4-0 Yeovil
Davison 5’, Williams 11’, Bruton 59’ pen, Allen 61’
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Bristol City
Arsenal 5-0 Liverpool
Miedema 6’ 39’ 90’, Evans 14’, Little 35’
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City
Birmingham City 1-0 Everton
Aston Villa 0-12 Manchester United
James 10’ 23’, Sigsworth 25’ 33’ 35’ 49’ 61’, Zelem 29’ pen, Hanson 55’ 59’, Green 66’, Toone 69’
Good for football? I don’t think so.
Millwall Lionesses 0-3 Lewes
Quayle 2’, Carter 24’, Bergin 44’
Sheffield United 0-2 Durham
Salicki 57’, Reid 79’
Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 London Bees
Haines 73’ pen, Green 80’
Crystal Palace 0-2 Leicester City
Johnson 18’, Morgan 75’
This weekend it’s back to Continental Cup action – I hope you’re all keeping up with this. For fixture details see: https://womenscompetitions.thefa.com/Support/Fixtures
Champions League – Round of 32, 1st leg
Wednesday 12 September
BIIK-Kazykurt 3-1 Barcelona
Although Toni Duggan scored for Barcelona, they will have to win well at home to progress.
Rayazan 0-1 Rosengard
Barcelona FA (Cyprus) 0-2 Glasgow City
Two red cards in the game as Rita Akaffou and Leanne Ross were sent off for Barcelona and Glasgow respectively. Goals for Glasgow came from Hayley Lauder 3’ and Leanne Crichton 83’. Glasgow must have a good chance of going through with their home leg to come.
Sarajevo 0-5 Chelsea
All over in Chelsea’s favour, you’d have to think. Goals from Millie Bright 6’, Drew Spence 22’, Maria Thorisdottir 36’, Ji So-yun 87’ and Adelina Engman 89’ see them well ahead going into the second leg.
ZFK Spartak Subotica 0-7 Bayern Munich
Zhytiobud-1 1-6 Linkoping
Avaldsnes 0-2 Lyon
Honka 0-1 Zurich
Thor/KA Women 0-1 Wolfsburg
Ajax 2-0 Sparta Praha
Fiorentina 2-0 Fortuna Hjorring
St Polton 1-4 PSG
Juventus 2-2 Brondby
Gintra 0-3 Slavia Praha
Lillestrom 3-0 Zvezda 2005
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Manchester City
Gemma Bonner scored in the 16th minute and City looked to have won it until Madrid equalised on 89 minutes through Kenti Robles.
Second leg fixtures are 26-27 September
Don’t forget, England have a series of friendlies coming up in October and November. It all begins on 6 October at Meadow Lane, Nottingham against Brazil. Kick-off time for that one is 12.30pm. Then the Lionesses face Australia at Craven Cottage, Fulham on Tuesday 9 October at 7pm and finally they play Sweden on Sunday 11 November at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham at 1.30pm. Let’s get these games sold out. Tickets available from the FA website: https://ticketing.thefa.com/
That’s more than enough for this week. More news and views next week.