Women’s Sports Column 10-16 November 2018

fieldhockeysticksWelcome to this week’s column.  This week’s stories range from a wet West Indies to Rotherham with plenty in between.  There is so much going on including one high-profile administrator steps down while another takes up a massive challenge.

So, stories this week come from cricket, football, rugby, hockey, volleyball, sports admin, tennis and modern pentathlon.

Cricket T20 World Cup

At one stage it the ICC seemed to be considering moving group A from St Lucia because of the persistent bad weather, but it looks like we’re sticking with it now.  From what I’ve seen, I have no reason to change my view that Australia are the team to beat.  Here’s where we are at the moment:

Group A

It’s tight in Group B, where the weather could yet play a deciding part.  West Indies are two from two at the top with wins against South Africa and Bangladesh and are looking good.  England are second, a point behind with one win against Bangladesh (via DLS)and a washout against Sri Lanka.  England still have to play the two strongest teams in the group, South Africa and West Indies and need to take points from both.

Bangladesh 76/9 (20 overs)
England 64/3 (9.3 overs)
England won by seven wickets (DLS method)

Kirstie Gordon took 3/16 on debut as England beat Bangladesh in a rain-affected match at St Lucia.  Anya Shrubsole and Nat Sciver both took early wickets to leave Bangladesh 3/2 after three overs.  But Ayasha Rahman showed resolve, scoring 39.

In reply, Danni Wyatt went first ball, but when England’s target was revised towards the end of the innings after a spell of drizzle, they cruised home with 39 balls to spare.

Amy Jones made 28 and Nat Sciver 23.

Group B

Australia are three from three with wins against Ireland, Pakistan and New Zealand and have already qualified for the semi-finals.  India are second on net run-rate.  They play each other to see who finishes top of the table.  New Zealand are third with only one win from three matches and cannot qualify.

Pakistan have flattered to deceive once again and should have done better.  They beat Ireland, but could have done so much more.

Ireland, also, will be frustrated.  They targeted the game against Pakistan as a possible win, but fell badly short.  Their bowling has been excellent in patches, particularly from Lisa O’Reilly, but the batting has been poor.  They even had a chance against India as they restricted them to just 145, but, in truth, I’m not sure there were many watching and listening who were convinced they could chase the target down.  In the end they had a fine aggressive power play, but once again tailed off and could only reach 98/8 at the end of their 20 overs.

You can listen to and watch all of the action via Sky Sports and BBC Radio Test Match Special.  There are also video clips on the BBC website if you don’t have Sky.

Women in Sports Administration

Liz Nicholl will step down from her role as CEO of UK Sport next summer, after eight years in post.   She had worked at UK Sport, in its various incarnations, for 20 years.

“This really is the best job in sport and I have enjoyed every minute of it,” she said.

“My successor will find British sport in a good position to realise our vision of inspiring the nation in Tokyo and beyond.”

Meanwhile, the football Premier League has appointed Susanna Dinnage as its new chief executive.

Dinnage’s background is in media, including roles at MTV, Channel  5 and Discovery.

“I am excited at the prospect of taking on this fantastic role. The Premier League means so much to so many people,” she said.

“It represents the pinnacle of professional sport and the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and inspirational organisation is a great privilege.

“With the support of clubs and the team, I look forward to extending the success of the league for many years to come.”

This experience will likely be invaluable when negotiating new broadcast deals, but there will be many other issues she will have to face.  Whatever happens, it is good to see a woman reach such a high-level post in such a traditionally male, stale and pale environment.

Modern Pentathlon

British modern pentathlete, Samantha Murray, has retired from the sport at the age of 29.

She won silver at the London 2012 Olympics and gold at the World Championships in 2014.

Football – International

England Lionesses

After putting in a fine away performance to beat Austria 3-0 last week, the Lionesses were looking to celebrate captain Steph Houghton’s 100th cap with an equally good game against Sweden in Rotherham.   But football, as we know, is fickle and it didn’t go to plan.

Austria 0-3 England

England were dominant throughout, even though the team was an inexperienced one.  Former USA under-23 player Chioma Ubogagu scored the first on her debut and Georgia Stanway, also making her first appearance, bagged the second.

Rachel Daly scored the third in the second-half.

England 0-2 Sweden

The Lionesses suffered a shock defeat to Sweden at Rotherham on Sunday.  It was the first time they had lost at home since 2015.

Sofia Jakobsson scored Sweden’s first and Anna Anvegard the second to spoil the Steph Houghton party.

The game was a sellout with 9,561 fans packed into the New York Stadium.

From Phil Neville’s first 12 games in charge, England have won seven, drawn three and lost just two.  I’ll never be his greatest fan, but the women are clearly enjoying their football and I am impressed by his comments and commitment to the role.

Scotland 0-1 USA

Scotland were unlucky not to scrape a draw from this match.  They had defended well up until the 39th minutes, when Alex Morgan took advantage of some poor marking to volley in a cross from Mallory Pugh.

The USA were also awarded a penalty in the second-half but Carli Lloyd hit the bar.

Scotland’s best chance came through Lana Clelland but it her shot was turned around the post.

Champions League

Chelsea will play Paris St-Germain in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.  If they manage to overcome PSG they will face Wolfsburg in the semis, who have knocked them out of the competition at the quarter-final stage for the last three years.

Quarter-final draw:

Slavia Praha v Bayern Munich
Barcelona v LSK Kvinner
Lyon v Wolfsburg
Chelsea v PSG

First leg to be played on 20 and 21 March 2019, with return leg the following week.

Semi-final draw

Lyon or Wolfsburg v Chelsea or PSG
Slavia Praha or Bayern Munich v Barcelona or LSK Kvinner

Semi-finals will be played towards the end of April 2019.

Managerial Casualties

There have been two manager sackings this week; WSL side Everton dispensed with the services of head coach Andy Spence and Championship club Lewes sacked John Donoghue.

Everton have only one game this season and that was against Reading in the Continental Cup.  They are currently bottom of the WSL table, having been beaten by previous bottom side Yeovil Town last weekend.  Goalkeeping coach Jennifer Herst has been put in interim charge.

Donoghue had been with Lewes since 2014.  He helped to establish Lewes in the National League (South) before they were allocated a spot in the newly revamped Championship for 2018-19.

Hockey

Champions Trophy 2018

The Champions Trophy takes place in Changzhou, China from 17-25 November.

The six teams involved are Great Britain, hosts China, defending champions Argentina, 2018 World Cup winners Netherlands, Oceania champions Australia and Asian Games champions Japan.

Group games schedule
17: Great Britain v China (06:00), Australia v Argentina (08:00), Netherlands v Japan (10:00)
18: Australia v Great Britain (06:00), China v Japan (08:00), Netherlands v Argentina (10:00)
20: Australia v Netherlands (06:00), Argentina v China (08:00), Japan v Great Britain (10:00)
22: Argentina v Japan (06:00), China v Australia (08:00), Great Britain v Netherlands (10:00)
24: Japan v Australia (06:00), Netherlands v China (08:00), Great Britain v Argentina (10:00)

Finals schedule
25: 5th v 6th (06:00), 3rd v 4th (08:15), Final (10:30)

TV coverage is via BT Sport.

Last weekend’s Investec Women’s Hockey Premier Division results:

Canterbury 1-3 Beeston
Holcombe 1-0 Surbiton
Bowdon 1-0 East Grinstead
Clifton Robinsons 4-2 University of Birmingham
Buckingham 1-0 Slough

Surbiton dropped points at the weekend, but are still top of the table on 19 points from eight games.  Holcombe are second on 16 and Buckingham third on 14.  East Grinstead have also been deducted three points for fielding an illegible player and are now fourth with 13.  At the bottom, Canterbury have three from eight games, with Bowdon just above them on six.

This weekend’s fixtures:

17 November
Buckingham v Clifton Robinsons (12pm, Stowe School P1)
Slough v Bowdon (12.30pm, Slough HC)
Beeston v Holcombe (2pm, Nottingham Hockey P1)
Canterbury v Surbiton (4pm, Polo Farm SC, P1)
University of Birmingham v East Grinstead (4pm, Birmingham Uni P1)

Volleyball

Just one result from the Women’s Super League from last weekend:

Durham Palatinates 3-1 Tendring VC Ladies (16-25, 25-16, 25-17, 26-24)

Durham are top with five wins from five games and 14 points.  Tendring are second with three wins from four games and nine points.  At the bottom, Birmingham have no wins from three games and have no points.  Bristol VC 1 are just above them on one point from five games.

Rugby union

England 57-5 USA

There was a record win for England against USA last weekend as they won 57-5 at Allianz Park.

The score did not reflect USA’s contribution and they will perhaps feel aggrieved that prop Megan Rom was sent off in the 14th minute for a high tackle, an event that made the visitors’ task that much harder.

England started the scoring with a try through Leanne Riley.  Sarah McKenna got a second under the post, making it 14-0.

Ten minutes later England were awarded a penalty try and Kate Zachery was yellow-carded.  England scored two more tries before half-time, including one for Katy Daley-McLean, winning her 100th cap for England and racing 50m to go over the whitewash.  The score was 33-0 at the break.

In the second-half England soon made it 40-0 but then took their foot off the gas.  Sarah Hunter scored another to make it 47-0 after 53 minutes and then there were 20 minutes of even play culminating in a try for USA through Jennine Duncan.

England had the final word, though, with time for two more tries, one from Kelly Smith and one from Carys Williams.

Wales 19-5 South Africa

Wales also began their autumn internationals with a win, beating South Africa at Cardiff Arms Park.

The Welsh tries came through Jasmine Joyce, Sioned Harries and Carys Phillips, with Robyn Wilkins converting two.

The Welsh pack was dominant throughout and South Africa’s only score came through a try from Lusanda Dumke.

This weekend’s fixtures see Wales take on Hong Kong on Friday 16, while England play Canada and Ireland face USA on Sunday 18.

Tennis

Agnieszka Radwanska has announced her retirement from tennis at the age of 29.

She has admitted that her body is beginning to let her down and feels that now is the right time ,

“Unfortunately I am no longer able to train and play the way I used to, and recently my body can’t live up to my expectations,” she added.

“Taking into consideration my health and the heavy burdens of professional tennis, I have to concede that I’m not able to push my body to the limits required,” she said.

Always a fine player to watch with plenty of subtlety to her game and possibly the best drop-shot out there, she will be missed from the WTA Tour.

At her peak she was world number two to Serena Williams in 2012.  She reached a Wimbledon final and won 20 WTA titles in her 13-year career.

And Finally,

The BT Action Woman 2018 shortlist has been announced: Dina Asher-Smith, Lizzy Yarnold, Fran Kirby, Georgia Hall, Vicky Holland, Laura Kenny, Menna Fitzpatrick & Jen Kehoe and Lucy Bronze.

Voting closes at 11.59pm on 25 November and the ceremony is live on BT Sport on Monday 3 December.

Check out the link here to vote: https://sport.bt.com/action-woman-2018-01364108169407

That’s all for this week.  More news and views next week. 

Women’s Sports Column

laura trott27 Feb – 4 Mar 2016

It’s been another busy week for women’s sport, but is there any other kind? Well yes if the mainstream media are anything to go by….

Off the soapbox and here we go. This week’s stories come from cycling, cricket, tennis, skiing, netball, rugby union and football.

The stunning Laura Trott claimed gold again this week at the Track Cycling World Championships in London. She won the scratch race beating Kirsten Wild from the Netherlands into second. In an interview with the BBC Trott said,

“When I was in the race I wasn’t feeling that good,” said Trott. “But it worked out perfectly for me. I’m so happy. I let everybody get on with it and raced my own race.”

It seemed she was out of it with five laps to go, but she came to take the sixth World Championship gold of her career.

Becky James claimed keirin bronze in an impressive display – just reward for a rider who has suffered so much injury over the last three years. The winner of the race was Germany’s Kristina Vogel with the Australian Anna Meares in second.

The T20 Cricket World Cup draws ever nearer and the warm-up matches and series are still in full flow. The tournament is wide-open and there have been more shocks this week as the New Zealand Silver Ferns beat the Aussies 2-1 in their T20 series. At the moment it appears anyone can beat anyone! I will be covering the World Cup for http://www.womenssportsuk.com/. This will include previews of the two groups next week and daily reports and match reports from matches involving England and Ireland. It’s going to be good – take it from me!

Better news for British tennis this week as both Johanna Konta and Heather Watson progressed to the quarter finals of the Monterrey Open in Mexico. Konta, who is seed fourth will face one of two Belgians, Kirsten Flipkens or Alison van Uytvanck and Watson will be up again second seed Caroline Wozniacki or Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

In skiing, after crashing in Andorra last week, Lindsey Vonn is out for the rest of the season. She was carried off on a stretcher on the day, and it appeared that she had sustained a knee injury, but a scan later revealed she has three fractures to her tibial plateau (around the shinbone).

Lots of netball news again this week. On the international front, it has been announced that England will take part in a new tournament in August. It will be held in New Zealand and Australia and is to be called the International Netball Super Series (everything’s “Super” these days isn’t it?).

The first event of the series will be in Auckland. The teams will be the Aussie Diamonds, NZ Ferns, SA Proteas and England Roses.

The Fixtures:

27 August, Auckland: New Zealand v England and Australia v South Africa
31 August, Hamilton: New Zealand v South Africa
31 August, Adelaide: Australia v England
4 September, Melbourne: Australia v New Zealand and England v South Africa

In the Superleague this week the results were as follows:

Saturday 27/2
Celtic Dragons 45 65 Team Bath
Loughborough Lightning 55 54 Surrey Storm
Hertfordshire Mavericks 48 57 Manchester Thunder
 

Monday 29th February

Team Bath 42 56 Hertfordshire Mavericks
Manchester Thunder 49 55 Surrey Storm
Yorkshire Jets 33 55 Celtic Dragons
Team Northumbria 47 46 Loughborough Lightning

This leaves Thunder and Mavericks on top with 15 points. Yorkshire Jets bring up the rear having not won a game yet this season.

The SheBelieves Cup began on March 3 with wins for Germany and USA. England were narrowly beaten 1-0 by the World Champions from a stunning 20-yard strike in the 72nd minute from Crystal Dunn. It was a tight game, though, and England possibly deserved a draw. England’s best chance fell to Toni Duggan, who, instead of crossing to a free player in the box, decided to shoot and her shot was easily saved by Hope Solo in the USA goal.

Germany beat France also 1-0 with an 83rd minute goal from Leonie Maier.

England play Germany next on 6 March. It will be live on the BBC from 10.45pm.

On a domestic note, the Media playback is not supported on this device

Women’s FA Cup fifth-round draw has been announced:

All ties are due to be played on 20 March

Birmingham City v Arsenal

Doncaster Belles v Chelsea

Brighton & Hove Albion v Sporting Club Albion

Reading v Millwall Lionesses

Yeovil Town v Sunderland

Liverpool v Manchester City

Notts County v Durham

Aston Villa v Everton

It was a close round of Six Nations Six Nations games last weekend. England beat Ireland in a tight match at Twickenham on Saturday 13-9. Read my match report at www.womenssportsuk.com. On Sunday, Italy beat Scotland 22-7. This represents a big improvement for Scotland, who have shown great heart during this year’s tournament. And in the third match, Wales claimed a notable scalp beating France 10-8.

And finally, while watching the live stream of the England v Ireland Six Nations game on Saturday, I began to have an interesting Twitter discussion with a couple of fellow women’s sports-lovers. We had all come to the same conclusion; if ITV had the cameras and personnel at Twickenham on Saturday to cover the men’s game, why couldn’t they have broadcast the women’s game as well? It needn’t have been on ITV1, but could have been on ITV4, where they show a lot of their sport. It would have sent a clear message to the rugby-watching public that the women’s game was worth investing in. But no, although it was on 5Live Sports Xtra it was only streamed on the RFU website. Come on, ITV get it sorted, or else we’re going to be stuck in the cycle of no promotion, no investment, no sponsorship, no interest for ever.