Women’s Sports Column 4-10 May 2019


Welcome to this week’s column.  Plenty to get through yet again this week.  So here we go.  Stories and news this week come from football, tennis, netball, squash, cricket, golf, rugby league, motorsport and cycling.

Let’s crack on.


Motorsport – the W Series

History was made last weekend as the women-only W Series began in Hockenheim.

Britain’s Jamie Chadwick won the first race with compatriot Alice Powell in second with Marta Garcia of Spain in third.  Chadwick had been on form all weekend; she was fastest in both rounds of qualifying and took pole by two seconds.

Races to come:

Round 2 – Belgium
Zolder, 17-19 May

Round 3 – Italy
Misano 7-9 June

Round 4 – Germany
Norisring, 5-7 July

Round 5 – Netherlands
Assen, 19-21 July

Round 6 – UK
Brands Hatch, 10-11 August

Tennis – on the Court

Prague Open

Jil Teichmann defeated Karolina Muchova in the final of the Prague Open.  It went to a deciding set and the final score was 7-6 3-6 6-4.

Rabat Open

Meanwhile in Rabat, Jo Konta missed out on a first title of 2019, losing in the final to Maria Sakkari of Greece 2-6 6-4 6-1.  Konta was a set and a break up, but Sakkari came back and in the end was too strong for Konta in the final set.


This week the tennis world moves to Madrid.  Sam Stosur went out in the qualifiers.  Caroline Wozniacki retired during her first round match.  Fourteenth seed, Anett Kontaveit, went out Aliaksandra Sasnovich in three sets after taking the first set 6-0.  Thirteenth seed Madison Keys was also defeated in the round of 64, losing to Sorana Cirstea 3-6 6-4 6-1.

We are now at the semi-final stage.  Number one seed and world number one Naomi Osaka crashed out at the quarter-final stage, losing out to Belinda Bencic in three sets 3-6 6-2 7-5.

Bencic faces third seed Simona Halep, while in the other semi, Sloane Stephens (8) plays Kiki Bertens (7).  More news on how it all panned out next week.

Tennis – off the Court

Britain’s number two, Katie Boulter, has withdrawn from the French Open.  She will miss the rest of the clay court season with a back injury.

Football – World Cup

Phil Neville has named his squad for the World Cup which begins on 7 June.

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Man City), Mary Earps (Wolfsburg), Carly Telford (Chelsea)

Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood (Man Utd), Steph Houghton (captain, Man City), Abbie McManus (Man City), Demi Stokes (Man City) Leah Williamson (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Jade Moore (Reading), Jill Scott (Man City), Lucy Staniforth (Birmingham City), Georgia Stanway (Man City), Keira Walsh (Man City)

Forwards: Toni Duggan (Barcelona) Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Beth Mead (Arsenal), Nikita Parris (Man City), Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign), Ellen White (Birmingham City)

No sign of the Scotland squad announcement as yet.

FA Cup Final

Manchester City 3-0 West Ham United

In the end West Ham were well beaten, but they gave Manchester City a few scares along the way, fighting with every breath until the final whistle.

The first-half was tight with the underdogs matching City in every department.

But the pace and pressure told in the second-half as West Ham tired and Manchester City took advantage.

Keira Walsh hit City’s first from outside the penalty area on 52 minutes.  Georgia Stanway doubled the lead on 81 and Lauren Hemp hit the third two minutes from time.

With their win, City completed the domestic cup double, having won the Continental Cup final against Arsenal on penalties in February.

West Ham can certainly take great heart from their performance.  They competed well for the majority of the match and they have come a long way from those uncertain days when then manager Julian Dicks had to plead for every scrap of kit, every resource and any recognition at all.

One disappointment was that the crowd, although a good one at 43,264, was nearly two thousand down on that at last season’s final.  Not quite sure what went on there – I had heard 52k being bandied about in the days leading up to the match.

Nikita Parris

One player Manchester City will not have next season it seems is Nikita Parris.  She is out of contract at the end of the season, and the word is she is looking to follow England stars such as Lucy Bronze and Izzy Christiansen in a move abroad.  Both Lyon and Bayern Munich are thought to be interested in signing her.


Just one result to report and what a score!

Yeovil Town 0-8 Chelsea
England 4’ 27’ 47’, Cuthbert 16’ 51’, Engman 28’, Kirby 84’ 87’

Chelsea are now up to third in the table.  Bristol City have played their 20 games, everyone else has one game left to play, which takes place this Saturday, 11 May at 12.30pm.


The final round of Championship matches also take place on Saturday, 11 May and start at 5.30pm.


After the eighteenth and final round of the regular season we now know the final four teams contesting the semi-finals this Saturday, 11 May.

Final round results:
Loughborough Lightning 67-56 Celtic Dragons
Saracens Mavericks 50-45 Strathclyde Sirens
Team Bath 72-50 London Pulse
Severn Stars 45-60 Wasps Netball
Surrey Storm 55-60 Manchester Thunder

Wasps finished six points ahead of the field with 45 points from 18 games.  Manchester Thunder, Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning all finished with 39 in second, third and fourth respectively on points difference.

As I said, the semi-finals are this Saturday and both are live on Sky Sports

Wasps Netball v Loughborough Lightning (5pm, Warwick University Sport & Wellness Hub)
Manchester Thunder v Team Bath (7pm, Wright Robinson College)

The third-place play-off and grand final are on Saturday 18 May, at the Copper Box.  Both Games live on Sky Sports from 3pm.

I know it’s a bit redundant to say this to you knowledgeable sports-lovers out there, but don’t forget this is not the end of the netball for this year.  The World Cup is coming!  It all begins in Liverpool on Friday 12 July.


Tour de Yorkshire

Marianne Vos ended the two-stage Tour de Yorkshire as overall victor as she won the second stage from Bridlington to Scarborough.

Lorena Wibes, also of the Netherlands, had won the first stage.  Christine Majerus of Luxembourg was second, with Alison Jackson (Can), Roxane Fournier (Fra) and Lisa Brennauer (Ger) third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Vos led a three-rider break with Mavi Garcia and Soraya Paladin during the second stage.  She eventually outsprinted them to take the stage and the overall title.

Second stage result: 1. Marianne Vos (Ned) 3hrs 59mins 16secs, 2. Mavi Garcia (Spa) Same time, 3. Soraya Paladin (Ita), 4. Christine Majerus (Lux), 5. Amanda Spratt (Aus).

This led to a final classification of:

  1. Marianne Vos (Ned) 7hrs 34mins 27secs
  2. Mavi Garcia (Spa) +7secs
  3. Soraya Paladin (Ita) +9secs
  4. Christine Majerus (Lux) +1min 28secs
  5. Amanda Spratt (Aus) +1min 35sec

Of the British riders, the top three finishers were Hannah Barnes in eighth, Elizabeth Banks ninth, and Georgi Pfeiffer eighteenth.  Lizzie Deignan, in her first competition since giving birth in September, finished twenty-ninth.

Rugby League

Coral Challenge Cup

It was the first round of the Challenge Cup at the weekend, with the big sides yet to enter the competition.  The results from Sunday were:

Rochdale Hornets 12-56 Barrow
Halifax 24-14 Hull KR
Featherstone Lionesses 18-48 Stanningley
Widnes Vikings 16-14 Oulton Raidettes
Keighley Albion 26-22 Hull FC
Army RL 34-12 Huddersfield Giants
RAF Ladies 28-18 Leigh Miners Rangers Ladies

The next round is on Sunday 26 May and we are back to league action this weekend.


County Cricket

I hope you all took advantage of the Bank Holiday to get out and see some women’s county cricket.  Last weekend’s divisions one and two were as follows:

Division One
Hampshire 131 all out (6 pts) lost to Yorkshire 190 all out (17 pts)
Kent 233/3 (18 pts) beat Warwickshire 232 all out (5 pts)
Surrey 241/7 (8 pts) lost to Lancashire 242/9 (17 pts)
Sussex 127 all out (6 pts) lost to Nottinghamshire 150 all out (17 pts)

Division Two
Berkshire 296/4 (18 pts) beat Worcestershire 77 all out (2 pts)
Devon 136/7 (17 pts) beat Cricket Wales 132 all out (5 pts)
Somerset 269/6 (18 pts) beat Durham Cricket Board 103 all out (4 pts)

For all fixtures please check out here.

T20 Challenge

Three from four of the matches in Jaipur have been played with the results so far:

Trailblazers 140/5 (20 overs)
Supernovas 138/6 (20 overs)
Trailblazers won by two runs

Trailblazers lost Suzie Bates for just one but Smriti Mandhana showed her class to put on 90 from just 67 balls, ably supported by Harleen Deol, who scored 36 from 44.  Deol fell in the nineteenth over and Trailblazers suffered a mini-collapse, suffering the loss of three wickets in the last over.

Radha Yadav took 2/26 from her four overs.

Supernovas started equally poorly with Priya Punia falling for one in the second over.  Chamari Atapatthu and Jemima Rodrigues steadied the ship and the lower order all contributed except Nat Sciver who was out for just one.   Sophie Devine scored 32 from 22 balls.

Supernovas needed 19 from the last over and Harmanpreet Kaur was not going down without a fight.  She hit the first four balls, off Jhulan Goswami no less, for four.  They needed three from the last ball but Tahuhu was run out attempting a bye and Trailblazers had won by two runs.  Sophie Ecclestone contributed with a fine 2/11 from her four overs.

Trailblazers 112/6 (20 overs)
Velocity 113/7 (18/20 overs)
Velocity won by three wickets with 12 balls remaining

Although Bates this time got a start, it was Mandhana who failed on this occasion, falling for 10 in the third over.  Deol batted well again, top-scoring with 43, but there was little contribution from anyone else in the lower order and Trailblazers subsided to just 112 off their 20 overs.

Ekta Bisht and Amelia Kerr took two wickets each.

In response, Velocity lost Hayley Matthews early, for just five.  Shafali Verma (34) and Dani Wyatt (46) took it on before, I’d love to say it, the curse of Nelson struck and they lost no less than 5 wickets on 111.  Somehow they managed to sneak over the line though with two overs to spare.  Deepti Sharma took 4/14 off her four overs, including three in the eighteenth.

Supernovas 142/3 (20 overs)
Velocity 130/3 (20 overs)
Supernovas won by 12 runs

Rodrigues top-scored with 77 not out for Supernovas as they put a good score together against Velocity.  She was supported by Atapatthu who scored 31 and Punia 16.

Velocity fell well short.  Matthews went early for 11 and Shafali Verma for 2.  Despite Wyatt (43), Raj (40) and Krishnamurthy (30) scoring well, they could not overhauls the Supernovas’ total.  However, it has been suggested that Velocity played to up their net run rate to get themselves into the final, rather than aiming to win the match.

This they achieved and so the final will be between Velocity and Supernovas on Saturday 11 May.  News of how this went in next week’s column.


 Sei Young Kim of South Korea won the LPGA Mediheal Championship after a play-off with England’s Bronte Law.  Law came from 10 shots back to get herself into a three-way play-off with Kim and Jeongeun Lee, also of South Korea.

Final round leaderboard:
-7 S Y Kim (Kor), J Lee (Kor), B Law (Eng); -5 C Hull (Eng), L Thompson (US), EH Ji (Kor), A Yang (Kor)

Kim won the tournament with a par on the first play-off hole, while Law and Lee made bogeys.


Former world champion Laura Massaro will retire from squash at the end of this season.

In her distinguished career, Massaro became World Champion in 2014.  She won three Commonwealth Games silvers, two in doubles and one in singles and was world number one in January 2016.

She won the World Series Finals in 2016 and 2017, the US Open twice and the British Open twice.

More news and views next week. 


Women’s Sports Column 28 April – 4 May 2018

rugby ballWelcome to this week’s column.  After a surfeit of ranting last week, calmness reigns as I endeavour to present as much as I can without going on to 3k words!  Stories this week come from rugby union, football, tennis, cycling, hockey, netball, cricket, rugby league plus a reminder about the Be a Game Changer awards.

Rugby Union – on the pitch

Tyrrell’s Premier 15s Final

Saracens are the inaugural Premier 15s Champions.

They beat Harlequins 20-24 in the final at Ealing Trailfinders RFC on Sunday.

It was a fitting final to a fine season; full-blooded with plenty of flowing rugby on offer.

Saracens took the lead after five minutes when Sam Martinez Gion went over for the first try.  Quins hit back quickly with an Ellie Green penalty.

Saracens looked to have got a second on 10 minutes when Poppy Cleall crossed, but it was disallowed and the penalty given to Quins.  Saracens were clearly on top, but couldn’t seem to make the most of their possession until Lotte Clapp went over under the posts to make it 12-3.

Quins tried to get back into it, but were disappointed when Garnet Mackinder went in for Saracens’ third just before half-time.  They didn’t give up, however, and got their due reward as Holly Myers scored the try to get them back into the game and make it 8-17 at the break.

The momentum was with Quins and they took full advantage, Jess Breach scoring their second try nine minutes in.

There then followed a period when it looked to be anyone’s game.  Hannah Botterman scored a try for Saracens and then Deborah McCormack did the same for Quins, taking the score to 24-20 with just two minutes left.

Quins thought their comeback could be completed when Poppy Cleall was sin-binned for killing the ball on the line.  But Jess Breach could not quite get over and nothing Quins tried came off.

The game ended with a turnover by Player of the Match, Marlie Packer and Saracens had won it.

Rugby Union – off the pitch

England full-back and wing Danielle Waterman has announced her retirement from international rugby.

She won 82 caps for England in a career spanning 15 years and scored 47 tries.

“It has been an incredible journey and a true honour to be a Red Rose for the past 15 years,

“It’s been a huge privilege to have not only played alongside and against some of the best players in the world, but to have been part of the huge development and progression of women’s international rugby to date.

“Winning the World Cup in 2014 was definitely a dream come true and to beat New Zealand for the first time in 16 years and go world number one was amazing, and to do it with the support of the Lions crowd was amazing.”

Waterman will continue to play her club rugby with Wasps.

Tennis – on the court 

Stuttgart Open

Karolina Pliskova defeated Coco Vandeweghe 7-6 6-4.  Vanderweghe had been very much in it in the first set, but at the beginning of the second she fell and injured her hand, necessitating a medical timeout.

In the end, Pliskova’s serve was the difference – she served 11 aces in the two sets.

Istanbul Open

Meanwhile, In Istanbul France’s Pauline Parmentier was triumphant, beating Polona Hercog of Slovenia 6-4 3-6 6-3.  Three out of four semi-finalists were unseeded and Parmientier saw off the last of them, Irina-Camelia Begu, seeded seven, in straight sets.

This week we’re on to Prague and Rabat, Morocco.

Prague Open

Unfortunately, it gets no better for Britain’s Heather Watson this season.  She lost in the first round of the Prague Open to wildcard Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia 6-1 6-3.  Last week’s Stuttgart winner, Karoline Pliskova, has withdrawn from her home tournament, through injury.

We are now at the semi-final stage:
Zhang Shuai (6) v Petra Kvitova (2)
Mihaela Buzărnescu (7) v Camila Giorgi

Morocco Open

We lost second, third and fourth seeds, Dominika Cibulkova, Petra Martić and Timea Babos in the first round.

The semi-final line-up:
Ajla Tomljanović v Aleksandra Krunić (7)
Elise Mertens (1) v Su-Wei Hsieh (8)

Tennis – off the court

Serena Williams has withdrawn from the Madrid Open which starts next week.  She has said she does not yet feel ready for the clay season.


Don’t forget it’s the FA Cup final on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.  Apparently over 40,000 tickets have already been sold.

It’s bound to be a close-fought thing with Arsenal and Chelsea well-matched.  Neither side has had the ideal run up to the final with Arsenal beaten 3-0 by Birmingham City at the weekend and Chelsea totally outplayed by Wolfsburg on Sunday.

The match kicks off at 5.30pm and is live on BBC1 from 5.10pm.

Champions League

Unfortunately it was all too predictable for the remaining English teams as both went out at the semi-final stage to their impressive opponents.

Lyon 1-0 Manchester City
(Lyon win 1-0 on aggregate)

Former City player and England star, Lucy Bronze, put paid to City’s hopes on Sunday with a stunning volley to take her new club through to the final.

In truth, City barely raised a chance throughout the tie (both legs) and went out with a whimper rather than a bang.

Lyon had several other chances, the best of which fell to Amandine Henry in the second-half, but her shot came off the post.

After the season started well, City only have the league title to go for and they currently lie second behind Chelsea.

Wolfsburg 2-0 Chelsea
(Wolfsburg win 5-1 on aggregate)

The damage was done in the first leg of this tie.  Wolfsburg took it incredibly easy as they romped away to a 2-0 win.

Pernille Harder scored the first put the first away after making a good run into the box and Ewa Pajor headed the second to seal the win.

Although the British teams are getting closer, I’m afraid it still looks as if they are some way behind their continental European colleagues when it comes to European competition.  There will, undoubtedly be further progress next season and there needs to be if the world’s best players are to be tempted to play in the FAWSL.


Saturday 28 April
Doncaster Rovers Belles 3-1 London Bees

Sunday 29 April
Sunderland AFC 0-2 Reading
Birmingham City 3-0 Arsenal (hat-trick for Ellen White)
Liverpool 1-1 Everton

Tottenham Hotspur 6-3 Durham
Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Aston Villa
Sheffield FC 4-1 Oxford United
Watford 0-4 Millwall Lionesses

Wednesday 2 May
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Millwall Lionesses

Thursday 3 May
Bristol City 1-6 Manchester City

There’s a change at the top of WSL1 as Man City’s drubbing of Bristol City meant not only drawing level with Chelsea on points, but overtaking them on goal difference.  They have 32 points from 14 games and a goal difference of28.  Chelsea are second with a goal difference of 26 from 14 games and Reading are third with 28 points but having played two games more.  We may just be saying at the end of the season that bagging that six at Bristol won City the WSL1 title. Yeovil are still bottom with just two points from 14, while Bristol City are second from bottom on 10.

In WSL2 Doncaster Rovers Belles are still top on 38 points from 15 games.  Millwall missed the chance to close the gap as they could only draw their game in hand against Spurs and are second on 33.  Brighton & Hove Albion lie third with 31 from 14 games.  Watford lie marooned at the bottom with just a solitary point from 13 games.


Investec Women’s Hockey Premier League Final

Surbiton completed their fifth title in a row as they beat Holcombe 3-1 in the final on Saturday 28 April at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

They scored in the first half through Sarah Page (8th minute field goal), Hollie Pearne-Webb (10th minute penalty corner) and Beckie Middleton (26th minute penalty corner), taking the match away from Holcombe.

In the second-half Holcombe battled back, scoring a goal through Heather McEwan (35th minute field goal), but it proved only to be a consolation as Surbiton took the title once more.


Slough retained their Premier League status after they draw 1-1 with Beeston, while Hampstead & Westminster beat Stourport 4-2.

Slough 1-1 Beeston

Beeston scored first through a Sophie Robinson field goal, but Slough kept on pressurising the Beeston goal until in the 23rd minute Mel Ball rounded the keeper to equalise.

It was a competitive second-half, with both sides having chances to win it.  In the end the draw for Slough was enough.

Hampstead & Westminster 4-2 Stourport

Hampstead & Westminster not only needed a win, but they needed Slough to lose to be promoted.  Whilst they fulfilled their part of the bargain, the Slough draw meant they were foiled in their attempt.

Stourport took the lead through a Lorna Mackenzie penalty corner, but Hampstead & Westminster equalised soon after with a Lauren Turner field goal.  Just minutes later they were in front as Jessica Orrett fired home a penalty corner.

In the second-half both teams were still battling hard.  A reverse strike from Sophie Thompson brought Stourport level, but the Londoners were not done.  Louise Radford scored their third and Turner their fourth and her second to take the tie away from Stourport.

Rugby League

The Super League scores from the weekend were as follows:

Castleford 40-16 Bradford Bulls
Wigan Warriors 14-20 Leeds Rhinos
St Helens 40-14 Featherstone Rovers

So after three matches of the season, St Helens are top with the only 100% record.  Castleford Tigers are second on four points.  There are still three teams yet to get off the mark; Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights, although the latter two have only played two games.


It’s the Tour de Yorkshire this week and stage one was won by Dutch rider Kirsten Wild of the Wiggle High5 team.

Britain’s Dani Rowe lies fourth after she picked up four bonus seconds in intermediate sprints and fellow Briton Pfeiffer Georgi will be in the Queen of the Mountains jersey as she reached the only climb of stage one in first place.

Friday’s second stage starts in Barnsley and is 128km long.


It was round nine of the Netball Superleague last weekend.  The results were:

Wasps 64-60 Manchester Thunder
UWS Sirens 44-58 Surrey Storm
Celtic Dragons 51-56 Team Northumbria
Severn Stars 43-58 Loughborough Lightning
Benecos Mavericks 57-41 Team Bath

So Wasps maintain their 100% record with 10 wins from 10 games.  As I have said before the figures may be somewhat skewed as although it was round nine, Wasps have played 10 and some teams only seven!  Benecos Mavericks have 21 points – that’s seven wins from nine games.  Lightning are third on 18 – six wins from nine.  Team Northumbria are off the bottom of the table, having registered their first win of the season in their ninth attempt when they beat the Celtic Dragons on Saturday.  UWS Sirens are bottom with only one win, but they have only played seven games.

This weekend sees a kind of combined round 10 & 11 to cover the Bank Holiday in the UK.  The fixtures are:

Friday 4 May
Team Bath v Celtic Dragons (7.30pm)

Saturday 5 May
UWS Sirens v Manchester Thunder (2pm)
Surrey Storm v Benecos Mavericks (6pm)
Loughborough Lightning v Team Northumbria (6pm)

Monday 7 May
Surrey Storm v Celtic Dragons (3pm)
Team Bath v Severn Stars (5pm) – Live on Sky Sports
Manchester Thunder v Loughborough Lightning (5pm)
Team Northumbria v UWS Sirens (6pm)


Two pieces of cricket news this week.

Firstly, Wales have signed New Zealand wicketkeeper-batter Rachel Priest for the 2018 county season.  This is a major coup for Wales, who play in the second division in both the Women’s County One-Day Championship and the Women’s County T20.

It is hoped that Priest’s presence will inspire Wales in their push for promotion in both competitions.

Priest has played 86 ODIs for New Zealand with an average of 28.35.  She also played in the Kia Super League in 2017 for tournament winners, Western Storm.

Secondly, Sarah Taylor has given an interview with the BBC on how she has coped with the anxiety that put her out of the game for some time a couple of years ago.  It’s well worth a listen.  Here’s the link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/43991569

Be a Game Changer

Don’t forget you still have time to vote in the Women’s Sport Trust #Be A Game Changer Awards.  Check it out: https://www.womenssporttrust.com/bagc2018/

And finally,

No ranting; just something to consider.  This is a comment left at the end of the BBC website’s piece on the retirement of Danielle Waterman from international rugby:

“6. Posted by Bionic weather man

On 1 May 2018 11:15

I think it’s great what she has achieved but truth be known women’s rugby and women’s sport in general is a complete travesty. The tens of millions they waste on women’s sport could be better used else where [sic] to improve infrastructure etc.”

This is what we’re up against, Ladies and Gentlemen.  I’ll leave it there.

No column next week, but I’ll be back the following week with more news and views. 


Women’s Sports Column 30 April – 6 May


Welcome to this week’s column.  Plenty of news again this week and I’m afraid it’s back to the age of the dinosaurs again for my “And finally”.  Sorry about that, but necessary, I’m afraid.

This week’s stories come from football, cricket, tennis, squash, cycling, sailing and netball.


This Bank Holiday weekend’s FA Women’s Superleague 1 matches saw Manchester City stride on, a thriller at Meadow Lane and a couple of draws that suited no-one!

Sunday 1 May

Arsenal Ladies 0-0 Birmingham City Ladies

Chances were few and far between in this match.  Birmingham could have taken the lead through Remi Allen, but she hit the bar from six yards.  Arsenal had only two chances; Dan Carter’s volley was saved by Birmingham goalie Sophie Baggaley and with the last kick of the game Dominique Janssen’s free-kick hit the bar.  Stalemate.

Monday 2 May

Reading Ladies 1 -1 Sunderland Ladies

Both Reading and Sunderland are still looking for their first wins of the season after their Bank Holiday Monday match ended in a draw.  The away side took the lead through Beth Mead.  She pounced on the rebound after her penalty had been saved by Mary Earps in the Reading goal.  It was a game of two penalties, with the Reading equaliser coming through a Helen Ward spot-kick in the second half.  Stephanie Bannon was sent off for the handball that gave away the penalty.

Manchester City Women 6-0 Doncaster Rovers Belles

High-flying Manchester City went six points clear in the table after demolishing bottom of the table Belles.

They were 5-0 up at half-time with goals from Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Jane Ross, Jen Beattie and Kosovare Asllani.  The relatively quiet second half saw only one addition to the scoring from Toni Duggan.

Notts County Ladies 3-2 Liverpool Ladies

A cracking match at Meadow Lane which nearly saw County throw it away with only 10 minutes to go.  I was there and reported on it for Women’s Sports UK.  Catch up with my report here:


FA Women’s Super League 1 table as it stands:

1 Manchester City Women 5 5 0 0 13 0 13 15
2 Chelsea Ladies 3 3 0 0 8 2 6 9
3 Arsenal Ladies 5 2 1 2 5 6 -1 7
4 Notts County Ladies 3 1 1 1 5 5 0 4
5 Liverpool Ladies 4 1 1 2 6 7 -1 4
6 Birmingham City Ladies 4 1 1 2 2 4 -2 4
7 Sunderland Ladies 4 0 3 1 4 6 -2 3
8 Reading Women 5 0 3 2 6 9 -3 3
9 Doncaster Rovers Belles 3 0 0 3 2 12 -10 0


Hurrah!  It’s the cricket season.  Do go and support your local team if you get the chance.  It’s going to be a big summer for English women’s cricket so now’s the chance to watch the women in action.  If you can’t get to the county games, please try to get to the Super League in August.  I will be profiling the Super League and covering it in detail.  It’s a big innovation in the women’s game so give it a go!

The Royal London One-Day County Championship got underway last weekend. 

Division one scores:

Sunday 1 May

Somerset 58 all out
Kent 279-4
Kent won by 221 runs.

Kent Captain Charlotte Edwards and fellow opener Tammy Beaumont continued the good form they showed in the T20 World Cup as they scored 79 and 72 respectively, as Kent posted an excellent 279 from their 50 overs.  Newly-promoted Somerset were never at the races – at one point they were 31-6.

Warwickshire 130-4 (28.4 overs)
Sussex 126 all out
Warwickshire won by 6 wickets

Warwickshire put Sussex into bat and were ruthless in their pursuit of wickets.  Sussex lost their first three batters for 13, including debutant Danni Wyatt for a duck and Georgia Elwiss for just two.  They never quite recovered from this poor start and were bowled out for just 126.  In contrast, Warwickshire needed just 28.4 overs to complete their six wicket victory.

Staffordshire 130-9 (reduced to 38 overs)
Berkshire 131-2 off 29.5 overs
Berkshire won by 8 wickets

Although the other newly-promoted side, Staffordshire, posted a decent total in difficult conditions, Berkshire made light work of their reply with captain Heather Knight hitting 56 off 64 balls.  Amanda Potgieter was excellent with both bat and ball.  She took 3-12 in 8 overs and scored 19 not out to see Berkshire home.

Middlesex 165 all out (41.2 overs)
Surrey 99 all out
Middlesex won by 66 runs

Surrey won the toss and put Middlesex in to bat.  It looked good for Surrey as they bowled the hosts out for 165.  Fran Wilson top scored with 63 from 60 balls and best bowling came from Cecily Scutt with 5-30.  However, the Surrey reply never got going and they were all out in 36.4 overs.  Holly Huddleston took 3-9 and Alex Hartley 3-27.

Monday 2 May

The typical Bank Holiday weather struck on Monday with Staffordshire v Somerset called off after just two overs and Yorkshire against Warwickshire abandoned without a ball being bowled.  Consequently only two games went ahead.

Sussex 173 all out (29.4 overs)
Kent 131 all out (27.2 overs)
Sussex won by 42 runs

Kent won the toss and put Sussex in.  They posted a poor score of 173 all out with Elwiss 20 and Georgia Adams, 53 getting them off to a good start.  This was as good as it got though and it took an Izy Noakes 38 to get them to 173.  Charlotte Pape continued her good start to the season, taking 3-20 off 3.4 overs.  It should have been if not quite a formality, a fairly easy chase for Kent, but as soon as Charlotte Edwards was dismissed for just one, Kent looked fragile.  Beaumont, Greenway and Marsh all contributed to  the score, but Kent subsided to 131 all out in 27.2 overs.  Danni Wyatt took 3-23.

Surrey 153 all out
Berkshire 154-6 (40.1 overs)
Berkshire won by 4 wickets

Two wins in two days for Berkshire as they put Surrey in to bat on Monday.  They bowled Surrey out for 153.  Opener Kirstie White made 69 with Bryony Smith and Amy Jenkins 13 each, but no-one else reached double figures.   Heather Knight took 3-17 from 10 overs and Amanda Potgieter 3-31 from nine.  Surrey didn’t give it away easily with Holly Knight taking 2-26 but Berkshire wicketkeeper Carla Rudd scored 34 and Alex Rogers 20 to take Berkshire to 154-6 in 40.1 overs.


It’s been all rather bizarre at the Madrid Open tennis this week.  Before the tournament started Serena Williams pulled out with flu and since then world number 13 Lucie Safarova withdrew with food poisoning and British number one Johanna Konta with a  respiratory problem.  Added to this, Radwanska, Kerber, Kvitova and Muguruza all went out in the early rounds.  Latest to withdraw is fourth seed Victoria Azarenka, who has a back injury.

British number two, Heather Watson, also succumbed in the first round, losing in straight sets to Gavrilova 7-5 6-4.

So the somewhat surprising semi-final line-up is:

Halep (6) v Stosur
Cibulkova v Chirico

The doubles semis will be contested by:

Garcia & Mladenovic v Makarova & Vesnina
Hingis & Mirza (top seeds) v King & Kudryavtseva

Laura Robson is trying to continue on the comeback trail, but lost in the second round this week at the Rabat Open in Morocco.  She lost 6-1 6-2 to the fifth seed Timea Babos of Hungary.


On Saturday 30 April Britain’s number one squash player, Laura Massaro, lost in the final of the World Championship to Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini in Malaysia.  This defeat means that El Sherbini will also take Massaro’s world number one ranking.  The 20-year old Egyptian took the title 6-11 4-11 11-3 11-5 11-8.  The first two games belonged overwhelmingly to Massaro, but El Sherbini came back to take the third and fourth equally convincingly.  The decider was tight – at one stage 8-8, but El Sherbini was just too strong, taking the following three points without reply.

Also in squash, it was announced that next year’s women’s World Champion will take home equal prize money with the men’s for the first time.


It was brilliant to see the women’s Tour de Yorkshire covered in such depth last weekend.  It would have been even better to see some live coverage, as promised by ITV, but a technical problem with the plane sending the relay signal meant that no live feed was available.

Anyway, the race was a stunning one with a close sprint finish.  World Champion, Lizzie Armitstead was part of an early breakaway, but the pack eventually caught up, giving Dutch rider Kirsten Wild the chance to claim victory in a sprint finish.

Britain’s Lucy Garner was second with Floortje Mackaij third.

It was a proud day for Armistead as the race began from her home town of Otley.

“The start was brilliant.  I had a couple of bike problems to begin with which was difficult but it was a goose pimple moment for me at the beginning to be supported by my community,” she said.

Armistead finished in a big bunch behind the winners, eventually being placed 26th.


After Alison Young’s brilliant sailing gold last week, the British women were at it again this week at the Hyeres World Cup regatta.  Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark won gold in the 470 women’s race on the final day of the event.  The pair began in second place, a point behind the French team of Lecointre and Defrance and one point ahead of the Brazilians Oliviera and Barbachan.

The Brazilians took the early lead, while the Britons were fighting it out with the French favourites.  But the Brazilian team were overtaken by New Zealanders Aleh and Powrie.

Bryony Shaw took silver in the women’s windsurfing and Alison Young continued her good form, taking bronze in the Laser Radial event.


It will be Manchester Thunder v Surrey Storm in the Vitality Netball Superleague final this weekend.

The semi finals, played on 30 April, went as follows:

Manchester Thunder 53-46 Team Bath

Thunder were looking to obliterate the memory of last year’s shock semi-final defeat to Hertfordshire Mavericks and Team Bath were the unlucky side to come up against them.

By the end of the first quarter Thunder were 17-6 up, mainly due to good shooting from Helen Housby.  In truth, Bath never troubled the Thunder and were well beaten by the time the final hooter sounded.

Hertfordshire Mavericks 51-53 Surrey Storm

Surrey will take on Manchester after they came out on top in a much tighter game against the Mavericks.  At one point Storm were seven goals down, but came back to take the victory and seal their final place.

Mavericks were up 13-11 after the first quarter, extending the lead to seven after the half.  But former England captain, Pamela Cookey and Rachel Dunn were not to be defeated, combining to take the storm 40-39 up with one quarter to go.  In the end it went to the wire, but now the Storm will play in their fourth final in five seasons on Saturday 7 May at the Copper Box Arena.

The match begins at 5pm and will be live on Sky Sports.

In a shameless plug for my own writing, I would like to say this week I had the pleasure of interviewing Salliann Briggs, Head Coach of the new KSL Loughborough Lightning team and also Matthew Alexander, CEO of Notts County Ladies.  They were both great to talk to; committed, knowledgeable and not afraid to answer my questions!  I will be writing both up for publication in the near future, so watch out for them!


And finally, which I may rename “read it and weep corner”, we have yet another middle-aged white male telling women what they’re no good at.  Actually, he’s telling his other male readership, but you see what I mean.  This gem comes from Rod Liddle in the Spectator.  There are two things about this piece; firstly he’s totally missing the point (surprise) in that he’s comparing the men’s and women’s game and secondly please go on to read the comments if you can stomach it.  It quickly degenerates into a general anti-women rant and includes comments on their ability (or otherwise) to serve on a military front line and to throw a grenade, or anything for that matter.

It is, thankfully, a short piece!