Welcome to this week’s column. After last week’s short, but perfectly formed column, this week promises to be another bumper effort! Good grief, women, what are you doing playing/officiating in/running/campaigning about all this sport? Whatever next? In fact there’s so much to put in I’m going to have to leave it to you to find this weekend’s fixtures for the various sports leagues. No room!!
Anyway, on to the news. Stories this week come from cricket, rugby union, rugby league, football, netball, gymnastics, hockey and tennis. Plus, a tiny rant from me for this week’s “And finally”.
Let’s crack on.
It was a clean sweep for England as they retained their Netball Europe Open Championships title at the weekend. They were the clear favourites to take the title and put together a fine series of wins to remain unbeaten by the end of the tournament.
Fiji 34-52 Scotland
Wales 46-47 Northern Ireland
England 61-48 Scotland
Fiji 40-61 Wales
England 75-44 Northern Ireland
Fiji 46-58 Northern Ireland
Wales 49-58 Scotland
England 94-31 Fiji
Scotland 45-46 Northern Ireland
England 72-50 Wales
Off the pitch
Manchester City have apparently asked to talk to the FA about the response of the officials and services available after Pauline Bremer broke her leg in the game against Everton on Saturday.
According to Sportsmail City are unhappy at the lack of emergency services available at the game. The ambulance apparently did not arrive for an hour and her teammates had to carry her off on a stretcher.
Both clubs had medics available, but there were no emergency services and there is no FA requirement for them to be even at top flight women’s games, whereas they must be available at all men’s professional games.
So, hey ho FA, here we go again. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but it’s all a part of their half-brained thinking. Last week it was the announcement of a fully professional first tier of women’s football; this week it’s revealed there’s not even an ambulance present at current matches. Just who is putting these schemes and ideas together? Are they even aware of the present situation? Before we move on to the next big thing, can we get the present middle-sized thing right first, please?
Yeovil Town Ladies announced this week that they were going to start a crowdfunding campaign to raise the £350,000 necessary to put in a bid to be part of the new fully-professional top tier.
As reported a couple of weeks ago, the deadline to apply is 10 November.
The club has said,
“We have the structure, facilities and ambition to become a full-time professional club given time, but we currently do not have the financial support to do this.
“We do not have the budget to allow our players and coaches to become full-time athletes, unless further investment comes our way soon.”
And while you can applaud the club’s ambition and appreciate that it is currently where it is on merit, you have to wonder about the wisdom of building a long-term future on a crowdfunding campaign. If they don’t have the investment now, is a one-off injection of £350,000 make the club any more sustainable?
I’m hoping they’ve done the sums and I apologise if I am wrongly doubtful. It’s a great club that has come so far and deserves a shot.
Here’s the link to the campaign should you wish to contribute:
And it’s not just in this country that women’s football is sadly underestimated and treated with contempt:
A number of former Brazilian women internationals have sent an open letter to their federation to protest at some of their recent actions.
And although they attack some specific issues, such as the sacking of head coach Emily Lima, their key complaint is one heard again and again throughout women’s sport –
“We, and almost all other Brazilian women, are excluded from the leadership and decision-making for our own team and our own sport”.
Lima’s sacking led to five members of the current Brazilian squad to retire from international football; Cristiane, Francielle, Rosana, Andreia Rosa and Maurine have all given up on their international careers.
But it’s the set-up and governance of the women’s game that is the main focus of the protest. FIFA has guidelines in place that say women must be included at all levels of governance of the game. But the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) does not follow these guidelines – indeed there are no women on its governing board.
Can we expect FIFA to intervene? Impose sanctions? I suspect not. But both the CBF and FIFA will have to respond in some way. And when they do, I’ll be covering it.
Mo Marley has named her first squad as interim England Manager. A squad of 24 has been named for the friendly against France, which takes place on Friday 20 November at the Stade du Hainaut.
The match will be shown live on the BBC red button – friendlies on the TV, whatever next?
Goalkeepers: Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading), Carly Telford (Chelsea)
Defenders: Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Jess Carter (Birmingham City), Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Demi Stokes (Manchester City), Casey Stoney (Liverpool)
Midfielders: Izzy Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Reading), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jo Potter (Reading), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Reading)
Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Dan Carter (Arsenal), Toni Duggan (Barcelona), Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Melissa Lawley (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal)
Norway – Good News!
And some good news to round off the “off the pitch” section.
The Norwegian Football Association announced this week that it is to pay the same to both male and female internationals.
Head of the Norwegian Players’ union, Joachim Walltin, said,
“Norway is a country where equal standing is very important for us, so it is good for the country and for the sport.
“For the girls, it will certainly make a difference. Some of them are working and studying, as well as playing football, and it’s hard to improve then.
“The feeling of being really respected is very important for them. The federation can see it as an investment to increase the level of the women’s team.”
And so say all of us. Norway is taking the lead here – it would be good to see others follow suit.
On the Pitch
It’s been a busy week with WSL, Continental Cup and Champions League action all taking place. After this week’s results we’re now down to the last 16 in the Champions League and it’s good to report that both English clubs went through, but Glasgow City went out on the away goals rule.
Bayern Munich 2-2 Chelsea
Chelsea win 3-2 on aggregate
This was a fine result for Chelsea after being only one up after the home leg. It was tight all the way through, but when Fran Kirby stuck away an excellent goal on 60 minutes, thereby securing an away goal, the task seemed much easier.
Bayern needed three in 30 minutes and were stung into action. They pulled one back after sustained pressure as substitute Gemma Davison deflected the ball into her own net and then Lucie Vonkova pounced on some poor goalkeeping from Lindahl to poke home from close range.
Chelsea resisted wave after wave of attack, much as they did in the first leg. The home side had a good shout for a penalty when the ball seemed to strike Millie Bright’s arm, but the referee waved it away.
Bayern did put the ball in the net in injury time, but it was disallowed for a push in the box and Chelsea held on for the win.
The Bayern staff and manager were not happy with what they perceived as Chelsea time-wasting as player after player went down. And while there certainly was an element of this, the players had also played themselves into the ground and were genuinely feeling the effects. Several times Chelsea were down to ten and playing on. Ramona Bachmann appeared to have pretty constant cramp for the last half-hour!
Manchester City 3-0 St Polten
Manchester City win 6-0 on aggregate
It was an altogether easier night for Manchester City as they cruised past Austrian champions St Polten and into the last 16.
With a healthy 3-0 cushion from the away leg, City matched the tally with goals from Nikita Parris, Jill Scott and Mel Lawley.
In truth, it wasn’t a flowing performance from City and a better team would have made them pay. Jane Ross missed a penalty in the first-half and was then anonymous for the rest of the game. The defence, still adapting after losing Lucy Bronze to Lyon, looked creaky at times. But they’re through and will, no doubt, take confidence from the tie to go on into the last 16.
Glasgow City 4-1 BIIK Kazygurt
4-4 on aggregate, but BIIK Kazygurt go through on the away goal
It was heartbreak for Glasgow City as they so nearly came back from a 3-0 away deficit to complete a miraculous win.
Their task was made so much harder as BIIK took an early lead through Chinwendu Ihezuo and the home side needed five.
Abbi Grant scored a hat-trick and Noelle Murray one to bring the sides level on aggregate.
Then Glasgow were awarded a penalty with eight minutes to go and the chance to win the tie. But Leanne Ross hit the post and the chance was lost.
City had further chances to score but the ball refused to go in the net and Glasgow had gone out at the round of 32 stage for the third year running.
Round of 16
There are eight seeded teams and eight unseeded in the last 16 and the good news for Manchester City is that they have snuck into the seeded pot. Chelsea are not so lucky:
Lyon (FRA, holders)
FC Rosengård (SWE)
Manchester City (ENG)
Slavia Praha (CZE)
Sparta Praha (CZE)
LSK Kvinner (NOR
Gintra Universitetas (LTU)
The draw will be made on Monday 16 October with everyone wanting to avoid Lyon and Wolfsburg!
Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool
Everton 2-3 Manchester City
Arsenal 1-1 Bristol City
Reading 2-2 Birmingham City
Yeovil Town 0-1 Sunderland
Chelsea are top on goal difference with three wins from three. Manchester City are equal on points, but five behind on goal difference. Sunderland are third on six points. Neither Everton nor Yeovil have yet taken a point, with the Lady Glovers bottom with a worse goal difference.
Durham 4-0 Watford
London Bees 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Millwall Lionesses 4-3 Brighton & Hove Albion
Sheffield FC 2-1 Aston Villa
Oxford United 2-2 Doncaster Rovers Belles
Millwall are top of division two on goals scored. Both they and Oxford United are on seven points from three games. They have the same goal difference, but Millwall have scored three more goals. Durham are third on six points. Aston Villa, London Bees and Watford are still to register a point with Watford bottom of the pile on goal difference.
The Cup begins in a group stage this year with four groups, the top two from each going through to the knockout stage.
The Groups are Groups One and Two (North) and Groups One and Two (South). If games end in a draw at 90 minutes, they go straight to penalties.
Group 1 (N)
Liverpool 6-0 Sheffield FC
Durham 0-0 Sunderland (Sunderland won 3-2 on penalties)
Group 2 (N)
Birmingham City 4-0 Oxford United
Doncaster Rovers Belles 0-3 Everton
Group 1 (S)
Arsenal 7-0 London Bees
Watford 1-0 Millwall Lionesses
Group 2 (S)
Brighton & Hove Albion 4-2 Yeovil Town
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Bristol City
Claudia Fragapane claimed bronze in the floor at the World Gymnastics Championships in Montreal at the weekend.
Japan’s Mai Murakami took gold with a score of 14,233, Jade Carey of the USA, silver, 14,2 with Fragapane coming in with 13.933.
Amy Tinkler finished 17th in the all round final with a total of 50.899. It was quite an achievement as she was taking part just seven weeks after ankle surgery. Morgan Hurd of the USA took gold with 55.232, with Ellie Black of Canada in silver position and Elena Eremina of Russia taking bronze.
This week’s Investec Women’s Hockey League results were as follows:
Buckingham 0-0 Holcombe
Slough 1-0 Canterbury
Bowdon 0-2 East Grinstead
Surbiton 1-0 Leicester
Clifton Robinsons 1-4 University of Birmingham
This means that with three games gone, Surbiton are still top on goals scored from Slough. Both are on seven points. In third lie Holcombe with five. Canterbury are still bottom with one point.
I realise I have been somewhat remiss in my coverage of women’s rugby league – in fact I’ve just never covered it. I have no defence. I love rugby league – in fact the first piece I ever wrote for the Sheffield University newspaper was on Sheffield Eagles. So, in an attempt to redeem myself, there were two big stories this week.
Bradford Bulls 36-6 Featherstone Rovers
Bradford Bulls scored seven tries through seven different players to ensure they won the inaugural Women’s Super League Grand Final at the Manchester Regional Arena on Saturday.
It also ensured a league and cup double for the Bulls who won the Challenge Cup earlier in the season and meant they completed the season with a 100% record.
At half-time it was still all to play for as Bulls led 16-6. The Bulls began with tries from captain Kirsty Moroney and Lois Forsell. Georgia Roche scored for Rovers, who then took and scored the conversion. Bulls then scored their third through Charlotte Booth.
But Rovers couldn’t score again in the second-half as the Bulls ran away with it. Claire Garner, Amy Hardcastle, Charlene Henegan and Haylie Hields all crossed for tries, while Garner put over four conversions.
World Cup Squad
England have named 23 players in the squad to take part in the World Cup in November in Australia.
Amy Hardcastle (Bradford Bulls), Andrea Dobson (Featherstone Rovers), Beth Sutcliffe, Charlotte Booth, Claire Garner (all Bradford Bulls), Danielle Bound (Thatto Heath St Helens), Danika Priim (Bradford Bulls), Emily Rudge (Thatto Heath St Helens), Emma Slowe (Featherstone Rovers), Faye Gaskin, Jenny Welsby (both Thatto Heath St Helens), Jessica Courtman(Bradford Bulls), Jodie Cunningham (Thatto Heath St Helens), Katherine Hepworth (Castleford Tigers), Kayleigh Bulman (Featherstone Rovers), Kirsty Moroney, Lois Forsell (both Bradford Bulls), Rachel Thompson(Thatto Heath St Helens), Rhiannon Marshall, Sarah Dunn (both Featherstone Rovers), Shona Hoyle, Stacey White (both Bradford Bulls), Tara-Jane Stanley (Thatto Heath St Helens).
England’s group fixtures begin against Papua New Guinea Orchids on 16 November.
The tournament final will be before the men’s at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 December.
Group fixtures will be played at the Southern Cross Stadium, Woolooware, NSW.
16 November: Papua New Guinea Orchids (kick-off 09:30 BST)
19 November: Australian Jillaroos (04:45 BST)
22 November: The Cook Islands (04:45 BST)
Meanwhile, the men’s Rugby League World Cup has appointed its first female official. Australian Belinda Sleeman is one of 24 officials selected.
Needless to say she has already accomplished a series of first – the most recent being the first woman to officiate at a Test Match, when she was a touch judge at the Fiji v Tonga match in May.
Watch out everyone – female officials are on the march at last. They are progressing as never before in rugby (both codes), football and cricket. Coming to a match near you!
Barbarians Women’s Team
The invitational team, the Barbarians are to introduce a women’s team.
The side’s first game will be against Munster on 10 November at Thomond Park, with further fixtures to be announced in due course.
Giselle Mather will coach the team and Fiona Stockley will manage it.
So far Susie Brown (Scotland), Fiona Coghlan (Ireland), Claire Cripps and Megan Goddard (England), Elen Evans (Wales), Emma Jenson (New Zealand), Christelle Le Duff (France) and Kelly Russell (Canada), have accepted invitations to play. These eight start with 440 international caps between them.
Tyrell’s Premier 15s
Last weekend’s scores were as follows:
Saracens Women 30-0 Wasps Ladies
Harlequins Ladies 36-10 DMP Sharks
Loughborough Lightning 30-19 Firwood Waterloo Ladies
Bristol Women 28-20 Gloucester-Hartpury Women
Richmond Women 48-12 Worcester Valkyries
Harlequins Ladies are top with four from four and maximum bonus points. Saracens lie second, a point behind, with Bristol three points further back on 16 after winning three of their first four matches. At the bottom, Worcester Valkyries remain pointless, with Firwood Waterloo and DMP Sharks on one and two points respectively.
Australia have announced their squad for the Ashes, which start on 22 October. As we know, captain Meg Lanning is out and her place is taken by Rachel Haynes, a decision that has raised some eyebrows as it has been suggested that Haynes has been picked mostly for her captaincy skills rather than her cricketing skills. We’ll see in just over a week whether this proves to be an inspired decision (or not).
There are six uncapped players in the squad, two of whom are just returning from long-term injury; Lauren Cheatle has been out for six months with a shoulder injury, while Tahlia McGrath has been out for eight months with a stress fracture.
The squads in full:
Test squad: Kristen Beams, Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Lauren Cheatle, Ashleigh Gardner, Rachael Haynes (Capt), Alyssa Healy, Jess Jonassen, Tahlia McGrath, Beth Mooney, Ellyse Perry, Megan Schutt, Belinda Vakarewa, Elyse Villani, Amanda-Jade Wellington.
ODI squad: Beams, Blackwell, Bolton, Cheatle, Gardner, Haynes, Healy, Jonassen, McGrath, Mooney, Perry, Schutt, Villani, Wellington.
ICC Women’s Championship
The quest to qualify for the 2021 World Cup began this week. Four teams qualify automatically. The first round of fixtures is between West Indies and Sri Lanka and the first game was played on Wednesday 11 October:
Brian Lara Cricket Academy, Tarouba
Sri Lanka 136 all out (49.4 overs)
West Indies 138/4 (39 overs)
It was a comfortable win for the home side in the first game of three on Wednesday. Yasoda Mendis top scored for Sri Lanka with 34. Fletcher, Matthews and Taylor took three wickets each. The only downside for West Indies was Hayley Matthews retiring hurt during the West Indies innings. Kycia Knight made only one and captain Stafanie Taylor, two, but the middle order all contributed to see the Windies home.
The second game is on Friday 13 October. Each game is worth two points in the Women’s Championship.
On the Court
Caroline Garcia of France took the China Open title, beating new world number one Simona Halep in the final, 6-4 7-6. She then pulled out of the Tianjin Open with injury.
Of course, at this stage of the season, it’s another week, another tournament.
The quarter-finals of the Tianjin Open have just been decided:
S Peng (3) beat S. Sorribes Tormo 6-0 6-1
M Sharapova beat S. Vögele 6-3 6-1
S Errani beat S McHale 5-7 7-6 6-1
A Sabalenka beat L. Zhu 6-3 6-4.
The semi-finals, which take place on Saturday 14 October, will be Errani v Sabalenka and Sharapova v Peng.
Off the Court
Johanna Konta is still suffering with a foot injury and has been forced to withdraw from the Kremlin Cup, which takes place next week. It means she will no longer be able to qualify for the end of season Singapore tournament.
The places have been decided for Singapore and are:
- Simona Halep (Romania)
- Garbine Muguruza (Spain)
- Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
- Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
- Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
- Venus Williams (USA)
- Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia)
- Caroline Garcia (France)
First, let me start by saying God bless the BBC for its efforts in promoting women’s sport in the face of all the bile produced by the Neanderthals every week, who feel their “No-one cares”, or more usually “Who the **** cares?” postings are the sharpest, wittiest comments since Oscar Wilde put pen to paper.
However, (and you knew this was coming) I do have to take issue with their Women’s Champions League coverage. Last week Chelsea’s first leg match against Bayern Munich was on 5 Live Sports Extra. And very good it was. The match, which Chelsea won 1-0, was excellent, and the tie was left on a knife-edge. So it was with some excitement that I tuned in for the second leg on Wednesday, only to find that it wasn’t being covered. So what was being covered? The Manchester City v St. Polten tie on Thursday. So what do these two matches have in common? They’re the HOME legs.
So the BBC can “splash the cash” to send a reporter to London and Manchester, but can’t stretch to Germany or Austria. Can you imagine John Murray being told he could cover Manchester United at Old Trafford, but couldn’t travel to an away leg – anywhere in Europe?
I did find the Chelsea game, by the way; excellent coverage, commentary and pictures via Chelsea TV on YouTube. Would recommend.
Meanwhile, BBC, cover both legs will you?
And, and finally – a special shout out to Ipswich Town Ladies who annihilated Norwich City Ladies 8-1 in the Premier League South East Division One this week. Fabulous hat-trick for Zoe Cossey. Good one, ladies. Come on you Tractor Girls!!