Women’s Sports Column 17-23 November 2018

field-field-line-football-54567Welcome to this week’s column. Plenty to get into again this week, from England’s perhaps surprising progress into the final of the World T20 to the loss of Jordan Nobbs for Arsenal, and the possibility that she will miss next year’s World Cup.   Stories this week come from hockey, golf, football, netball, rugby, cricket, motor racing, volleyball and sailing.  Plus, another bout of rather miserable and somewhat predictable misogyny from the keyboard warriors living in their parents’ basements…

So let’s crack on.

Cricket – International

T20 World Cup

Well, we’re nearly there.  It seems to have passed in a flash and, to be honest, as much as I love my cricket (as you all know), I can’t say that I’ve been inspired by this tournament.  There have been no surprises, no shocks and no team has come through as a “dark horse”.  Australia were favourites at the start and have pretty much lived up to that status, although they proved against India that they are fallible.  West Indies fell very much short against Australia in the semi-final when they had a distinct chance of going through, and India lost disappointingly to England in the other semi-final.  I would have loved to have seen India win the World Cup and finally fulfil their potential.

It all comes down to Australia v England on Saturday – midnight start UK time.

How the semi-finals played out:

Australia 144/5 (20 overs)
West Indies 71 all out 17.3 overs)
Australia won by 71 runs

I actually thought West Indies had this until Deandra Dottin imploded in the 19th over and conceded 17 runs.  Up until that point, Australia had looked impressive but struggled to get away from a fairly efficient West Indies bowling side.

But in the 19th over Dottin lost it.  Two wides and three boundaries from Rachael Haynes left the Windies exasperated and Dottin mutinous.

Beth Mooney went early, but the restored Alyssa Healy took it on, scoring 46 from 38 balls.  Lanning was slow but steady, anchoring the innings as wickets fell around her.  But it was Rachael Haynes 25 from 15 at the back end of the innings, including the dismantling of Dottin that did the damage as the Aussies posted 144.

West Indies’ poor end to the innings seemed to infect their batting.  Hayley Matthews was first to go, run out for just five as the jitters went through the hosts.  Dottin never recovered her cool and went for six from 11 balls.  Stafanie Taylor tried to offer some resistance as all around her was chaos, but she was the only player to make double figures; 16 from 28 balls.

Australia shared the wickets round with Perry, Kimmince and Gardner taking two each and Schutt, Molineux and Wareham one apiece.

It was a sad end to a fine tournament for the defending champions.

India 112 all out (19.3 overs)
England 116/2 (17.1 overs)
England won by 8 wickets

The second semi-final was equally one-sided.  India won the toss and elected to bat.  They started well, scoring 43 before the fall of the first wicket.  But after the top four were out, no-one else got into double figures.  Three run-outs in the Indian innings didn’t help.

Captain Heather Knight (why doesn’t she bowl herself more often?) took 3/9 off two overs while Sophie Ecclestone and Kirstie Gordon took two each as India were reduced to 112 all out.

India would have taken heart with their start with the ball after the openers were out cheaply,  Tammy Beaumont for one and Danni Wyatt for eight.

But Amy Jones and Nat Sciver took hold of the situation, scoring 53 and 52 respectively as England cruised home.

Coverage of the final is via BBC TMS on the radio and Sky Sports on TV.

Cricket – Domestic

Meanwhile, the ECB seem to be on the verge of throwing away the biggest and best development in English women’s cricket in recent memory.  Perhaps it was a good time to “bury bad news” as England went into the final of the T20 World Cup?

It was already in the cards that the KSL would go with the advent of The Hundred, but it seems that the ECB needs to cut its costs in a big way and that could hit the women’s game.

The ECB has said that there will be no reduction in the number of teams or matches but that “efficiency savings” will come from cutting match-day costs and economising on flights for players coming from overseas.

Cuts could be in the region of 12-20 per cent.

If the cuts go ahead and the overseas players don’t come, it will be a huge backwards step for the women’s game and for the KSL in particular.

And, I’m afraid it’s yet another example of two steps forward, one back from a governing body, when it comes to the promotion of the women’s game.

For a more in-depth analysis of this latest news, see George Dobell’s excellent piece for Cricinfo:

http://www.espn.co.uk/cricket/story/_/id/25348712/funding-issues-mount-england-women-ksl-faces-budget-cut

Motor Racing

Most motorsport crashes are high profile, but if it’s a woman and she’s just 17, the column inches are going to stack up.

Last Sunday, Formula 3 driver, Sophia Florsch, crashed in the Macau Grand Prix and fractured her spine.

She hit the back of the car driven by Jehan Daruvala, went over the inside kerb and then hit the car of Sho Tsuboi and over the barriers.  She was travelling at approximately 171.6mph.

She has now been through 10 hours of surgery in which bone from her hip has been used to repair one her of vertebrae.

It is thought she will not suffer any paralysis.

See my “And finally” for more on this story.

Football

Injury

Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament last weekend at Everton – an injury that may not only put her out for the rest of the season, but may impact on her participation in next year’s World Cup in France.

Nobbs had been having a storming season, both for Arsenal and for England and this will be a big blow to both.

Every England fan will have to cross fingers and indeed toes in the hope that she will have recovered by next summer.

 Last weekend’s results:

Championship

London Bees 2-0 Sheffield United
Littlejohn 55’, Gibson 78’

Crystal Palace 0-5 Manchester United
Arnott 17’ 55’, Green 59’ 83’, Greenwood 75’ (Pen)

Milllwall Lionesses 1-5 Durham
Clarke 5’
Hepple 2 ’9’, Gears 4’, Wilson 37’, Ness 56’

Lewes 1-1 Aston Villa
Kempson 72’
Richards 16’

Tottenham 1-0 Charlton Athletic
Naz 24’

Tottenham are still top of the Championship with 21 points from eight games.  Manchester United have 19 in second, but have played a game fewer.  Millwall are still bottom with just a single point from eight games and Crystal Palace are just above them on four.

WSL

Chelsea 5-0 Yeovil Town
Bright 20’, So-yun Ji 27’, Cuthbert 42’, Bachmann 45’, England 79’

Birmingham City 3-0 West Ham Utd
Harrop 1’, Follis 40’, Staniforth 79’

Bristol City 2-1 Liverpool
Graham 16’. Rutherford 21’
Sweetman-Kirk 36’

Brighton & Hove Albion 1-4 Reading
Whelan 61’
Hourihan 20’ (OG), Chaplen 58’, Williams 65’, Davison 81’

Everton 0-4 Arsenal
Van de Donk 44’, Nobbs 49’, Miedema 50’ 65’

Arsenal are still yet to drop a point this season.  They lie top with 24 points from eight games.  Manchester City are second with 18 and Chelsea third with 16.  There was still no respite for Everton at the bottom.  They have two points, with Yeovil just above them on three.

This weekend sees a programme in the top two divisions plus the first round of the FA Cup.  For a complete list of FA Cup fixtures click here.

Hockey – International

Champions Trophy

 Netherlands have been a class apart so far in this tournament.  They are yet to be tested, having won four from four and are happily through to the final with a game to spare.  They will finish top by a mile.  Australia are second with two wins and a draw from four games.  China have six points, China 3, GB and Japan both have two.

Great Britain have had a poor event so far and need to win their last match against Argentina to make it into the bronze medal match.

They opened with a draw against hosts China, twice coming from behind.  Xu Wenyu scored China’s first in the first quarter, but Hannah Martin equalised at the end of the first period.

In the second quarter China took the lead again through Peng Yang, but Lily Owsley brought GB level again and that’s where the scoring ended.

In their second match, GB lost 2-0 to Australia.  Australia scored early in the first quarter through Brooke Peris and doubled their lead in the second through Kalindi Commerford.

They still couldn’t catch a break in their third match, drawing 2-2 with Japan.  Japan were 2-0 down thanks to goals from Tessa Howard and Sophie Bray in the first quarter.  But they couldn’t maintain their superiority.  Japan were level by half-time with two goals from Hazuki Nagai.

Netherlands were comfortable victors against Great Britain in their fourth match 4-0.  They were 2-0 up by half-time with goals from Marijn Veen and Margot Zuidhof.  Ginella Zerbo got the third in the third quarter and Zuidhof scored her second in the fourth quarter to complete the win.

Most worryingly for Great Britain, they had only three shots in the match.

They play Argentina in the last group match on Saturday 24 November.

Hockey – Domestic

Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division

Last weekend’s results were as follows:

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

Surbiton are still top with seven wins and one draw from nine and 22 points. Holcombe lie second with 19 and East Grinstead third with 16.  At the bottom, Canterbury have three points, and Bowdon are just above them on seven.

This weekend’s fixtures are the last before the winter break.  The league recommences on 9 February 2019:

24 November
Clifton Robinsons v Canterbury (1pm, Coombe Dingle, P1)
Bowdon v Buckingham (1.45pm, Bowdon Club)
Holcombe v University of Birmingham (2pm, Holcombe HC, P1)
East Grinstead v Slough (4pm, East Grinstead HC)
Surbiton v Beeston (4pm Surbiton HC Water)

Rugby Union – International

France 20-27 New Zealand

A crowd of 17,102 saw France beat the Black Ferns in Grenoble in a pulsating game.

France opened the scoring through Julie Duval but the away side were soon level through Stacey Waaka.

Then France made a double strike; Maëlle Filopon with the first and Romane Menager with the second had France pulling away.  After half an hour France had a 19-7 lead.

But before half-time New Zealand were back in it.  Fiao’o Faamausili scored a try that was converted to make it 19-14.

After the break France extended their lead again through Caroline Drouin, but New Zealand hit back through Selica Winiata after a lineout on the French 5m line.  Then, out of nowhere, New Zealand were level as Kendra Cocksedge kicked a penalty to make it 24-24 with 26 minutes to go.

Just one minute later Ruahei Demant was yellow-carded and France took advantage as Drouin converted the penalty to put them back ahead.

Drouin kicked another penalty on 70 minutes, but Cocksedge did likewise almost directly afterwards, 30-27.

The Black Ferns had the pressure in the last 10 minutes to take the game, but France were defending for their lives.  Both teams had chances, but neither could score and France held on for a memorable win.

England 27-19 Canada

England continued their winning form with five tries against Canada in Doncaster.

The Roses went ahead early through pack dominance with tries from Lark Davies with her first and international try, Poppy Cleall bagged England’s second and Davies went in again for the third.  All three went unconverted.

Canada struck back before the break as Alex Tassier crossed the line after picking up Anaïs Holly’s kick.  The score was converted by Brianna Miller, taking it to 15-7 at half-time.

In the second-half Canada came quickly out of the blocks, scoring their second try through Elissa Alarie.

But England were not done.  They brought on Katy Daley-Mclean and the difference was evident.  Kelly Smith went over in the corner to score England’s fourth try and soon afterwards the fifth came through Abbie Scott.

Canada had the last word though, with Courtney Holtkamp going over from close range and Magali Harvey converting to take the score to 27-19.

Ireland 10-19 USA

USA Eagles claimed their first test win since the World Cup with their defeat of Ireland at Donnybrook.

Ireland started well, but despite having all the early pressure, they couldn’t convert it into points.

Eventually USA took the lead as Kimber Rozier went in, converting her own try to make it 7-0 in the 13th minute.

Each side then had some pressure, but no added points were scored until Kaitlyn Broughton went down the right wing to score and make it 12-0 to the Eagles.

Ireland struck back before half-time as Laura Sheehan went over on the left but it was unconverted and the home side went in 12-5 down.

On the resumption each side again had a period of pressure, but it was the USA who took their chance as Meya Bizer went over the line and the try was converted by Rozier.

Ireland worked tirelessly and hard until Eimear Considine finally crossed the whitewash for the home side’s second try.  The conversion was again missed and the visitors took the win.

This week’s fixtures:

24 November
England v Ireland (5.40pm, Twickenham)
Wales v Canada (11.30am, Cardiff Arms Park)

27 November
Scotland v Canada (7pm, Scotstoun)

Rugby Union – Domestic

Premier 15s is back this weekend.  The fixtures, all on 24 November, are:

Richmond v Bristol Bears (2pm, Richmond Athletic Ground)
Worcester Valkyries v Firwood Waterloo (2pm, Sixways Stadium)
Wasps v Gloucester-Hartpury (2pm, Twyford Avenue Sports Ground)
DMP Sharks v Harlequins (3pm, Northern Echo Arena)
Saracens v Loughborough Lightning (3.45pm, Allianz Park)

Volleyball

Women’s Super League

There were a full set of fixtures in the Super League last weekend:

17 November
London Orcas 3-0 TeamBU Wessex (25-16, 25-21, 25-13)
Sheffield Hallam 0-3 Mallory Eagles UEL (19-25, 14-25, 19-25)
Durham Palatinates 3-0 Birmingham Volleyball Club 1 (25-5, 25-12, 25-17)

18 November
Bristol VC1 3-1 Polonia SideOut London (25-22, 12-25, 25-21, 25-21)
Sheffield Hallam 0-3 Durham Palatintes (18-25, 20-25, 17-25)

Durham are top, but they have played more than everyone else.  They have 20 points from seven games.  London Orcas are second with 11 from five games.  Mallory Eagles are one point behind them but have played only four.  At the bottom, Birmingham are the only team still to get off the mark and have played four games.

Golf – Solheim Cup

European Captain Catriona Matthew has named her final Vice Captain for the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles; Dame Laura Davies really needs no introduction, but suffice it to say that she has played in 12 Solheim Cups and is the event’s leading points scorer, with 25.  She has featured in four winning teams, in 1992, 2000, 2003 and 2011.

This means that her three vice captains, Davies, Suzann Petterson and Kathryn Imrie, have the grand total of 21 Solheim Cup appearances between them and have scored 45½ points for Europe.  If experience has any bearing on the outcome, Europe should be well-placed!

Tickets for the event, which takes place from 9-15 September 2019 are already on sale.  Check out the website, www.solheimcup2019.com.

Netball

The England Roses v Uganda series starts on Tuesday 27 November.  There are three matches – the first is at the Liverpool Echo Arena on Tuesday.  The other two, at the Copper Box in London are on

Friday 30 November and Sunday 2 December.

It should be an exciting and tight series.  Tickets are still available.  Click here for information.  If you can’t be there in person, it’s all live on Sky Sports.

And Finally,

In the immortal words of Britney Spears (!), “oops, I did it again.”  In other words, yes I looked at some of the comments on the BBC sports Facebook and Twitter pages.  In particular, I looked at what “people” had to say on the Florsch crash and on the Nobbs injury.  I was pretty sickened by both.

Florsch, who could easily have lost her life or been paralysed was offered little in the way of either sympathy or respect, with many (yes, many) comments along the lines of “typical of women drivers”.  Crass, rude, and not acceptable in any way.  There were a few males coming in telling the Neanderthals their comments were not acceptable, but they were few, and unfortunately far between.

The comments on the Nobbs injury were, possibly, more insidious.  Several dismissed it as “an irrelevance” – well not to Nobbs, her teammates, friends, family and England Lionesses’ supporters everywhere.  How can you dismiss someone’s possibly dashed hopes of a World Cup appearance as an irrelevance?  It’s a pitiful attitude, chaps.

I realise it’s a reflex action with most of them – it’s a story about a woman in sport, therefore we have to demean it, insult it and dismiss it, but it’s pretty damned infuriating to read it all the time.

 Rant over.  That’s all for this week. Sorry, no column next week as I am busy elsewhere.  I’d just like to wish England good luck in the World T20 final on Saturday night.  I hope you’ll all be listening/watching.  

Women’s Sports Column 2-8 April

LizzieArmitsteadThis week’s stories come from football, tennis, sailing, golf, cycling, athletics, cricket and netball,

There’s so much going on, I can’t keep up. This is a brilliant time for women’s sport, and yet, at the same time, we seem to have hit a new phase of unbelievably abysmal comment on just what a woman’s place in sport “should” be. Seems like everyone (men) has an opinion on this – and It’s usually not only misguided, but downright misogynistic.

But let’s crack on with the good stuff and deal with the rest later.

Lots of football news this week.

Former England coach, Hope Powell, has broken through yet another glass ceiling to become the first women appointed to the role of coach educator with the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA). She was the first woman to attain a UEFA Pro Licence in 2003.

Not such impressive news from America, where former USA favourite, Abby Wambach, has been arrested for drink driving. Wambach, who retired from football in December, has been a role model for American girls and women for a long time.

On her Facebook page she said:

“I take full responsibility for my actions. This is all on me,

“Those that know me know that I have always demanded excellence from myself. I have let myself and others down.”

The FA Cup semi-final line-up has been decided as the quarter finals took place this week:

 Chelsea 6-0 Aston Villa

 

It was only one-nil at half time and Villa must have thought they were in with a good chance of at least holding or even beating last year’s cup winners. They finally scored through Spence six minutes before the break. In the second the chances were converted to goals with Ji scoring a hat-trick and Kirby and Aluko chipping in with the others.

 

 

Manchester City 2-0 Sporting Club Albion

 

Goals from Parris and Ross saw Manchester City through to the semi-final as they beat the lowest-ranked club left in the competition.

 

Arsenal 2-2 Notts County (4-3 on penalties)

 

It took penalties for Arsenal to see off last year’s beaten finalists in a thrilling match that had a bit of everything. Smith scored the first for Arsenal, but Bradley-Auckland levelled the tie and then County took the lead through a Luik shot after a melee in the penalty area. White was sent off for County, who couldn’t quite hold on with 10 players – Sanchon equalising with just five minutes to go. The teams couldn’t be separated after extra time and the tie went to penalties. Both keepers saved two spot-kicks, and it was McCabe’s successful kick that put the Gunners through.

 

Sunderland 3-0 Reading

 

The home side were on top throughout as Mead scored the first and Williams the second as Sunderland went in 2-0 at half time. In the second half Reading had chances to reduce the arrears, but Chaplen added a third to put the tie beyond reach.

 

The semi-final draw has now been made. Both fixtures will be held on Sunday 17 April and will kick off at 2pm. Keep an eye out for details of broadcast coverage, as needless to say, it hasn’t been sorted yet.

 

Arsenal v Sunderland

Chelsea v Manchester City

 

 

 

Britain’s number two, Heather Watson, was knocked out in the first round of the Katowice Open this week. She lost to Czech player Kristyna Pliskova 6-2 3-6 6-4. The Czech is ranked 33 places lower than Watson, at 88 in the world. It was a tight match up to the last set, but Watson lost her first two service games of the third set to go 3-0 down and couldn’t recover.

 

Britain’s number three, Naomi Broady, went through to the second round after beating Karin Knapp in the first 6-7 6-4 6-4.

 

 

 

The worst news of the week comes from sailing. Sarah Young, an amateur sailor taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race died when she was washed overboard. She was recovered by the crew, who attempted to resuscitate her, but she didn’t regain consciousness.

The cause of death is thought to be drowning or exposure. The year-long race was sailing in the North Pacific at the time.

Because of the time it would take for the yacht to reach land, Ms Young was buried at sea, after consultation with her family.

Ms Young is the second person to die in this year’s event, after Andrew Ashman, a crew member on the same IchorCoal boat, died in September.

 

 

Good news from golf this week, as England’s Charley Hull finished joint second in the first women’s major of the year, the ANA Inspiration. Her previous best finish was tied seventh at the same tournament in 2014.

The wonderful Lydia Ko took the title on -12, with Hull and the Korean Chun, tied second on -11. Catriona Matthew of Scotland finished the tournament on -3 in a tie for 32nd place.

 

 

Lizzie Armistead took first in the women’s Tour of Flanders this week, which finished on Sunday 3 April. She won by only half a wheel from Emma Johansson of Sweden after a sprint finish. This is Armistead’s fourth win of the season, having already won at Omloop het Nieuwsblad, Strade Bianche and Trofeo Binda.

 

 

Nothing good coming out of athletics this week as the doping scandals go on and on. This week Russian Olympic and double world hammer champion Tatyana Lysenko was suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. Lysenko had previously been banned for two-years for steroid use in 2007.

Russia is currently banned from international athletics competition in the wake of the doping scandals last year. They are hoping to have the ban overturned in time to compete at Rio, but these continued revelations will not be helping their case.

 

 

By now you’ll all be aware of the outcome of the Women’s World T20 in India. I have written extensively on it for Women’s Sports Uk the past three weeks, including a full report of the final and today I have published my thoughts on the tournament as a whole.

The final was a great spectacle and West Indies worthy winners.

They may not have been able to take a fourth consecutive World T20 title, but Cricket Australia has announced that their female players are to receive a significant pay rise.

The top-ranked players will now earn $65,000 as basic, while those on the minimum will go from $19,000 to $40,000.

Cricket Australia is also the only governing body that guarantees its female national team will fly business class along with the men.

 

The latest round of Vitality Netball Superleague fixtures, on Saturday 2 April, brought the following results:

Yorkshire Jets 45-50 Team Northumbria

Manchester Thunder p-p Hertfordshire Mavericks

This match was called off after umpires expressed concern over the safety of the players because of water on the court.

Surrey Storm 52-42 Loughborough Lightning

Mavericks are now top by three points over Thunder in second, Storm in third and Bath fourth. Jets are still bottom having failed to win any games this season.

 

And finally, back to the sexist claptrap and misogyny that seems to have raised its ugly head this week. I think it all kicked off with the tennis: “women players should get down on their knees” and be thankful to the men for propping up the women’s game all these years lines that came from .., (no former) CEO of the Indian Wells tennis tournament. Since then it seems to have become fair game for men to stick their sexist oar in. Top of the pile is this execrable scribbling from Toby Young in the Daily Mail. I don’t really want to dignify it with a link, but read it and weep.  As it was published on 1st April, there was a rumour it was an April Fool’s joke, but I’m afraid not…

And finally, finally, sorry but no column next week as I’m away, but back the following week with all the news.

 

 

 

Women’s Sports Column – 26 March – 1 April

kicking offAs you may have noticed, I have been somewhat pre-occupied by a certain cricketing tournament over the last couple of weeks. But now I’m back. I don’t propose to go over what has happened in women’s sport during that time, as you’ll have all caught up with everything via the mainstream press (not), but here’s a glimpse of what has happened this week.

This week’s stories come from cricket (surprise), football, tennis, golf, skating, Commonwealth Games, cycling, netball and the Boat Race.

The Women’s World T20 final will be between holders Australia and surprise finalists West Indies, who beat England and New Zealand respectively, in their semi-finals. You can read all you would like to on the tournament via my website www. https://pennyjhopkins.wordpress.com/ or via http://www.womenssportsuk.com/.

Can’t help thinking it should have been England v New Zealand, but neither played well enough in their semis to justify reaching the final. I’ll leave that there before I start ranting again.

 

The FAWSL is back! I’ve been so busy with the cricket I’ve hardly had time to notice it, but here it is. Manchester City are the early pace-setters with two wins out of two.

Here’s the current league table:

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

In fact there are lots of news stories from football this week – some of them not so good.

There have been claims that Frankfurt fans racially abused Swedish side, Rosengard’s players during their Women’s Champions League quarter-final. Uefa has opened a disciplinary case. The referee had to stop the game to consult with club officials before restarting.

There are also reports that Brazilian star, Marta confronted a fan over the issue. The investigation will report its findings on 5 April.

If found to be true, this is a really disappointing development for women’s football. Many people attend women’s football as a more family-friendly alternative to the aggression inspired by the men’s game. It needs to be stamped out, now.

Another disappointing story (but I’m not comparing them in terms of seriousness) that has appeared this week is that Wales’ women’s team has to wear to men’s shirts!

Surprisingly the Welsh FA didn’t have a comment to put forward on this, but striker Helen Ward said, in an interview with the BBC,

“We’ll wear what we’re given, but it is nice to be wearing a kit that fits and cut the right way,

“It’s really disappointing because a lot of shirts come in women’s sizes.”

Neither are there replica shirts for women who wish to wear a Welsh shirt for the European Championships in the summer. Adidas, suppliers of the Welsh shirts said:

“The shirts on sale are retailed as adult shirts, intended for both male and female fans.”

That’s all right then.

 

Over the pond, there have been big developments in football (or soccer, as they insist on calling it over there).

At a time when the argument over equal pay for women’s sports has been in the spotlight, five members of the USA’s World Cup winning team have filed a complaint against the US Soccer Federation for wage discrimination.

Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Hope Solo have taken the action is desperation at the fact that they earn less than half of what male US players receive, even though they are current World Cup holders. In Hope Solo’s words:

“We are the best in the world, have three World Cup Championships, four Olympic Championships, and the USMNT [men’s team] get paid more just to show up than we get paid to win major championships.”

A point to realise is, unlike in women’s tennis, it is the women’s game that brings in the money, backing and audience in the US. So by that argument alone, are they not worthy of equal pay?

One might say, with tongue very firmly in cheek, that the male players should go down on their knees and thank the women’s game for its support. (Thanks to Raymond Moore, former Indian Wells CEO for this imagery).

 

Talking of tennis, Johanna Konta has continued her excellent form by reaching the quarter-finals of the Miami Open, where she was beaten by world number eight, Victoria Azarenka. Konta is the first British woman to reach this stage.

Although she had five break points in the match, she was unable to convert any of them and Azarenka won 6-4 6-2.

Had she beaten Azarenka she would have gone into the world top 20. As it is, she is at an excellent 23.

Heather Watson did not fare so well as she lost in the round of 16 to fifth seed, Simona Halep 6-3 6-4. She had been suffering with a niggling thigh muscle injury which hampered her ability to chase hard.

World number one and defending champion Serena Williams is also out after losing 6-7 6-1 6-2 to fifteenth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova.

 

It’s golf time again! In the first women’s major of the year, the ANA Inspiration in California, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is just one shot off the lead after the opening round.

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew is one shot off the lead after the opening round of the ANA Inspiration, the first women’s major of the year. Ai Miyazato of Japan and Azahara Munoz of Spain are five under, one ahead of Matthew, Shiho Oyama and Lee-Anne Pace. Charlie Hull is three behind the leaders, carding a 70 for her first round.

 

The World Figure Skating Championships are currently taking place in Boston, (Mass., not Lincs.). Britain’s top ice dancers, Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland came a career-best and creditable seventh. They finished ninth in 2014.

The winners were the reigning champions, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France with two American pairs, Maia and Alex Shibutani and Madison Chock and Evan Bates claiming silver and bronze respectively.

 

Baroness Tanni-Grey Thompson has expressed a wish that Wales bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

“We just have to be a bit brave and a bit bold and go for it because the Commonwealth Games is a brilliant event,” said Baroness Grey-Thompson.

 

Great news for women’s cycling this week as RideLondon announced a total prize fund of £78,000 for its women’s race 0n 30 July. This is exactly the same as that for the men’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic, which takes place a day later.

Double Olympic Champion Laura Trott has been in the forefront of the campaign for equal prize money.

She says women’s cycling is “getting the recognition it deserves”.

With a month to go, Manchester Thunder appear to be closing on the title in the Netball Superleague. They are three points ahead of the second team, Hertfordshire Mavericks.

The latest round of fixtures, on Saturday 26 March yielded the following results:

Hertfordshire Mavericks 64 40 Team Northumbria
Manchester Thunder 69 51 Team Bath
Yorkshire Jets 39 56 Surrey Storm

 

This year’s Women’s Boat Race took place on Sunday 27 March. Oxford won their fourth in a row as Cambridge nearly sank in the difficult conditions.

Plenty of praise went to the Oxford cox, Morgan Baynham-Williams, who ensured the boat moved across the river to where the conditions were slightly better, but Cambridge should also be given their due for continuing when the easier option would have been to give up and stop.

 

And finally, I could have written double the amount this week, which shows how much women’s sport there is out there, if only we could find any coverage of it… I would like to recommend to you the book I’m reading at the moment – it’s called “Kicking Off – How Women in Sport are Changing the Game” by Sarah Shepherd. The first chapter is basically what I’ve been writing about for the last five years – the cycle of no audience, no sponsorship, no development, no media coverage…. etc, and will make you want to scream. But there are also some wonderfully positive chapters which recognise just how far we’ve come – interviews with greats like Billie-Jean King, Maggie Alphonsi, Chrissie Wellington and others. Read it.

 

More cricket as the group stages come to a close

cricket-ballWhat a day Wednesday 30 March will be as England’s women take on Australia in the first semi-final of the women’s tournament and England’s men follow on the same pitch later in the day as they face New Zealand in their semi.  It’s either going to be an excellent day, or a horrible, horrible, one…..

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/match-report/england-inflict-crushing-defeat-on-pakistan-to-finish-top-of-group-b

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/news/womens-world-t20-day-13-report

Cricket and more cricket

Sorry I’m not going to be able to write a column for the next couple of weeks, as I’m knee-deep in cricket!  You’ll still be able to catch up with my netballing adventures (off again tonight!), but otherwise it’s World T20 cricket all the way.

I’m writing a daily update plus match reports on England and Ireland matches.  Here are the links so far:

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/news/womens-world-t20-day-one-report

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/news/womens-world-t20-day-two-report

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/match-report/england-off-to-a-winning-start-against-bangladesh-at-world-t20

http://www.womenssportsuk.com/cricket/match-report/new-zealand-storm-to-win-over-ireland

The Women’s Sports Column

5-11 December

This week sees stories from rugby union, tennis, swimming, judo, hockey and cricket.

There was a first for Varsity rugby this week. The annual women’s Oxford v Cambridge match took place at Twickenham for the first time, in its 29th year.

Cambridge Women’s RUFC President and tight head prop, Katie Holmes said,

‘This decision puts us on a par with the men’s match and, more importantly, forges stronger links between the two sections at both Clubs. This is a hugely historic step for the game of rugby at Oxford and Cambridge.’

It kicked off before the men’s match, but in the end it was not much of a contest with Cambridge running out 52-0 winners, with Alice Middleton and Anna Wilson amongst the scorers with three tries each.

A 23-year old rugby player has died this week after suffering a head injury druing a game. Lily Partridge had previously suffered “a couple” of concussions, said her club, Exonian Ladies. She had, however, taken the required month off before returning to the game, and had been cleared to play by doctors. Lily collapsed on the pitch on Sunday 6 December and life support was switched off on Monday. The RFU is investigating.

Johanna Konta has ended her excellent 2015 as British Number One. She takes over from Heather Watson, who has had an up and down year with periods of injury and loss of form. Konta made a real breakthrough this year when she got to the last 16 of the US Open as a qualifier. After her defeat to Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon she went on a streak of winning 20 out of 21 matches, which has taken her to 48 in the world.

Also in tennis, Laura Robson has decided against taking up her protected ranking entry into the Australian Open in January. Since being out for 17 months with a wrist injury she has only participated in eight tournaments and has slipped to 555 in the world. She can only use her protected ranking to enter one more Grand Slam and it is thought she may use it instead for the French Open at the end of May.

Jazz Carlin bagged two golds at the European Short Course Championships in Israel this week. Her first victory was in the 800m freestyle and the second an amazing win over Katinka Hosszu from Hungary in the 400m freestyle. The winning margin was just 0.03 seconds.

Olympic judo silver medallist Gemma Gibbons achieved another one of her goals this week when she became the first British woman to win a medal at the Tokyo Grand Slam. She won a bronze in the     -78kg contest, beating Japanese fighter Ruika Sato by a waza-ari in the last minute of the bout.

Great Britain’s women have gone out at the quarter-final stage of the World Hockey League Finals in Argentina. They lost 2-1 to New Zealand in a tight game. New Zealand had most of the pressure, but it wasn’t until the second quarter that they took the lead through Anita Punt.

GB must have thought they had earned a penalty shoot-out when Helen Richardson-Walsh equalised with a penalty stroke with only six minutes to go.

However, it was not to be when with just 68 seconds on the clock Olivia Merry put the ball past goalkeeper Maddie Hinch to take the game. Hinch seemed to gesture that she lost the ball in the sun.

The team has still had an impressive year. They have now secured their place at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and, of course, won gold at the European Championships in London in August.

In cricket, the draw for the groups and the of the World Twenty20 2016 has finally been made.

  • Group A – Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ireland
  • Group B – England, West Indies, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The final will be at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens in a double-header with the men’s on 3 April. There has been a big hike in prize money for the women going up 122% to $400,000 (£264,000). There is still a way to go to match the men’s prize money though, which stands at $5.6m (£3.7m). The women’s tournament begins on 15 March 2016.

And finally, Clare Connor, once quite outspoken, but since becoming Head of Women’s Cricket at the ECB has retreated back into the establishment, got her groove back this week when she tweeted:

clare