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Sports round-up: 23 – 29 September

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women's sports, Netball, tennis, football resultsWelcome to our weekly round-up of British women’s sports news and results from around the world.

Football:

There was a clean sweep for the home nations this week as they started their World Cup qualifying campaigns, journeying towards Canada in 2015.

England began in impressive style with a 6-0 win against Belarus in Bournemouth on 21 September.  Karen Carney scored a first half hat-trick with Ellen White, Natasha Dowie and Eni Aluko also getting on the scoresheet.

On 26 September they went two better with a stunning 8-0 win over Turkey at Fratton Park in Portsmouth. Another first half hat-trick, this time from Toni Duggan, plus two from Ellen White and Eni Aluko saw the hosts go in 6-0 up at half-time. Things quietened in the second half with Aluko getting a second. Substitute Natasha Dowie rounded it all off with England’s eighth.

In the same qualifying group as England, group 6, Wales also got off to a good start. They beat Belarus 1-0 at the Cardiff City Stadium on 26 September. Helen Ward celebrated her 50th cap in style with the winning goal.

Next up in group 6 will be England v Wales in London on 26 October 26.

Scotland began their group 4 campaign with a fine 2-7 win at the Faroe Islands on September 22.  Rachel Corsie gave the Scots the lead and they went in five up at half-time with goals from Lisa Evans, Jane Ross and two from Leanne Ross. In the second half Suzanne Lappin and Suzanne Mulvey scored again to make it 7-0.  The Faroes scored two late goals from Heidi Sevdal, but there was never any chance of a more serious comeback.

In their second qualifying game, Scotland thrashed Bosnia-Herzegovina 7-0 at Motherwell’s Fir Park on 26 September.  They went 3-0 up by half-time with goals from Lisa Evans, Leanne Ross and Kim Little.  The tie was effectively over, but Scotland were not going to take it easy in the second half.  Further goals from Rachel Corsie, Jane Ross and Suzanne Lappin plus an unfortunate own goal from Spahic saw a rampant Scotland side finish off in style.

On the domestic front, it was billed as a thrilling winner-takes-all end to the FAWSL season on 29 September.

Liverpool went into the game two points ahead of Bristol Academy and thus only needed to avoid defeat to take the title.  A crowd of 2165 saw Liverpool put in an excellent performance to win the game 2-0.  They took the lead through a Louise Fors penalty in the first half with a well-taken goal from Icelander Katrin Osmardottir sealing the win in the second.

It was just desserts for Liverpool FC who, before the season started, invested heavily in the women’s side, putting them on a professional footing only equal in Britain to that of Arsenal. It also ended Arsenal’s ten year dominance of the domestic league.

Netball:

England completed a series whitewash against South Africa this week in three tests which saw them improve in each match.

The first test, in Bath, on 23 September ended in a 49-38 win for England.

The first half was tight with England going in with a two-point lead, 22-20.  By the end of the game the scoreline showed a significant gap, but was somewhat flattering to England, who had to fight every step of the way.

The second test at Wembley on 25 September saw England take an unassailable lead in the series, 51-33. In a much improved performance England were 29-18 up at half time and never looked liked being beaten.

In an interview with the BBC, England captain Pamela Cookey said, “I’m so proud of the girls. We stamped our authority on the game.”

The third test on 27 Septmber at Worcester saw England triumph again taking the game 53-41 and the series 3-0.

In truth, England were never troubled, but England coach Anna Mayes can still see room for improvement, “I’m disappointed we lost the last quarter. One of our objectives for the series was to win all quarters of the three games,” she said.

Tennis:

Britain’s top female tennis players continued to struggle this week.

British number one, Laura Robson, lost in the first round of the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo to Ayumi Morita 7-6 (7-4) 6-3.

Johanna Konta beat eighth seed Lauren Davis in the International Women’s Open in Ningbo, China, 6-4 4-6 6-3.  This was a fine win and Konta was hoping to build on this triumph, but had to withdraw mid way through her quarter-final against Johanna Larsson with an abdominal strain. It was one set all at the time with Konta competing well, when she had to retire through injury.

Heather Watson still looked out of sorts at the China Open as she lost in the first round to American Varvara Lepchenko. Watson took the first set 6-1, but then tired, losing the second 6-3 and the third by the same score. She is clearly still feeling the effects of the glandular fever she suffered earlier on in the year and it will be some time before she is back to full fitness.

Cycling:

Laura Trott took individual pursuit gold at the British National Track Championships this week in Manchester.  She beat Dani King to claim the title with Scotland’s Katie Archibald talking the bronze.

Trott finished in a time of 3.34.973 with King on 3.42.355 and Archibald 3.42.008.

Lizzie Armistead did not fare so well at the Road World Championships this week.

Marianne Vos was unbeatable yet again as she retained her title in Tuscany. She won the 140km race in a time of three hours and 44 minutes. Sweden’s Emma Johansson came in second, 15 seconds behind with Italy’s Rossella Ratto in third.

Armistead was the first Briton home but was way back in 19th place.

Horse racing:

Lady Cecil has indicated that she is going to continue to train at the Warren Place stables in Newmarket, in Suffolk; after her husband, Sir Henry Cecil,  died in June, she took on a temporary licence to continue to train.

The stable has had 31 winners from 131 runners since Sir Henry’s death.

In an interview with the BBC she said, “I have spoken to our owners and our staff and confirmed that it is my intention to carry on as trainer at Warren Place.

“I have also talked to the British Horseracing Authority about plans to continue and have signed up to complete the training licence modules through the winter.

“We are lucky to be able to train from such a superb location as Warren Place. It is proven over the decades as a fabulous environment where horses can thrive. I am also fortunate that Henry built up such a strong team and in Mike Marshall I have an excellent assistant.”

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