The Weekend Roundup
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Sweeping aside France last week, England have staked their claim as the team to beat this tournament. A young Welsh line-up faced them this weekend, and despite the age-old rivalry, the hosts were unable deliver a performance worthy of the occasion. It took a mere 90 seconds for England to score their first try, courtesy of a strong charge from prop Sarah Bern. Wales pulled a try back just before half-time, but England went into the break clear leaders, 5-29. The Roses continued their dominant play into the second half, closing out the game 12-51. Despite the defeat, the two tries show Wales’ improvement since their 2017 and 2018 outings, both 63-0 and 52-0 losses.
Elsewhere Italy made it three from three with a hard fought, physical win 29-27 against Ireland. The results set up a title decider for Italy against England in two weeks time. France meanwhile brushed aside Scotland 41-10 at home in Lille.
Tense. If there was one word to sum up this year’s Continental Cup final, it would be that. However in a repeat of last year’s cup final, it was the challengers City who eventually emerged victorious. A 0-0 scoreline after 90 minutes meant extra time, but the additional half hour still failed to produce a winner. Down to penalties, it was the heroic City’s veteran goalkeeper Karen Bardsley in saving two spot kicks, which decided the match.
Arsenal’s decision to rest top goalscorer Vivianne Miedema, who was introduced only late in the game, raised some eyebrows. But Head Coach Montemurro explained afterwards, ‘Viv didn’t recover entirely from the game on Wednesday night. She was still feeling some fatigue and there were some areas which we felt that, if she went through the whole 90 minutes, we could put her at risk.’ The reasoning hints that, whilst a League Cup win would have been nice for Arsenal, their main focus is still on the WSL where they remain two points behind Manchester City with two games in hand.
Attendance was a slightly disappointing 2,424, up only 300 on last year with some blaming the choice of Sheffield’s Bramall Lane as venue and an early 12:30pm kick off for the small crowd.
In India, England’s women have suffered a one-day international series thrashing by their host. England’s opening batters made an unfortunate start to the second game conceding 44-4. They were slightly redeemed by the partnership of Alex Hartley and Nat Sciver who combined to make 42. Still, the 161 from 43.3 overs they raked up made for an easy chase for India who needed just three batters and 41.1 overs to make the 162 required for victory.
With the final match on Thursday England are now playing for points in the International Cricket Council’s Women’s Championship. England sit seventh in the table and need a top four place to secure early qualification for the 2021 World Cup.
It was the weekend of victorious visitors as away teams stole the points in all Superleague fixtures. Despite the returns of England stars Serena Guthrie and Eboni Usuro-Brown, Team Bath suffered their third defeat of the season. Up against defending champions Wasps it was always going to be tough fixture for the hosts. Despite the 46-57 scoreline, Bath can take solace from their spirited performance which was a marked improvement on the last round hammering by Saracens Mavericks. Top of the table Wasps are the only unbeaten team in the Superleague.
Loughborough Lightning continued their strong vein of form with a decisive 50-66 win over Surrey Storm. Strathclyde Sirens are now second from bottom following a heavy 37-56 loss to Severn Stars.
The Superleague matches continue this evening with Saracens Mavericks taking on London Pulse and Celtic Dragons host Manchester Thunder. Catch the action on Sky Sports at 6:45pm.