The Weekend Roundup
Missed all the sports action last week? We got you. Every week we bring you the essential news and results to make sure you haven’t missed out.
Ten year old (yes, you read that right) Sky Brown, increased her Tokyo 2020 qualifying hopes this weekend by claiming a national title. Despite a few tumbles, scoring 308 in her second run was enough to see her crowned champion in the Women’s Park event. The win will secure qualifying points for the Olympics. If she makes it aged 12, she will be Britain’s youngest ever summer olympian. For context, second placed Amy Ram, who scored 275, has previously said she hadn’t started skating until she was 11. Brown has already broken records becoming the first female skateboarder to land a 720-degree jump and the youngest athlete ever to be signed by Nike. We’re rooting for this pint-sized powerhouse.
The high stakes of this weekend’s FA Cup semi-finals saw equally high drama. Reading vs West Ham, ended 1-1 after normal time with the Hammers eventually winning 4-3 on penalties. Reading’s Rachel Furness, playing as a centre forward rather than in her usual holding midfielder role, headed in the first goal just after the break. Less than 10 minutes later, West Ham responded when scrappy play just inside the Reading box allowed the ball to fall to Alisha Lehmann whose low well placed strike crept past Grace Moloney in goal. Reading were left cursing their luck as the referee waved away a penalty shout from Jo Potter. When a second penalty appeal by the Royals for handball was given, Fara Williams was unable to convert from the spot. As the game went to extra time, Reading again missed opportunities from open play, and were left ruing those chances as West Ham eventually secured the win on penalties.
Reading’s heartbreaking defeat was eclipsed though by that of Chelsea. The Blues, held rivals Manchester City 0-0, until an injury time own goal from Magdalena Eriksson. After a cagey 90 minutes, a speculative cross from City’s Demi Stokes was going wide when Eriksson, under no pressure from City players, stuck out a leg to divert the ball past her own keeper. The cruel ended brings to a close Chelsea’s hopes of retaining either of their national titles. Any chance of silverware this season is now down to the Champions League. They face a tough contest against holders Lyon in the first leg away from home next Sunday (21st).
The race for top four playoff places is reaching fever pitch in the Superleague. In the weekend’s top of the table clash Team Bath sunk Loughborough Lightning a very fine margin, 57-55. Lightning were fastest out of the blocks, scoring seven consecutive goals to open up a six goal margin midway through the second quarter. By halftime Bath had clawed some of the deficit back to go into the break 28-31 behind.
Whatever Team Bath head coach Anna Stembridge told her team at half time, it worked as they regained control of the game immediately, drawing level 34-34. Five minutes into the third quarter, Lightning trailed 39-43. As the penultimate buzzer sounded, Lightning were trailing 49-42 Despite the third quarter dominance from Bath, Lightning found an extra gear and drew level, 51-51. England’s Serena Guthrie provided a crucial turnover with less than three minutes of the clock which signalled a tide change as consecutive goals for Bath provided the winning margin. The thrilling contest ended 57-55, The result means Bath now stand three points clear of Loughborough who are in fourth place. Saracens Mavericks play Wasps in the televised game this evening. If Mavericks can win, they’ll knock Loughborough off fourth spot, but against such stiff opposition there’s no guarantee.
There’s a new kid on the block in British gymnastics. 18 year-old Alice Kinsella won Commonwealth beam gold last year, and has added to her medal haul this weekend taking the top spot in the same discipline at the European Championship. Landing her free cartwheel despite a slight wobble during the acrobatic section ensured she didn’t incur a penalty. Her final score of 13.566 meant she finished just 0.1 ahead of all-round champion Melanie de Santos. Afterwards Kinsella expressed her delight, ‘I was so nervous watching the rest of the girls compete and to come away with our first ever European beam medal feels absolutely amazing.’
Elsewhere, Ellie Downie won all-round silver as vault bronze.
A try from Loughborough Lighting in the 80th minute proved only a consolation as Harlequins dominated to win 26-10 and secure their place in the Tyrrells Premier 15s Final. The Quins will face defending champions Saracens, who cruised past Wasps 31-13, at Franklin Garden’s, home of Northampton Saints, on the 27th April.