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.
Saturday’s Tyrrells Premier 15s Final between Saracens and Harlequins began with a frenzied start that saw Poppy Cleall score for Saracens inside 3 minutes. The early points were no more than they deserved, their confidence boosted the lead was doubled inside ten minutes. Early on Saracens demonstrated an intelligent gameplan, slowing any Harlequins possession and forcing play inside away from their pacey wingers. For the majority of the opening half, Harlequins had very little play with Saracens dominating possession and deservedly scoring four tries inside the first half hour. The bruising 20-0 scoreling provided the motivation harlequins needed and they stepped up the intensity of their play and carrying the ball with increased confidence. The harlequins frustrations game to a head when Jess Breach, clearly unused to be on the dominated side, kicked out at Poppy Cleall who reacted with ferocity, It needed the interference of the TMO to clear up the altercation, with Harlequins eventually penalised as instigators. Another try and conversion from Zoe Harrison made the score 27-0 a half time.
Quins needed some inspiration at half time, and were first on the scoreboard after halftime choosing to kick from a penalty. Two minutes later Saracens responded in kind restoring their significant advantage. Quins weren’t for rolling over though, and retained possession and getting back into the game. The patient play was rewarded as they scored a hard fought try. The tide had turned against Saracens, with Quins adding another try and conversion to the board at 65 minutes. Despite the spirited fightback it came too late for the south londoners. And with only 15 minutes remaining, Saracens were sufficiently effective in holding up the ball to thwart Quins comeback. It ended 33-17, giving Saracens their second successive title.
If three gold medals wasn’t enough, how about setting two world records in the process. That’s what British swimmer Alice Tai achieved at this weekend’s British Para-swimming International Meet in Glasgow. At just 20 she set a new world record in qualifying for the women’s multi-class 50m freestyle which she broke again with a 29.43s time in the final. She also broke her own world record in the 100m backstroke on saturday. Despite her outstanding achievements Tai isn’t resting on her laurels, ‘I’m pleased with all by swims,’ she commented afterwards. ‘But there’s a whole host me and my coach can take away to work on...my 100m fly was just off the world record and I screwed up my turn, so I know there’s more there.’
Even in a distance as substantial as the marathon, a gap of more than 5 minutes over your competitors is almost unheard of. Yet that was the margin with which Manuela Schar managed to secure the London Marathon title in the Women’s Wheelchair Race. The Swiss athlete now becomes the first person to hold all big six marathon titles at the same time making her one of the most impressive athletes ever in the discipline.
A little later, Brigid Kosgei at 25 became the youngest winner of the Women’s Race crossing the line in 2hrs 18mins 20secs. The ease with which Kosgei broke free of last year’s winner Vivian Cheruiyot suggests this young runner could still have a higher race pace in her. Fastest Briton Charlotte Purdue beat her personal best by four minutes to come in at 2hrs 25 mins 38secs.
Arsenal are champions of the WSL beating Brighton 4-0 away from home. A stunning strike fittingly from Vivianne Miedema after only six minutes gave Arsenal the lead, after which is was one way traffic. The victory is Arsenal’s first title in 7 years and comes despite a serious injury midseason to playmaker Jordan Nobbs. A record 5,265 crowd witnessed the north London side lift the trophy. To cap off the day an excellent day for the gunners Miedema, was crowned Women’s Player of the Year at the PFA award ceremony.
In the Champions League, Chelsea were unable to claw back their 2-1 first leg deficit against Lyon, losing 3-2 on aggregate. The Blues conceded a lame goal after some suspect defending allowed Ballon d’or winner Hegerberg to set up Le Sommer. Despite the early blow Chelsea kept their heads up and battled backed. After Erin Cuthbert was tripped outside the box, Ji So-Yun converted with a perfectly placed dipping free kick to draw Chelsea level. Still needing a second to take it to extra time, a wide curling effort from Karen Carney only managed to hit the post. After the match Chelsea’s manager Emma Hayes reflected, ‘we have gone toe-to-toe with the best in Europe, so I’ll take it.’ However she lamented the quality of officiating, something that was has been questionable on numerous occasions at the top level of the women’s game. Lyon will now face Barcelona, who’ve made it to their first ever Women’s Champions League final after a 2-0 aggregate victory against Bayern Munich, on the 18th May.