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.
Track cycling is often decided by fine margins but the British quartet of Laura Kenny, Katie Archibald, Neah Evans and Ellie Dickinson blew away reigning World Champions USA in the Team Pursuit final. After establishing more than a two second advantage from the first kilometre of the race, Katie Archibald stepped up a gear to set up a catch before handing over to Neah Evans to lead the team in lapping the Americas. The dramatic result nearly caused collision as the USA had not received notice of GB’s approach.
Kenny and Archibald took to the track again on Sunday for the Madison, with Kenny’s sprinting prowess securing gold in the final lap ahead of Australia and Belgium. Challengers Russia and USA had both crashed out earlier in the race clearing the path to gold for the Brits.
Saracens have become the team to beat in the Tyrrells 15s this season and that proved a task too much for Richmond this weekend. The west Londoner’s surrender 48-0 to their rivals meaning Saracens maintained their four point lead at the top of the table. Harlequins aren’t giving up without a fight through and remained in touching distance after their 0-65 away win against struggling Firwood Waterloo. With the final games of the season taking place next weekend, Saracens face the tougher test away at Wasps ladies. Harlequins will look to make the most of a home fixture against Worcester Valkyries and narrow the points gap.
It is Loughborough who are starting to be cut adrift from the top two as they beat Gloucester-Hartpury 29-10 failing to secure the try bonus point. Neither team have struggled to score, but if they are to be title contenders next season will need to shore up their leaky defenses.
The World Taekwondo Grand Slam took place in China this week with British fighters amongst the title contenders.
Ranked Olympic number one after defending her gold medal in Rio, Jade Jones went into in the -57kg final clear favourite. A closely fought first round saw the Brit prevail 4-3 against 19 year old Lijun Zhou with clinical head kick. She took an early lead in the second, however the two minute round time can feel like a long time in Taekwondo, and Zhou recovered from what appeared to dislocated knee, to win 8-6. After conceding two points, Jones nearly brought it back with a back kick but was thwarted by her Chinese opponent. But with pressure mounting, Jones exposed herself to a counter and was unable to get on the scoreboard eventually conceding the round 0-4.
Lauren Williams came into her -67kg final having dispatched all her previous opponents in the competition in just two rounds. But Turkish Olympic number 1 Nur Tatar Askari was unlikely to be as easy to topple. Williams started aggressively in the first round, constantly on her toes, a steep contrast to the firm stance of Tatar Askari. However the combative approach paid off as the two point lead was enough to seal the round. In the second, Williams landed an early punch - not often used in Taekwondo - and a headshot with twenty seconds to go gave her a match winning margin.
At 27 GB’s Bianca Walkden is a veteran compared to her 19 year old fellow finalist Morgan Gorman-Shore. A closely fought first round of the +67kg stamina saw a video review decision go against Walkden, but with 20 seconds remaining on the clock, she was quick to recover landing a headshot to see out the round. A controversial second round saw five gam-jeom against Walkden and Gorman-Shore take the round. But the intensity proved too much for the young American in the third and, with stamina was tested, it Walkden who prevailed. The result secures Walkden’s ticket to Tokyo, ‘I couldn’t ask for more for Christmas,’ she remarked afterwards.
Earlier in the day, GB youngster Rebecca McGowan took the first round in her +67kg bronze medal match but was unable to take the win against Aleksandra Kowalczuk. The Polish athlete soon stepped up a gear using her height advantage and making a comeback from the inexperienced McGowan unlikely.
In other news…
England Netball secured Team of the Year and Sporting Moment of the Year at BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards last night. Dina Asher-Smith, who came back from breaking her foot to set a new British record in the 100m and 200m winning European gold, and Lizzy Yarnold, who became the first Brit ever to defend a Winter Olympics title and is the most successful Skeleton athlete of all time, were the only female athletes nominated for the main prize.