Student Writer | Annabel Drugan
FA Women’s Super League
So far this season, an early title race has emerged. Manchester City, Chelsea and reigning champions Arsenal have all gone ahead of the competition early on and it is clear to see the battle for the title will be a three-way shoot-out. Arsenal women’s imperious track record has to be noted: 15 League titles, 14 FA Women’s Cup titles, 5 WSL Cups, 10 Women’s Premier League Cups, 5 FA Women’s Community Shield, and a UEFA Women’s Champions League. By pressuring the top of the table already this season in the Super League, they’re looking to add to this list. The form of Danielle Van De Donk and Leah Williamson have been particularly tasty. With international stars to boast amongst their ranks, City and Chelsea will inevitably be pushing them right to the end of the season. At the bottom of the table, similarly, we have a scrap battle between Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol City and Brighton. With all sides without a win from their opening four fixtures, they will all surely be feeling early pressure to turn their fortunes around before the end of the season.
Shanghai Masters – Heather Watson
We turn to Britain’s number 2, Heather Watson, who has reached her first WTA final in three years beating Veronica Kudermetova from Russia in straight sets. Watson was ranked the WTA World No.125, with Kudermetova being ranked 80 places above her at No.45. It was a fantastic performance by Watson – with her win coming in just 74 minutes. This was especially impressive with her entry into the semi-finals being a three-hour long game, culminating in a win for Watson over Magda Linette the previous day.
In the semi-finals she is set to challenge Swedish player, Rebecca Peterson, who defeated Jabeur to reach the semis with a particularly impressive first set, not dropping a single game. Peterson and Watson have met in competition once before with Peterson wiping the floor with Watson 6-2, 6-2. Hopefully with Watson’s current performance and striking wins recently, a worthy fight will be put up by the young Brit.
Women’s Rugby League
Of course, especially with the Rugby World Cup on, we can’t forget the Women’s Rugby Super League Grand Final. The game saw a 20-12 win for Leeds Rhinos over the Castleford Tigers. An intense game that was, with 25 minutes remaining, tied 8-8. The Rhinos were the team to pull ahead, scoring two tries in quick succession creating a 20-8 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The Tigers did not at this point lose all hope and still managed to regain an ounce of dignity with the final score tallying at 20-12.
This game, the biggest of the women’s rugby season, was watched by a mere 1,673 people. It is disappointing to see that a game of such magnitude was watched by almost a quarter of the people who turn up to an average men’s professional game. Questions must be asked of the RFU as to what can be done to close this gap and the gender pay gap in Rugby.