Women’s Sport – A Shining Light

The recent women’s one-day World Cricket Cup tournament in New Zealand was another clear indication of what a huge untapped reservoir is female sport.

The tournament was a resounding success, producing many very close games which went down to the wire, great sporting theatre and it proves again how good us Kiwis are of hosting major world events as we did in the Americas Cup yachting and World Cup rugby and men’s cricket.

Every team had standout talent, some of the players in the top five teams were exceptionally good, particularly the Australian team which is one of the best elite sports teams on the planet right now and so good to watch.

Thankfully the lifting of covid restrictions allowed a sell-out crowd in to watch a brilliant final at Hagley Park in Christchurch, a rematch of the last final between Australia and England and I reckon a watershed moment for the women’s game proving how much public support they have.

This final produced undoubtedly the greatest-ever knock from any cricketer male or female at the knockout stage of an elite tournament

There were 31 matches played over 31 days in six cities with 10 of those clashes being decided by 12 runs or less or less than three wickets.

This final produced undoubtedly the greatest-ever knock from any cricketer male or female at the knockout stage of an elite tournament, a magnificent 170 runs from just 138 deliveries including 26 boundaries by Aussie wicket-keeper/opening batter Alyssa Healy.

That followed on from her brilliant ton in the semifinal against the West Indies and in the process she broke New Zealand ace Debbie Hockley’s previous record of 456 for most runs in a single World Cup tournament, amassing 509 at an average of 56.55.

Healy became the first ever player, man or woman, to achieve back to back centuries in a semifinal and final and in the process she beat by some distance Adam Gilchrist’s previous highest score in the World Cup final of 149.

Aussie Star - Alyssa Healy

Her team-mate Rachael Haynes also beat Hockley’s previous record scoring 497 runs at 62.12 and backing that up at number three, skipper Meg Landing totalled 394 runs at 56.28 and Beth Mooney scored 330 runs at a massive average of 110.

Healy became the first ever player, man or woman, to achieve back to back centuries in a semifinal and final and in the process she beat by some distance Adam Gilchrist’s previous highest score in the World Cup final of 149.

Despite Australia making a near unbeatable 356 batting first, England didn’t die wondering, mounting a spirited chase ending 70 runs short, anchored by another brilliant innings, this time by all-rounder Nat Sciver who made an unbeaten 148 and averaged an amazing 72.66 scoring 436 runs.

The Gold Star standard set by Australia on and off the field is something for the rest of the women’s cricket world to aspire to and the top four or five sides all had players capable of performing match-winning deeds with bat or ball.

World Cup Champions | Photo Courier Mail

The Aussies had so much strength in depth with both bat and ball and although they looked to be in strife a couple of times, someone would inevitably come to the rescue and their fielding was outstanding throughout.

There were other standout performances in other teams. Laura Woldvaart the South African opening batter made 433 runs at 54.12. Hayley Matthews was a class batter for the West Indies, highlighted by a superb 119 v New Zealand and England spin bowler Sophie Eccelstone bagged 21 wickets including 6-36 in her side’s semifinal win over the West Indies and India’s Smriti Mandhana was a class batter.

Sadly for Kiwi fans, New Zealand missed the bus narrowly, their opening match meltdown against the West Indies ultimately costing them a semifinal berth. Requiring six runs to win off the final over with two batters set, they somehow managed to lose three wickets for two runs. They were so close also losing narrowly to South Africa by two wickets and by just one wicket against England.
 

Suzie Bates scored a brilliant 126 v Pakistan, becoming the first player to score a century in four consecutive World Cups and how wonderful to see her receive a standing ovation when she departed for the dressing room.

Sophie Devine scored a fine century against the West Indies and is already one of the greats of women’s cricket. Amy Satterwaite and Amelia Kerr also had their moments but New Zealand just were not consistent enough with bat or ball to make the last four and there appears to be much work needed to boost both the player pool and the over-all standard coming up.

Australia are by far the best team in the world for two main reasons. They have a strong player base, excellent development programmes in every state with top coaches and a strong domestic competition to choose from and they are financially well resourced.

Sadly for Kiwi fans, New Zealand missed the bus narrowly, their opening match meltdown against the West Indies ultimately costing them a semifinal berth.

New Zealand Star - Sophie Devine

Now the bar has been set extremely high for New Zealand in other events. New Zealand also host the women’s rugby World Cup in October and November, that promises to be another wonderful event which I know the New Zealand public will get right in behind.

ON A NEGATIVE NOTE; how on earth has Glenn Moore retained his job as head coach of the Black Ferns New Zealand women’s rugby team.

This is the New Zealand team which boasts a win record over their history of nearly 90 percent, have won five World Cups, yet last year they were embarrassed quite frankly by England and France in Europe.

The side was ill-prepared both physically, mentally and skill-wise and you can bet your last dollar that All Blacks men’s coach Ian Foster would have been sacked before he got on the plane to come home if his side had lost as the Black Ferns did, 12-43, 15-56 to England then 13-38 and 7-29 to France.

The much anticipated report into the findings of an enquiry into the Black Ferns set up sparked by by hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate claiming she suffered a mental breakdown after alleged critical comments from Moore, is a piece of politically correct rubbish. (You can bet Te Kura wasn’t the only players dissatisfied with the coach and the set-up)

The fact Moore did not front himself and address the report is very sad and not the way New Zealanders roll.

If it wasn’t such a serious matter I would have cracked up laughing when one of the findings said, Moore was not present (at the inquiry) but instead issued a statement via an external public relations company saying, “Honoured to be taking the Ferns to the World Cup in New Zealand starting October 8. My goal as Black Ferns coach is to ensure the team excel both on and off the field.

“I am driven to maximise our performance in all aspects of the game and achieve a high standard of excellence.”

Well Glenn you failed miserably in all those aspects last year and in most high performance teams in many sports I follow, you would be replaced by someone who would hopefully do a much better job. The fact Moore did not front himself and address the report is very sad and not the way New Zealanders roll.

He was in charge of a squad which the review found and I quote from the findings, “The review found some players and management described negative experiences including culturally insensitive comments, poor communication and inconsistent feedback. Allegations of favouritism and ghosting, body shaming and lack of good recruitment, induction and ongoing support for both management and players.”

This was an opportunity to start afresh with a new coach a totally new regime fit for purpose because these players deserve it. They are wonderful players and superb ambassadors for rugby AND NEW ZEALAND

What a story it would be if the Black Ferns can Get up and win another World Cup very much against the odds. We wish them well.

Super coach Wayne Smith - A huge boost for Black Ferns

The Black Ferns have a mountain to climb if they are to win that on home soil. However the recent appointment of former All Blacks coach Wayne Smith as part of their coaching team is a huge boost, although the professor, as he’s known, will have to work near miracles to get New Zealand back to threatening the Northern Hemisphere teams. Home advantage can’t be underestimated either.

The fact New Zealand’s top players are now on full-time paid contracts is another big plus and should see a significant improvement. However watching the women’s Six Nations championship recently, the standard of the Northern Hemisphere game has only got even better. They have speed and skill to burn in the backs and their set-piece work is very well structured. We all know New Zealand has the natural talent and flair to beat anyone but a bit like in the men’s game, the Northern Hemisphere has the jump on us at present and there challenge is match and better them.

What a story it would be if the Black Ferns can Get up and win another World Cup very much against the odds. We wish them well.

ASH BARTY - a role model for all young sports people.

Female team sport is booming where I live in Australia via rugby league, AFL, netball, basketball, rugby and cricket in particular and in each case it’s been proven that given the same opportunities and support as men, women are just as talented and public support backs that up.

Of Course the amazing Ash Barty is the most loved sports person this side of the ditch, the country almost still in disbelief that she has retired from tennis as the World’s number one player at the top of her game.

I love watching women’s sport and their refreshing attitude and never compare it to the men’s game. The dynamics are different and I’m NOT SURPRISED by how quickly the ladies have got up to speed once they get something close to equal the opportunities in money and logistical support the men get to develop their games.

Words by John Alexander | Supporting Images sourced by Absolutely Famous.

Share:

Comments are closed.

Search

Social Media

THE LATEST

DAN STAINS – PART OF QUEENSLAND’S MOST FAMOUS ORIGIN TEAMS

John Alexander catches up with a former Queensland rugby league state of origin star Dan Stains and gets a very interesting insight into how rugby league was at the top in the 1980s-90s in an era where no-one took a back step if the biff broke out and many players worked other jobs.

Frank Endacott’s contribution to New Zealand rugby league is probably not fully appreciated by those who aren’t close to him. Affectionately called “Happy Frank” because of his beaming cheerful smile, his enthusiasm and positive nature, he played rugby league in the days when in his words, “It was brutal.

HAPPY FRANK – A NEW ZEALAND RUGBY LEAGUE CHAMPION

Frank Endacott’s contribution to New Zealand rugby league is probably not fully appreciated by those who aren’t close to him.
Affectionately called “Happy Frank” because of his beaming cheerful smile, his enthusiasm and positive nature, he played rugby league in the days when in his words, “It was brutal.

Categories

Related Posts

Shopping Basket