So here we are again – a large pile of papers full of so much hope and potential to feature women’s sport. What with the netball, Australian Open finals, impending women’s cricket World Cup and some rugby 6 nations, let’s see how the rulers of press do shall we now.
The Independent on Sunday
Ah another week, another bit of casual sexism in the world of women’s football. This time the Indie alerts us to an incident between Gresley coach Hannah Dingley and Northwich Vics manager Lee Ashcroft. Despite Dignley having a Uefa A licence and years of experience managing football teams, putting her on a level playing field in every way with Ashcroft, he still found it was his duty to make crude and sexist comments about her at the teams’ last meeting.
Other than this the Indie lines up a full page on the Australian Open women’s final (the men’s game does get a double page but to be fair there’s actually a Brit in that so I shan’t complain too much) and a column section including two pieces on women in sport: Tanni Grey-Thompson’s candidacy as the next chairman of UK Sport and the arrival in the Hall of fame for Bournemouth bred Georgia Hall who became the first winner of a golfing gold medal in an Olympic event at the Youth Olympic Festival last week.
The Sunday Telegraph
With STel’s strict ‘don’t talk about women’s sport, it will give them ideas’ policy we’ve seen of late, I nearly chocked on my coffee when I found TWO articles on women’s sport. A WHOLE two! First up is an assessment of England’s world cup hopes at the Cricket World Cup when it begins this week, followed on the next page by at least a 1/4 page review of the Australian Open women’s final. The STel has acknowledged women’s sport, I dare to only dream what may come next…
The Sunday Times
There isn’t much here at The Sportist that our two halves of writing staff disagree with, but if there’s one thing I will argue against until the end it’s the statement that The Sunday Times are the best at reporting on women’s sport. I mean, they’re not horrific at it by any stretch of the imagination and, unlike the Sunday Telegraph (usually) or Sunday Mirror, do seem to see that women are capable of putting on a pair of trainers for more than just being comfortable on the walk to work before slipping heels on for the day. However, for all their prostrating about their ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ award ceremonies etc, they could choose to be the forerunners of this cause, not just make a big deal once a year and then stick their head back in the sand.
For example, I have managed to find a page length 2 column wide review of the Azarenka and Li Na Final at the Australian Open and learnt from the headline that apparently Li Na now has fans on her side because she kept falling over. More excitingly however, after what seems about 10 pages on the men’s 6 Nations, there’s also a fireplace article at the bottom of the final rugby themed page written by a woman and about women’s rugby. England Ladies’s quest for the Grand Slam at the up coming 6 Nations as well as their assault on the world of Rugby sevens no less. So i’ll give the ST that, a woman reporting on women’s sport is pretty novel and encouraging, but still a lot more room for improvement ST.
The Sunday Mirror
As usual the Sunday Mirror pull out Football magazine (to accompany the 30 pages of football within the paper itself) runs its 250 worder on Women’s Football, this time featuring Watford Hornet’s impending clash against league leader’s Charlton. And that’s it, as usual for the Sunday Mirror that’s your lo….hang on a second, what the bloody hell have I found here?! NETBALL. Squished in amongst talk of MORE FOOTBALL is a quick congratulations from columnist and ‘legend’ Terry Butcher to England’s netball squad who this week managed to hang world champions Australian out to dry in a whitewash triumph. Butcher says ‘I know nothing about netball, but it was great to see Anna Mayes’ England side win their series against the World No.1 Australians. I just love England beating the Aussies in any sport.’ Don’t we all Terry, Don’t we all…
And finally, The Observer, giving us a recap and low down of Azarenka’s tennis win and a brief article on England’s netball glory. There’s also a main page interview with Charlotte Edwards, depicting her progression into and up through the world of women’s cricket, her understanding of how far the women’s game has come both on and off the pitch, her charity work and most importantly, her determination for England to finally bring home the cricket world cup title. The page is then nicely rounded up with a summary of the Women’s 6 Nations which will be running alongside the men’s competition, and an overview of England’s chances of crowning an eighth six nation title when 17 of their best players have been denied game time in favour of giving the juniors a run around and England focusing it’s rugby direction on 7s for the time being. Finally, the back page feature’s the women’s cricket world cup as something that should be in your agenda for this upcoming week. And I think that’s finally it. Phew!
Image from www.sportengland.org (thanks!)