Two second-half goals from Melissa Lawley and a late penalty from Nikita Parris helped to seal a 2-0 friendly win for Manchester City Women against European opposition in FC Barcelona Femeni at the Etihad Campus on Sunday night.
Following their 3rd place finish in the International Champions Cup over in the United States a couple of weeks ago, the Blues welcomed the female Catalan side to Manchester for their first-ever meeting between the two sides and also coincided with the return of former City striker Toni Duggan, who made her first appearance against her old side.
It was a game that didn’t see much in the way of too many goalscoring chances for either side, with Jill Scott coming the nearest to anything resembling a chance in the fourth minute of the game, as her shot from outside the box saw Pamela Tajonar in the Barca goal making the grab.
Barcelona was enjoying a lot of possession in the opening twenty minutes of play, but they weren’t able to create anything at all with it, as City’s midfield constantly hounded them throughout. One of City’s three new signings in the summer – namely Caroline Weir, saw the Scottish defender putting in a fizzing free-kick across the face of goal and saw Tjonar pushing it away.
Danish International Nadia Nadim cut a lonely figure in attack for the blues, as her first four touches all resulted in her being offside and with her recent demands of wanting to be transfer listed away from the club, her performance wasn’t exactly one that would have other sides wanting to buy her either.
The visitors had their first chance of the game falling just before the half-hour mark, after a Lieke Martens ball into the area was gathered by Mariona Caldentey and saw the Spanish midfielder blasting her effort wide of the goals.
For most of the first half, it saw the hosts attacking down the Spanish sides right flank and saw Mel Lawley flying up the touchline and causing her opponents problems for a majority of the first half.
Jill Scott picked up the games only booking in the first forty-five when an outstretched leg caught a Barcelona player in the head and saw the referee with no choice but to brandish the yellow card in her direction.
As the half drew to a close, it saw a goalless opening half that didn’t really catch fire in truth and had both sides still trying to feel the other one out as the whistle came around.
Manchester City boss Nick Cushing, then made a couple of changes for the start of the second half, with Nadia Nadim and Jill Scott making way for Keira Walsh and Claire Emslie.
With the arrival of Emslie in the game, it saw her taking over from Mel Lawley in the first half as the player that was giving the Barca defenders nightmares and was having the away side in all sorts of trouble.
With the Catalan side seemingly trying to stop Emslie and the linkup play between Nikita Parris and another new signing in Tessa Wullaert, as City managed to break the deadlock thanks to a Kiera Walsh through ball that set Mel Lawley away and the midfielder beat put past Tajonar for a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute of play.
Toni Duggan had a very quiet return to Manchester as her former teammates all kept her out of the game. Barcelona seemed to lack any real attacking threat in the game, and other than their only chance that saw Karen Bardsley pushing the ball onto her bar they didn’t cause the City back line any problems at all.
The game was put to bed three minutes from time when the home side was awarded a late penalty following a foul on Nikita Parris inside the Barca penalty area. Parris herself took the spot kick and despite the keeper getting a hand to it, she couldn’t keep it from making it 2-0 in the 87th and have City registering a victory.
Manchester Mayhem rounded off their home programme in the British Para Ice Hockey League for 2018 with a 5-1 victory over a short-benched Peterborough Phantoms side at Altrincham this past Saturday evening, as their victory made it three wins in a row and set a new club record in the process.
When the sides met earlier in the season down in Bretton it saw on that occasion a short-benched Mayhem side throwing away a 4-2 lead late-on and end up drawing 4-4. This time, however, saw the shoe on the other foot, with the Peterborough team tracking just one line for the whole game – exactly like Manchester did in the reverse fixture.
Both teams entered the clash with differing hopes, for the home side, it was a chance to put some space between themselves and their opponents, while also trying to catch Cardiff in second place.
In the case of Peterborough, it was more a case of trying to score some much-needed goals for themselves, as finding the back of the net has been problematic of late in recent games.
It saw the game being played in a hard and physical way, with Manchester clearly the aggressors and having their tails up after recent thrashings of Sheffield. Both goalies were called upon early on the contest, with Darren Pomfret of the Mayhem and David O’ Meara of the Phantoms making some routine stops.
Manchester nearly opened the scoring through their captain Karl Nicholson, when the Mayhem player had managed to spin away from Marty Quinn in the Phantoms back line, but he wasn’t able to beat O’Meara in goals who instead made a brilliant save to swat the rising puck away.
The home side continued to knock on the door of the Peterborough goals, but they always found the door firmly close by O’Meara. Eventually, they managed to find a way through, after a pass towards Anthony Booth from his captain saw the puck getting caught up under his sledge and saw Nicholson trailing behind to gather up and then find some room before netting the opener.
The opening period saw the Mayhem outshooting their opponents 12-6, with O’ Meara being made to face more rubber than he would have wanted to saw and had Pomfret having the easier time.
Towards the end of the period, it saw a nasty collision involving Peggy Assinck and Scotty Trigg-Turner, with the latter taking the full brunt off of a hit that saw the Mayhem player until to pull out of and ended up with her sledge nearly going over him and saw his neck snapping back a bit, but was purely accidental.
Manchester grabbed their second goal midway through the middle stanza when Rob Allen battled with two Peterborough players by the sideboards and saw the puck squirting out as far as Anthony Booth, who then played a nice little-backhanded pass towards the incoming Karl Nicholson and he slotted home to put a finish to a lovely move and put the Mayhem two up.
Peterborough was really struggling to generate much in the way of shooting chances in the game, and with the Mayhem defence being firmly on top, that meant that the Phantoms shots were being restricted to long-range efforts and not really troubling the netminder.
Anthony Booth then turned from provider to goalscorer in the 28th minute of the game, as his lobbed shot was stopped by O’Meara at first, but then saw the puck ending up in the back of the net for a 3-0 lead and gave Mayhem a nice three-goal cushion.
With forty-one seconds left in the second period, it saw Karl Nicholson completing his third successive hat-trick in a row, after a Graham Wilson pass up the side boards saw Rob Allen holding the puck up on the red line and saw his little pass forward towards Nicholson being collected and ending up with a low shot past the goalie for 4-0 and have the home side in full control.
Peterborough to their credit though never gave up despite showing signs of tiredness by the time the third period came around, as the ‘Phantoms five’ battled to end as best as they could.
The visitors then pulled a goal back at 35.52 through their talisman Matt Coleman, after the GB International had managed to avoid the attempted hit from Pat Bailey and then saw him throwing the puck on goal at the near post and saw Darren Pomfret trying to bat the puck away like a cricketer and mistiming his strokeplay and saw the puck squeezing its way in.
Soon after saw target practice for the Mayhem, when virtually everyone on their line had a shot on goal and saw the defence for Peterborough or O’Meara himself having to fling himself one way or another, just to avoid having the puck going in.
Manchester rounded off the scoring from their captain Karl Nicholson, as the forward grabbing his fourth of the game and Mayhem’s fifth, with the GB attacker winning a face-off that saw his pass up to Rob Allen being held up and then getting the return pass before taking aim and firing home for 5-1 and see the home side signing off with a win in their final home game of the season.
Next up for the Mayhem is a tricky trip in Hull, as they face the back to back league champions in the Kingston Kestrels at the end of the month and perhaps try to strike an early blow against the champions before the Mayhem look to defend their playoff crown next month.
Manchester Mayhem made it back to back wins over their ‘White Rose’ neighbours from over the Pennines – in the Sheffield Steelkings, as five goals from their captain and forward Karl Nicholson led the way to victory in Widnes last Sunday.
It was a game that saw the ‘home’ side dominating from start to finish, with the Mayhem getting off to a very strong start and should have been ahead very early too but if not for Steelkings netminder Bryan Hackworth, then it would have been game over indeed.
Manchester enjoyed the lion share of possession in the first period of play and just for the life of them couldn’t find a goal that they deserved. Try as they might though, the Mayhem came up against a stubborn defensive unit in the Steelkings – who after scoring their first goals of the season last week against Cardiff – saw the visitors holding on against their opponents.
Their resistance was finally broken down 6.26 when Karl Nicholson pounced on a padded rebound at the front of the Sheffield net following a shot from Anthony Booth that saw the goalie making the initial stop, but couldn’t avoid the Mayhem man to put in to break the deadlock.
After that goal, you then kind of expected the start of a goal fest from then on in the period, but credit to Sheffield, they held firm and looked to see out the opening stanza a goal down and managed to complete that objective. Manchester coach Pete Hagan will have been hugely disappointed to have his side scoring only once from 12 shots that they posted after the opening fifteen minutes.
If that floodgate was shut mostly in the first period, then the second period saw the Mayhem managing to kick down that gate with six goals in the period and killed the game off. Anthony Booth got the scoring underway in the second stanza after a puck was sent up ice from Peggy Assinck and was gathered by Booth at centre ice, as he weaved his way around two defensemen and saw his shot stopped by Hackworth but then trickled in for 2-0.
Booth then grabbed his second of the game just over two minutes later, as a poor clearance saw the Manchester forward gaining possession and then firing a low through traffic and found its way in the back of the Sheffield net for 3-0 at 19.02 and make it three for the Mayhem.
Karl Nicholson made it 4-0 just forty-four seconds later after Nicholson charged down a puck just outside his zone and saw the GB man finding himself clean through, and fired high to beat Hackworth and helped to increase the lead.
Sheffield had managed to stem the flow of goals going in for a nine-minute spell in the game, that was until three strikes late in the period made it a rout for the home side. Nicholson made it five at 28.21 after Dominic Cosgrove couldn’t pull the trigger on a pass by his captain, but Nicholson carried on skating and smashed home his hat-trick.
Straight from the restart, it saw Rob Allen winning the puck and then playing a pass out to Nicholson on the wing who chased the puck down and then went in on goal and fired home his fourth and Mayhem’s sixth.
Less than a minute later it was seven, as a well-worked goal saw Cosgrove getting onto the end of an Assinck pass up ice and a little turn by the Mayhem man allowed him to play in Karl Nicholson who finished it off for 7-0 with thirty seconds left on the second.
In the third, it saw Sheffield making a goalie change and saw Warren Hewitt making his way behind the pipes for the Steelkings and picked up a clean sheet in the third along with a contender for save of the season too off the shot of Cosgrove early on.
Manchester couldn’t find another goal in the game and so was forced to settle for what they had and give them a confidence booster ahead of their remaining two league games with Peterborough at home next week and then away at champions Kingston later in the month.
Harmanpreet Kaur became an instant hero for her new team the Lancashire Thunder – as the Indian All-rounder smashed an unbeaten 34 which also included a six off the penultimate ball to helped her side to victory in her Kia Super League debut and have the Thunder’s registering their third win a row against Surrey Stars at the Oval.
Surrey was put into bat by Thunder captain Danielle Hazell and saw her sides’ newfound confidence after recent back to back victories against Yorkshire and the Southern Vipers having the hosts in deep trouble inside their opening four overs.
South African International Lizelle Lee went without troubling the score as Lees was dismissed with just the third ball of the Innings, after Lancashire’s heroine from their recent Roses game in Ellie Threlkeld took the catch off the bowling of Kate Cross to see Surrey 0/1.
The next to go was Wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor, with the former Lancashire Thunder alumni being caught out by Amy Satterthwaite for four and see Emma Lamb picking up her first wicket of the game to see Surrey 7/2.
Bryony Smith was Lamb’s next victim to be led to the slaughter, as a fresh off the plane from India in Harmanpreet Kaur, saw their overseas star taking the catch to see the hosts 17-3 after 3.3 overs, this after she had previously put a catch down.
Surrey needed a partnership from somewhere to get them out of troubled waters and those best to do it were South African captain Dane van Niekerk and England’s Nat Sciver, as the two helped to build a total.
Some sloppy fielding from Lancashire helped the Surrey pair putting on a much-needed fifty-partnership to see them looking to kick on and on what was a fairly slow wicket.
Surrey captain Nat Sciver was then given a reprieve by her opposite number in Danielle Hazell, as the Thunder captain dropped her on 30 and saw the spinner sustaining a blow to her thumb which caused her some discomfort from the drop.
In the 14th over, it saw Alex Hartley managing to get van Niekerk out for 29 with Sophie Ecclestone taking the catch near the ropes to see the hosts 91/4 and break up a dangerous partnership with 14.4 overs gone. Sciver then reached her fifty from 37 balls, as she guided the Stars past the 100 runs barrier in the Innings and looked to score as many runs as possible.
Sophia Dunkley soon departed for 5 after being stumped by the ‘stumping machine’ that is Ellie Threlkeld, as the Stars player got bamboozled from Emma Lamb’s delivery. Nat Sciver was unable to bring up her century in the Innings as she finished five short on 95, but did help her side to post 148/5 in their 20 overs.
Lancashire Thunder in their reply, saw the openers in Evelyn Jones and Nicole Bolton both scoring steadily for the visitors to begin and then saw Bolton bringing out some reverse sweeps and some lovely shots too, as she helped to bring up the 50 for the Thunder, doing it just three overs sooner than Surrey managed.
After her brilliant knock of 69 against the Southern Vipers at Southport on Sunday, Evelyn Jones tried to build on her recent good form with the bat and sadly for her, the opener tried to find a gap from a Sophia Dunkley delivery, but went only as far as Dane van Niekerk and head to the dugout out for 20.
New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite joined her Australasian teammate in Nicole Bolton out in the middle, but she was soon heading back too when a mistimed shot was swallowed up by Bryony Smith off the bowling of Dane van Niekerk for 3 and left Lancashire 70-2 after 11.3 overs. Bolton was then dropped on 69 and was given a lifeline.
The new girl in Harmanpreet Kaur, saw the Indian captain coming out to make her maiden Innings in KSL, following her delay due to visa problems into the county and had delayed her involvement in the competition to date.
Both Kaur and Bolton were seemingly taking the visitors to the brink of victory, with the penultimate over needing Lancashire to score 13 to win from 12 balls and with plenty of wickets intact, it seemed one winner. Surrey desperately needed a wicket and looked to their captain to provide it.
After a couple of singles given up by Nat Sciver, the England International then struck a huge blow to the visiting side, as Nicole Bolton was out lbw for 87 and then saw Sciver following it up with her final ball of her allotted overs bowling out Emma Lamb for 0, after the Lancs player attempted to sweep and was bowled.
Lancashire was now in danger of throwing away victory and saw the game swinging back in favour of the home side as the Thunder went from 136/2 to 138/4 as the game headed to the final over, to which the Thunder still needed 11 runs from the remaining 6 balls to win.
A single was taken by Kaur to have Ellie Threlkeld on strike, and the next ball saw the wicketkeeper unable to repeat the heroics of last game, as a tame shot saw Kaur dashing up the striker’s end and have her partner losing her footing and led to Laura Marsh easily dislodging the bails and running her out for a duck.
Kaur thought she had a boundary when Lizelle Lee fumbled the ball near the rope and saw it stopping short by inches of a four and forced her to run for two. The next ball saw Kaur hitting the ball down the ground for a four and see Lancs now needing 4 from 2 balls for victory.
It saw some discussions and had Laura Marsh bowling shorter and saw Kaur smashing the ball over the rope to win the game for the Thunder and make it three wins from four and move them temporarily second in the standings, behind their next opponents in the Western Storm on Friday.
Yorkshire Diamonds 101 all out Winfield 28 Ecclestone 3-11 Hartley 3-19
Lancashire Thunder bt Yorkshire Diamonds by 33 runs
Lancashire Thunder claimed only their second-ever KIA Super League success after a stunning 33-runs victory over the Yorkshire Diamonds at Headingley in the Women’s Roses’ clash.
It was a game that saw 19-year old Ellie Threlkeld having a game to remember for the Thunder, as she scored her maiden half-century as well as picking up a record-breaking four-stumpings in a KSL match and deservedly took home the player of the match.
After their loss at Southport last Sunday, the Thunder came into their Roses’ clash hoping to improve against a Yorkshire side that themselves were hoping to kickstart their season too following a loss in their opening match too.
Lancashire was put into bat by the Yorkshire captain Lauren Winfield and saw the Diamonds openers bowling well to restrict the Lancs opener in their powerplay.
Evelyn Jones tried to take the Yorkshire bowlers on after a slow start for the Thunder and saw the Lancs player skying her shot up in the air from a Chamari Atapattu delivery and have Winfield under it to take the catch to have Jones out for five.
Two overs later, it saw Nicole Bolton going for 11 thanks to the combination of the two Alice’s as Alice Monaghan took the catch off the bowling of Alice Davidson-Richards.
Two balls later saw Davidson-Richards taking a blinding catch to get Georgie Boyce out for 2 caught and bowled, as the ball was hit straight back the bowler and had the Diamonds player who held on. Lancashire looked to be heading to another disappointingly low score as it was 22-3 after 6.5 overs gone.
Emma Lamb then tried to hit a shot off the bowling of Katie Levick but the ball went by and Australian wicketkeeper Beth Mooney whipped the bails off for 1 and have Lancashire in deep, deep trouble at 25-4.
Thunder was desperately needed a partnership to get them to a competitive total at least and avoid an embarrassing batting performance in front of the television cameras. That saw Amy Satterthwaite and Ellie Threlkeld being the two to step in and do a repair job for the visiting side.
With the experience of Satterthwaite at the crease, she seemed to help along her inexperienced teammate at the other end and saw both batters forming an important partnership that had both Lancashire players moving the score past fifty and then reaching their 100-4.
Ellie Threlkeld then brought up her maiden fifty in the KSL and was the second-ever Thunder player to reach their half-century with the only other player to do so being down at the non-strikers end in, Amy Satterthwaite.
Soon after, Satterthwaite reached her fifty in very unorthodox fashion, as the New Zealander was nearly run out by her teammate, as Threlkeld dashed up the pitch and saw Satterthwaite staying put, but a throw towards bowler Helen Fenby from Lauren Winfield went miles over her head and saw Lancashire adding an extra run.
Lancashire completed their twenty overs making 134-4 and that looked miles off at a point when they were 25-4, but the partnership of Satterthwaite and Threlkeld was a big one, to say the least.
Yorkshire though got off to a great start in their reply, but could easily have lost their captain in the third over, when Winfield played a shot that was rising and was dropped by Lamb on 19.
Sophie Ecclestone then came into the attack in the 6th over and with her fifth ball had Winfield skying the ball up in the air and had Satterthwaite taking the catch to dismiss the captain for 28.
Lancashire’s spin trio of Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley and captain Danielle Hazell were doing brilliantly to dry up the runs and saw them all rewarded throughout the Innings.
Yorkshire’s Overseas players in Beth Mooney and Chamari Atapattu were both almost caught out brilliantly both times by one of Lancashire’s overseas players in Amy Satterthwaite, but on both occasions, the ball evaded her and went for four.
Spinner Alex Hartley then picked up her first wicket of the day, when Mooney tried to clear the rope with a big shot but could only pick out Kate Cross in the deep who took the catch and had the Australian departing for 20 and the Diamonds 59-2.
Yorkshire who were looking good at 43-1, then found themselves playing some rushed shots and was making life easier for the Thunder side.
Alice Davidson-Richards who given not out on a stumping review saw her next ball coming down the crease and got one that spun away from her and had Ellie Threlkeld stumping her for 3 off the bowling of Ecclestone.
Atapattu then went at the start of the next over, after a beautiful delivery by Alex Hartley saw the Lancs spinner able to get one through the gap and hitting the stumps to leave the hosts 59-4.
Yorkshire then lost their allrounder in Katherine Brunt for 4, after a mix up with her and Delissa Kimmince saw Brunt halfway down the pitch before Hazell quickly threw to the keeper who took the bails off and saw the Diamond five down for 71 and saw Brunt throwing her bat down in frustration.
The required rate was getting higher now for the Diamonds in their run chase as they needed to score ten runs an over. It was nearly six down for Yorkshire at the end of the 14th over when Kimmince tried to take a quick single and saw Threlkeld running to pick up the ball and throw underarm towards the stumps when a flatter throw may have been the better option.
Sophie Ecclestone then helped to run out Delissa Kimmince for 12, after the spinner collected the ball and launched it towards the strikers’ end where the keeper did the rest and saw Yorkshire six down.
In the next over it saw Brookes hitting the ball towards Cross near the boundary and despite the fast bowlers’ attempt at a stretching catch, she could only help it go on to run for four.
However, the next ball saw Brookes trying to go big again and saw Hartley getting one to get by her and Threlkeld for the second time in the match quickly whipped the bails off and send Brookes packing for 21.
Alice Monaghan was then run out brilliant by Threlkeld for 1 run when the batter played at a shot and had Danielle Hazell appealing for an lbw, while the young keeper immediately picked up the ball and broke the stumps for the 8th wicket and have Lancashire in control now.
Lancashire captain Danielle Hazell, then turned the screw on her league team, as Hazell who plays for Yorkshire but captains the Red Rose of Lancashire saw her claiming a third wicket and a then-record third stumping for Ellie Threlkeld, as Katie Levick was stumped for 0 to leave the hosts 101/9 and needing a further 34 runs from two overs.
Victory was complete for the Thunder in the penultimate over, with a record-breaking fourth stumping in the game as Helen Fenby was out of her crease from an Ecclestone delivery and of course the last word belonged to Ellie Threlkeld who whipped the bails off to dismiss the Yorkshire Diamonds side for 101 all out, and not only win by 33 runs but also pick up a bonus point as well.
It was a massive win for the Thunder, for who victories have come to at a premium over the last two years and this win will have proved to be a huge confidence booster going into their home game against a strong Southern Vipers side at Liverpool on Sunday.
Loughborough Lightning bt Lancashire Thunder by Six Wickets
This past weekend saw the start of the new Kia Super League taking place and despite a new season and new players wearing the Red of the Lancashire Thunder, the story for the side sadly remained the same as it has been for the past two years as the Loughborough Lightning claimed a six-wicket victory at Southport.
It saw a few changes to the Lancs side from the previous season, with a new coach in former Surrey and Australia in Alex Blackwell being one of the main changes.
The Thunder lost the services of England wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor to the Surrey Stars, but saw the ‘Red Rose County’ welcoming Burnley’s own Alex Hartley to the line up, along with Australian International Nicole Bolton. Meanwhile, their Indian star in Harmanpreet Kaur is still absent due to a delay with her visa.
Hopes were high for a better year at least for the Thunder, but it seemed more in keeping with the previous couple of seasons as the Lightning struggled on a difficult surface at Southport Cricket club.
Evelyn Jones got the hosts opening boundary of the KSL before she watched the wickets tumble down at the opposite end. Nicole Bolton was first to go, when she went first ball to Sophie Devine who trapped her lbw and then saw Georgie Boyce following too, as she top-edged a delivery that went straight to the Lightning captain in Georgia Elwiss for a two-ball duck and leave the hosts 5-2.
Jones was then joined out in the middle by New Zealander Amy Satterthwaite and the duo looked to engineer a recovery job for the Thunder, as they took Lancashire from 5-2 to 28-3, before Jenny Gunn then removed the Kiwi for (6) and then Emma Lamb for a first ball duck in successive balls.
The home fans were fearing that they may not even see their side reach their half-century the way things were panning out though.
Evelyn Jones then tried to move the score along after a couple of lovely strokes, but an attempted hit down the ground was caught by Elyse Villani and saw the opener departing n (19) and see Lancs five down for 33.
Ellie Threlkeld and Thunder captain Danielle Hazell then tried to bolster the total, until Threlkeld picked out Gunn for the catch and saw her scoring six. Sophie Ecclestone then came and went for 2, as their Innings reading 45-8 with 11.3 overs into their twenty overs.
Thankfully, a partnership down at the tail saw Kate Cross and Natalie Brown moving Lancashire past fifty runs with some good running between the wickets and helped boost the home sides’ total.
Brown was then bowled by Jenny Gunn for 13, to see the England International picking up her third wicket of the game and then have Sophie Devine bring the Thunder’s Innings to an end, dismissing Alex Hartley for 0 and bowl Lancashire out for a lowly 72.
If Lancashire had any hopes of turning this game around then they would need a few early wickets. Their cause was helped when Kate Cross bowled Sarah Glenn out for a seven-ball duck and then had Cross taking a catch of Emma Lamb’s bowling to see off the in-form Sophie Devine for 11 and have hopes grow.
The bowlers did a brilliant job of building up pressure on the Loughborough batters with Alex Hartley having a few close lbw decisions turned down. Hartley then grabbed a wicket for the Thunder, as Amy Jones played and missed at a shot and saw Ellie Threlkeld quickly taking the ball and stumping her out for 4.
Loughborough found themselves 19-3 in the fifth over and with Lightning captain Georgia Elwiss and Australian Elyse Villani repairing the damage for the away side, it then Hartley picking up her second victim in Villani and dismissed the Aussie for 13.
Despite a much better performance with the ball, the Lightning eased to victory with just under five overs left to be bowled and leaves the Lancashire Lightning still hunting their second Kia SuperLeague win.
Lancashire Thunder face the Yorkshire Diamonds at the Emerald Headingley Ground this coming Friday afternoon in the Roses’ clash and against another side winless in their opening game, while Sunday the Thunder face the Southern Vipers at Liverpool Cricket Ground.
Manchester Mayhem finally found a cure for their travel sickness on the road this season, with a shutout victory against the Sheffield Steelkings 9-0 at Ice Sheffield on Saturday evening. Victory saw them closing the gap on the Cardiff Huskies in second and moved up to third in the league standings as well.
This was the first of the two ‘roses’ games due to take place this season, with the second due to take place in Widnes later next month. Last year, saw the Steelkings recording their first ever league points with a thumping 10-2 victory over the Manchester side at Ice Sheffield – so the Mayhem wanted revenge for that defeat last season.
Manchester was looked like a side on a mission from the opening face-off and could easily have been ahead inside the opening thirty-seconds of play with the Mayhem getting behind the Steelkings with ease. Netminding for Sheffield was going be important and saw Bryan Hackworth needing to be ready as the home side were on the backfoot.
Anthony Booth had a couple of good chances and as saw one of his efforts nearly setting up a goal for Rob Allen, when the puck bounced off the goalies’ pads into the path of the Manchester man and brought a good save out of Bryan Hackworth in the Steelkings net.
Moments later, it saw the visitors finally breaking the deadlock at 3.55, after Mayhem captain Karl Nicholson chased down a loose puck that was played off the boards from Rob Allen and saw it falling nicely to the Nicholson – who pulled clear on goal and fired high past the goalie to put Manchester on the board.
Mayhem soon doubled their lead less than two minutes later, after Anthony Booth flipped it high in the Sheffield net to put the home side deep in trouble. The play was virtually down the Steelkings end all period and saw Booth adding a third at 11.40 as the away side was being to stamp their mark early in this game.
With Manchester outshooting their opponents 12-1 in the opening period of play, it saw the Mayhem being just as ruthless in the second stanza, with the visitors adding five further strikes to the goals column. With Sheffield trailing at the first break three goals down, they found themselves conceding early on in the period as Manchester didn’t let up in attack and has captain Karl Nicholson making it 4-0 with a low shot.
Minutes later, it saw the trio of Rob Allen, Anthony Booth and Karl Nicholson all linking up to have the Mayhem extending their lead further for 5-0 at 19.42 and see Nicholson completing his hat-trick. Sheffield then began to hit some penalty trouble, with Barry Grayson and Rachel Paget both having to serve time for their crimes so to speak. A powerplay goal from Karl Nicholson saw him netting his fourth of the game and Manchester’s sixth of the game.
The game also saw the Manchester side playing rookie for this season in James Rogerson, and the defenseman had a very solid game and made some vital interceptions to displayed some slick stick handling at times too. Manchester was very impressive in snuffing out any attacks that Sheffield tried to create and that was mostly down to the defensive pairing of Graham Wilson and Canadian Peggy Assinck.
At the other end of the ice, the forwards were enjoying themselves in front of goals and saw Anthony Booth completing his hat-trick too in the final minute of the second and have the hosts 8-0 down with no answer for their Roses rival.
For Sheffield, it saw the Steelkings failing to register a single shot in the whole of the second period and with the final period yet to play, it seemed like it would be another long fifteen minutes ahead for the home side. As play got underway in the third, it was started off much in the similar vein as the previous two periods with the Mayhem side putting the hosts under the cosh and testing Hackworth.
Despite holding out well for an extended period in the third, it saw the hosts being unlocked once again by some neat passing play after a one-two between Nicholson and Bailey saw the Manchester captain finishing off the move after a lovely weighted pass back to him, saw Nicholson then taking it around the goalie and sliding home for a 9-0 score.
Much to the home sides’ credit though, they kept battling away and saw Wayne Plummer getting the hosts first decent chance in the game but he was stopped by Doug Hankinson. Sheffield grew in belief and saw a chance falling to Matt Roche, but he couldn’t beat Hankinson either and made some good stops.
It saw the Steelking enjoying their only purple patch in the game, as Barry Grayson battled and scrapped his way through on goal, but Hankinson denied him a goal and saw Matt Franklin waiting to poach on the doorstep, but he was left disappointed.
As the hooter sounded to signal the end of the game, it saw Manchester claiming two league points and helped push them upwards to third place in the league standings and leapfrogging Peterborough as a result.
Manchester Mayhem head coach Pete Hagan was delighted when I spoke to him after the game, telling me; “Really pleased by the result, although a few things we need to work on for future games, we manage to give a few of our new & returning players some shifts, so that bodes well going forward. Peggy (Assinck) was great and deserved her MVP award, a real calming influence at the back”.
Lancashire Lightning bt Yorkshire Vikings by 1 run
A massive crowd at the Emirates Old Trafford, witnessed a breathtaking finish to the 26th War of the Roses instalment in the Vitality T20 Blast on Friday night as the ‘Red Rose County’ prevailed by a single run to beat their roses counter-parts and remain top of the group in the North section.
It looked for most of the day that no play would take place due to rain falling most of the late afternoon to early evening. However, the cricketing gods saw fit to have the rain stop and reduce the game to a 14-overs a side match that saw no lack of effort from either side, as the game was played in a brilliant spirit and ended up being one of the greatest Roses matches in T20 history.
Both sides were allowed to play their England Internationals for game which is viewed as one of the ‘Jewels’ in the English cricketing county calendar. A near sell-out crowd watched on at Old Trafford, as England’s Jos Buttler and recent Lions player Liam Livingstone got the Lightning off to flyer, with mostly Livingstone smashing the Yorkshire bowling attack to all parts of the ground.
After four overs into the Lancashire Innings, it saw the Red Rose side making 48/0 with bowler David Willey being hit for 24-runs in his opening two overs. Livingstone brought up the Lightning’s fifty with the first ball of the 5th over before hesitation involving the Lancashire’s openers saw Jos Buttler being run out with a great throw by Liam Plunkett to send the England man on his way for 16.
The big hitting carried on though for the Lightning, as Aaron Lilley came out to join Livingstone and saw him scoring 22 in 10 balls to keep the momentum up for the home side. Yorkshire then got the prized wicket of Liam Livingstone for 79, after an incredible catch by England captain Joe Root flung himself to his left to make the grab and see Lancashire two down for 120 early on in the 10th over.
It saw Yorkshire Vikings needing to come out on fire after their bowlers had failed in the Lightning’s Innings. The Vikings opening batsman in Adam Lyth started the reply strong for visiting side after he smashed his way to quick and brilliant half-century from just 21 balls faced.Aaron Lilley (42*) and Jordan Clark (36*) smashed 54 runs from the remaining 3.3 overs to help take the hosts from 120/2 to finish strongly and posting a total of 176/2 from their 14 overs. It was a total that was the 37th highest score in T20s at Old Trafford, but it was the highest ever when restricted to less than 15 overs.
The Required Run Rate (RRR) saw the ‘White Rose’ side needing to score at 13 runs an over and saw the Lancashire bowlers keeping a tight line and restricted the Vikings scoring. All was going well for the Lancs’ until Toby Lester went for 23 in second over. Adam Lyth then went to go big at the end of the Matt Parkinson’s over with the Lancashire spinner picking up his first wicket after captain Liam Livingstone took the catch in front of the pavilion to see Lyth departing for a knock of 60.
With the loss of Lyth for the Vikings, it saw their run rate starting to grow and see them now needing 14-runs per over to win and required 87 runs from the remaining 36 balls. Yorkshire opener David Willey, who had a poor game by his standards, then saw him quickly stumped by Jos Buttler for 20 and see Yorkshire 90/2. Joe Root then came out to bat with Liam Plunkett and saw the two Vikings batters looking to get the ‘White Rose’ side back in the game.
Root and Plunkett looked to be putting the wheels in motion for perhaps a comeback in the game, that was until Jordan Clark bowled Plunkett out for 19 and seemed give the home side a bit of a boost. Tim Bresnan then came to crease next for the Vikings, and looked to be a real thorn in the side for the Lancs’ again in a Roses contest, if you pardon the pun.
However, on this night he wouldn’t be the man to cause the Lightning side many problems despite scoring a quick-fire 12. Next in was Yorkshire’s T20 overseas signing in New Zealander Kane Williamson, as he joined Joe Root with Yorkshire needing a further 26 runs from their remaining 9 balls to deny Lancashire victory. Both batsmen scored fours in the penultimate over to set up a tense finale for all concerned.
As the 14th and final over came around, it saw Yorkshire requiring 17 runs to win and had Toby Lester being the man to try and see Lancashire home with the ball. After four balls in, it saw Lester giving up 12 runs from 4 balls and saw the home fans chewing their fingernails and others head in hands at what they was seeing from their side.
Joe Root then took a single to bring up his fifty in the game, and in difficult circumstances, edged his side closer to victory. The game came down to one last ball, to which four was needed to win, whilst the home side needed to avoid the ball hitting the boundary.
As the final ball was bowled by Lester, it saw Williamson throwing the bat to try and win it for Yorkshire, but he couldn’t generate enough power to send it on its way and was cut off by a fielder as the Viking ran two and saw Lancashire taking an epic Roses win by one run much to the delight of the home fans.
For those of us Hockey nuts that have games consoles and played NHL over the years, one shirt that you may have come across especially if you are a Dallas Stars fan, is that of a mysterious Red and Black kit of the former NHL side – the Cleveland Barons. Some of you (more than likely a majority) will be thinking reading this ‘who in the blue hell, are the Cleveland Barons!?’…well gather round children and let me thee a hockey tale!
Our journey begins back in 1967 when the National Hockey League threw its doors open to the largest ever expansion in sporting history and saw the introduction of six new franchises. Three of the six expansion sides from that year have gone on to lift the Stanley Cups in their history – Los Angeles Kings, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, the only side still active from that expansion year is the St Louis Blues, though hasn’t been for the lack of trying.
The two remaining teams from the 1967 Expansion year, were the Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars) and the California Seals. Originally, the Seals were from San Francisco and played out of the now defunct Western Hockey League. In February 1966, Barend (Barry) van Gerbig bought the team from Mel Swig and looked to take the Seals from the WHL to the NHL. Following the team losing in the first round of the play-offs, the new owner set about getting the Seals ready for their first season in the NHL.
Prior to the start of the 1967-68 season, van Gerbig’s plans of having the side playing out of a new arena in San Francisco went up in smoke with the new building new materialising, so he moved the team across the Bay area from Cow Palace in Daly City to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena in Oakland. It also saw the team going through four changes while the side played out of California, going from the ‘California Seals’, ‘Bay Area Seals’, ‘California’/’Oakland Seals’ and ‘Oakland Seals’ before finally settling in 1970-71 till their final season in 1975-76 on the ‘California Golden Seals’.
While based in California, the ‘Seals’ managed to reach the Quarterfinals twice in the consecutive years of 1969 and 1970, before going on to lose to the LA Kings in 69′ and then swept by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the turn of the decade. It saw very poor crowds following the move to Oakland, as their new owner in van Gerbig had threatened to move the franchise away from the area many times but never did.
Bert Olmstead, who played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs during his play career, was also the first-year coach and general manager and made his voice known that he felt the franchise should move to Vancouver. More interestingly, the well-known Canadian brewery in Labatt’s made an offer to buy the club and offered to move the team up north, but the NHL rejected the takeover.
Prior to the 1970-71 season taking place, the Oakland Athletics Baseball owner in Charles O.Finley, saw him buying the Seals and renaming it for a short time the ‘Bay Area Seals’. That name soon became yesterday’s chip shop paper, as they resorted back to the California Golden Seals. The change of ownership also saw O.Finley making changes to the team colours too, with colours matching that of his Oakland A’s baseball side of ‘Yellow and Green’ and adopted the ‘Seals’ name as the shirts’ main feature.
With the Seals failing to match the success of O.Finley’s Athletics side who went on to win three-straight World Series titles between 1972-74, it began to see the beginning of the end for the Seals in California.
Rumours were going round in 1975, that both California and Pittsburgh were going to be relocated to Denver and Seattle. It saw the league stating, that if the sale of the Seals to Denver didn’t happen or find a local ownership that the club would then be liquidated come end of the season. It saw the move to Denver collapse and see the league running the team. Melvin Swig who was a San Francisco hotel magnate took control of the side in 1975, with plans of moving the side to a proposed new building in San Francisco. However, plans of the arena were cancelled and so the league allowed the side to be relocated elsewhere.
Two of the minority holders in the side was George Gund III and Gordon Gun, as the father and son duo talked the then owner in Swig to move the team to Gund’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Gordon Gund was no stranger to Ice Hockey himself, having played the sport at Havard University. The announcement od the team being moved came on July 14th, 1976, with the side upping sticks and getting approved of relocating to the City of Cleveland.
With the arrival of the new side to the area town, the City had the Indians in Major League Baseball, the Cavaliers in the NBA, whilst also playing home to the Browns of the NFL. The new NHL team adopted the former name of their old American Hockey League (AHL) side that played from 1937 to 1973 before that side was then relocated themselves to Jacksonville – in the Barons. The City had seen hockey teams like the Indians, Falcons and Crusaders between 1929 and 1976 – right up to then original Barons the following year.
The Barons of 1937-1973, is still the most successful team in AHL history, with the Cleveland side winning nine Calder Cups and ten regular season titles in their existence – a record that was broken in 2009 when the Hershey Bears collected their 10th Calder Cup. It saw the Barons playing out of the old Richfield Coliseum in Richfield, Ohio, and was the largest capacity for any NHL side at that time, standing at 18,544.
Despite moving to Cleveland and renaming the side the new franchise the Barons, it couldn’t stop the club getting off to an absolute nightmare start and never saw them recover. Having got the approval to move the team from the Bay area to Ohio, the details hadn’t been fully completed until late August of that year. With a lack of promotion for the new side coming to Cleveland, it saw the team suffering because of it.
On October 7th, 1976, the Barons played their first game in a home opener and saw 8,900 in attendance. In the forty games played that year – they only manage to draw more than 10,000 fans to the arena for seven games. That was less than what Oakland and the Cleveland Crusaders who played in the old World Hockey Association were getting while active too. The owner in Melvin Swig commented that the side may not see the season out due to money payroll problems, plus with a lease that was wasn’t great with the Coliseum, it saw the side sinking towards big-time trouble. Swig, contacted the NHL board of governors for help, but they refused to help out – with the board thinking their plight was not as bad as being made out.
Things began to snowball out of control for the Cleveland outfit soon after with team workers going two months unpaid and also saw the side missing two payrolls as well come February. With the side coming close to folding and the players threatening to go on strike, it saw the league stepping in late-on with some help from the NHLPA too at least prolong things. It saw $1.3million dollars raised to allow the Barons to play out the rest of the season and saw Swig selling his interests to the Gund’s after the season finished.
In what turned out to be their final year in the NHL, the Barons were being bankrolled by the Gunds’ and saw them getting some return as the team chalked up a massive over the Stanley Cup champions in the Montreal Canadiens, with 12,859 watching the hosts beating one of the big hitters of the league. The teams’ general manager at the time was Harry Howell and he managed to secure some good trades to see the Barons far more physical and soon saw them picking up three wins on the bounce against top teams in the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NY Islanders and Buffalo Sabres.
A 2-2 tie with the Philadelphia Flyers saw a record crowd at the Richmond Arena for an NHL game, where 13,110 came to watch the Barons and Flyers end all-square. Cleveland missed out on the playoffs following a 15-game losing streak that put paid to their hopes of a postseason place and in the off-season, saw the Gunds attempting to buy the Richmond Coliseum and saw their efforts fail. With both the Barons and Minnesota North Stars in the same boat, in terms of struggling in the league, it saw the unprecedented move of the side merging and playing under the North Stars banner.
In the aftermath of the Barons’ demise – it saw the Minnesota North Stars playing on till 1993, where they would eventually head south and relocate to become the Dallas Stars. Meanwhile, with the loss of the Barons, it saw hockey returning to the city with the Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League, before a third incarnation of the Barons’ side and then the Lake Erie Monsters until 2016 – when they switched to Cleveland Monsters.
ENGLAND 141/3: 17.1 Overs Wyatt 50 Kerr 2-22, Bates 1-17
England win by 7 wickets
England Women produced a dominant display to win by seven wickets against New Zealand in the Vitality IT20 Women’s Tri-Series Final at Chelmsford on Sunday, as the World Champions continued to assert their dominance in this tournament and see the hosts lifting the Tri-Series trophy.
Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine both got the ‘White Ferns’ off to a great start in their Innings, as the English bowlers were finding it hard to get the ball into right areas and saw the New Zealand openers punishing them. Bates and especially Devine – have both been standouts with the bat and looked like they were building towards a big total until Katherine Brunt finally made an important breakthrough for England in the fifth over of the contest, as she trapped Sophie Devine LBW for 31.
Brunt then repeated the trick again on Katey Martin two balls later, as she went for 2 and saw New Zealand 57-2. Amy Satterthwaite and Suzie Bates then put together a handy little partnership on for the tourists, as the tourists began to rebuild their Innings thanks to the batters. Sophie Ecclestone then got the prized wicket of Bates, bowled for 31, and soon saw Danielle Hazell trapping her fellow Lancs teammate LBW in Amy Satterthwaite for 19, as the England bowling was taking over.
England’s World Cup final hero last year in Anya Shrubsole – then saw the Middlesex bowler having Maddy Green lofting a shot towards captain Heather Knight for 8 and have the Kiwi’s in a spot of bother at 97-5. Katie George then claimed the wicket of Jess Watkins for 5 as she picked out Amy Jones stood by the boundary rope.
Anna Peterson was then the next to go – as she made 7 before Danielle Hazell spun one to bowl the New Zealander out to collect her second wicket of the match and see the hosts taking over. England’s most improved player of this Tri-series has been that of Sophie Ecclestone and the Lancashire spinner managed to get a slight edge off Leigh Kasperek and into the gloves of Sarah Taylor stood behind the stumps too take the catch to see her out for cheaply.
Amelia Kerr tried her best to help force the score along for her team – after she played a lovely lofted shot to the boundary before Hayley Jensen was then run out for 9, following a good throw to the non-strikers’ end and saw Nat Sciver breaking the stumps to see the ‘White Ferns’ nine down. England used just five bowlers in their bowling attack and saw Danielle Hazell as the pick of the bowlers, with the spinner taking 2-20 in her four allotted overs.
The hosts were set a target of 138 for victory and saw the openers making early inroads through Danni Wyatt and Tammy Beaumont, as the England duo was easing towards the total with Wyatt reaching her half-century. Unfortunately, following her fifty, the very next ball she faced saw the opener playing at a shot and saw the ball loop up a see Leigh Kasperek juggling the ball a few times before finally holding on to the ball and help to dismiss Wyatt for 50.
In came wicketkeeper extraordinaire in Sarah Taylor, as she came out to the middle and played some brilliant shots as she and Beaumont moved the England total along, but the Tri-Series top run-scorer in Tammy Beaumont- then saw her attempting to hit Amelia Kerr for six, but didn’t get all of it and saw Amy Satterthwaite taking the catch to see the opener dismissed for 35.
Kerr then got one to spin by Taylor and bowl her out for 12 and that saw the youngster taking two in two balls, to have England three down for 102 – while still needing another 36 runs from 43 balls for victory. Heather Knight and Nat Sciver were the two to finish the job off England, with Sciver hitting the match-winning runs to have the home side winning by seven wickets.
Katherine Brunt was named the player of the match with her two important wickets in the New Zealand Innings when things getting away from the hosts, while Sophie Ecclestone took home the player of the tournament thanks to her fantastic bowling performances throughout the Tri-Series and was a breakout series by the Lancashire spinner.
The sides renew acquaintances next Saturday when they meet in the first of a three-match ODI series starting at Leeds, Emerald Headingley before then heading to Derby and ending with the third match at Leicester’s Grace Road.