Tag Archives: venue

Saracens and Ulster Heineken Cup quarter-final at Twickenham

Twickenham to host Heineken Cup quarter-final between Saracens and Ulster

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

13:05 GMT, 30 January 2013

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UPDATED:

15:57 GMT, 30 January 2013

Saracens have announced their Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster on April 6 will be played at Twickenham.

The Aviva Premiership club's new Allianz Park home, complete with its artificial playing surface, had been mooted as a possible venue.

Bumper crowd: Saracens will host Ulster at Twickenham in April

Bumper crowd: Saracens will host Ulster at Twickenham in April

But club chairman Nigel Wray told Saracens' official website today that the game will be staged at Twickenham.

'We look forward to playing this important match at the home of English rugby, a ground that many of our players know extremely well,' Wray said.

'It is absolutely clear that people want to see big teams playing big matches at big stadiums, and that is precisely what we will deliver at Twickenham.

Happy memories: Sarries won the Aviva Premiership title at HQ in 2011

Happy memories: Sarries won the Aviva Premiership title at HQ in 2011

'We did consider the option of playing this showpiece match at Allianz Park, our brand new home stadium in NW4, but, in consultation with local residents and our partners at the London Borough of Barnet, we have decided to settle at the new venue before applying to stage a one-off event with a larger capacity.'

Harlequins will host Munster at their Twickenham Stoop home the following day, with the quarter-final line-up completed by Leicester visiting Toulon and Clermont Auvergne hosting Montpellier.

Huntingdon Boxing Day races abandoned

Heavy rain forces Huntingdon to join Southwell on Boxing Day races casualty list

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UPDATED:

16:45 GMT, 23 December 2012

Boxing Day's meeting at Huntingdon has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track.

Officials were left with a straightforward call after inspecting the course shortly before midday on Sunday.

The Cambridgeshire venue is partly flooded following 16 millimetres of rainfall on Saturday. More rain has also been forecast.

Rained off: Huntingdon is another victim of the inclement weather

Rained off: Huntingdon is another victim of the inclement weather

Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma said: 'We called the inspection for tomorrow initially this morning when it was still dark with a view that at least people could double declare on the basis there was an inspection time here.

'Once the sun came up and we had a good look around it gradually became apparent it was going to be impossible to get rid of the water and turn around the site to have it fit and ready for racing.

'We are devastated, having lost three meetings in a row now. It's been a trying year.'

Ricky Burns eyeing one more fight before Adrien Broner unification

Burns eyeing one more test before 'biggest fight of his life' against Broner

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UPDATED:

19:39 GMT, 17 December 2012

Ricky Burns will not fight rising American star Adrien Broner until April at the earliest.

The Scot was due to defend his WBO world lightweight title at the Excel Arena last Saturday but prospective opponents Liam Walsh and Jose Ocampo pulled out.

Burns, 29, is instead expected to return to the ring on January 26 in Glasgow while WBC champion Broner will be in back in action three weeks later.

Let down: Ricky Burns was unable to defend his title against Jose Ocampo

Let down: Ricky Burns was unable to defend his title against Jose Ocampo

Assuming both come through unscathed, a
unification showdown could take place in America in the spring – but
only if the price is right.

Burns' manager Alex Morrison told STV:
'I spoke to Ricky this morning and we decided he will not be fighting
Adrien Broner in February.

'Ricky didn’t want to jump from a non-event to the biggest fight of his life in a matter of weeks.

'He’ll make a defence of his title in Glasgow in January and we’ll look at Broner after that.'

Burns had been promised a 300,000 pay-day by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer to fight Broner in February.

'I hope we can make it happen then,'
he said. 'I don’t see why not and Ricky Burns will be paid two or three
times more than his previous best purse. The venue could be Atlantic
City on the East Coast.'

Mouthwatering match-up: Burns could be set to fight Adrien Broner in April

Mouthwatering match-up: Burns could be set to fight Adrien Broner in April

But Morrison added that it will take at least 400,000 to tempt Burns into facing the 23-year-old.

'Ricky will fight in America if the
money is right,' he said. 'That’s 400,000 net, after fees, after tax.
We could be looking at April.'

Broner offered to fly to London at
just two days' notice last week to face Burns, whom he accuses of avoiding
him when the pair fought at super-featherweight.

'I’m ready. Burns is a world-class fighter and I respect him for what he’s done.

'I wanted to fight him when he was WBO
super-featherweight world champion but he moved up a division. I hope
he doesn’t try to avoid me again.

'We should all try hard to make sure
our fight happens. There will be a lot at stake with two belts on the
line. Let’s give fans the kind of fight they want.

'We can all make a lot of money from this fight and be happy.'

Hereford racecourse given hope after hosting final meeting in 241-year history

Hereford racecourse given a lifeline after hosting final meeting in 241-year history

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UPDATED:

17:56 GMT, 16 December 2012

It may not be all doom and gloom for the supporters of Hereford racecourse, which held its final meeting for the foreseeable future on Sunday.

Owners Arena Racing Company, who also run Folkestone (due to race for the last time on Tuesday) claim they are still open to negotiation and that the track could re-open at some stage in the future.

Assistant racing director Jim Allen said: ‘There are still 17 years left on the lease and any racecourse or body can come and talk to us about it.

Game over: The sun set on Hereford's racing history on Sunday

Game over: The sun set on Hereford's racing history on Sunday

Hope: Owners Arena Racing Company, who also run Folkestone claim they are still open to negotiation and that the track could re-open in the future

Hope: Owners Arena Racing Company, who also run Folkestone claim they are still open to negotiation and that the track could re-open in the future

‘We’d like to see racing continue at
Hereford at some point in the future and we’ll do what we can to make
that happen. We’ll be maintaining it, it will stay as it is and there is
still every opportunity that some fixtures in 2014 will return here.’

Disputes with the local council over the lease have led to Arena deciding to curtail a business which it says is not financially viable.

Even if this is the case, any of the remaining races of even vague importance have long been transferred elsewhere and recent investment in the facilities at the venue is non-existent, with the bar for owners and trainers, for example, housed in a fairly dilapidated shack.

Richard Johnson, so often runner-up in the jockeys’ championship to Tony McCoy, was born just five miles away and rode his first ever winner at Hereford on his grandfather’s Rusty Bridge in 1994.

Bustling: The bookmakers stools were as busy as ever

Bustling: The bookmakers stools were as busy as ever

End of an era: Spectators make their way into the racecourse for the last time

End of an era: Spectators make their way into the racecourse for the last time

Appropriately Johnson took the opening race on the card when partnering Sammys Gone to victory.

He said: ‘I was 16 when I first rode here, so it’s very sad. I know a lot of people have said they are keen on trying to do something to keep it open, so I really hope they do.’

A decent crowd of 2,600 watched the last race in Hereford’s 241-year history, and it turned out to be a lucky one for Seymour Eric who was winning for the first time in his career and completed a double on the day for trainer Martin Keighley.

He said: ‘It’s a local track to me, it’s well run and it’s sad to see it go. Hopefully something can change.’

Below par: The facilities at the venue were criticised due to a lack of recent investment

Below par: The facilities at the venue were criticised due to a lack of recent investment

One last time: Seymour Eric won The Thermolast Handicap Hurdle Race, the last race of the day

One last time: Seymour Eric won The Thermolast Handicap Hurdle Race, the last race of the day

There might not have been any Cheltenham Festival candidates on show at Hereford yesterday, but across the Irish Sea Pont Alexandre looked a top-class hurdler in the making when landing the Navan Novice Hurdle.

The performance was good enough for the Willie Mullins-trained four-year-old to be installed as 6-1 favourite with Paddy Power for the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March.

Matthew Macklin set to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr in Spring 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Macklin set for Chavez Jnr clash next Spring ahead of Martinez re-match

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UPDATED:

17:15 GMT, 14 December 2012

Matthew Macklin is closing in on a mouthwatering middleweight clash with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr – which he hopes will propel him into a rematch with Sergio Martinez.

The Birmingham-born Irishman is recovering from surgery to his nose and expects to face Chavez in America in April or May.

Macklin, 30, impressively knocked out former world champion Joachim Alcine inside the first round in Las Vegas in September while Chavez was comprehensively out-pointed by Martinez on the same night.

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Ready to rumble: Matthew Macklin is confident he can strike a deal to fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr next Spring

Martinez faces Martin Murray in Argentina on April 27 with a view to taking on Chavez again in September but Macklin, who himself was stopped by Martinez in March, plans to crash the party.

Macklin has spoken briefly to Chavez's promoter Bob Arum and expects negotiations to be completed in the new year although an exact date and venue for the bout are yet to be agreed.

'I'd say the fight is 80 per cent likely,' he told Sportsmail.

'Even though I lost the Martinez fight, I took a lot of confidence from it. From a stylistic point of view, Martinez is a nightmare but with Chavez, what you see is what you get.

'He's strong, he works the body well and puts a lot of pressure on but I certainly won't have to go looking for him. I don't think I'll find it too hard to get my own shots off. I carry a lot of power so I'd be very confident going into the fight.'

Macklin also revealed the build-up to his clash with Martinez was plagued by injury.

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

On the cards: Macklin believes boxing fans would love to watch him take on Chavez Jr

'Things looked great in the training camp but three weeks out, I bruised my rib in sparring so I didn't spar for the rest of the week,' he added.

'Then two weeks out, I did 12 rounds on the pads and ended up skinning my knuckle really badly on my left hand so for the last two weeks, all I did was shadow box and run.

'After round eight or nine I was ahead, in fact going into the 11th, I was three rounds up on one of the judge's card. I thought it was closer and that I needed the last two rounds to win the fight. I probably got a bit more reckless in the 11th and I got caught with some big shots.

'I felt fine to continue but [trainer] Buddy [McGirt] wouldn't let me out for the 12th and I could see his reasons. At the time I wanted to continue but there was no fallout or anything.

'Martinez hasn't had a more competitive fight since he won the belt from Kelly Pavlik. Aside from the last round, in which he was looking to survive, it was a domination of Chavez. I don't think at any stage in the fight did he dominate me.'

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Re-match: Macklin wants another crack at Sergio Martinez after losing to the Argentine back in March

Macklin is confident that victory over Chavez would land him a second tilt at a world title, assuming Martinez comes through his test against Murray.

'I gave Martinez a better run than Chavez did, bar the last round [when Martinez was knocked down],' he said. 'If the last round hadn't happened, I don't think there would be any talk of a rematch but because it did, it's a very sellable fight.

'A big win against Chavez on HBO in the States would certainly set up a rematch with Sergio Martinez.'

Macklin, who admitted he was glad to see British rival Darren Barker return to action with a convincing victory over Kerry Hope last Saturday, believes the triumvirate of himself, Barker and Murray could yet clash.

'It would definitely be better when one of us has a world title,' he said. 'If I beat Chavez and then have another good win in the States, I'm not going to leave HBO and fighting for world titles in America to come back for a non-title fight.

'But a world title is not an absolute must, it comes down to timing. Everyone has their own career and it comes down to when it suits both guys that a fight will be made.'

Carl Froch wants Mikkel Kessler before Lucian Bute

Give me Kessler first! Froch wants revenge on Dane before Bute rematch

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UPDATED:

00:40 GMT, 14 December 2012

Carl Froch will put his rematch with Lucian Bute on hold in order to avenge his defeat to Mikkel Kessler.

The IBF world super-middleweight champion was due to face Bute in Canada in March but hopes to put that on the backburner.

He will instead target Kessler, who won his fifth world title against Brian Magee last Saturday, and who beat Froch in the Super Six tournament two years ago.

Battle: Kessler's unanimous points win is one of two defeats for Carl Froch

Battle: Kessler's unanimous points win is one of two defeats for Carl Froch

Froch, 35, hopes to tempt the Dane to England in May, with Nottingham Forest’s City Ground a possible venue.

‘We have spoken to (promoter) Kalle Sauerland a dozen times in the last week and we’re very close to making the fight,’ Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn told BBC Five Live.

‘/12/14/article-2247843-1350747C000005DC-860_468x296.jpg” width=”468″ height=”296″ alt=”Dominant: Froch overwhelmed Bute with a fifth-round stoppage when the pair first met ” class=”blkBorder” />

Dominant: Froch overwhelmed Bute with a fifth-round stoppage when the pair first met

He added: ‘We’ve also been talking to Lucian Bute and they want the fight in March but I don’t think that fight will happen. We’ve got a burning desire to fight Mikkel Kessler and that’s a huge fight for Britain.

‘It’s a chance to avenge one of only two fights in his career. We’re doing everything we can to get that fight done, we’re looking at May.’

Froch, who won his third world title with a brutal knockout of Bute in May, also hopes to face American Andre Ward next year after losing to the WBA and WBC champion in the Super Six final last December.

West Ham could get keys to Olympic Park stadium

And the winner is… will West Ham finally be handed the keys to Olympic Park

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UPDATED:

23:10 GMT, 4 December 2012

The three-year saga over who will be handed the keys to the Olympic Stadium should finally be resolved at high noon on Wednesday.

West Ham remain favourites to inherit the arena that framed many of this summer's iconic sporting moments, but they have taken the precaution of drawing up three responses to the decision.

One is tailored to winning the bid; one in case they do not; and the third will be issued if the farce is prolonged by another deferral.

At last West Ham could find out on Wednesday whether they can move to Stratford

At last West Ham could find out on Wednesday whether they can move to Stratford

Another scenario is that West Ham could be awarded the stadium but be unhappy about caveats attached.

A successful end to the debacle hinges on the vote of the London Legacy Development Corporation board, who meet in Stratford under the chairmanship of London mayor Boris Johnson.

The key issue concerns how to meet the estimated 150million cost of converting the stadium to include football, athletics and concerts. West Ham have upped their contribution to 15m, plus 9m a year including rental, merchandising, catering and naming-rights revenue.

They believe that, with fellow tenants Newham Council paying 60m and the Treasury committed to a 38m subsidy, there will be no further call on the public purse.

Golden summer: The stadium hosted the London 2012 Olympic Games

Golden summer: The stadium hosted the London 2012 Olympic Games

They also dispute that the conversion will cost as much as 150m. No tenders are out for the work.

The Treasury said yesterday that they have not been asked for extra funding towards the stadium, which will remain unused until at least 2015 and possibly the 2016-17 football season.

That looks to have ruled out the stadium being a host venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Grand plans: West Ham's Vice-Chairman Karren Brady (R) has said that if the club are chosen, they are determined to create an arena that can be used for athletics, football and the community

Grand plans: West Ham's Vice-Chairman Karren Brady (R) has said that if the club are chosen, they are determined to create an arena that can be used for athletics, football and the community

Celebration: The London 2012 Olympics were an enormous success earlier this year

Celebration: The London 2012 Olympics were an enormous success earlier this year

Leyton Orient, a Formula One consortium and a Burnley-based football business college are the rival bidders.

West Ham were given the stadium in 2011 before legal complaints sunk the deal.

Although a repeat may occur, it is thought the new process will stand up to scrutiny.

Artists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keysArtists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keys

Artists impression of what the Olympic Stadium would look like should West Ham be handed the keys

Kell Brook stops Hector Saldivia inside three rounds

Brook puts on punch perfect display to stop Saldivia and set up world title fight

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UPDATED:

22:39 GMT, 20 October 2012

Kell Brook is one victory away from realising his world title ambitions after a three-round demolition of Hector Saldivia at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.

The 26-year-old dominated his Argentinian opponent in the final eliminator for the IBF welterweight belt for which he will likely challenge in the early part of next year.

Brook had Saldivia on the canvas in the first round and although he recovered, he was unable to do so again when floored in the third.

Domination: Kell Brook takes the fight to Hector Saldivia

Domination: Kell Brook takes the fight to Hector Saldivia

Showing his class: Brook goes to work on Saldivia

Showing his class: Brook goes to work on Saldivia

Saldivia, fighting outside of his homeland for just the fourth time in 44 outings, had put together a run of eight consecutive wins since being stopped by Said Ouali in another eliminator in 2010.

But it was Brook, who just over a year ago was fighting at Hillsbrorough Leisure Centre, who delighted the 7,000-strong boisterous home crowd with a punch-perfect display.

Down you go: Brook knocks down Saldivia

Down you go: Brook knocks down Saldivia

The self-styled 'Special One' almost came unstuck in his last bout with Carson Jones at the same venue in July but vowed to put that performance to bed after overhauling his training regime.

And after a tentative start to the opening round, Brook delivered on his promise almost immediately when a crushing right hand upper cut floored Saldivia. The 28-year-old was on quickly on his feet and managed to see out the remainder of the session.

On the floor: Brook finishes Saldivia with a knock down

On the floor: Brook finishes Saldivia with a knock down

Out for the count: Brook looks on as referee Howard Foster counts out Saldivia

Out for the count: Brook looks on as referee Howard Foster counts out Saldivia

A renowned hard hitter himself, Saldivia looked to catch the judges' attention in the second stanza by unleashing a flurry of blows but he struggled with the pace of Brook who had his opponent pinned to the ropes as he sought out the early finish.

And the home favourite enjoyed just that after just 28 seconds of the next round when a powerful left jab left Saldivia writhing around on the canvas, clearly in no fit state to continue when the referee stepped in.

Brook will now set his sights on the winner of Randall Bailey's title defence against Devon Alexander later on Saturday night.

Celebration time: Brook celebrates his victory with his trainer

Celebration time: Brook celebrates his victory with his trainer

No 1 contender: Brook celebrates with promotor Eddie Hearn

No 1 contender: Brook celebrates with promotor Eddie Hearn

Nick Harris: Grounds for complaint in World Cup venue "cock-up"

Grounds for complaint in World Cup venue 'cock-up'

PUBLISHED:

21:38 GMT, 13 October 2012

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UPDATED:

21:38 GMT, 13 October 2012

Multi-party dispute over where matches
will be played during the 2015 rugby union World Cup (RWC) has become
'an administrative cock-up that will drag on for years' and will 'cause
inevitable disruption to the English football calendar', sources claim.

The RWC organisers, when bidding, had no set plans, let alone agreements, over which venues to use.

Hosting skills: Chris Ashton and England will be hoping home advantage pays off in 2015

Hosting skills: Chris Ashton and England
will be hoping home advantage pays off in 2015

Even now there is merely a 'long list'
of 17 possible venues, announced last Monday, comprising 12 football
club grounds and five other stadiums.

The football arenas belong to Aston
Villa, Brighton, Bristol City, Coventry, Derby, Leeds, Leicester,
Manchester United, MK Dons, Newcastle, Southampton and Sunderland. If
picked, those clubs should earn six-figure sums per game. At least seven
will be used.

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The 'major headache' is that the RWC
need clubs to sign binding contracts in the next few months to make
their grounds available on specific dates between September 18 and the
end of October 2015, when the seven-week, 48-match event will be staged.

But as the Premier League (PL) and
Football League (FL) will not even know which divisions all those clubs
will be playing in before May 2015, guarantees on fixtures are
impossible to give.

Another complication is that PL and FL
rules say football should always have primacy at grounds; and with Sky
and BT paying 3bn for live Premier League rights for three years from
next season, they will not want the RWC effectively calling the shots on
scheduling.

Some major clubs – Arsenal among them – considered and rejected the idea of putting themselves forward to stage games because it would have been 'incredibly complex from an operation point of view' to host rugby in a busy period.

There were also concerns that the pitch could be adversely affected. This did not dissuade the dozen applicants on the list.

'Inevitably, the tournament will go ahead with club grounds as venues,' a source said.

'That will happen because the clubs want it, and the leagues will help it happen for that reason. But will that mean disruption to football fixtures that season Yes.'

A joint PL and FL statement says 'positive' discussions have taken place about the RWC, and 'while we are not in a position to make guarantees at this time', they will work towards 'a satisfactory outcome'.

The RWC organisers have taken flak for long-listing so many non-rugby grounds and omitting Leicester's Welford Road.

But they argue they need big football grounds to cope with demand – and allow more tickets, and cheaper tickets, for fans.

Revealed: Olympic-sized burger binge is the guilty secret from London 2012

New figures obtained by Inside Sport reveal that every competitor and coach at London 2012 ate, on average, more than six McDonald's meals each at one on-site branch alone during the Games.

Some 10,000 athletes and about 5,000 coaches had access to this branch, in the athletes' village, where the fast food was dished out free by the Games sponsor – and 100,000 meals were served to them, or 6.7 each over the 17-day festival of sport.

Fast food: Athletes gobbled hamburgers

Fast food: Athletes gobbled hamburgers

Given that a significant number of competitors spent no time or limited time in the village (because they were in football squads in other cities, or in Weymouth, or non-village accommodation) the average consumption per head who did eat there was even bigger.

McDonald's has faced long-standing and well-documented criticism for promoting what many see as 'junk' food.

That so many athletes consumed it so regularly at the world's biggest sports event is hardly the best legacy message for the Games.

The biggest single day at the branch in question was 13,000 meals on August 5, or the day after 'Super Saturday'.

But the firm has declined to confirm the 100,000 Games total, with a spokeswoman claiming that is 'commercially sensitive' information.

ESPN in turmoil over rights war

The future of the ESPN sports channel in the UK is uncertain now that BT Vision has snatched the rights to live Premier League football and Premiership rugby from next year – and it is understood that further rights are expected to switch from one broadcaster to the other in the near future.

BT has made no secret of wanting a 'portfolio' of rights, especially football, and it is expected it will add several leagues from Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, Holland's Eredevisie and perhaps matches from as far away as Russia.

ESPN currently shows most of these and how viable its UK sports channel remains as a business, with little premium content, remains to be seen.

An ESPN spokesman says: 'We are actively pursuing a range of potential options for our business but we do not discuss private business strategy publicly. We continue to remain focused on our business and the wide range of content and coverage we deliver to fans.'

We must start taking women"s cricket seriously – Laura Williamson

After Twenty20 World Cup we must now start taking women's cricket seriously

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UPDATED:

22:14 GMT, 7 October 2012

In Sri Lanka, which just hosted the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, it apparently costs 62 a day for a man to live but only 37 for a woman.

This isn’t anything to do with the prize money offered by the International Cricket Council, which is far more heavily weighted in favour of the men: 619,000 as opposed to just 37,000.

This is just as it should be, owing to the superior commercial pulling power of the men’s game. Female internationals only swapped long socks and culottes for trousers in 1997, after all. The game is still a work in progress.

Game changer: The decision to play matches on same day and at same venue as the men has helped greatly

Game changer: The decision to play matches on same day and at same venue as the men has helped greatly

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No, this isn’t about prize money. This is the players’ daily living allowance we’re talking about here; something indelibly linked to the value of the players. How much they matter, basically.

The amount is more than enough for generous helpings of curry, coconut sambol and roti in a beautiful country like Sri Lanka, but the deficit implies female cricketers are not as important. They don’t matter.

Time and time again this is the message for females involved in sport, and this is why it hurts.

It rankles particularly when the achievements of England’s women far surpassed their male counterparts in this tournament.

While two men in suits and ties sat a table and talked about ‘reintegration’ last week, England’s Arran Brindle delivered a message to her class of primary school children back in Louth, Lincolnshire, via video link.

Charlotte Edwards’s side then got on with the business of preparing for their semi-final, in which they beat New Zealand by seven wickets.

Genuine success for England on the international stage is the catalyst needed to push women’s football to the next level in this country, yet England’s female cricketers already boast a quite overwhelming record of achievement.

They came up short in the final, losing to Australia by four runs, but it was only the team’s fourth loss in 29 Twenty20 matches they have played this year. This consolation won’t lessen the disappointment, of course, but the 20-over format has been an important vehicle for the women’s game.

Double headers with men’s fixtures have brought in new audiences and a higher level of interest — both at the ground and on television — even if that progress is still gradual.

So close: England's women were beaten finalists in Colombo

So close: England's women were beaten finalists in Colombo

‘We’re not completely dependent on the men’s game any more,’ said England bowler Holly Colvin, 23, speaking to promote Sky Sports’ coverage of the women’s semi-finals and final.

‘It’s getting a lot better: more sixes are being hit, TV coverage is better and the gap between international teams is getting closer. It’s the level of skill that’s getting better, too. We are just as skilful. We might not bowl 90 miles per hour but we are very happy with the standard we play.

‘Lots of people have commented on the improvements in fielding at this tournament. People just need to come down and watch and make up their mind.’

Colvin also insisted ‘everyone was happy’ with the daily allowance because it ‘is more than enough in a country like Sri Lanka and we are happy to get the amount we do’.

Very pragmatic, but it’s not about the pennies and pounds, it’s about what that amount signifies.

After all, England’s women cricketers have shown they are not second-class citizens.

Bowled over: The wonen's game has improved vastly in recent years

Bowled over: The women's game has improved vastly in recent years

… AND THIS IS WHAT I'VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

Watching Charlton against Watford on Tuesday night, when only two outfield players wore predominantly black boots. Just two.

Coloured boots were once seen as flashy; you had to be some player to wear them. Now they’re just the norm. I’m with Martin O’Neill on this one: back to black boots please, boys.

Supporting British swimmers Rebecca Adlington, Joanne Jackson and Ross Davenport on their 380-mile cycle ride across Zambia.

They’re raising vital funds for a charity called Sport in Action, which works to empower young people through sport, but camping and cycling for four days in 35-degree heat will certainly be a challenge. You can sponsor them at www.justgiving.com/zambiacycle.

On your bike: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson chats with Adlington

On your bike: Sportsmail's Laura Williamson chats with Adlington

Pleased that three gold medals in women’s boxing will be available at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after the success of the sport at London 2012.

I found it a challenging experience watching women fight for the first time at the Olympics, but Nicola Adams provided one of the stand-out moments of the Games for me. I’m glad it won’t be a one-off.

WHAT THEY SAID

Dame Tessa Jowell called the Government’s ‘dismantling’ of school sport ‘beyond belief’ this week — a reference to the 162m cut in funding for School Sport Partnerships.

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s response was to invite cricket, tennis, rugby and football administrators to discuss what to do next. That’s right: those well-known Olympic disciplines; the sports that enjoy the highest profiles and kids are most likely to find outside school, anyway.

Anyone would think Mr Gove didn’t have a clue about school sport.

Taking a stand: Jowell described the Government's decision as 'beyond belief'

Taking a stand: Jowell described the Government's decision as 'beyond belief'

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

FA Women’s Super League champions Arsenal Ladies beat Barcelona, the Spanish champions, 4-0 on Thursday to reach the last 16 of the Champions League.

Perhaps even more remarkable was the fact they were already defending a 3-0 lead from the first (away) leg. Not too bad at all, really.