Saturday, 31 August 2013

Sussex win thrilling U17 T20 Title

Sussex, Yorkshire, Warwickshire and Wales were the four teams involved in the first ever national U17 T20 finals played over the last couple of days at Leamington CC.

The format involved all four teams playing each other once and the top two teams competing for the title, and the third and fourth teams playing for the runners-up slots.

The results on the first day were :-

Warwickshire 102/6 (20 overs) v Sussex 103/2 (12 overs) - Sussex won by 7 wickets
Wales 107/8 (20 overs) v Yorkshire 108/6 (?) (14.4 overs) - Yorkshire won by 4 wickets

Sussex 167/3 (20 overs) v Wales 103/9 (20 overs) - Sussex won by 64 runs
Yorkshire 113/8 (20 overs) v Warwickshire 114/8 (19.2 overs) - Warwickshire won by 2 wickets

The results on the second morning were :-

Sussex 85/10 (19.2 overs) v Yorks 86/1 (16.33 overs) - Yorkshire won by 9 wickets
Warwickshire 157/5 (20 overs) v Wales 135/7 (20 overs) - Warwickshire won by 22 runs

This meant that Sussex, Yorkshire and Warwickshire all had two wins to their credit, so it came down to the dreaded Net Run Rate calculation. To make matters worse there was no-one from the ECB at the ground to take charge. Eventually the coaches and the umpires agreed the spreadsheet calculations done by a very helpful soul (OK it was me!). The finalists were Sussex and Yorkshire. Warwickshire would take on Wales for the minor places.

In the final Yorkshire won the toss and decided to bat. Sussex, perhaps galvanized by their first defeat of the season in all formats of the game in the morning's league encounter, came out with more intensity and accuracy with the ball. They struck the important blow of removing Hollie Armitage (24) run out in the sixth over and then with Tanya Wake (3/25) claiming three quick wickets and two more run outs Yorkshire were struggling at 61/6. Katie Thompson (13) and Bea Firth (20) played good percentage cricket and put away the bad balls and took Yorkshire to 100/6 with just two overs to go, but fell trying to up the ante. Yorkshire finished on 107/8. Having bowled Sussex out for 85 in the morning's game they probably felt they had a good chance.

Sussex made a steady start in reply through Izzy Collis (6) and Paige Scholfield (18) who have dominated many opposition attacks this season. Thompson's left arm spin was outstanding as she went for just seven runs off her four overs. Both had gone by the ninth over victims of Armitage's leg-spin and Sussex were behind the pace at 34/2. By the half-way mark skipper Freya Davies (28) and keeper Abbey Freeborn (33) had moved the score onto 47/2. 61 were needed off the last ten overs. Runs were still hard to come by with Yorkshire fielding tightly. By 15 overs they had taken the score to 75/2 and Davies just seemed to have got the measure of the pitch hitting some crisp drives through and over the cover fielders, but she was then run out by another magnificent throw from the deep attempting an unnecessary second. Freeborn held firm as Sussex's middle order sacrificed themselves in search of runs. 13 were needed off the last two overs and then eight from the last, with Freeborn still there, to win.

The first ball was a wide (7 from 6); the second was hit for two by Tanya Wake, but the third bowled her; the fourth was a play and a miss (5 off 3);  the fifth produced just a single (4 off 2); Freeborn was then run out at the bowler's end attempting to run a bye to the keeper (4 off 1 to win, 3 to tie). The final ball was well struck by young Anna Harris towards the extra cover boundary, but Yorkshire had cover there. As the ball was gathered in Sussex were just turning for the second. Unfortunately the keeper could not gather the incoming throw without disturbing the stumps so could not effect the run out. A stump was then removed, but too late. Sussex had two runs and the batsmen were encouraged to continue running. They had nothing to lose. The keeper threw the ball to the bowler's end, where it could not be gathered and Sussex scampered through for the run that would tie the game, which meant Sussex would win by dint of having lost one less wicket (there being no provision in the competition rules for such an occurrence the umpires had made it clear to both sides that this would be the outcome if there was a tie).

But there were muted celebrations on the Sussex sidelines as chaos ensued in the middle amidst a mass of players, umpires, stumps and bails.

How about a game of football?
Eventually the right call was made and Sussex were given the three runs scored and declared winners. Full credit must go to the Yorkshire girls who were magnificent in defeat, especially under such tense circumstances. It was a credit to the game that both sides were laughing and joking with each other in the middle as the umpires, coaches and scorers deliberated the final result. Apparently the girls were proposing to settle the game with a football match, but decided they were actually all too tired.

The overall standard of bowling and fielding in the competition had been excellent. Yorkshire's fielding in their morning game against Sussex had been outstanding, including four run outs. Batsmen were made to work really hard for their runs and the girls will have learned a lot about the mental side of the game, which will stand them in good stead in seasons to come. This is an important competition and deserves greater ECB resources in season's to come.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

England One Step Away!

England moved just one win away from reclaiming the Ashes from the Aussies with an emphatic 15 run victory in the first of the T20Is at a packed Chelmsford.

It was a great night for England and indeed for women's cricket, as a stand-alone women's T20 produced a great crowd and a great atmosphere.

England owed a great deal again to the classy Sarah Taylor (77 off 57 balls), who eschewed the leg-side heave and played beautifully in the V, even to the hip-high full tosses that the Aussies occasionally delivered. Her batting partner for the majority of the innings was the more frenetic and agricultural Danni Wyatt (28 off 40 balls) as they amassed 88 for the third wicket, after the early demise of Charlotte Edwards (17) and Heather Knight (18) - brilliantly caught one-handed by a back-pedalling Jess Cameron at mid-on. Taylor never looked in any difficulty, although even she found boundaries hard to come by. But with Wyatt scampering twos they got England to 126/3 early in the 17th over before Wyatt was run out, looking for a single that was not there. 150 looked like a decent score and England pulled up just short at 146/4 as Taylor was out to the last ball of the innings for what would turn out to be a match-winning innings. Erin Osborne was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 1/22 off her 4 overs.

England needed to restrict the Aussies early on and when Anya Shrubsole limped off with what looked like a groin injury after just one over England might have had a few concerns, but a maiden over from Dani Hazell in the powerplay and then three quick wickets of Lanning, Healy and Fields to Brindle (run out), Brunt and Gunn and the Aussies were well and truly behind the 8 ball. In truth they never looked like getting back in the game as England kept the run rate down, and despite scoring 15 off the penultimate over, they still needed 25 off the last over, entrusted to Nat Sciver. They could manage only 8 and England had one hand on the Ashes trophy. They could pick it up at the Ageas Bowl on Thursday or at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

Either way England will not mind. For the second game in a row Sarah Taylor was named Player of the Match. England will be hoping she has one more match winning performance in her before this series ends.


Monday, 26 August 2013

England claim ODIs and Ashes lead

England wrapped up a good couple of days at Hove with a second ODI victory on Sunday to go with Friday's first. It means they now lead the ODI series 6-4 with the three T20s next week each counting for 2 points. To win the Ashes back England will need to win at least two of those T20s. A tied series will mean that the Ashes remain with the Aussies, who currently hold them.

After overnight and early morning rain, the match was reduced to a 36 over contest, eventually getting underway under sunny skies at 2pm. Australia brought in Alyssa Healey for the out of form Haynes and surprisingly Julie Hunter for Holly Ferling. England brought in Dani Hazell to replace Laura Marsh, who had a sore shoulder - whether this was the same shoulder that she had operated on in the winter was never clarified.

The Aussies won the toss and elected to bat, but got away to yet another horrible start when Healey was caught by Dani Hazell at square leg, clipping Anya Shrubsole's third ball straight to her. Had Hazell clung on to a similar chance off Meg Lanning (64) in Shrubsole's third over it could have been even worse. As it was Lanning and Jess Cameron (28) saw off the new ball and started to build nicely, with Cameron the main aggressor. It was a surprise when she was neatly stumped by Sarah Taylor off Hazell in the 14th over of the innings with the score on 53. With skipper Jodie Fields now in support Lanning took over the aggressor's role hitting both Hazell and Holly Colvin out of the England attack. She brought up her 50 off 55 balls and had just dispatched Katherine Brunt for an exquisite four over extra cover, when Colvin returned at the Cromwell Road End. This was make or break for England, and thanks to a an ill-advised missed reverse sweep by Lanning it was the former as the ball struck her leg stump. Ellyse Perry was promoted to five and when Sarah Taylor spotted Field's attempt at a reverse sweep at Hazell and dived high and wide to her right to pouch a stunning one-handed catch England again had the game under control.

That was until the 30th over. 180 had looked like a realistic score, but 11,12 and 13 off the 30th, 31st and 32nd overs raised the bar and Perry (45*) and Blackwell (35*) took Australia to a challenging 203/4 at the close.

England came out with positive intent through Charlotte Edwards and Heather Knight (69), and despite Edward's dismissal in the third over to a sharp catch by Blackwell at short extra cover, continued in that vein with Sarah Taylor (64) joining Knight at the crease. Knight looked in great touch from her first ball, and Taylor grew in confidence after some early nerves. In a 126 run partnership in 18 overs both reached their 50s in even time almost the same number of balls and England were cruising to victory. But both fell to horrendous deliveries - Knight slapped a waist-high full toss to mid-off and Taylor dragged a wide half-volley onto her stumps - and England supporters' nerves in the good-sized Hove crowd began to jangle. The Aussies put the squeeze on Lydia Greenway (18) and Arran Brindle (11) and were rewarded when Brindle was run out by a direct hit from Perry at midwicket. England still needed 38 from nine overs. But it was the incoming Nat Sciver (18*) that looked the calmest person in Hove. She cut and tickled the ball for singles and inspired Greenway with her confidence. Nine off the 32nd over from Sarah Coyte effectively sealed the England win, and having hit Osborne for 4 over the top Greenway tried to end the game with a 6, but only succeeded in holing out at mid-on. A wide from Perry in the next over ended the contest and summed up a rather depressing day for the Aussies.

And so to the T20s next week in Chelmsford (Tues), Southampton (Thurs) and Durham (Sat). England are in a great place. They have dominated the last two games. They missed Marsh in this ODI and they will hope she is fit for next week. They do have one dilemma however in that Heather Knight was not named as a member of the T20 squad. It may be that England were going to open the T20s with Laura Marsh and Charlotte Edwards. Surely those plans need to be put aside and Knight has to get the job. She is in sublime form and her confidence with the bat has rubbed off on those around her.

As for the Aussies they seem to be lacking in self-belief (unbelievably for Aussies). Perry and Ferling have been ineffective with the ball and Schutt and Hunter do not seem to pose too much of a threat. England also seem to have come to terms with spinners Osborne and Jonassen after initially struggling. On the flip side Brunt and Shrubsole have generally got England off to a good start with the ball which has put the Aussies on the back foot.

But T20 games can all revolve around one person - with bat or ball. The question is which side will they be playing for?


Saturday, 24 August 2013

England Level Ashes Series

England wrapped up a comfortable 51 run win over Australia at Hove in the second of three ODIs to bring the Ashes score back to parity at 4-4 with another 8 points to play for in the series. [full scorecard here -]

England brought in Nat Sciver to the starting 11 in place of Tammy Beaumont and moved Heather Knight to the opener's spot that she should really have had in the first ODI. Like Sarah Taylor she is a natural timer of the ball and she gets the innings off to a positive start and seems like a natural foil to the ever-reliable Charlotte Edwards.

So far in this series Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole have outbowled their Aussie counterparts - Ellyse Perry and Holly Ferling (in fact Ferling has been used very sparingly with Megan Schutt the preferred partner for Perry). They have made early inroads into the Aussie batting, which has then been tentative. In the first ODI the English batsmen could not capitalise on the good work done by the bowlers. In this one the batsmen all fired and set up the game for the bowlers to finish the Aussies off. England must go into tomorrow's third ODI full of confidence after a clinical performance. What a difference one game can make?

England will undoubtedly keep the same team, unless there are any injuries we do not know about. But what will the Aussies do? Rachael Haynes is in a miserable run - she has scored 10, 23, 0 and 0 so far this tour. It would not surprise me to see Alyssa Healey take her place. Batting Ellyse Perry at 6 also seems a trifle optimistic to me. She does hit the ball well, but is prone to rash shots, particularly if tied down. If the Aussies want to extend their batting line-up then Ellyse Villani is probably their only real option if Haynes is dropped. This would mean one of the bowlers would have to give way and I think this might be Ferling. It will be interesting to see the make-up of the Aussie team tomorrow.

All we need now is for the rain to go away. I'm expecting a decent crowd at Hove and a great atmosphere.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Second ODI - any changes?

Tomorrow (Friday) England will play the Aussies in the second of the three ODIs in the Ashes Series. After Lords they find themselves 4-2 down, with a potential 10 more points to play for.

England will be bitterly disappointed with the Lord's loss. They had done well to restrict a tentative Australia to just 203/8 in their 50 overs, with Katherine Brunt (3/29) and Laura Marsh (2/27) the pick of the bowlers. It was with the bat again that England struggled with the exception of skipper Charlotte Edwards (61). Arran Brindle was becalmed at the crease; Sarah Taylor scored another nice twenty-something; Lydia Greenway looked a little lost; Heather Knight probably should have opened; and Tammy Beaumont has only scored 183 runs in 18 ODIs with a top score of 44.

To make matters worse Ellyse Perry was having an off-day and it was the loopy spin of Erin Osborne (3/39) and Jess Jonassen (4/38) which accounted for England, together with two unnecessary run-outs. Jonassen's selection had been somewhat of a surprise, but it seems the Aussies had done their homework and that pace off the ball was what was needed. Perry and Holly Ferling only bowled 10 overs between them.

So what can we expect at Hove tomorrow? It is generally a good batting wicket and the outfield will be quick, despite the rain that we have had in the last 24 hours. I doubt the Aussies will change a winning side, which gives England a chance. They did not look unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination. As for England I hope they promote Heather Knight to open, or bring in Lauren Winfield and tell her to bat in her normal positive style. The England batsmen seem to lack confidence in their own ability at the moment and there is little that can be done about that, apart from getting out in the middle and scoring runs - that is easier said than done. Someone other than Charlotte Edwards needs to get in and bat at a decent tempo. England have the skills, but 90% of cricket is played in the mind. I hope they adopt a positive rather than a cautious approach. It will be a long way back for England if they go 6-2 down in the series.


Monday, 19 August 2013

England v Australia - ODI Preview

Tomorrow England will take on Australia at Lords in the first of the three Ashes ODIs. Six Ashes Points will be up for grabs. Just to recap the teams are level on 2 points each after the drawn Test at Wormsley last week.

The 50 over format is more familiar ground for each of the teams, neither of whom play any multi-day cricket apart from the Test Match against each other every couple of years. England will be back in their red strip and the Aussies in their green and gold. Both have had a recent run out and I was at the Australia v England Academy game at Wellington College on Saturday. In a rain-affected match the Aussies won comfortably having scored 303/6 in their 50 overs with three other batsmen retiring. Alyssa Healey opened with Meg Lanning. Healey looked in good touch and will have enhanced her chances of playing tomorrow. Lanning was not quite so comfortable to start and was missed twice by the Academy, before she became more fluent and hit some cracking fours over extra cover off the slow left-armer Rebecca Grundy. The other batsmen that stood out was Ellyse Perry, who hit the ball very cleanly and with a perfectly straight bat. England need to be wary of her with willow in hand, as well as ball. Jess Cameron surprisingly looked out of touch and could not get her timing going.

All the Aussies bowled pretty well - Perry, Schutt, Hunter, Ferling, Coyte and Osborne but none of them looked unplayable on a decent wicket. For the Academy only Danni Wyatt (39) was able to make a decent contribution. Amy Jones flattered to deceive at the top of the order, after an ordinary day behind the stumps, and Jess Watson hit a battling 29.

In between fielding stints the Aussies worked on fielding one-to-one with their fielding coach and did various sprint tests. After the game they also stayed on to do more work. No-one can doubt their work ethic.

England are likely to field a pretty similar side to the Test team with Holly Colvin coming in for Danni Hazell and possibly Nat Sciver coming in for Arran Brindle or Jenny Gunn. England may also look at giving Lauren Winfield a go instead of Tammy Beaumont, possibly to open with Test heroine Heather Knight.

England will have their work cut out against the World Champions, who must start as favourites, but they do not look unbeatable by any stretch of the imagination. England need their top five to all contribute and possibly have the stronger overall bowling attack. I think they might just sneak it.

The game is not being televised, but you can watch a live stream on the ECB website ( and on their YouTube channel (, if you cannot get along to Lords. Unfortunately I cannot be there myself, nor at Hove on Friday, but I will be listening to Charles Dagnall and Co on TMS. I will be back tweeting and blogging from Hove for the final ODI on Sunday.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ashes Test - Post Match Thoughts

The morning after the four days before and it seems appropriate to look back on the Women's Ashes Test before I forget what I saw and before the one day stuff starts next Tuesday at Lords.

It was a good Test Match, played on a very docile pitch and from the end of Day One, when the Aussies were 243/3 it looked inevitable that it was going to be a draw. Sarah Elliott (104) duly completed her century at the beginning of Day Two and when Australia finally declared 25 minutes before lunch on the second day on 331/6 it was up to England not to cock it up. As Jenny Gunn trudged back to the clubhouse just after tea and the scoreboard read 113/6 they were not making a very good job of it.

Fortunately for England Heather Knight, who had been in great form for Berkshire all year, showed just how to play on a slow pitch. She timed the ball exquisitely off her legs and through the covers and never really looked in any danger of getting out until she misjudged a run on a misfield and stranded herself in the middle of the wicket. But by this time she had scored 157 and England had moved on to 269. It was a record 7th wicket partnership for England of 156. Knight's ally at the other end was the obdurate Laura Marsh. Of the 156 she made just 35 and it was not until her 225th ball that she struck a boundary - it mattered not a jot. She was doing exactly what her room-mate and captain, Charlotte Edwards, wanted her to do - occupy the crease. The draw now looked nailed on.

Eventually just after tea on Day Three Marsh missed her 304th ball and was bowled for 55. It was the slowest 50 in women's Test cricket, but that is a record of which Boggie should be proud. She batted for 17 minutes short of 6 hours. It was a great feat of endurance, concentration and stamina. England were bowled out shortly after for 314. The Aussies had a lead of just 17. By the end of the day they had moved onto 64/1 - a lead of 81. Speculation was rife as to when they would declare on Day Four. In a post Day Three interview Alex Blackwell indicated they would be positive and the Aussies were going for the win.

Day Four saw a cautious start from the Aussies and a fired up one from England. Meg Lanning and Jess Cameron then showed some positive intent, but England's fielding was sharp, with Lydia Greenway's run out of first innings centurion Sarah Elliott, the icing on the cake. The Aussies were soon four down with only 108 on the board and their charge had been halted. Blackwell having promised to be positive in fact scored just 22 off 92 balls before she fell just before lunch. With their score at 153/5 at lunch (they had added just 89 in 34 overs) the game was already beginning to peter out. They did make one final gesture towards positivity as they hit 31 off the last three overs before they declared on 231/5, leaving England to score 249 off 45 overs.

It was never going to be of any great interest to England. With 6 points for this one match out of a total of 18 throughout the whole series, neither side could afford to lose. Australia had probably declared 10 overs later than they would have liked and had scored about 50 runs more than England would have been willing to chase. England lost Knight, run out for a second time in the match, and Brindle, but Sarah Taylor (38*) and Charlotte Edwards (23*) (who was obviously very miffed to have missed out on the runs in the first innings) saw England to a comfortable draw.

Heather Knight was rightly named Player of the Match, but one would hope she shared her magnum of Veuve Clicquot with Laura Marsh, Anya Shrubsole and Katherine Brunt. The latter two toiled away on a dead track with commendable accuracy and gumption. Shrubsole got through 47 overs and Brunt 38. It was a sterling effort from both quicks.

Both teams will hope that the rest of the pitches in this series have more life in them than the Wormsley pitch. It was a great setting and the crowds were excellent (over 2000 on the First Day), but the pitch was lifeless. This may suit the corporate matches that it is most frequently used for, but it was not conducive to entertaining Test cricket. In the circumstances both teams did well to make the game as good as it was.

The teams now prepare for three ODIs and three T20 which will decide the destination of the Ashes. One team needs to win four of the six games, assuming they are all played. Ideally the marketing men would like it to go down to the last T20 in Durham on August 31. Let's just hope the weather does not intervene.

As for the future of the Ashes Points Series - it does seem the way forward, but 6 points was always too much for one game. I understand the concept of 6 points for each format, although I personally do not think the T20s merit the same status and I would reduce these to 1 point each. I would suggest two Tests in future for 3 points each, one at the beginning of the series and one in between the shorter games somewhere. The girls want to play Test cricket and Wormsley has proved that the public will support it. CA and ECB let them have it.


Monday, 12 August 2013

Ashes Test Match Reports

For blog updates throughout each day of the Test Match click on the "Ashes Test" link above.

For twitter updates follow me on twitter @wmnscricketblog.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013

England's Ashes Squads

From the 18 players originally named in the Ashes Squad England have selected three separate squads of 14 for the Ashes Series, which starts on Sunday with the only Test Match. The three squads include 17 of the original 18 players - only Amy Jones misses out on inclusion in any of the squads.

England left-arm stalwart Holly Colvin has not been selected in the Test squad. She was probably England's most consistent bowler at the recent World Cup and one can only summise that she has not yet recovered fully from her recent broken thumb. She is however named in the ODI and T20 squads.

Katherine Brunt and Laura Marsh are named in all three squads, despite having played very little cricket this season due to injury and recovery from surgery respectively. Hopefully they have proved their fitness for what will be a gruelling series games over a short space of time.

Newcomer and all-rounder Nat Sciver is included in both the Test and the T20 squad, while fellow debutant this year, Lauren Winfield, gets the nod in the Test and ODI squads. Her recent innings of 76 against the Aussies for England A in their two day warm-up match will have re-emphasised her claims to a place in one or both teams. And young left-arm pace bowler Tash Farrant is named in the T20 squad after proving her abilities in her debut games this summer against Pakistan.

Danni Wyatt misses out on the ODI squad and is replaced by Georgia Elwiss.

Australia have started their tour with a win over England A racking up 340, with an ominous century for the gifted Meg Lanning. Ellyse Perry claimed three wickets and Holly Ferling two and spinner Jess Jonassen helped herself to 4/18 as England were bowled out for 224.

England Women - Ashes Test squad
Charlotte Edwards (Kent) (Captain)
Tammy Beaumont (Kent)
Arran Brindle (Sussex)
Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire)
Lydia Greenway (Kent)
Jenny Gunn (Nottinghamshire)
Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire)
Heather Knight (Berkshire)
Laura Marsh (Kent)
Natalie Sciver (Surrey)
Anya Shrubsole (Somerset)
Sarah Taylor (Sussex)
Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire)
Danielle Wyatt (Nottinghamshire)

England Women - Ashes ODI squad
Charlotte Edwards (Kent) (Captain)
Tammy Beaumont (Kent)
Arran Brindle (Sussex)
Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire)
Holly Colvin (Sussex)
Georgia Elwiss (Sussex)
Lydia Greenway (Kent)
Jenny Gunn (Nottinghamshire)
Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire)
Heather Knight (Berkshire)
Laura Marsh (Kent)
Anya Shrubsole (Somerset)
Sarah Taylor (Sussex)
Lauren Winfield (Yorkshire)

England Women - Ashes T20I squad
Charlotte Edwards (Kent) (Captain)
Tammy Beaumont (Kent)
Arran Brindle (Sussex)
Katherine Brunt (Yorkshire)
Holly Colvin (Sussex)
Natasha Farrant (Kent)
Lydia Greenway (Kent)
Jenny Gunn (Nottinghamshire)
Danielle Hazell (Yorkshire)
Laura Marsh (Kent)
Natalie Sciver (Surrey)
Anya Shrubsole (Somerset)
Sarah Taylor (Sussex)
Danielle Wyatt (Nottinghamshire)


Monday, 5 August 2013

Countdown to Women's Ashes Series

As England men manage to retain the Ashes at a rather soggy Old Trafford the women are warming up for their own Ashes series (one Test, three ODIs and three T20s), which starts with the Test Match at Wormsley CC on Sunday (11th August). I will be there and tweeting and blogging live from the ground if you cannot get there yourselves. Better still get yourself a ticket and come along (

The Aussie girls have landed and are due to play a two day warm-up game against England A starting today (subject to the vagaries of the English summer weather). They have very recently added left-arm pace bowler Gemma Triscari to their squad - apparently this is "so that we have adequate cover for our pace bowlers". Ellyse Perry is coming back from remedial ankle surgery, and her recovery was prolonged by an infection. Will she be fit enough to play in a four day Test Match?

England too have fitness concerns, particularly with their fast bowlers - Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole. Both have been named in the 18 player squad for the Ashes series (due to be trimmed to 15 for each format sometime this week) and England would dearly love them to play and spearhead the England attack. They looked a potent combination in the World Cup in February, but Brunt has hardly played since, and Shrubsole has struggled to retain her fitness throughout the domestic season. It will be a brave call to throw them both into a four day game. Fortunately it seems that Sarah Taylor, Holly Colvin and Laura Marsh are all now fit and available for selection. If all 18 are fit then this would be my 11 :-

1. Edwards
2. Knight
3. Taylor
4. Brindle
5. Greenway
6. Elwiss
7. Marsh
8. Wyatt
9. Colvin
10. Brunt (if not fit Sciver)
11. Shrubsole

Heather Knight has had a great season at Berkshire. She is the leading run scorer in Division One with 604 runs in eight innings at an average of 100.67. Not only has she hit two centuries, but she has consistently scored runs in every innings - form which she has carried on into the shorter format of the game in the recent T20 qualifying competition. England need to find a long-term opener to bat with Charlotte Edwards and I think Knight deserves the chance to see if she can perform in this role at the highest level.

The other controversial pick is Georgia Elwiss in place of Jenny Gunn. Elwiss has been selected in the past as a medium/fast bowler, and she can certainly do a job in this role, but this year she has been opening the batting for Sussex and has proved her worth with the bat with a hundred and two fifties in five County Championship innings. I think she fits nicely as the new England all-rounder.

But all this is mere speculation. All will be revealed next Sunday morning as Charlotte Edwards and Jodie Fields shake hands at the toss, having handed the umpires their starting line-ups. It will be a great occasion. One can only hope that it is a both a cricketing and a commercial success, so that the next time the Aussies are here we get a three match Test Series, broadcast on television at grounds such as Hove, Taunton and Wormsley. That really would be an Ashes Series - a test of skill, endurance, fitness and cricketing nous.


Thursday, 1 August 2013

Women's Cricket Diary

Women's Cricket coming up in August and September, as far I can ascertain at the moment.

If you know of any more games/details, or if these are incorrect please let me know. Email

11-14 August - England v Australia - Test Match - Wormsley CC

19-23 August - U19 England Women Development Programme Week (Junior Super 4s as was) - Wellington College

19 August - U15 T20 semi-finals at Leamington CC

20 August - England v Australia ODI - Lords

20 August - U15 T20 Final at Leamington CC

22 August - U15 County Championship semi-final at Wokingham CC

23 August - England v Australia ODI - Hove

23 August - U15 County Championship Final at Wokingham CC

25 August - England v Australia ODI Hove

27 August - England v Australia - T20 - Chelmsford

29 August - England v Austrlia - T20 - Southampton

29 August - U17 T20 semi-finals - Leamington CC

30 August - U17 T20 final - Leamington CC

31 August - England v Australia - T20 - Chester-le-Street

1 September - Women's County Championship Div 1 relegation and Div 2 promotion/relegation play-off games - Essex v Surrey; Lancashire v Somerset; Devon v Durham (?)

7 September - Senior T20 Finals - Sussex, Notts, Berkshire and Kent (I think)

15 September - Women's County Championship Division 1 Play-Off - Sussex v Yorkshire at Campbell Park Milton Keynes - 11am start

21September - U17 County Championship semi-final at Leamington CC

21 September - U13 County Championship semi-finals at tbc

22 September - U17 County Championship Final at Leamington CC

22 September - U13 County Championship Final at tbc