Monday, 30 June 2014

Kent & Lancs march on - WCC Week 5 Review


Kent and Lancashire maintained their unbeaten status and their vice-like grip at the top of Divisions 1 and 2 respectively, with just a couple of matches to go. Sussex were unexpectedly beaten by Surrey in Div 1 and Devon and Somerset seem to be vying for the play-off spot in Div 2 behind Lancs.

Division 1 - Results
Berkshire 174/5 v Middlesex 173/10 - Berks won by 5 wickets
Essex 183/8 v Yorkshire 184/9 - Yorkshire won by 1 wicket
Surrey 102/5 v Sussex 101/10 - Surrey won by 5 wickets
Kent 143/1 v Notts 142/9 - Kent won by 9 wickets

Kent have one hand very firmly on the 2014 Women's County Championship trophy after another comprehensive win, this time over rivals Notts. Notts were invited to bat first by Kent and had made steady progress to 119/3, but they had lost both Danni Wyatt (0) and Jenny Gunn (10), the mainstays of the Notts' batting this season. Opener Olivia Thornton (56) battled hard, but when she was out with the score at 119 the Notts' innings collapsed to 142 all out. Charlotte Pape lapped up 4/24 for Kent. It was never going to be enough, although there was a brief glimmer of hope when Megan Schutt had Charlotte Edwards caught behind for 11 with the score at 31/1, but it was to be Notts' only success as the in-form Tammy Beaumont hit an unbeaten 92 to steer Kent to another win with full bonus points. They have Berkshire and Surrey to play, plus the cancelled Essex game.

Surrey inflicted defeat on a lack-lustre Sussex side on the rebound from defeat to Kent last week. It was a low-calibre game on a low-calibre wicket at a low-calibre ground with low-calibre umpires. Rain had got under the covers on a poor wicket and the start was delayed by 2 hours. The umpires, who clearly had other things they needed to do that day, decided this warranted reducing the match to 35 overs per team, despite the fact that the regulations indicated that a 45 over game should have been played. Surrey, perhaps a little short on bowlers, were very happy to have a 35 over game. As it was Sussex failed to last 34 overs as they were bowled out for 101 with Alexia Walker top-scoring with 21. It was a tricky track but it was not that bad. Veteran Sarah Clarke took 3/9. Surrey were never really under any great run pressure, although the wicket of Nat Sciver (18) opened up a brief window for Sussex, but Susie Rowe (27) manufactured a few shots to lead her side to victory.

Middlesex will be cursing the fact that Berkshire's Heather Knight decided to play her best knock of the season so far against them, effectively taking them to a significant second victory of the season and ease their relegation play-off worries a little. Middlesex batted first, but did not capitalise on a decent start by Tash Miles (41) and Helen Stolle (29), which took them to 83 without loss. After they both fell it was a regular procession of batsmen which left Middlesex on 173 all out in exactly 50 overs. Fi Morris took 3/17. In reply Heather Knight made a tentative start as she lost Rogers, MacLeod and Hall in quick succession to leave Berkshire in a hole at 36/3, but she and Amanda Potgeiter (38), steadily rebuilt the innings. Potgeiter fell with the score at 120, but Knight continued and with the generous assistance of 35 wides, saw her side home with more than six overs to spare.

Essex produced a much better performance at Garron Park against Yorkshire, but it was not quite enough to pull off the win. Having elected to bat Essex put 183/8 on the board thanks to several double figure contributions, including 40 from Maddy Villiers and 35 from Hannah Phelps. Dani Hazell claimed 3/11 off her 10 overs. In reply Yorkshire had good early order contributions from Jess Watson (41) and Dani Hazell (23), but when they went they left it to Kathryn Doherty (55*) to try and steer the holed Yorkshire ship home. Numbers 5-11 contributed only 27 runs between them, but Aimee Simms did survive for 30 balls for her 8, allowing Doherty to accumulate enough runs to secure victory with the last two at the crease. Essex have Middlesex (who have also won only one game this season) and Kent left to play, and Warwickshire, who are just above them in the table, have Yorkshire and Berkshire.

Division 2 - Results
Worcestershire 151/6 v Ireland 256/6 - Ireland won by 105 runs
Cheshire 172/9 v  Devon 174/6 - Devon won by 4 wickets
Somerset 228/2 v Staffordshire 147/10 - Somerset won by 81 runs
Lancashire 167/8 v Wales 104/10 - Lancs won by 63 runs

were probably a little disappointed to have been kept down to 167/8 in their 50 overs against Wales, but ultimately it proved to be plenty. The Lancs' innings was built around three decent scores - Emma Lamb (36), Kate Cross (35), and Laura Marshall (29) with some decent late-order support. The Welsh bowlers shared the wickets around amongst themselves. Having reached 53/1 the Welsh innings imploded as Nalisha Patel 4/25 and Hannah Jones 3/17 skittled Wales out for 104. Lancs just have Staffs left to play on the last day of the regular season (27th July) and barring a catastrophe should finish the season as champions.

Devon kept up their chances of Div 1 cricket next year (assuming the league format stays as it is, which is apparently not a given) with a comfortable win over Cheshire. Cheshire had managed to put 172/9 on the board aided by 35 wides bowled by Devon and 43 from opener Jennifer Dunn. Rebecca Donahue claimed 3/28 for Devon. Devon were cruising in reply at 141/2 thanks to Hazelle Garton (55) and Alli Kelly (51), but 141/2 became 151/6, as Garton and Kelly fell with Dibble and Hannah, but O'Keefe and Jones saw Devon over the line. Devon have Ireland, Durham and Wales to play.

Somerset won a key match against fellow promotion hopefuls Staffs, to keep the pressure up on Devon just above them in the league. Somerset put 228/2 on the board with all of the top four contributing - Wilson (71), Luff (69), Le Marchand (38), and Anya Shrubsole (30). It was too much for Staffs who never really recovered from a poor start losing three wickets for 31 runs. Kate Broadmore (35) and Francesca James (26) led a decent middle-order effort, but when four wickets fell with the score on 97 the game was up, despite a dogged 27 not out from number 9 Kathryn Whyle. She dragged the game into the 49th over before she lost her final partner with the score on 147.

Ireland moved above Staffs with a comprehensive win over Worcestershire. Ireland were inserted by their hosts and all the batsmen got into double figures, with Cecilia Joyce (62) and Laura Delany (44) the chief run scorers. In reply opener Naomi Heywood batted the entire innings for 70*, with Clare Boycott also contributing 41, but Worcestershire ended up 105 runs adrift with four wickets still in hand, and, with just one win to their credit, are hovering just above Durham at the bottom of the division.


Friday, 27 June 2014

Women's County Championship Week 5 - Preview

It is only the end of June but we are already getting to the nitty gritty end of the Women's County Championship. This weekend serves up some more tasty encounters. In Division 1 another win by Kent might just seal the County Championship for them, and in Division 2 promotion hopefuls Somerset and Staffs clash. Around 500 people watched the Sussex v Kent game last week. It would be good to see similar crowds at all the games this week. 

Division 1
Berkshire v Middlesex at Wokingham CC
Essex v Yorkshire at Garon Park
Surrey v Sussex at Imber Court
Kent v Notts at Nevill Ground, Tunbridge Wells

Kent, fresh from their convincing win over Sussex last week, meet Notts, who just managed to hold on against Middlesex in their last fixture. Notts are still right up there at the top of the league (they will be kicking themselves that they lost to Berkshire by one run in their opening game of the season) and can afford to chuck everything they have at Kent. Charlotte Edwards is in imperious form (three hundreds in four games so far) but if they can catch her on an off day, then the Kent nerves may jangle. Danni Wyatt and Jenny Gunn have been the mainstay of the Notts batting and they will again be key.

Sussex travel to Surrey, who had last week off. Surrey started their season well with wins over Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Essex, but slipped up against Middlesex a couple of weeks back. Sussex will be keen to keep the pressure up on Kent at the top and take advantage of any slight mistake they may make, so they must go for the win. Surrey have won their games with team efforts, rather than individual brilliance. Only one Surrey batsmen has so far got past 50, and the wickets have generally been shared around. Sussex will hope to impose themselves on this game and take full points from it.

Since their opening win of the season at Notts, Berkshire have struggled, losing to both Essex and Yorkshire. This game against Middlesex is one they must be looking to win. Defeat would put them into the relegation mix with some tough games to comes - including Kent, Sussex and Surrey. The same can be said of Middlesex, who have also won only one game, although they probably should have beaten Notts last week. They will hope nerves don't get the better of them this week and that Heather Knight's poor run of form continues. I think the Middlesex Meatballs will come away with the win.

Finally Essex entertain Yorkshire. Essex's hopes of reviving their season must have been high after they defeated Berkshire two week's ago, but they came crashing back down to earth when they were bowled out for 49 last week by Warwickshire, who won by the small margin of 311 runs. Yorkshire won their first game of the season against Berkshire last week and should add to Essex's woes by inflicting another defeat on them.

Division 2
Worcestershire v Ireland at Stourbridge CC
Cheshire v Devon at Barnton CC
Somerset v Staffordshire at Nailsea CC
Lancashire v Wales at Sutton CC

Lancashire can cement their position at the top of Division 2 when they take on Wales at Sutton CC in their penultimate game of the season. After this week they will only have Staffordshire left to play and promotion to Division 1 is agonizingly close for them. Wales will be no pushover, but Lancs are likely to prove to be too strong for them.

With Lancs seemingly away at the top of the division, there are a number of teams jostling for the runners-up spot and a tilt at Division 1 status via the play-offs. Devon currently hold second spot, after defeat to Lancashire last week. They have the long journey to Cheshire, who are one of the three teams trying desperately to stave off relegation (along with Durham and Worcestershire). Devon have the players to win this game, but it might be tighter than they would like.

Somerset have recovered from a poor start to the season and have fought their way back into contention for the runners-up spot, but they find themselves against Staffordshire, who have exactly the same points tally as they do from the same number of games. The team that loses can probably wave goodbye to any chance of promotion, so this is the weekend's big clash. So far this season Anya Shrubsole has not bowled a ball for her county. Might she do so this weekend? Somerset have potentially the better batting line-up, but they have not always performed this season. Home advantage might just swing it their way and keep their promotion hopes alive.

Ireland are not out of the runners-up equation either. They are just four points behind Somerset and Staffs and they travel to Worcestershire. The Irish girls did not play last week, but they had hit some form in their game the previous week against Wales, and if their batsmen can back up what their bowlers do then a win should be on the cards for them, leaving the clash between Durham and Worcestershire in mid-July as a huge game.


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Women's County Championship - Week Four Round Up

A potentially decisive weekend in both top divisions with important wins for Kent and Lancashire at the top of their respective leagues, defeat for Essex at the bottom of Division 1 and a first win for Durham at the bottom of Division 2.

Division 1

Kent 299/3 beat Sussex 217 all out by 82 runs
Notts 194/6 beat Middlesex 192 all out by 2 runs
Warwickshire 360/6 beat Essex 49 all out by 311 runs
Yorkshire 251/9 beat Berkshire 202 all out by 49 runs

Sussex will be ruing inviting Kent, with a top four batting line-up who all play for England, to come and play them on one of the best batting tracks in England at Arundel Castle. A good crowd of a couple of hundred saw Kent rack up 299/3 with Charlotte Edwards (151) and Tammy Beaumont (107) enjoying an opening partnership of 253. Sussex missed playing, but injured, Sarah Taylor behind the stumps (both openers were dropped); playing but injured Geogia Elwiss's bowling and Arran Brindle, absent for family reasons. In reply Sussex were going well after the early loss of Georgia Adams (4), with Elwiss (92) and Taylor (56) taking the score to 140/1 in the 26th over, before Taylor clipped a Megan Belt full-toss straight to Lydia Greenway at midwicket. A great deal now rested on Elwiss with Sussex fielding a very young middle order line-up. She and Izzy Collis (19) took the score to 187 at drinks at 34 overs. But first ball after drinks Laura Marsh claimed the vital wicket of Elwiss, given out lbw, and from there the Sussex innings subsided to 217 all out. New Zealand import Erin Birmingham claimed 4/28.

Notts just managed to cling on to beat Middlesex in a thriller at Welbeck CC. Notts had been restricted to 194/6 in their 50 overs with Jenny Gunn (57) and Danni Wyatt (49) again in the runs. Danni Warren (2/18) was the pick of the bowlers. In response Middlesex lost opener Helen Stolle to the second ball of the innings, but thereafter the top order accumulated runs nicely - Catherine Dalton (48), Tash Miles (42) and Emma Inglis (41) - and Middlesex seemed to be cruising to victory. But four wickets from Wyatt (4/41) saw Middlesex needing 12 from the last three overs with two wickets in hand. A run out left them needing six from the last and Amy Gauvrit won it for Notts with a wicket from the penultimate ball.

Yorkshire picked up their first win of the season against a Berkshire team that are slipping down the league table after successive defeats. Yorkshire owed their 253/9 to a magnificent 128 from opener Lauren Winfield. Fellow opener Jess Watson (33) and Kathryn Doherty (22) were the only other major contributors, in an innings which saw four Yorkshire players run out. Alice MacLeod (76) led the Berkshire reply, but Aimee Simms (3/42) claimed three crucial middle order wickets, including MacLeod's, which took the wind out of Berkshire's sails. They ended well short on 207/9.

Warwickshire too picked up their first win of their 2014 campaign against an Essex team that seem destined to play in Division 2 next year. Amy Jones hit an 80 ball 124, as Warwickshire amassed 360/6 in their 50 overs. Marie Kelly (63) and Minahil Zahoor (61) also enjoyed themselves. A demoralised Essex were bowled out for 49 in less then 20 overs with Georgia Hennessy (3/13) and Laura Crofts (3/17) the chief beneficiaries. 

Division 2

Durham beat Cheshire
Lancashire 230/5 beat Devon 227/7 by 5 wickets
Staffs 188/3 beat Worcestershire 187 all out by 7 wickets
Somerset 126/5 beat Wales 122 all out by 5 wickets

Lancashire were indebted to England's Kate Cross, who set up their victory over title challengers Devon not only with a three wicket haul, but then a vital 63 not out. Devon had put 227/7 on the board with in-form Rosalie Fairbairn (96*) and Linton Hannah (50) the major contributors. Cross claimed 3/40 and Jasmine Titmuss 2/29. Lancs might have wavered when they lost their third wicket at 102, but Cross came in to join Natalie Brown, who hit an equally important 66, before she became one of Jodie Dibble's three victims (3/39). But by this time the Lancs score had moved on to 194/4 and Cross guided her team home, and to the top of the league, with three overs to spare.

Staffs completed a comfortable victory over Worcestershire after bowling them out for 187 in the last of their 50 overs. New Zealander Kate Broadmore produced season best figures of 6/31 as only Sarvenaz Razavi (58) and Lauren Rowles (50) put up any great resistance for Worcestershire. Charlotte Whyle (106*) produced her best batting of the season as Staffs romped home with more than six overs to spare.

Somerset chased down Wales rather meager total of 122 all out, but only after having been a nervous 74/4 at one stage. Loraine Szcezepanski took 3/17 with only Gwenan Davies (29) and Megan Burton (20) getting out of the teens for Wales. Fran Wilson (45) anchored the Somerset reply before being run out trying to run the winning run.

Durham won what was a "must-win" game for them against Cheshire. Durham could only put 132 on the board with four batsmen getting into the 20s. Sophie Ecclestone took 4/31 and Cheshire probably felt confident they could send Durham crashing to 6th defeat, but Elysa Hubbard (4/12) and her fellow bowlers for Durham had other ideas. At 98/8 Durham must have felt confident of a victory, but that became 125/8, befoe Hailey Falla claimed her only, but the vital 9th wicket of Gaby McKeever (17), who looked like she was going to steal the game from under Durham's noses. Lynn McDonnell then wrapped up the Cheshire innings without any further runs scored. Durham remain bottom of the league, but are in touch with Worcestershire and Cheshire just above them.

scorecards are available here
up-to-date league tables are here


Saturday, 21 June 2014

EWA look good against the boys

England Women's Academy v Wiltshire U15 Boys

Played at Calne Cricket Club on 19th June 2014

EWA completed a convincing victory by 33 runs over a young and rather inexperienced Wilts U15s. Having been sent into bat EWA made a poor start losing Georgia Adams to her first ball, and the second of the match. But skipper Jess Watson (34) and Amara Carr (59) soon got to grips with the pacey Wiltshire openers taking the score onto 73, before Watson tried to hit the Wiltshire off-spinner over the top but only found mid-off. Sophie Luff (24) joined Carr and they used their experience to steal singles and turn ones into twos to keep the score ticking along nicely. Carr perished trying to up the run rate as she missed a sweep and was adjudged lbw with the score on 123 after 30 overs. Georgia Hennessy (4) was comprehensively bowled after a very brief stay, but this brought the hard-hitting Hollie Armitage to the crease. She crashed the pitched up ball over extra cover and the short ball through wide long-on as she hit a run-a-ball 41. But she, Luff and Scutt fell in quick succession, and at 182/7 the EWA innings was in danger of petering out. But the tail, led by Steph Butler (21), wagged nicely in the closing overs to take EWA to 231/9 at the close of their innings.

In reply Wiltshire made a solid start with 43 off the first nine overs, but Freya Davies (2/46) then made the important breakthrough having Wade, the Wiltshire skipper, caught at mid-wicket by Watson. The end of the powerplay saw the introduction of spinners Cecily Scutt (2/34) and Steph Butler (2/22) and the Wiltshire batsmen found it hard to find the boundary with pace off the ball. Scutt had opener Samuel well caught behind by Carla Rudd, and Twine lbw soon after missing a sweep. Butler then had Tuttle well held by Carr at mid-on from a skied leg-side hoik, and Wiltshire were in trouble at 82/4 after 22 overs. Elliott, Jacques and West rebuilt the Wiltshire innings, but Butler had Elliott caught by Carr, and Hollie Armitage’s leg-spin (3/28) did for both Jacques and West, after Jacques had deposited her for two 6s in her first over. Late hitting from Vaz saw the Wiltshire total make it to 198 in the last over when they lost their final wicket and EWA completed a job well done.

Martin Davies

Friday, 20 June 2014

Women's County Championship - Week 4 - Preview

Some massive games at both the top and the bottom of both the first and the second divisions of the Women's County Championship this Sunday. It could well be that this weekend could end up being the decisive one in terms of who wins Division 1 and who gets the automatic promotion place from Division 2. As for relegation there are a few nervous sides out there in both divisions, who desperately need a win.

Division 1
Essex v Warwickshire at Garron Park
Notts v Middlesex at Welbeck CC
Sussex v Kent at Arundel Castle CC
Yorkshire v Berkshire at Harrogate CC

After Surrey's defeat to Middlesex last week, the two remaining unbeaten teams in Division 1 - Sussex and Kent - meet each other at the beautifully picturesque Arundel Castle ground. The two teams seem, as usual, to have just too much for the others in the league, and therefore you would think that whoever wins this game will go on to be crowned County Champions. Last year Sussex got the better of their local rivals, chasing down 200 with some ease. Kent, after a further loss to Yorkshire, failed to make the County Championship final for the first time in the last 10 years. They will be out for revenge.
We understand that they will be at full strength, with England internationals Charlotte Edwards, Tammy Beaumont, Lydia Greenway and Laura Marsh forming their top four with the bat. We also understand that former England international Lauren Griffith may well take the gloves for Kent for the first time. Sussex have injury worries over Sarah Taylor and Georgia Elwiss, who both missed last week's win over Yorkshire, but they will take heart from their performance at Harrogate and the fact that they won this fixture last year without Taylor and the then-injured Colvin. Arundel is renowned as a good batting deck and you would expect this to be a high-scoring game. If Sussex can get their full side on the pitch then they might just have the edge again. 
Notts have a fascinating match against Middlesex, who will be looking to continue their climb up the table. Notts have relied heavily on Danni Wyatt and Jenny Gunn with the bat so far this season and may have injury worries with all-rounder Sonia Odedra. Middlesex need their top order to fire with the bat and to make early breakthroughs with the ball and they may well be in with a shout.
The bottom four are all in action against each other. Essex, fresh from their first win of the season last week against Berkshire, courtesy of Aussie Heather Graham, take on Warwickshire, who are currently winless. Yorkshire, also still without a win, take on Berkshire, who don't have the strongest of bowling attacks. Last week Warwickshire (Hennessy), Yorkshire (Winfield) and Berkshire (Knight) all started their games with first ball of the game ducks. They will be hoping for better this week. Ironically it is the two teams without a win - Warwickshire and Yorkshire, who may come away with the wins this week.

Division 2
Cheshire v Durham at Hawk Green CC
Lancashire v Devon at Urmston CC
Wales v Somerset at Aberdare CC
Worcestershire v Staffordshire at Coombs Wood Cricket Club

Div 2 also throws up a top of the table clash between undefeated teams - Devon and Lancashire. It should be a great game from two in-form teams, who are both desperate to be in Division 1 next year. Of course they may both end up making it, but finishing top of the league will mean certain promotion this year. Both teams have batsmen in form, but it may be a special performance by one of the bowlers that wins this for their county. I wouldn't like to call it. If you are in Lancashire on Sunday, get down and watch what will be a great game.
Wales will be looking to bounce back from their defeat to Ireland last week and consign Somerset to their third defeat in five games. Anya Shrubsole led Somerset from the front last week, with the bat, rather than the ball. Can she do it again this week? Wales will be hoping not.
Worcs against Staffs will also be a tight one. Staffs had a poor start to the season, but picked up a couple of wins against Durham and, more noticeably, Ireland on the second Bank Holiday weekend. Worcs came close last week to pulling off a remarkable win against Devon, falling just nine runs short, chasing 261, so they should look at this game with some confidence, but Staffs might just have enough.
Finally at the bottom of the table Cheshire entertain Durham. Durham are without a win this season and this must be a game that they are targetting for a win. If they fail to do so that could effectively end their season, as they will have only Worcs and Devon left to play. Cheshire though are a tough side to beat on their own turf and may prove too strong.


Monday, 16 June 2014

Women's County Championship - Week Three Round-Up

Division 1
Essex 194/6 beat Berkshire 193/10 by 4 wickets
Middlesex 178/6 beat Surrey 177/8 (50 overs) by 4 wickets
Notts 134/4 beat Warwickshire 133/10 by 6 wickets
Sussex 201/4 beat Yorkshire by 6 wickets

Sussex showed their strength in depth when they travelled to Harrogate to play Yorkshire without four frontline players - Brindle, Davies, Elwiss and Taylor - and still came away not only with a win, but full bonus points. Yorkshire managed to put 200 runs on the board thanks in the main part to a mature knock of 94 from the experienced Kathryn Doherty. Izi Noakes was the chief wicket-taker (4/38), with Rebecca Silk also claiming 3/31. In reply Georgia Adams (106), skippering the senior side for the first time, and Izzy Collis (41) got the visitors off to the perfect start putting on 92 for the first wicket before Collis fell. Adams lost Scholfield and Green, but continued to her maiden senior century, before she too fell, with just 24 needed for victory. Sussex eased home with five overs to spare to stay top of the league, leaving Yorkshire still without a win this year.
Surrey's unbeaten run this season came to an abrupt halt at Middlesex as they chased down Surrey's below-par 177/8 with four wickets in hand and two overs to spare. Middlesex owed their win to the batting of veteran England player and skipper Beth Morgan (79*), after Middlesex had been languishing at 61/5 with the top order batsmen all having departed. Morgan found willing allies down the order in Izzy Westbury (15) and Sophia Dunkley (26*) as she guided her team to their first win of the season. Surrey themselves had been 93/8 before New Zealander Rachel Candy (43*) and Katherine Robson (37*) added an unbeaten 84 for the ninth wicket. Nat Sciver (32) and Kirstie White (27) had earlier added 55 for the second wicket.
Notts consigned Warwickshire to their fourth defeat in four completed games and to bottom slot in the division with a comfortable six wicket win. Warwickshire could only manage to put 133 on the board against an accurate Notts' attack. Sonia Odedra (4/25) and Lucy Maxwell (3/22) were the chief wicket-takers. In reply the in-form Danni Wyatt (48) and Jenny Gunn (47) eased Notts over the line and up to fourth in the league breathing down Surrey's neck.
And Essex's batting finally showed up as they beat Berkshire by four wickets to claim their first win of the season. Berkshire owed a debt of gratitude to the returning Isa Guha (58*), who came to the crease with her side at 70/6 and refused to leave. Aussie import Heather Graham took 4/32. Guha dragged her team to 193, but Essex's middle order, strengthened by on loan Hannah Phelps (25) from Sussex, held firm, with Graham (52*) and Kara Toleman (44*) finishing the game with an unbeaten stand of 63 and with 18 balls to spare. Fi Morris was the pick of the Berkshire bowlers with 3/19.

Division 2
Devon 261/5 beat Worcestershire 252/10 by 9 runs
Somerset 240/10 beat Durham 113/8 (50 overs) by 127 runs
Lancashire 209/4 beat Cheshire 105/10 by 104 runs
Ireland 116/4 beat Wales 114/10 by 6 wickets

Devon won a humdinger of a game against Worcestershire to maintain their position at the top of Division 2. They rattled up 261/5 with in-form Rosalie Fairbairn (76) leading from the front, ably supported by Alli Kelly (55) and Jodie Dibble (40). Clare Boycott took 2/32. They probably thought they had plenty, but the Worcestershire top order set up their team for an unlikely win as they raced onto 208/3, but Fairbairn (2/24) claimed a couple of important wickets and Jodie Dibble (2/28) put the brakes on. Worcestershire lost five wickets for 27 runs and eventually ended just agonisingly short, much to Devon's relief.
Lancs, who will take on Devon next Sunday, kept up the pressure with a very comfortable win over struggling Cheshire. Natalie Brown scored an undefeated 112 in Lancs' 209/4. Cheshire never really threatened and were all out for 105 in 44 overs. Nalisha Patel 3/25, Megan Fairclough 2/10 and Jasmine Titmuss 2/17 were in the wickets. Ellie Mason battled hard for a top-scoring 32.
Unbeaten Wales came unstuck against Ireland, who finally found their form with both bat and ball. Wales were in a hideous mess at 38/7 before Marsha Davies (34) put up some resistance. But she was the only Welsh player to get into double figures as they crumpled to 114 all out with just one ball of their 50 overs unused. Louise McCarthy picked up 3/13. A solid opening stand of 67 meant the result was never really in doubt, particularly as one of those openers was Cecilia Joyce (53). Ireland did lose four wickets but finished the game in the 37th over.
Somerset finally picked up their first win of the season against bottom side Durham. Anya Shrubsole was not fit enough to bowl, but she could bat. She scored her first century for Somerset (105) and added 176 for the third wicket with Fran Wilson (70). But Somerset ended on only 240 as the lower order were blown away by the returning Lynn McDonnell (3/35). However it was still far too many for Durham, who crawled to 113/7 in their 50 overs.

Full scorecards are here
Up-to-date league tables are here


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Preview of Week Three of the Women's County Championship

Week Three of the Women's County Champs

Sunday 15th June is Week 3 of the Women's County Championship with just one round of games being played. Kent sit out the week in Division 1 and Staffs sit out in Division 2.

Division 1
Essex v Berkshire at Felsted School
Middlesex v Surrey at Edmonton CC
Warwickshire v Notts at Wellesbourne CC
Yorkshire v Sussex at Harrogate CC

Top of the table Sussex (on NRR) travel all the way to Harrogate for their clash with Yorkshire. They will be hoping that skipper Sarah Taylor is passed fit to play and will lead the side after sitting out a rain-soaked weekend two weeks ago. Yorkshire have their own injury worries with Dani Hazell unlikely to be in the starting line-up and Katherine Brunt already sidelined. This is a repeat of last year's Championship final, but Yorkshire have not had the best of starts this year, having been smashed by Kent and then dipping out to Surrey by just 7 runs, chasing 222. Lauren Winfield has been in good form with the bat, but she needs some support, and they will miss Hazell with the ball.
Surrey will look to keep their good start to the season going when they travel to Middlesex. Middlesex put in a decent performance against Kent in their only game of the season so far and this is likely to be a tight one. Surrey have wins against Warwickshire, Yorkshire and Essex under their belts, but are likely to find the Meatballs a stiffer test.
Notts will be looking to consign Warwickshire to their fourth defeat of the season after posting 248/5 against Sussex before the rain came. Danni Wyatt and Jenny Gunn have been in good form with the bat this season (although there seems some doubt over Gunn's fitness) and they may prove too strong for this young Warwickshire team, who have struggled so far this season.
Finally Essex host Berkshire. Essex are having a torrid time of things with three heavy defeats already this season. Berkshire have won the only game they have played, against Notts, and they look likely to remain unbeaten.

Division 2
Devon v Worcestershire at Sidmouth CC
Durham v Somerset at Durham City CC
Lancashire v Cheshire at Old Xaverians CC
Wales v Ireland at Newport CC

The three undefeated teams in the league - Devon, Lancashire and Wales will all be looking to maintain their clean starts to the 2014 season. Current table-toppers Devon are at home to Worcestershire, who suffered badly at the hands of Wales in the last round. Devon will be looking for a full 18 point win to keep them at the top.
Lancs take on local rivals Cheshire, who beat Staffs on the opening day of the season, but have subsequently lost to Worcestershire and Ireland. Provided Lancs don't collapse in a heap, as they nearly did against Durham in the last round, they should be comfortable winners.
Wales entertain Ireland, who have not made the start they would have liked to the season, finding runs, in particular, hard to come by. Wales have beaten Durham and Worcestershire quite comfortably, but their batting will be more thoroughly tested by the Irish bowlers. Could be a close one if Ireland bring their "A" game.
Finally Durham take on Somerset. Durham are 0/4, but Somerset have lost their last two games (to Lancs and Devon). It could be a nervy low-scoring game at Durham City CC. Either team needs one match-winning performance with the bat or the ball.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Can the WICL succeed?

UPDATED 4th June 2014 - ECB issued a statement today which said that it does not have any support for WICL - Clare Connor "Any Twenty20 tournament that features the best players in the world outside ICC competitions would need to be run and controlled by one of the full members" (full details)

So where does that leave WICL now? ECB contracted players will presumably not be able to play, depending on the wording in their contracts. Will Cricket Australia and others follow suit? Will ECB or CA organise their own Women's T20 event? Will WICL try and go ahead without English and Australian contracted players? I'd expect an announcement from CA in the near future....

[5th June - as expected from CA - statement]


Trying to build a sustainable business based around women's cricket is a bit like trying to build a house without foundations. There is simply no money in women's cricket. The only reason players are currently being paid anything (and there are only a handful who are genuinely full-time professional players) is as a result of money from the men's game or generous sponsors (take a bow Momentum in South Africa).

So you have to applaud 14 Degrees, the company behind the proposed Women's International Cricket League, who are trying to stage a Women's T20 tournament for six global teams, playing 17 matches over 12 days in one location, with all the players being paid between $5,000 - $40,000 for their efforts.They obviously believe that they can do it. As Shaun Martyn, Director of WICL says "It's a big project, but we are a long way down the track".

Each of the six teams will be owned by a separate business and Martyn assures us that they are well-advanced in signing up two companies to this role, with a third not far behind. Discussions have already been had with some of the star players in the world and they are naturally excited about the prospect of earning $40,000 and perhaps becoming a global star in the process. This is hardly surprising considering most of them have earned next to nothing from the game they have played almost full-time for several years, let alone $3,333 a day.

So how will WICL achieve what others have so far failed to achieve - ie revenue? The answer seems to be the reach of the internet and the huge possibilities of new cricket markets - China, the USA and South America for example. WICL are committed to including a "pathway player" in each of the six teams. These will be players from emerging nations - they will also probably be players from emerging markets for women's cricket. "I'm looking for the 6 foot 4 inch Papua New Guinea  fast bowler that no-one has ever seen, who's been spearing fish in some remote river somewhere", says Martyn, tongue firmly in cheek. You can see the appeal to the competition and potentially to all the people with internet access in Papua New Guinea. They would have their own star on a world stage.

Martyn is keen to emphasise the importance of developing the image of the individuals involved. He is right. Women's cricket needs heroes. People seem to need to have the back story to buy into the product as a whole. He rightly says that beyond the four of us in the room - him and the Three Bloggers - very few people would be able to name the top 20 women cricket players in the world. That is something he would like to change. And that is something which he thinks WICL 1 and beyond can change.

He is naturally tight-lipped about the current negotiations with the major cricket boards (see above). There have been meetings and there have been negotiations. He first spoke to Clare Connor in her role as Chairman of the ICC's Women's Committee 18 months ago. He is keen to point out that all the WICL is doing is creating an opportunity for 78 women cricket players to earn some cash, something that all the international male cricketers can do in abundance. He does not see WICL as a threat to women's cricket and the various cricket boards, but an opportunity for women cricketers to make realistic money from the game they play. He is hopeful that a suitable window can be found for the tournament and that the boards will all buy into the project. He says the tournament will go ahead in the next 9-12 months.

The tournament will have its own range of sportswear (more), created by Masaba Gupta, the daughter of the great Vivian Richards. We are promised some "funky designs", perhaps even personalised lids (as F1 drivers have perhaps). Martyn says the girls want this. They are fed-up of wearing cut-down men's gear and rolling up trousers that are far too long. Apparently some of the girls have already had some input on designs. This won't make the cricket any better of course, but it is a realisation that women's cricket has to appeal to a broad market. If you take a look at women's tennis and how far that has come in the last 40 years and the importance of fashion and design in the current game, then you can see where WICL is coming from.

Cricket aficionados may be horrified by what they see if they tune in in a year's time. But then people were horrified by Kerry Packer and his World Series Pajama Cricket back in 1977. The game has had to progress. Coloured outfits, white balls, spider cam, numbered shirts, switch hits, scoop shots, the IPL. We may not like them all but it has made the men's game a viable product. WICL 1 hopes to do the same for the women's game.

Ultimately though the tournament will come down to the quality of the players and the quality of the cricket played, but don't expect to see all the players in the ICC rankings invited to the WICL. Emerging talent is an important part of the WICL brief. The question might be whether the emerging talent can hack it with the best in the world? There are in fact only 77 slots for players. We know one player and the captain of the 14 Degrees team already (the company are keeping one of the teams back for themselves) - none other than Lisa Sthalekar herself.

The next few months are going to be very interesting.