Tuesday, 29 July 2014

England squads for international summer

England's squads to face India in one Test and three ODIs, and three T20s against South Africa will be announced next Monday. There are unlikely to be any major surprises, particularly with 18 girls now being centrally-contracted to the ECB in one form or another.

On current form England seem to have a wealth of batting in their main squad. Edwards, Beaumont, Wyatt, Winfield, Sciver and Gunn top the Div 1 run-scorers with Beaumont and Edwards both averaging around 100. Heather Knight has also found some form after a dismal start to the season with scores of 66* and 101 in her last two county championship games. Sarah Taylor has had a quiet time at Sussex with a top score of 48*, but Sussex did not bat first against either Essex or Warwickshire where she was not out in the second innings chasing low totals. Meanwhile Lydia Greenway has had to sit and watch Edwards and Beaumont bat long before her at Kent and as a result has a top score of just 29 this summer. She is however unlikely to miss out on selection.

Sarah Taylor and Amy Jones seem to be shoe-ins for the keeping duties. Taylor has had her injury concerns during the domestic season and it would not surprise me to see Jones keeping at some stage during either the India or the South Africa series.

Bowling is much more of an issue. On the spin front Dani Hazell has only bowled 29 overs for Yorkshire, claiming nine victims, Rebecca Grundy has only three wickets for Warwickshire from 24 overs, and Jodie Dibble is out after another shoulder operation. However Laura Marsh is back bowling for Kent and has 6 wickets from 30 overs. Danni Wyatt too seems to have recently rediscovered her bowling mojo (which she lost last season) with nine wickets in 40 overs bowled. Lurking in the wings England do also have Staffs' Steph Butler, who has bowled well for the Academy and Staffs this season.

Pace bowling looks even more of an issue, particularly as the first game is the four day Test - a genuine test of a fast bowler's fitness. Beyond Kate Cross, who has bowled 62 overs for Lancashire in Div 2 claiming 12 victims, the rest of the pace attack have hardly bowled. Katherine Brunt bowled her first five overs of the season this Sunday (0/9); Anya Shrubsole has had only one 10 over spell for Somerset (1/14) and did not bowl in Somerset's last league game of the season last weekend; Tash Farrant has not bowled in a competitive game since the end of January. Even all-rounders Nat Sciver and Jenny Gunn have had quiet seasons. Sciver has only bowled 19 overs and Gunn has only taken two wickets in 43 overs bowled for Notts. Previous back-up Beth Langston seems to be out with injury, and Georgia Elwiss has also struggled a bit after a mid-season lay-off for injury. So Notts' Sonia Odedra, who has been in the Academy for sometime, is presumably in with a shout if others are not fit or break down during the series. Youngsters Georgia Hennessy and Freya Davies may also then come into the reckoning.

All will be revealed on Monday, with probably three different squads being announced - Test Squad; India ODI squad and South Africa T20 squad. A two day England warm-up game this week could well be used to test out the fitness of one or two players before the announcement is made.

Summer 2014 International Schedule
13-16 August - England v India, Kia Women’s Test Match, Wormsley
21 August - England Women v India, Royal London ODI, Scarborough
23 August - England Women v India, Royal London ODI, Scarborough
25 August - England Women v India, Royal London ODI, Lord’s
1 September - England Women v South Africa, NatWest Women's International T20, Chelmsford
3 September - England Women v South Africa, NatWest Women's International T20, Northampton
7 September - England Women v South Africa, NatWest Women's International T20, Edgbaston


Kent take Div 1 & Lancs take Div 2 - WCC Final Week Round-Up

The County Championship season is over it seems, despite the fact that six cancelled games remain unplayed in Division 1 (three of them for Berkshire).

Not surprisingly Kent clinched the Division 1 title with a convincing victory over second-placed Surrey by seven wickets, chasing down Surrey's meagre 110 in just 19.3 overs. It meant Kent had won their 6th game out of six (two have been cancelled but there seems no likelihood of them being played), and had taken full bonus points in every game. They won the league by a country mile. Their game against Surrey was effectively over when Nat Sciver was out to her first ball to leave Surrey at 5/2 in the second over of the game. Surrey struggled to 110 all out in the 39th over with New Zealand leg-spinner Erin Bermingham picking up another four wicket haul (4/16). Her contribution to Kent's title should not be under-estimated. In reply Kent lost the almost unstoppable duo of Charlotte Edwards (56) and Tammy Beaumont (29) to Nat Sciver's bowling, but by then Kent already had the game and the championship sewn up.

Middlesex imposed the third defeat in a row this season on last year's champions Sussex. Invited to bat Sussex made hard work of scoring 178/5 in their 50 overs. Sarah Taylor top scored with 48* from 70 balls which included just two boundaries. In reply Middlesex lost Helena Stolle early on, but then Tash Miles (77) and Cath Dalton (61) added 129 for the second wicket and took Middlesex to the verge of victory. Late wickets showed that an earlier breakthrough might have given Sussex a sniff of a win, but as it was they were soundly beaten by five wickets, which moved Middlesex out of the relegation zone.

Meanwhile Warwickshire, who started the day in the relegation play-off position, came up against an inspired Heather Knight and the rest of her Berkshire teammates. Knight scored 101 out of Berkshire's total of 199 all out and then took five Warwickshire wickets (5/14) as they were bowled out for 123. Only Georgia Hennessy (48) and Marie Kelly (23) made double figures for Warwickshire, who will now play Somerset for the right to play in Div 1 next year.

Danni Wyatt (116) and Jenny Gunn (50) continued with their good form with the bat as Notts notched up 244/4 against Yorkshire, despite England's Katherine Brunt having her first bowl of the season for the Tykes. Lauren Winfield hit 69 opening for Yorkshire, but no-one else could make above 20 as Yorkshire limped to 178/7 in their 50 overs. Wyatt completed a good day with 3/31.

Div 1 League Table 

In Division 2 title winners Lancashire failed to keep their 100% record as their batting crumbled against Staffordshire's bowling. Chasing 199/7 with 87 from Evelyn Jones, only Kate Cross (who had taken 3/36 in the Staffs' knock) could compile any sort of innings, as she scored 56. Kate Broadmore took 3/37 for Staffs as Lancs were bowled out for 152.

The Somerset v Ireland game always looked close on paper and so it proved to be. Somerset needed to win and win well to ensure they stayed in second place. Thanks to excellent knocks from Sophie Luff (90) and Fran Wilson (89) they put 226/9 on the board, but with Anya Shrubsole again sitting out the game, it was down to Jenny Withers (3/39) and Moira Comfort (2/35) to lead the attack. They probably thought they had the job done as they took wickets at regular intervals and had Ireland nine down and still needing 48 runs to win. But Louise McCarthy (26*) and Lucy O'Reilly (23) had other ideas. They slowly reduced the deficit, but overs were slipping by. Eventually O'Reilly fell in the last over for Somerset to claim a win by 10 runs and a full points victory and with it second spot in Div 2.

Third placed Devon did what they had to do against Durham winning by six wickets, but it was in vain after Somerset's win. Durham were restricted to 156/7 in their 50 overs with Laura Ellison and Elysa Hubbard both scoring 34. Cait O'Keefe took 3/31. Alli Kelly (45) and O'Keefe (44) then brought Devon home with four wickets down and plenty of overs to spare.

At the bottom of the league Cheshire desperately needed at least some decent bonus points from their trip to mid-table Wales. As it was they could only pick up two batting points, which meant they finished bottom of the league and will be in Div 3 next year. Electing to bat Cheshire could only put 132 on the board after being 101/2. Ffion Cartwright took 3/13. Lauren Parfitt (60) and Gwenan Davies (49) ensured Wales romped home by 9 wickets.

Div 2 League Table

Results and scorecards are available here


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Final Weekend of the Women's County Championship

This weekend sees the final official weekend of the Women's County Championship. However the reality is that there have been a number of cancelled games in Division 1 in particular, and any of these could be played before the 17th August cut-off date. I doubt that many of them will be played, unless counties are in with a shout of promotion or in the relegation zone.

This Sunday's fixtures are

Division 1
Berkshire v Warwickshire at Wokingham CC
Middlesex v Sussex at Edmonton CC
Surrey v Kent at Reed's School
Yorkshire v Notts at Harrogate CC
Division 2
Devon v Durham at Exmouth CC
Somerset v Ireland at Brislington CC
Wales v Cheshire at St Helen's Swansea
Staffordshire v Lancashire at Meakins

In Divison 1 the stand-out game is the top of the table clash between Surrey and Kent. Victory for Kent would seal their sixth Women's County Championship, equalling Sussex who took the title last year. Standing in their way seem to be Surrey's Nat Sciver (fresh from 154 last week on this same ground) with the bat and veteran leg-spinner Sarah Clarke (14 wickets to date). But as well as their England stars Kent have a leg-spinner of their own - New Zealand's Erin Bermingham - and they should have too much power for Surrey, who have punched above their weight all season. Even a defeat might not knock Kent off the top, depending on the bonus points scored, plus they have two cancelled games that they could still try and play.

At the bottom of the league Essex do not play so look down and out (their outstanding game is a cancelled game v Kent which is unlikely to be played you would think). Warwickshire, just above them take on Berkshire, knowing they need a win to boost their chances of avoiding the relegation play-off match with the Div 2 runners-up. A win for Berkshire will make sure they are safe and probably end their season, even though they have missed three games. It is a difficult one to call but if the side batting first can put 200+ on the board then they could win the day.

Meanwhile in North London Middlesex will be hoping that their T20 success translates into some 50 over form against a Sussex team that are in the doldrums, as they are just 1 point above Warwickshire. Middlesex will certainly be up for the game and they could consign Sussex to their third league defeat in a row.

In Harrogate Yorkshire take on a visiting Nott's side. Yorkshire are not completely out of the relegation picture, so could do with a win just to keep the wolves from the door. On paper it looks like quite an even match with the Yorkies keen to avenge being beaten to the T20 Finals by Notts. Should be a good contest.

In Divison 2 Lancashire are just about home and hosed at the top, but they will want to finish with a flourish against Staffs and confirm their place in Div 1 next year. They have been the standout team in the division and should take the win, even though Staffs have been on a decent run recently.

The question is who will finish second and gain the right to play-off against the second from bottom in Div 1 for the right to play Div 1 cricket next year. Devon's loss to Ireland last week opened up the door for both Ireland and Somerset, with Somerset in the driving seat, which makes the Somerset v Ireland game a must-see. Ireland have got stronger and stronger as the season has gone on, but so have Somerset after a slow start. They have Anya Shrubsole back with ball in hand and she might just be the difference. But not only do they need to win they need to pick up as many bonus points as possible. It will be an epic battle.

Devon have faltered of late, not helped by injuries to some key players. They need to make one final effort against lowly Durham and being at home may give them just that little edge. Someone in the Devon team apart from Roslie Fairbairn needs to stand up and be counted. A full bonus point win could take them back above Somerset into the prized second slot. If they fail to get there they do have another chance if they can re-arrange their cancelled match with Wales, but a defeat would effectively end their hopes.

The final game in Div 2 is the Wales v Cheshire match. Cheshire are currently sitting in the second from bottom spot above Worcestershire, who have finished their fixtures, and desperately need a win. If they could get it they might push Durham below them if they fail to get at least five points from their game with Devon. Wins for Durham and Cheshire could put Wales in a difficult spot, so they will not roll over and die.

It could be a very tense Sunday all over the country.


Divisional T20s - who got through (calculators out)!

Well the big winner seems to be the beloved Net Run Rate calculator. I say "seems to be" because lots of the results for the games are missing from Play Cricket and even where all the results are in the league tables show no NRR calculations. Please publish the full tables ECB. Here is what I can gather so far...........

In Div 1 A (Berks, Middlesex, Sussex)
Berkshire lost all their games so finished bottom, and Middlesex and Sussex beat each other to finish joint top. By my back of an envelope calculation Middlesex won by 0.1 NRRs (what do you call a unit of NRR?), but no-one else at the ground seemed to have done the calculation. Will we ever know?

In Div 1 B (Essex, Kent, Surrey)
Essex lost all their games and finished bottom. Surrey and Kent beat each other, but the scores (and Kent's twitter feed) suggests they won the group on NRR.

In Div 1 C (Notts, Warwickshire, Yorkshire)
Your guess is as good as mine as there are no results on Play Cricket. Twitter suggests it was between Notts & Yorkshire, but Notts saw Yorkshire off in the last game of the day to win 4/4. Warwickshire will be in the relegation division.

Looks like :-
Top Three - Kent, Middlesex, Notts
Second Three - Surrey, Sussex, Yorkshire
Bottom Three - Berks, Essex, Warwickshire (bottom two relegated)

In Div 2 A (Staffs, Cheshire, Worcestershire)
Staffs won 3/4 (losing to Cheshire) and their twitter feed suggests they won the group. Incomplete results for Cheshire & Worcestershire

In Div 2 B (Ireland, Lancashire, Durham)
Durham finished bottom and it was between Ireland & Lancs on NRR as they both beat each other. The Lancs twitter feed suggest it was Ireland who got through.

In Div 2 C (Devon, Somerset, Wales)
Devon finished bottom, Wales second and Somerset top.

Looks like :-
Top Three - Ireland, Somerset, Staffs (top two promoted)
Second Three - Cheshire, Lancashire, Wales
Bottom Three - Devon, Durham, Worcestershire (bottom two relegated)

In Div 3 A (Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire)
Hampshire won the group winning all their games. One result missing, but looks like Gloucestershire got 2nd spot.

In Div 3 B (Herts, Netherlands, Northants)
Only two games recorded with wins for Northants overs Herts. No other info available as yet.

In Div 3 C (Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Scotland)
Derbyshire & Scotland finished equal at the top, so NRR will decide again. No indication on Scotland's twitter feed if they know if they won or not

Looks like :-
Top Three -  Hampshire, Derbyshire, Netherlands(top two promoted)
Second Three - Gloucestershire, Northants, Scotland

Bottom Three - Oxfordshire, Herts, Leicestershire (bottom two relegated)

Please let me know if you can fill in the gaps or I have made an error - martin@lawdox.co.uk


Monday, 21 July 2014

Surrey keep up pressure on Kent; while Somerset leapfrog Devon into 2nd - WCC Week 5 Review

As you can see from the results below only one game survived the weather in Division 1, but it was a significant game as second-placed Surrey squeezed past Notts by just 7 runs. Surrey owed a huge debt of gratitude to Nat Sciver for their score of 242/9 - she scored 154 of their runs - as they recovered from 65/5 at one stage to post a very decent score. Sonia Odedra (4/43) and Megan Schutt (3/26) were the chief wicket-takers for Notts. In reply Notts got within a gnat's breath of pulling off the win with Jane Smit (77) and Danni Wyatt (43) leading the charge. Sarah Clake's great season with the ball continued as she took 4/47, bringing Surrey home. Surrey play Kent next Sunday at home in a top of the table clash, which should decide who finishes top of the division this year.

Div 1 Results
Essex v Middlesex abandoned
Kent v Berks cancelled
Surrey 242/9 beat Notts 235/9 by 7 runs
Warwickshire v Yorkshire cancelled

Div 2 Results
Somerset 111/4 beat Cheshire 110/10 by 6 wickets
Ireland 152/3 beat Devon 150/9 by 7 wickets
Staffs 214/7 beat Wales 160/10 by 54 runs
Durham 215/2 beat Worcestershire 104/10 by 111 runs

[Click here for up-to-date league tables]

With Lancs looking unassailable at the top and having a week off, the focus was on who will finish second in Div 2 and who will finish in the bottom two.

Ireland did their chances of finishing in the top two no harm at all with a comprehensive seven wicket win over rivals Devon. Having elected to bat Devon were soon in trouble at 30/3 with Laura Delany (5/30) doing the main damage, but Rosalie Fairbairn (65) and Vicky Bowden (26) took Devon to 124 before Bowden went. After that batsmen came and went with alarming regularity with Fairbairn the 9th to fall. Devon scraped to 150 and three batting points off the final ball of their 50 overs. But with Cecilia Joyce (53) and Delany (39) untroubled by the Devon attack Ireland cruised home with wickets and overs to spare.

Somerset took advantage of the defeat of their close neighbours Devon, and leapt into second in the league, with a comfortable five wicket win over Cheshire. Anya Shrubsole bowled her full compliment of overs for Somerset for just 14 runs and one wicket and the chief beneficiary of the pressure that she and fellow opener Cassie Coomes (seven overs for nine runs) applied was Jenny Withers who took 5/20, as only Jennifer Dunn (48) put up any serious resistance. Somerset raced to victory in the 26th over, but did manage to lose five wickets in the process, having been 48/3 at one stage. But the victory was never really in much doubt and next week's game between Somerset and Ireland assumes huge proportions.

At the bottom of the league Durham almost certainly consigned Worcestershire to Div 3 cricket next year when they defeated them by 111 runs to leave them at the foot of the table with only a potentially-reorganized cancelled game against Lancashire to save them. Durham posted 215/2 in their 50 overs with an undefeated 104 from Laura Hockaday the highlight. After openers Naomi Heywood (59*) and Charlotte North (29) Worcs had no answer to the bowling of Carloine Jamieson (4/18) and Elysa Hubbard (3/30) as they were blown away for 104 in the 38th over.

And finally in Div 2 Staffs clocked up their fourth win of their 2014 campaign by defeating Wales by 54 runs. Staffs posted 214/7 thanks to a patient 90 from skipper and opener Evelyn Jones and 40 from her fellow-opener Charlotte Whyle. Marsha Davies and Gwenan Davies each claimed two wickets for Wales. It was not a daunting target, but it was too much for Wales, who, having got off to a decent start through Gwenan Davies (43) and Megan Burton (40), subsided to 160 all out, with only one other batsmen making double figures. Kate Broadmore claimed 3/23 and Cheryl Allcock and Steph Butler each picked up a couple of wickets.


Friday, 18 July 2014

New T20 Comp gets underway

The new-style Divisional T20 competition starts with the qualifying rounds next Tuesday and Wednesday (22nd and 23rd July) at various venues around the country. All the Div 1, 2 and 3 qualifying round fixtures are below, but first how is it going to work?

The nine teams in each of Divisions 1, 2 and 3 of the County Championship will fight it out amongst themselves in three groups of three (A, B and C), each playing each other twice over two days (three games will be played one after the other each day).

The winners of the three groups will then play-off against each other in a separate one-day competition (3rd August) where they each play each other just once to see who finishes 1st, 2nd and 3rd. The teams finishing second in their groups in the qualifying rounds will play-off for 4th, 5th and 6th, and the teams finishing third in their groups will play-off for 7th, 8th and 9th. Teams finishing 8th and 9th will be replaced by the teams finishing 1st and 2nd in the Division below for the 2015 competition.

The full rules are here.

Division 1
Div 1 Group A - Berkshire, Middlesex, Sussex at Wokingham CC
Last year's finalists Sussex have to be favourites, with Middlesex probably likely to pip Berkshire for second spot. Berkshire have a good recent T20 record, but have not had a great season.
Div 1 Group B - Essex, Kent, Surrey at Hayes CC
Last year's winners Kent are likely to come out on top, but Surrey may give them a run for their money. The Essex youngsters may struggle.
Div 1 Group C - Notts, Warwickshire, Yorkshire at Welbeck CC
The group of death as all will feel they should be battling it out with Kent and Sussex for the overall title. Yorkshire may have the better T20 batting and might just shave it.

Division 2
Div 2 Group A - Cheshire, Staffs, Worcestershire at Fordhouses CC
Staffs will be looking to progress to the Top Three from this group, with Cheshire and Worcestershire fighting to avoid the bottom three.
Div 2 Group B - Durham, Ireland, Lancashire at Northern CC
Tough group for Durham, who will struggle and Lancs may prove too good for Ireland, but one good game from Ireland could make it tighter than Lancs would like.
Div 2 Group C - Devon, Somerset, Wales at Bath CC
Another tough group from which you would expect Devon or Somerset to progress to the Top Three. It could be a long couple of days for Wales.

Division 3
Div 3 Group A - Gloucs, Hants, Oxfordshire at Frocester CC
These three lie 7th, 8th and 9th in the County Championship with only one win each. T20 is a different game but it could be a dog-eat-dog couple of days. Oxfordshire's bowling might just be the best of the three and pull them through.
Div 3 Group B - Herts, Netherlands, Northants at Tring Park CC
Netherlands should win this group, but they have a tiring few days with three County Champ games in the three days leading up to this competition. Hope they are fit.
Div 3 Group C - Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Scotland at Denby CC
Scotland should progress to the Top Three play-off, but Leicestershire and Derbyshire will be awkward opponents


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Women's County Championship Week 6 - Preview

There are just two official weekends left in the Women's County Championship (this Sunday (20th) and the following Sunday (27th)), so there is a great deal to play for this weekend. Sandwiched in between we have the first round of the new divisional T20 competition (Tues/Wed 22/23rd July - more here)

Division 1
Essex v Middlesex at Garon Park
Kent v Berkshire at Polo Farm
Surrey v Notts at Reed's School
Warwickshire v Yorkshire at King Edwards School, Birmingham

If Kent beat Berkshire they will set up their game the following weekend against Surrey to secure the championship. It is difficult to see Kent slipping up at home to Berkshire with Charlotte Edwards and Tammy Beaumont in such good form with the bat, but Berkshire picked up their second win of the season against Middlesex in the last round of games with Heather Knight finally in the runs. She and Beaumont may be competing for the England opener's slot in the forthcoming Test Match against India, so it will be interesting to see who has the better game. Kent have yet to drop a point in their campaign to date and they will be keen to maintain that record.

Surrey must win at home against Notts to keep up the pressure on Kent, who they then face in their last game of the season. They (and England) will be hoping that Nat Sciver can give them a few overs. She has not bowled for them for two months and they may need her if Dani Wyatt and Jenny Gunn can get going. They failed in the last round against Kent, who hammered Notts by nine wickets. This could be a tight game with one big performance helping their team to the take the honours. I think Notts might just pip it.

Warwickshire against Yorkshire  is going to be a great scrap. Yorkshire scraped home against lowly Essex in their last game by just one wicket, chasing 183, thanks to another good knock by Kathryn Doherty (55*). Beyond the top four Yorkshire look vulnerable and if Warwickshire can take early wickets they could be in with a shout. Warwickshire will be desperate for the win, as they hover dangerously just two points above Essex at the bottom of the league with only a trip to Berkshire to come. Amy Jones (124) and Marie Kelly (63) helped themselves to some runs against Essex in Warwickshire's last game, but they will find Yorkshire's bowling a bit tougher. Seconds away - round one!

This could be Essex's last game of the season (if they fail to play their cancelled game v Kent). Defeat would almost certainly consign them to Division 2 cricket next year. Their batting is extremely fragile, but Sussex's Hannah Phelps has shored up the middle order, and Cordelia Griffith may make a comeback from injury with bat if not with ball, so Middlesex should not take this game too lightly. They too have only won one game (against Surrey) and losing to Essex would put them in a real scrap to avoid relegation. If they can hold their nerve Middlesex should win this one.

Division 2
Devon v Ireland at Axminster CC
Cheshire v Somerset at Cheadle CC
Durham v Worcestershire at Durham City CC
Staffs v Wales at Milford Hall

With Lancs away and clear at the top of the league and on a rest week, the focus turns to the three teams chasing for the all-important second spot and a tilt at Div 1 cricket next year (Devon, Somerset & Ireland), and the three teams battling it out at the bottom of the league trying to avoid relegation (Cheshire, Worcestershire & Durham). This makes the Devon v Ireland game a real humdinger. Devon have home advantage, of course, but they are without key players Jodie Dibble and Amara Carr, due to injury, and they will be relying on some young guns to get them through. Ireland had been struggling to get runs on the board, until their last game against Worcestershire, when they clocked up 256, with the top eight all getting into double figures. This could be a low-scoring tense afternoon of cricket.

Equally important at the bottom of the league is the clash between Durham and Worcestershire. This is potentially Worcestershire's last game of the season and they have only one more point than Durham, who still have Devon to play. Defeat for Worcestershire will almost certainly mean that they will be the automatically relegated team, unless they can pick up a hatful of bonus points in their defeat. Both teams only win of the year has come against Cheshire, who are just one point above Worcestershire with Somerset and Wales to play. Bonus points for runs and wickets may be almost as important as the win itself. It is going to be mighty close.

Somerset (in third) will expect to come away from Cheshire with full points in the bag. Unfortunately for Cheshire Anya Shrubsole seems to be back with ball in hand. She has yet to bowl a single over for Somerset, but did open the bowling on Sunday for Bath. A big win could see Somerset leapfrog over Devon into second and set up their final game of the season against Ireland as a real cracker.