Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A heartfelt tribute to Jan Brittin

England cricket great Jan Brittin sadly died today at the age of just 58.

I never saw her play, but she was obviously a classy bat and an inspiration both to those who played with her, and those who watched her play. One of those was friend and photographer Don Miles. "JB" is one of the reasons why Don has spent the last 25 years following and recording on film, and digitally, the women's game. Here is what he had to say on the great JB.

"I admired her in every way both as a cricketer and a person. She was head and shoulders above every one of her era, as BB (Barbara Daniels) will be happy to tell you, and she'd be the second in line with the talent. 

She was also very supportive of me, showing none of the early suspicion of a guy on his own that many did at first. 

She encouraged me to keep carrying the camera even though early results were not much good - they look terrible in retrospect - and always gave the impression that she genuinely didn't know how good she was. I sensed no false modesty in her at all - a very rare attribute.

Don't look at the stats - they tell at most 10% of the story - you just had to see her play, and listen to that quiet voice that always managed to say just the right thing. She was truly amazing".

She will be sadly missed.


Monday, 11 September 2017

Aussie Ashes' squad takes shape

Australia's 13 contracted players (minus the injured Meg Lanning) have started a week long Ashes training camp at the Bupa National Cricket Centre, together with Sarah Aley, Ashleigh Gardner, Molly Strano and Belinda Vakarewa, making up what looks like the Aussies' Ashes training squad.

Training camp attendees :-

Kristen Beams
Alex Blackwell
Nicole Bolton
Lauren Cheatle
Rachel Haynes
Alyssa Healy
Jess Jonassen
Beth Mooney
Ellyse Perry
Megan Schutt
Elyse Villani
Amanda-Jade Wellington
Sarah Aley
Ash Gardner
Molly Strano
Belinda Vakarewa

It is difficult to see any other players being drafted into the Aussie squad for the Ashes series, particularly given that there is only one weekend of WNCL fixtures before the Ashes series starts on 22nd October with the first ODI. In fact both teams have warm-up games on 16th and 18th October prior to the first ODI.

Full Ashes fixture list

16th October - 50 over warm-up games for England and Australia
18th October - 50 over warm-up games for England and Australia
22nd October - 1st ODI at Allan Border Field
26th October - 2nd ODI at Coffs International Stadium
29th October - 3rd ODI at Coffs International Stadium

3rd - 5th November 3 day warm-up games for England and Australia
9th - 12th November - Only Test Match at North Sydney Oval

17th November - 1st T20 at North Sydney Oval
19th November - 2nd T20 at the Manuka Oval
21st November - 3rd T20 at the Manuka Oval


Monday, 4 September 2017

Storm beat the odds to win KSL2017

Western Storm went one better than they did last year, when they beat Southern Vipers by 7 wickets on Friday to whisk the KSL trophy back to the west country for a year.

It was a victory that few people saw coming, particularly after the disastrous start to the Storm campaign against the same team at the Ageas Bowl on the opening day of the tournament. Bowled out for 70, Vipers wiped off the runs in just 9 overs, losing just one wicket, including 34 off one over from Kiwi import Holly Huddleston. Not only did Storm lose but they destroyed their Net Run Rate. Finishing level with another team and hoping to qualify was now out of the window!

With just five league games before Finals Day, it meant that Storm could not afford another loss. Could they pick themselves up before they played Loughborough Lightning, just two days later? In their favour the game was being played at home at Taunton -  already the Storm's favourite ground (victories over Vipers and Lancashire Thunder in front of good crowds there in the 2016 campaign had ensured that). On the negative side was the lack of England World Cup heroine Anya Shrubsole for the second game in a row.

Storm won the toss and inserted their opponents - they like to chase, in fact they love to chase. They restrict Lightning to 108/9 with Stafanie Taylor taking 4/5. Half the Storm overs are bowled by non-internationals for 58 runs. Storm make a slow start in their run chase and still need 60 off last 10 overs, but they have wickets in hand. The equation comes down to 24 off the last three overs - Taylor and the bustling Sophie Luff are at the crease. They take 14 off the 17th over from Grundy, and they make it home with the first ball of the last over. Campaign back on track.

Next up is the long trip to York Cricket Club. Nine hours on the team bus from Exeter!! That's a long bus ride home if they lose. But Rachel Priest ensures it's a journey worth making as she smashes 106* off 65 balls as the Storm chase down Diamonds 160/7 in 17 overs without losing a wicket. Priest's contributions before that game had been 3 and 0. Who would have thought she would go on to be the tournament's leading run scorer (261 runs at an average of 43.5)?

Meanwhile Surrey Stars are breezing through the tournament. Stars are undefeated in their first three games. They are Storm's next opponents, and they keep their unbeaten run going, and ensure themselves of a place in Finals Day, after posting an imposing 169/6. Storm hit 26 off the first two overs of their reply, but end the powerplay at 43/4. There is no way back from there despite good knocks from Lissy Macleod (30) and Georgia Hennessy (28). Storm are bowled out for 117. Everything rests on their final game with Lancashire Thunder, and how Diamonds get on against Vipers, who are also already through to Finals Day. Level on points with Diamonds going into the games, Storm know they must win and get more points out of their game, than Diamonds get out of theirs.

Another good bowling performance, with Huddleston having been dropped to the bench, restricts Thunder to 123/5, and Priest smashes another 50 off just 22 balls this time, to take Storm to 67/1 at the end of the powerplay. The game looks done, but Storm slip to 73/4 and it is Sophie Luff 24* and Georgia Hennessy 16, who steady the ship with a 30 run partnership, which means Storm run out winners in the 18th over. There is no bonus point win, but the four points are enough as Diamonds lose to Vipers. It means Storm have made it to Finals Day in third spot, and have to take on Stars in the semi-final, who lost their unbeaten record in their final league game to Lightning. No-one gives Storm much of a chance.

Stars have only used their five international bowlers - Kapp, Sciver, Hartley, Farrell and Marsh throughout the entire tournament. Storm again choose to leave one of their international bowlers sitting on the bench. Skipper Knight has faith in the previously unknown 30 year old off-spinner Claire Nicholas; blonde pace bowler Freya Davies; and left arm spinner Jodie Dibble. Her faith is rewarded as Nicholas and Dibble go for just 30 off their eight overs, with Nicholas picking up Tammy Beaumont's wicket, and Davies 19 off three overs with the wicket of Lizelle Lee in her first over. Stars can only make it to 100/7 in their 20 overs and despite an early wobble (17/4) Storm manage to get over the line thanks to 37* from Stafanie Taylor and 21 from Hennessy.

No change to the Storm team for the final. Set 146 to win they make another positive start to the chase. The last over of the powerplay from Linsey Smith is taken for 25 runs - 22 of them to Rachel Priest. It means Storm are 62/1 at the end of the powerplay and ahead of the rate. Cool heads are required when Priest is caught on the deep midwicket boundary for 72 off 36 balls, and Stafanie Taylor can only bat with a runner. Fortunately Storm have the Ice Queen (Taylor) and the Duracell Bunny (Luff), who casually take Storm over the line with two overs to spare.

There have been some magnificent individual match-winning performances, as there always are in T20 cricket, but Storm's winning formula seems to be a realisation that there are eleven players in the team and each one of them has a job to do. On some days they will do it better than others, but provided enough of them stood up to be counted in each match they had a chance of getting over the line. It wasn't always pretty, but it was effective. A triumph for a collective belief in a team's overall ability.

Well played the Storm - worthy KSL2017 Champions!!


Sunday, 3 September 2017

KSL Match Notes - Finals Day

Semi-Final & The Final
Stars v Storm
Vipers v Storm

Stars v Storm
* Stars win the toss and decide to bat

* Claire Nicholas (was Thomas) pins Stars down with her off-spin, going for 2, then a maiden, and then getting Tammy Beaumont in her third (fifth of the innings). Stars 12/1

* In the next over Freya Davies gets Lee caught at deep square - Stars 18/2, which is how they finish the powerplay.

* Spin continues to tie Stars down and Sciver perishes in the 10th over off Knight - 42/3, which moves on to 46/3 at the end of the 10th over

* Progress remains slow and Kapp is next to go for 19 in the 14th over - Stars 63/4

* Sophia Dunkley (30) and Bryony Smith (19) add 32 for the fifth wicket off 35 balls, but both perish in the last over as does Farrell, which gives Anya Shrubsole 3/22 and Stars finish on 100/7.


* Storm make the perfect start with 12 off the first over, but lose skipper Knight in the second to Kapp, swiflty followed by Wilson out for a golden duck. 12/2 becomes 12/3 as Priest is bowled by Sciver's first ball.

* In Kapp's next over Luff edges behind and Storm are in trouble at 17/4. Had Tammy Beaumont held on to a regulation catch two balls later Hennessy would have been on her way and Storm 19/5, but instead...

* Stafanie Taylor 37* and Georgia Hennessy 21 take Storm to 61 before Hennessy charges Marsh and misses.

* 61/5 becomes 67/6 as Macleod's stay is short. Taylor and Shrubsole take Storm almost there - 91/7 with 16 balls to come, and they get home and into the final with 7 balls to spare

Vipers v Storm
* Storm win the toss and not surprisingly decide to chase

* Runs come quite easily in the powerplay for Hayley Matthews (31), who looks in good touch, and Suzie Bates (21), who doesn't. Powerplay 38/0 but Storm did drop Bates

* 8th over and Stafanie Taylor gets countrywoman Matthews - 47/1

* Adams doesn't last long - stumped off Taylor (58/2), and in her next over she gets Bates too, lbw - Vipers 64/3 at halfway stage

* Danni Wyatt, dropped early by Luff, is brilliantly caught by Hennessy at long on low down and Vipers are 100/4 at the end of the 15th over

* Mignon du Preez adds a useful 31 before being caught at backward point. Vipers 117/5 with 15 balls to come.

* Last over flourish from Charlotte Edwards (17 off Shrubsole's over) takes Vipers to a competitive 145/5


* Storm lose Knight early in the powerplay and are 37/1 at the end of the fifth over, but the sixth over from Linsey Smith is muscled away for 25, with Rachel Priest reaching her 50 off just 26 balls. Storm 62/1 after first six overs. (Smith who has been ill all week leaves the field)

* Fran Wilson is bowled by a looping Brindle yorkie in the ninth over - Storm still going well on 80/2

* It looks like Priest is unstoppable, but she smashes a George halftracker out to deep midwicket where Wyatt takes a tumbling catch. She hit 72 off 36 balls. Storm 94/3 at halfway. Only need 52 off next 10 overs with Taylor and Luff at the crease

* Vipers look resigned to the defeat as the pair knock the ball around for singles and boundaries

* Just 18 runs needed off the last five overs, and then six off the last three. With just one required Taylor launches the ball over long on for 6! Storm win by 7 wickets with 2 overs to spare

full scorecard here