DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 2 – As You Were!

Team Played Won Lost Abandoned Tied Points
Devon 4 3 0 1 0 61
Berkshire 4 3 0 1 0 58
Wales 4 2 1 0 1 51
Middlesex 4 2 1 0 1 49
Essex 4 2 2 0 0 43
Somerset 4 1 3 0 0 36
Durham 4 1 3 0 0 29
Worcestershire 4 0 4 0 0 13

The top of Division 2 is unchanged this weekend, after the key match between the top two was abandoned, and the game between 3rd and 4th was tied, leaving things very-much “as you were”!

Top-of-the-table Devon were left cursing the weather after Georgia Hennessy’s 78* helped them to 203-5 against second-placed Berkshire. The Beavers, whose batting hasn’t been their strong point this season, were then in some trouble at 4-2, with both their openers out for golden ducks. With no Heather Knight to rescue Berkshire, Devon must have been anticipating virtually wrapping up the title there and then, but then the rain came down and didn’t stop – the game eventually abandoned and the points shared.

Middlesex’s trip to Wales saw Sophia Dunkley hit her second century of the season – 114 off 126 balls – as Middlesex posted 163 all out. 43 from Rachel Priest set Wales on their way, but they ended up with numbers 9 and 10 – Lydia Clements and Naomi Davies – at the crease, needing 11 off the final over for the win, which they couldn’t quite do – running two off the final ball to leave the scores tied.

Further down the table, Essex made hard work of beating Somerset, despite bowling them out for 123 – a marathon 46 off 115 balls from Jess Bird helped get Essex over the line with just 3 balls to spare. Meanwhile up in Durham, Worcestershire captain Georgie Adcock top scored with 75, but it wasn’t enough as the Rapids went down by 31 runs to give Durham their first win of the season.

Next weekend sees Devon take on Essex and Middlesex, whilst Berkshire host Durham before travelling to Wales.

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DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 1 – Kent Open The Gap At The Top

Team Played Won Lost Points
Kent 4 4 0 69
Lancashire 4 3 1 57
Yorkshire 4 3 1 52
Nottinghamshire 4 2 2 46
Surrey 4 2 2 45
Sussex 4 2 2 44
Hampshire 4 0 4 26
Warwickshire 4 0 4 26

As we pass the half-way point in the Women’s County Championship, with 3 games left to play, Kent opened up clear blue water between them and the pack with a win over Hampshire, as their closest challengers Lancashire slipped-up against Yorkshire.

It wasn’t quite the perfect performance from Kent – at Polo Farm in Canterbury they missed out on maximum bonus points by taking just 6 wickets as Maia Bouchier top-scored with 64, and Suzie Bates hit 63, to help Hampshire to 233; but a frantastic (!) 74 from Fran Wilson, set them on course to win by 3 wickets and maintain their unbeaten record this year. (Full report here.)

At Harrogate, Lancashire went down to their first defeat of the season in the Roses match against Yorkshire. Katie Thompson and Beth Langston shared 3 wickets apiece as Lancashire were bowled out for 158. Lauren Winfield’s miserable county season for Yorkshire continued – her run of scores thus far: 2, 21, 0 and 2 – but it didn’t stop Yorkshire chasing down their target by 5 wickets, Katherine Brunt finishing 48* at the end.

The return of Danni Wyatt to Sussex didn’t help their struggling batting much – Wyatt made 2 off 7 balls, and it was left to Carla Rudd (36), Ella Mccaughan (33) and Freya Davies (23) to get them out of trouble to 176-7 against Surrey, which they might have defended had it not been for Nat Sciver, who made 80* to give Surrey their second win of the season.

Finally, Warwickshire endured another agonisingly close defeat to stay rooted to the foot of the table. Set 207 to chase by Notts, with Scotland’s Sarah Bryce making 51 and Georgia Davies taking 4-43, Warwickshire fell just 4 runs short – Amy Jones 89 and Jo Gardner’s highest ever championship score of 59 not quite enough to get them home.

Kent aren’t anything like home and dry yet – they’ve got a difficult road trip next Bank Holiday weekend to their two closest challengers – Yorkshire and Lancashire – but two wins there could potentially make them champions by Monday evening if bonus points and other results elsewhere fall their way.

MATCH REPORT: Frantastic! Wilson Stars As Kent Continue At The Top

Despite a flurry of late wickets from seamer Katie George, Kent eventually got over the line at Polo Farm against Hampshire with 2 and a half overs to spare, taking them to a 7-wicket victory against the former County Champions.

Fran Wilson top-scored for the hosts with 74 from 75 balls, her second big score in her maiden season for Kent after she made 87 against Warwickshire two weekends ago. Both performances should put her in contention to claim a place in the England squad ahead of the internationals against West Indies which begin next month.

Wilson came to the crease with Kent 0-1, chasing Hampshire’s 233 – Alice Davidson-Richards having been bowled by Maia Bouchier before her side had troubled the scorers.

Wilson, though, quickly took charge, with Hampshire feeding her some short and wide balls outside of off-stump which she gobbled up eagerly. She raced away to 50 with partner Tammy Beaumont still on only 15*.

Hampshire eventually found the right line to bowl to her, cramping her for room and having her trapped LBW to Charlie Dean. Beaumont fell the very next ball, caught behind to Charlotte Taylor, leaving Kent stumbling somewhat at 123-3.

Laura Marsh and Maxine Blythin then came together in a 72-run partnership, scampering singles to take the hosts within touching distance of victory.

There was one last twist in the tale for Kent, in the shape of Katie George’s second spell of the innings. George initially surprised everyone with a lone appeal for caught behind against Marsh, which the umpire acquiesced with. In her next over she took two further wickets in two balls, having Tash Farrant caught at cover and Izzy Cloke done for pace and bowled.

Lauren Griffiths successfully survived the hat-trick ball, but George got her eventually – trapping her LBW in her next over. At that point George had 4-62 and Kent were 213-7, still needing 21 runs to win.

It was left to Blythin and Chelsea Rowsome to hustle Kent over the line, and they got there in the end – Blythin finished with an unbeaten half-century, and Rowsome showed her mettle with a four creamed through the covers to finish things off.

Earlier, Hampshire had initially stumbled after winning the toss and choosing to bat – both Dean and George falling LBW without scoring.

The return of superstar Suzie Bates from the Women’s IPL, though, appeared to have a transformative effect on the rest of Hampshire’s batting, which looked a million miles away from last week’s showing against Sussex.

Bates herself racked up 63 in a partnership of 88 with Bouchier, though she lacked some of her usual fluency and was dropped on 6* and 23*, both chances coming off the bowling of Marsh. Beaumont finally snaffled her at midwicket in the 39th over.

Bouchier, meanwhile, went 1 run better and showed her strength in the V to top-score with 64 (86 balls), before being done by a Sarah Taylor-esque piece of glovework from Griffiths, who – standing up to the stumps for Farrant – had the batsman stumped from a leg side wide.

Hampshire’s lower order then also came good, with Emily Windsor hitting an attacking 34 before Taylor (22*) and Lucia Kendall (28*) put on 39 in the last 6 overs of the innings – Kendall celebrating her 15th birthday in some style! In the context of a close Championship race, Kent’s failure to dislodge either of the pair meant they missed out on not just 1 but 2 bowling bonus points, which could prove crucial.

For the moment, however, Lancashire’s loss to Yorkshire puts Kent firmly atop Division 1, with 3 matches left to play in this year’s Women’s County Championship.

DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 2 – Devon Cream Worcestershire To Go Top

Team Played Won Lost Points
Devon 3 3 0 52
Berkshire 3 3 0 51
Wales 3 2 1 39
Middlesex 3 2 1 38
Somerset 3 1 2 30
Essex 3 1 2 27
Durham 3 0 3 12
Worcestershire 3 0 3 7

An 18-point victory over Worcestershire took Devon past Berkshire to the top of Div 2, with 3 out of 7 games played in the second tier of the Women’s County Championship.

Spinner Becca Silk’s breakout season continued with 5-12 as Devon bowled Worcestershire out for 69, and Georgia Hennessy then hit 40* as Devon reached the target in just 16 overs.

Meanwhile Berkshire dropped a bonus point after they were bowled out for 160 by Somerset, with Heather Knight making 75. Knight then took 3-12 as Somerset were rolled-over for 86, with only keeper Nat Wraith (47) reaching double-figures.

Sophia Dunkley continued to prod England Head Coach Mark Robinson ahead of the international summer, with an all-round performance at Durham. Dunkley took 4-18 with her leg-spin as Durham set Middlesex 171, and then hit a half-century to set her side on course to victory, with veteran Beth Morgan closing the deal, finishing 44* at the end.

Finally at Panteg, half centuries from Rachel Priest (67) and Dani Gibson (57) set up a big win for Wales, posting 211 against Essex, who could only make 139-8 in reply, Gabby Basketter finishing with figures of 3-10.

The top two meet next weekend at Sidmouth in a match which could decide the season, while Middlesex head to Wales, Essex entertain Somerset, and Durham play Worcestershire in a match which will give one or the other their first win of 2019.

DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 1 – Kent Stay Top But Lancashire Keep Up The Pressure

Team Played Won Lost Points
Kent 3 3 0 53
Lancashire 3 3 0 52
Sussex 3 2 1 39
Yorkshire 3 2 1 35
Surrey 3 1 2 29
Nottinghamshire 3 1 2 28
Hampshire 3 0 3 19
Warwickshire 3 0 3 18

Kent and Lancashire pulled ahead in the Women’s County Championship this weekend, both taking maximum bonus points as they remained unbeaten at the top of the table.

Kent visited Surrey at Reed’s School, and the home side got off to a good start with the bat – Bryony Smith (55) and Kira Chathli (35) putting on 98 for the first wicket. But after Megan Belt dispatched both in quick succession, Surrey collapsed to 148 all out, with Tash Farrant taking 4-26. Tammy Beaumont then hit an unbeaten 79 to steer Kent home in 30 overs for the loss of only 3 wickets.

Lancashire entertained Notts at Carnforth, where Ellie Threlkeld hit a rapid 72 off 70 balls to help set Notts a target of 241. Kate Cross then continued her good form, taking 3-36 as – despite a half-century from Sonia Odedra (67) – Notts fell well short on 195-9.

Sussex moved into 3rd with a 1 wicket win in a rather attritional match at Hampshire, with England bowler Freya Davies saving the day for Sussex after their top order failed again – full report here.

Meanwhile Yorkshire inflicted a third defeat of the season on Warwickshire. After putting Yorkshire in, Warwickshire had them 6-4 early-doors; but New Zealander Leigh Kasperek shepherded the tail to a semblance of respectability at 112 all out, as Warwickshire speedster Issy Wong took 4-25. The Bears then found themselves in almost as much trouble as they’d had the Yorkies in, at 9-3 as Beth Langston got to work on their top order – Langston finishing with 5-8 as Warwickshire were bowled out 5 short for 108.

Looking forward to next weekend, the big game will be the Roses match between Yorkshire and Lancashire at Harrogate; while Kent draw the short straw of having to play Hampshire with Suzie Bates back in yellow after her stint at the Women’s IPL out in India. Both will be looking for a win to set up a potential title-decider when the two sides meet on Bank Holiday Monday May 27th as the Championship draws to a climax.

MATCH REPORT – Freya’d Ends Of Sanity For Hampshire As Davies Grinds Out Sussex Win

Old habits reappeared for both Hampshire and Sussex at Totton & Eling, but it was Sussex that came out on top as England bowler Freya Davies showed her mettle with the bat to grind out a 1-wicket win. Coming in at 67-7 chasing 128, after Sussex’s top order had let them down for the second time in a week, Davies ground out an undefeated 29 to take her side to an unlikely victory.

Sussex had doubtless felt confident going into the innings break, after Hampshire’s batting had collapsed to 128 all out – 3 less than they had made at the same ground in last Monday’s loss to Yorkshire.

Sussex opened with pace at both ends from Freya Davies and Tara Norris, and soon got the breakthrough when Maia Bouchier was caught by wicket keeper Carla Rudd, getting an inside edge off Norris with just 10 on the board.

Hampshire plodded on to 29-1 at the 10 over mark, when Linsey Smith’s left arm spin was introduced at one end; but Sussex continued with pace at the other in the shape of Cassidy McCarthy who was rewarded with three quick wickets – Ella Chandler feathering a catch behind to Rudd for 5; Emily Windsor bowled playing outside a delivery that dipped late into her stumps; and last weekend’s top scorer Fi Morris also caught behind the stumps.

At the other end, Charlie Dean had plugged away to 27, but was caught at slip off Linsey Smith to leave Hampshire 66-5.

Lucia Kendall and Katie George started with a little more intent, trying to inject some pace – and some much needed runs – into the innings; but they too were soon bogged down by Smith in particular, who bowled 10 overs straight for just 13 runs.

Nonetheless, they took the score on to 90 before Kendall was run out after a mid-pitch mix-up; while George was given out tummy-before-wicket playing all around the returning Davies, who then bowled Alice Monaghan off a thin inside edge.

A 9th wicket partnership of 27 between Clover Crosse and Providence Cowdrill took Hampshire on past 100, but was broken when Crosse was run out by McCarthy going for a sharp single. The innings closed a few balls later on 128, with Cowdrill LBW to Paige Scholfield.

In reply, Georgia Adams and Ella McCaughan opened the batting for Sussex and played out an attritional powerplay against the pace of Katie George and Maia Bouchier, taking the score to 26-0. The opening partnership was broken in the 13th over, bowled by Charlie Dean, who had Georgia Adams well caught by a diving Lucia Kendall at extra cover. Izzy Collis soon followed, run out by a sharp throw from square leg from Alice Monaghan.

After a patient 24, McCaughan chipped a regulation catch to Katie George at midwicket off Fi Morris; and Morris then took a wonderful caught and bowled the very next ball to dismiss incoming Chiara Green for a golden duck and leave Sussex in deep water at 53-4.

After Paige Scholfield had lobbed a skier to Kendall at mid on, Morris – who finished with 4-24 – then added former Berkshire colleague Carla Rudd to her list, LBW for 9; and Morris was in the thick of the action again as Linsey Smith’s eyes lit up at a full toss from Providence Cowdrill, which she smacked hard… straight to Morris at midwicket!

With 62 still required by Sussex at that stage, Hampshire looked odds-on for their first win of the season, but Davies made sure it wasn’t to be as she played out 48 dot balls for her 29, in partnerships with Ella Wadey (7), Tara Norris (8) and Nancy Harman (9*).

Sussex therefore pulled off their second tight win in the first three rounds of the Championship, while Hampshire have probably thrown away their chance of retaining their title, with three straight defeats.

DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 2 – Knight & Shrubsole Put Berkshire Top

Team Played Won Lost Points
Berkshire 2 2 0 34
Devon 2 2 0 33
Somerset 2 1 1 25
Middlesex 2 1 1 23
Wales 2 1 1 22
Essex 2 1 1 22
Durham 2 0 2 8
Worcestershire 2 0 2 7

A big century from England captain Heather Knight drove Berkshire to the top of Div 2 on the opening weekend of the Women’s County Championship.

With Berkshire batting first against Worcestershire on Women’s County Cricket Day at North Maidenhead, Knight came in at 3 and hit 131 off 121 balls, in a double-century partnership with captain Lissy Macleod, who finished on 95 – bowled in the final over of the innings, going for her hundred with a big heave! Anya Shrubsole (3-8) and England Academy quick Lauren Bell (2-15) then smashed through the Worcestershire top order as the Rapids were bowled out for 77.

It had been a slightly different story the day before for Berkshire – having bowled Essex out cheaply for 100, with Shrubsole (2-9) and Bell (3-21) again doing most of the damage, their batting struggled without Knight, and although they eventually won by 5 wickets, thanks to 35* from veteran Amanda “Steamer” Potgieter, it was a lot squeakier than the margin of victory makes it sound!

In second place, Devon also took two-from-two over the Bank Holiday. Western Storm off-spinner Becca Silk took 4-6 as they bowled Durham out for 97; but they made it difficult for themselves, losing 7 wickets on their way to overhauling the total, with Ellie Mitchell finishing 42*. Silk was again in the wickets the next day, taking 3-31 as Devon’s match against Wales followed a very similar pattern – Wales bowled out for 132, with New Zealand superstar Rachel Priest bagging a golden duck the first ball of the innings, which Devon chased for the loss of 7 wickets in 41 overs.

Elsewhere, Middlesex’s Sophia Dunkley hit an even bigger hundred than Knight’s, with Worcestershire again the victims as she smashed 138 off 116 balls. Set a target of 271, Worcestershire were then rolled over for 103, Dunkley also chipping in with the ball with 2-11.

Wales also halved the weekend with a win at Somerset, thanks to half-centuries from Rachel Priest (63) and Lauren Parfitt (58) in a total of 232-9. Somerset went the distance, but ended up well short on 180-8, with only Sophie Luff (71) giving the scorers much to do.