Women’s County Championship Debrief (Rounds 3 & 4): Middlesex Top The Table

It was an excellent weekend for Middlesex, who achieved a nail-biting win against Surrey on Sunday by a mere 4 runs as Danni Warren ended with figures of 5-34. They followed this up with an 8-wicket victory against Lancashire yesterday to finish the weekend top of Division 1 with an average of 17 points.

Middlesex captain Izzy Westbury, speaking exclusively to CRICKETher, said:

“Sitting pretty at the top of the league is a novelty for us! It’s a great start, but nothing to be complacent about. We’re always striving to improve and with some tough games still ahead there’s lots to be done. We know how tough it’s going to be to keep that spot but we’re confident that we have the ability to beat any team in the league. Onwards and upwards!”

Middlesex’s main challengers for the top spot at the moment look to be Kent, who also had a successful weekend, achieving two convincing victories against both Lancashire (by 8 wickets) and Nottinghamshire (by 127 runs). Laura Marsh took a career-best 5-15 against Notts and looks set to be marking out her spot in England’s starting XI for the Ashes come July.

Meanwhile in Division 2, Staffordshire and Somerset are now joint front-runners, with both on an average of 18 points (though Somerset have played one less game). For Staffordshire, the highlight came yesterday in their 6-wicket victory over Ireland, as glove-butler Francesca James smashed 52 off 26 balls, including five sixes!

Somerset also enjoyed a huge win yesterday in their game against Devon, with Devon falling short by 118 runs as their overseas star Lizelle Lee took 3-18 in her 10 overs. Lee also starred with the bat as both she and Sophie Luff (111 and 109* respectively) hit centuries.

A full summary of the weekend’s matches is below:

DIVISION 1 – ROUND 1

Berkshire / Nottinghamshire – Alex Blackwell (38) and Heather Knight (34) starred with the bat as Berkshire hit 182-8 in their 50 overs, then bowled Notts out for just 145, with Jenny Gunn’s 52* being the only resistance. Full report here.

Kent / Lancashire Thunder – Lancashire got their total up to 180-8 thanks to Kate Cross’s 68, but Charlotte Edwards hit a half-century to take Kent to 142-2. Play had to be halted after 33 overs due to rain; and Kent won due to their superior run rate.

Surrey / Middlesex – Surrey looked to be on top after Rachel Candy’s 4-21 saw them bowl Middlesex out in only 41.4 overs for 170. But Surrey then suffered a middle-order batting collapse and ended 166 all out, with Middlesex winning by 4 runs.

Sussex / Warwickshire – Sussex beat Warwickshire convincingly by 7 wickets, as Holly Colvin’s 2-17 off 10 overs saw the Bears struggle to 148-9 in their 50 overs. A 93-run partnership between Sarah Taylor (74) and Izzy Collis (32*) then saw Sussex home. More details here.

DIVISION 1 – ROUND 2

Berkshire / Yorkshire – Yorkshire bowled Berkshire out for 104 as Danielle Hazell’s 6-28 made batting look impossible, then strolled to a 9-wicket victory thanks to big-hitting from Lauren Winfield (42*) and Katherine Brunt (41*). Full report here.

Kent / Nottinghamshire – Kent won by a mammoth 127 runs. Laura Marsh starred, hitting 58 and sharing a big partnership with Lydia Greenway (57) to take her side to 214-7, before knocking over Notts for just 87 with a career-best 5-15.

Middlesex / Lancashire Thunder – Middlesex bowled Lancashire out for 101 (captain Izzy Westbury finished with 3-15) and knocked off the required runs in just 27.3 overs, winning by 8 wickets.

Surrey / Warwickshire – in a tight game, Georgia Hennessey top-scored for Warwickshire with 66, taking her team to 176-9, which looked to be a good total after Surrey lost wickets early, including England’s Nat Sciver for her second golden duck of the season. A battling 34* from Sarah Clarke then took Surrey to within touching distance of victory – but they eventually fell short by 6 runs.

DIVISION 2 – ROUND 1

Devon / Wales – Jodie Dibble made a glorious century as Devon set Wales a target of 218, though this was reduced to 140 after rain shortened the Wales innings. Lauren Parfitt hit 46 but Wales still fell short, finishing on 136 in the allotted 32 overs.

Durham / Staffordshire – Staffordshire amassed 244 in their 50 overs thanks to brilliant innings from Evelyn Jones (115*) and Molly Strano (80*), then bowled Durham out for 150 to finish with a 94-run victory.

Essex / Ireland – In a low-scoring game, Ireland’s 139 proved to be just enough, as Essex were once again disappointing with the bat. Ireland’s Kim Garth starred with bat and ball, hitting 49* and taking 3-20 to bowl Essex out for 123, as Ireland won by 16 runs.

Worcestershire / Scotland – Abbit Aitken’s 5-34 was the highlight for Scotland, though Worcestershire still managed to clock up 211-9 in their 50 overs. Extras then top-scored for Scotland with 46, as they failed to chase down the required runs, leaving Worcestershire with a 32-run victory to their name.

DIVISION 2 – ROUND 2

Durham / Scotland – Scotland concluded a disappointing weekend by being bowled out for just 50 (including 30* from Elizabeth Priddle), to give Durham the win.

Somerset / Devon – Somerset achieved maximum points after clocking up a massive 312-2 including centuries from Lizelle Lee and Sophie Luff. Chasing a total of over 300 was always going to be a difficult ask for Devon and so it proved, as they were bowled out for 195 (Dibble 54).

Staffordshire / Ireland – ireland were bowled out for 133 and Staffordshire raced to a 6-wicket victory, thanks largely to a stonking 52 in 26 balls from keeper Francesca James, including five sixes.

Worcestershire / Wales – This proved to be the tightest encounter of the weekend, with Worcestershire emerging the victors by a mere 2 runs. Worcestershire’s Clare Boycott hit 53 and was well-supported by keeper Lauren Rowles (44) as they set Wales a target of 177. Wales were left requiring 3 off the last ball for victory, thanks to a late-order cameo by number 9 batsman Rose Evans (21). But overseas pace bowler Sian Ruck (3-28) had Evans caught off the last ball of the innings, and Worcestershire celebrated victory.

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