OPINION: Women’s County Champs v WNCL – The Strange Case of Kara Sutherland

How does the standard of England’s Women’s County Championship compare to Australia’s Women’s National Cricket League? Perhaps one player’s stats tell a story?

New South Wales’ Kara Sutherland had a pretty indifferent season in the WNCL in 2014-15. In 7 matches, the all-rounder took only 3 wickets at 52 and (admittedly batting down the order) scored just 1 run in 4 innings, averaging 0.5 thanks to a couple of not-outs. Looking back at previous years, the story is a similar one: Sutherland is a very good club player, who probably isn’t quite classy enough to play at the highest level of domestic cricket in Australia.

Consequently, it was something of a surprise when Kent – England’s reigning county champions, and home to (among others) England captain Charlotte Edwards and four other contracted England players – signed Sutherland as their “overseas” for the 2015 Women’s County Championship.

But watching Sutherland play for Kent against Berkshire and Ireland in the T20s, however, was something of a revelation – she looked pretty good, bowling at a similar pace to Daisy Gardner, who I rate as probably the best “county” bowler (excluding England and Academy players) around at the moment; and Sutherland’s stats reflect this. So far this season, she has taken 9 wickets at 21. Meanwhile with the bat, she averages 16 – not spectacular… but a lot better than 0.5!

As commentators, we’ve often wondered about the relative standard of the Women’s County Championship compared to the WNCL; and it is usually taken as a “given” that WNCL is the stronger.

But it can be difficult to find hard facts to back-up this hunch; and that is why The Strange Case of Kara Sutherland is so interesting. A player who struggles in WNCL but looks pretty good in the Women’s County Champs? I’d say this was rather strong evidence that domestic cricket in Australia is of a much higher standard than it is here… and that is a big part of why we need the ECB’s new Womens Cricket Super League to succeed in its mission to strengthen our domestic game.

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2 thoughts on “OPINION: Women’s County Champs v WNCL – The Strange Case of Kara Sutherland

  1. I’ve seen quite a few overseas who have thrived in UK conditions and not made the grade in their home competition, standard is part of the equation the other is conditions. But it is good to have a yard stick.

    I might sound like a broken record but I genuinely would like to hear other peoples views.

    How is creating a new super league going to be of a long term benefit IF there isn’t a county and club structure below it and I’m not talking about the ECB Pathway.

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