REPORT: Appleton Crowned Cheshire Women’s League Champions

Martin Saxon reports

With one week of its most closely fought season to go, the Cheshire Women’s League has crowned Appleton as its 2015 champions. The Warrington-based club had previously won the league on three successive occasions between 2010 and 2012, and had finished runners-up in the last two seasons.

Appleton now have an unassailable lead after a day when all matches started but were eventually abandoned due to rain. They did however have time to produce another miserly bowling display to demonstrate what worthy champions they are. 2014 champions Oakmere will finish as runners-up.

Appleton’s fourth title success was a genuine team effort, but it has been a superb season for opening bowler Annie Rashid, with more than 20 wickets at just two runs per over. Sami Fowler has made major contributions with bat and ball, Kathryn Jackson has made huge strides as a bowler this year and the ever-dependable captain Emma Barlow has again averaged over 30 in her opening bat position.

The other sides have not made life easy for Appleton this year. Any match between the top eight can genuinely go either way on the day, illustrated by one of Appleton’s defeats against second division champions Didsbury. The League has an innovative format where in the top two divisions, each team plays the others in their division at home and away, plus one fixture against each of the teams in the other division, making 13 matches in total. One up one down promotion and relegation will apply between the two divisions.

With all of the League’s showpiece occasions so far this year having been affected by rain, the League is genuinely hoping for better luck this coming Sunday when the Cup and Plate Finals of the T20 Divisional Competition are scheduled to be played at Alderley Edge CC, widely regarded as one of Cheshire’s very best grounds.

Oakmere Kats will play Trafford MV in the Plate Final at 11.30, a repeat of the 2010 Plate Final when Oakmere won. A victory would be Oakmere’s third Plate success, while Trafford are seeking to win the trophy for the second time.

Laura Newton and her Wistaston Swans team mates defend their crown in the Cup Final at 15.00, and once again face Chester Boughton Hall Deemons, after Wistaston’s resounding victory in last year’s final. Chester have won this competition on four previous occasions though.

Sadly, the League’s recent annual fixture versus MCC was also cancelled due to rain. Newton was due to captain the Cheshire Women’s League XI, with Claire Taylor in the MCC team.