NEWS: Fran Wilson Awarded England Contract

Middlesex’s Fran Wilson has been awarded a central contract by the ECB, joining the otherwise unchanged list of 18 (now 19) players.

The 24-year-old Wilson last played for England in 2011, and recently moved from Division 2 Somerset to Division 1 Middlesex, with the aim of winning back her England place.

She was the only non-contracted player selected in a squad for last summer’s Women’s Ashes; but was restricted to a “12th Man” appearance in the field at Canterbury during the Test.

However, her rich form in domestic cricket – she was one of only 3 women to score a County Championship Division 1 century last season – has now been rewarded by England and it would seem highly likely that she will subsequently be a part of the squad to face South Africa in February.

WBBL: Heather’s Hurricanes Hit Hunexpected Heights

Although we are a quarter-way through the WBBL, the lopsided nature of the schedule means it is difficult to really know where we are, with Brisbane Heat having played six matches and Sydney Thunder just one. Nevertheless, one thing is clear: the bookies who had Heather Knight’s Hobart Hurricanes at 16/1 are now starting to look rather nervously at their wallets!

The Hurricanes played four games over the weekend and came away with 4 wins – two apiece against Danni Wyatt’s Melbourne Renegades and Sarah Taylor’s Adelaide Strikers – Knight leading the way with two Man of the Match awards.

Standout performance of the weekend however … and very possibly of the entire tournament… goes to Brisbane Heat’s Grace Harris, who smashed 103 off just 55 balls, with 14 4s and 4 6s, as the Heat dumped Laura Marsh’s Sydney Sixers firmly to the bottom of the table – played four, won none.

Team Played Points
1. Hobart Hurricanes 4 8
2. Brisbane Heat 6 6
3. Melbourne Stars 2 4
4. Perth Scorchers 3 4
5. Sydney Thunder 1 2
6. Adelaide Strikers 2 0
7. Melbourne Renegades 2 0
8. Sydney Sixers 4 0

NEWS: World T20 Groups Announced – England Face West Indies & India

The groups for next year’s World T20 in India have been announced by the ICC.

In Group A, Australia are drawn with New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Ireland.

Meanwhile in Group B, England will do-battle with India and the West Indies, as well as underdogs Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Just two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-final stage, so there’s little margin for error – in England’s case, a slip-up against India for example, could make things very interesting!

The full schedule can be found here.

NEWS: Ireland & Scotland Stars Kim Garth, Laura Delany & Rachel Scholes Get WBBL Rookie Shot

Ireland’s Kim Garth and Scotland’s Rachel Scholes, along with five other players from the Associate nations, have been officially announced for the inaugural WBBL “Rookie” program, with the opportunity to spend two weeks training with a WBBL side.

Garth will team-up with Heather Knight at the Hobart Hurricanes, whilst Scholes is headed to Sydney with Ellyse Perry’s Sixers.

Scotland player-coach Kari Carswell told CRICKETher:

“We are delighted that Rachel is going to be playing a part in the first WBBL as a rookie player.  The environment that she is stepping into is totally different to anything she will have experienced before and I know she is really looking forward to getting out to Australia and meeting her new team mates.  Rachel performed well in Thailand and is a hard worker, I’m sure all the girls in Scotland will be looking out for her team’s scores.”

Meanwhile, intriguingly, the Perth Scorchers have yet to formally announce the identity of their rookie; but we have an inkling that it just might be another Irish player – all-rounder Laura Delany – after she posted this on Twitter:

OPINION: Question Marks Over Super League As Sussex Fail To Bid

It will be 2016 by the time that we find out who has been selected to host the six inaugural Women’s Cricket Super League sides. Yet even as we speak the bids are being mulled over and potential hosts interviewed by a panel consisting of ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison, Director of England Women’s Cricket Clare Connor, and a mysterious third “independent” panel member.

Currently, CRICKETher are aware of the following bids:

  • Middlesex and MCC
  • Lancashire
  • Hampshire (supported by Sussex, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight)
  • South West (Somerset CCC, Gloucestershire CCC and the University of Exeter)
  • Surrey

Yet there is one significant omission from the list: Sussex.

For the past 15 years, since the inauguration of the women’s county championship in its current form, Sussex have been one of the leading counties in women’s cricket, with six Championship titles to their name, and most recently finishing the 2015 season as county T20 Champions.

Sussex’s success has been founded at least in part on the support that Sussex Women’s Cricket Association has received from the Board – including access to the top facilities available at Hove.

This summer, Hove staged the second Women’s Ashes Twenty20 match under lights, with a record crowd of 5,750 turning up (let’s not remind ourselves of what the crowd actually witnessed, please!)

Yet while Sussex had earlier submitted an Expression of Interest, they did not subsequently follow this through with a bid to host their own Super League side.

(While Sussex officially “support” Hampshire’s bid, as far as CRICKETher can tell their involvement should Hampshire’s bid be successful will be minimal.)

Sussex refused to comment on their reasons for deciding not to place an independent bid when approached by CRICKETher. Reading between the lines, though, it does seem to indicate a certain level of scepticism about the potential success of the Super League, not to mention the financial implications of agreeing to host a team.

Surely a county which has experienced so much success with regards to the women’s game would otherwise have been biting the ECB’s hand off?

Whether or not this scepticism is shared by other counties is difficult to say, but the fact that the ECB have refused to say exactly how many bids were eventually submitted – despite previously having been open about the number of Expressions of Interest (28) – is presumably some indication that fewer bids were received than might have been hoped for.

Clare Connor has recently said that the Super League is causing her “sleepless nights” – and this might be one of the reasons why!

NEWS: Bangladesh & Ireland Qualify For World T20

Bangladesh and Ireland have qualified for next year’s World T20 in India, after winning their respective semi-finals in the qualifying tournament in Thailand.

In the first semi-final, Bangladesh beat Zimbabwe by 31 runs. Batting first, the Tigers posted 89-5 with Fargana Hoque hitting 43 off 43 balls as they recovered from 10-3. Leg spinner Rumana Ahmed then took 4-8 as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 58.

In the other semi-final, Ireland beat Scotland by 9 wickets. Scotland posted 77-9, with opener Fi Urquhart top-scoring with 21 off 32 balls, as 16-year-old seamer Lucy O’Reilly took 3-16 to help keep the Wildcats under par.

Ireland made short work of their response, as Cecelia Joyce (36*) and Clare Shillington (34) put on 58 for the first wicket, with the Irish then reaching their target at 79-1 with a whopping 51 balls to spare.

Bangladesh and Ireland will now contest the qualifying final on Saturday and then join the “Big 8” at the World T20 in India next March.

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Wanstead CC

Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month, giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

The ladies section at Wanstead CC has its roots back in 2002, a time when the club’s current Head of Women’s and Girls’ Cricket Pauline Osborn had sons who were members of the club’s colts section. Several girls, whose brothers were club members, decided that they wanted to play themselves. “We agreed that there was no reason why girls should be excluded,” Pauline recalls. “Wanstead always strives to do things properly and with girls playing it was decided that there should be female coaches to support them – which is how I quickly found myself on an ECB Level 1 coaching course!”

Once it became known that girls were welcome, numbers swelled, and it was decided to form a women’s section too – initially made up of the mums and aunties of the girls who were playing, as well as Pauline herself. They named themselves the Wanstead Heronettes.

pik

In 2007, after a few seasons of struggling to find local clubs to play “friendlies” against, Pauline was instrumental in the Wanstead Heronettes applying to join the recently-formed North London Women’s Cricket League. Since then, Wanstead have won the league on several occasions – doing so in 2011 and 2012 without losing a game!

They currently play every Sunday at the club’s second ground at Nutter Lane, as well as occasionally at the club’s main ground at Overton Drive. Current captain and coach Saba Nasim says that their facilities are very good, with the Overton Drive square recently having been redone, and new nets installed a few years ago.

About 40-50 girls are registered players at the club and the club offers both softball and hardball cricket. Saba says that the upcoming girls section has really boosted players for the ladies side and that they regularly use their youth talent to play in league fixtures. Many of the Wanstead girls currently play for Essex age-group sides.

pik 2.jpg

Unusually for a women’s club, Wanstead have both female coaches and female umpires. Pauline herself is now a level 2 ECB coach and a qualified scorer and umpire (as well as being manager of the side and chairman of the North London League). And team coach Saba – an inspirational role-model for many of the girls she coaches – recently won the ECB’s Coach of the Year Award at the Asian Cricket Awards.

The club are looking forward to their annual pre-season 2016 cricket tour to La Manga, Spain and aim to get more of the younger girls playing in competitive league cricket for the ladies team on a regular basis.

Wanstead are a friendly club and welcome players of any ability young or old. If anyone is interested in joining then please do contact captain Saba Nasim on sabanasim@hotmail.com.