MATCH REPORT: Lanning Lets Loose as Bears Batter Beavers

Aussie import Anna Lanning top-scored for Warwickshire as they beat Berkshire to stay top of the Women’s County Championship.

With Daisy Gardner out injured, Lauren Bell and Immy Brown opened the bowling for Berkshire, and both had early chances to take the wicket of Amy Jones, who was dropped by Alex Rogers at backward point off Bell and then bowled off a no ball by Brown.

Fortunately, it didn’t prove too costly, as Jones was then bowled by Bell for 1; but that brought Lanning to the crease, who built a series of partnerships through the middle order as she struck her way to a very nice 54, finding the long boundaries either side of the wicket 6 times, before being bowled by Alex Rogers.

Lanning’s fall could have spelled trouble, but Laura Crofts then took up the anchor role, making 47 as the tail wagged; before a quick-fire 20 off 19 balls from Becky Grundy finally drove Warwickshire on to exactly 200 and the 4th batting bonus point!

Berkshire’s reply started solidly enough, as Linsey Smith (40) kept pace with Heather Knight to put on 97 for the first wicket. Knight continued to look her usual assured self, but the rest of the lineup largely collapsed around her – Sherissa Gumbs (16) the only other batsman to reach double-figures, as Georgia Hennessy took 4-32. Knight (92) was last out, in the 48th over, as Warwickshire celebrated another 18-point victory, to remain out front as the only unbeaten side in the Championship.

Afterwards Warwickshire skipper Marie Kelly was full of praise for their Australian superstar:

“Anna Lanning has been pure class – watching her bat today, she was unbelievable; and as a player, she has come into the squad and fitted in so well – she was the perfect addition to our team.”

And Kelly insisted Warwickshire could win the County Championship:

“Somebody just compared us to Leicester Football Club – if we can just keep going, we could hopefully get there!”

The Bears’ still have some tough fixtures to come – not least Kent, who absolutely tonked Middlesex today; but with everyone else already having lost at least one game, it could just be opening up nicely for them to cause the Championship’s biggest upset in years.