The winner takes it all, so they say, and there is no doubt that England were the winners in the Caribbean this month, taking the series 3-2 and moving up to 2nd place in the Women’s International Championship, with a 4-2 points victory.
Meanwhile, Head Coach Mark Robinson was reportedly spotted at a flea-market in Kingston, selling his entire wardrobe to make space in his suitcase for all the “massive positives” he will be bringing home – two half-centuries apiece for Nat Sciver and Lauren Winfield, and one for Tammy Beaumont, in conditions that could hardly have been more unfriendly to the batsmen.
Then of course there were those 13 wickets at an Strike Economy Rate of 3.4 for Alex Hartley – a record for England in a bilateral series; plus also not to mention, 10 wickets for 31-year-old Katherine Brunt, proving that if age is a barrier, it is one she is determined to meet with a short pitched delivery and a long, lacerating stare!
Nevertheless, any impression that England “triumphed” has to be counterbalanced by a reading of the facts. They lost two matches, and lost them badly – collapsing to 110 all out in the 2nd ODI, having lost 7 wickets for 17 runs; and to 181 all out in the 4th ODI, having lost 6 wickets for 20 runs.
Even in the final ODI, with the West Indies visibly slumping in the field, they managed to make it look like hard work as they lost the late wickets of Wyatt and Elwiss – watch the reactions of Amy Jones and Nat Sciver in this clip as they win the series:
There are cheers from the boundary, sure; but out in the middle there are no arms aloft in celebration, nor bats raised in triumph – just a fist-bump and a sense of exhausted relief – Sciver and Jones were only too well aware of just how narrowly it felt like they’d squeaked it!
ABBA were right – in sport, the winner really does take it all, as they will in next year’s World Cup; but England will know that if that winner is going to be them, they are going to need to be more consistent than they have been here, because lose two games there, and you’re not going to win the World Cup.
It took a while but Mark Robinsons interview did eventually give an insight into the bigger picture for the England team, women’s and girls cricket. My summarisation would be these are the best players we’ve got and it will be sometime before the next generation breaks through.
It was good to hear that he is taking an active interest with batting & bowling resources further down pathway (quite a way down in some cases) and with a new Director of the Academy in place that he may get Lottie involved.
What saddens me is that from both a team and ECB perspective is the relatively low profile approach being taken when the biggest cricket show on earth is in our back garden next year. The ECB initiative to ‘Unleash’ cricket on the public will start in 2017 but rolling out the initiatives will be a slow process aiming for 2018 onwards. I can’t help but feel that every season lost we lose ground to other sports (Hockey & Football are everywhere on TV & social media at the moment).
Mark Robinson has seen in Sussex one of the best environments for recreational and county cricket, this is not replicated everywhere. His support is essential as is a winning England team but we seem to be playing a different game to other nations.
Heartening to hear the coach talk about the need to protect and develop club and county cricket and that he is taking an active role in developing players underneath the professionals.
I have to say it was impressive interview.
Talk is cheap. I have seen no evidence of protection or development at club level, in fact the complete opposite.
Mark Robinson has said all he can but at least he lauds the importance of Club cricket for the women’s game.
The Club game continues to be let down by the ECB through a lack of clear strategy backed by actions specific to the women’s game.
Yes we will have a World Cup but no push exclusively to bring girls into the game as ever that is down to the most pro-active of Clubs and no regular TV coverage.
A good summary Syd.
I do think we have to take into the account that England were missing 2 of the best players in the world in Taylor and Shrubsole plus Wilson. How would Australia do if we took 2 of their best players out against one of the top teams in the World? I’m not sure many of us expected England to win against the recent T20 World Cup champions.
The collapses in the 2nd and 4th ODI were worrying. One thing you can say is that they were collapses on very hard wickets to bat on. To win the last game batting second on another turning wicket, with Sciver unbeaten on 50 plus and 10 overs still to go was hugely encouraging.
Bit of Hartley trivia.
After the first ODI match in which she bowled she ‘proudly’ had the worst ever debut bowling figures for England in ODI (10-0-53-0).
After the 6th ODI match in which she’s bowled she has joined the select club of just 3 bowlers who have taken 13 wickets in the first 6 ODI matches in which they’ve bowled. On runs conceded Rosalie Birch tops the list (49-7-151-13), followed by Hodges (67-16-182-13) and Hartley (54-2-199-13).
This (albeit short) list demonstrates how scoring rates have changed over the years. Try bowling 16 maidens in your first 67 ODI overs these days !!