Women’s Cricket Survey – Cricket Deal Direct

Cricket Deal Direct are running a survey to ascertain views about women’s cricket in the UK. Please read on if you are interested in participating.

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You can help shape the future of women’s cricket.

With the support of England women’s captain, Heather Knight – and CDD’s other SM Ambassadors – Cricket Deal Direct are spending the next few months finding out as much as they can about the women’s game in the UK, as well as the hopes and fears of current and potential players, with a view to informing debate at all levels about the future of the game.

With input from Heather, as well as a steering group of top women’s cricket stakeholders, CDD designed and introduced The Heather Knight Collection of cricket kit three years ago. But there is much more to think about over and above the availability of specialist women’s equipment.

They would like to hear your views about the women’s game and invite you to complete a short online questionnaire at http://bit.ly/2j4YDPE

To thank you for completing this questionnaire, you will receive a £10 Gift Voucher which you can redeem against any purchase of women’s cricket kit from CDD, and what you say will be added – anonymously – to the voices of other women who share our view that the women’s game will go from strength to strength in the years ahead. Your email details will not be shared with anyone else, and will be securely stored subject to CDD’s internal security policies in line with Data Protection legislation.

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Random Thoughts: WBBL02

Strength In Depth

A year ago, we were musing that having 8 teams in WBBL was perhaps as much as two too many; but this season has shown those fears to have been unfounded – it has given us 50-odd games of high-class cricket. While there were winners and losers, of course, no team was totally outclassed through the tournament as a whole; and no player looked like she didn’t deserve to be there. It may be true that the Aussies have a seam problem – though the leading bowler in the tournament, Sarah Aley, is a seamer – but WBBL02 makes it clear that they nevertheless have a strength in depth that has to be the envy of the world.

Having The Best Player Is Overrated

Though Beth Mooney was named the official Player of the Tournament, there isn’t much doubt who the best cricketer in the world is – Meg Lanning is the T-1000 of the women’s game, and seems virtually certain to break almost every record in the book before she retires. (Though I have an inkling she won’t overtake Charlotte Edwards’ 10,264 international runs.) But as in WBBL01, the Women’s World T20, and now in WBBL02, it seems like having the best player isn’t enough, as Lanning’s Melbourne Stars crashed out in the group stages. Cricket might be the most individual of team games… but it is still a team game!

A Crowded(ish) House

Cricket Australia tell us that 100,000 spectators watched WBBL02, which is impressive stuff, when you consider that KSL averaged just over 1,000 per game; but… all of those KSL games were stand-alone; whilst a full quarter of the total Aussie spectators (25,000) were for just one match: a double-header – the Melbourne derby on New Year’s Day. Take out this game (even ignoring the other double-headers) and the average for WBBL02 was around 1,500 per match – not too shabby, by any means; but not that much more than the KSL, which was only in its first year after all, and without the men’s teams to piggy-back aboard.

Don’t Read Too Much Too Early Into Individual Performances

WBBL02 has seen some impressive performances from young players; but looking back to WBBL01, I wonder if both the Southern Stars selectors, and we in the media, were too quick to pile the pressure on young players after one good tournament, leading to a couple of last year’s breakout stars comparatively under-performing this time around? Tournament “Young Gun”, 19-year-old Ashleigh Gardner, could come to England next summer and tear it up at the World Cup… but on the other hand, she has time on her side, and she might actually just need it! Her international call-up, pretty-much on the basis of one successful tournament, should be considered carefully against the question of whether she really is the finished article yet – some are at that age… but some aren’t; and the surest way to drown someone is to throw them in before they are actually ready to swim!

INTERVIEW: Scotland’s Priyanaz Chatterji On The Women’s World Cup Qualifier

Jake Perry chats to Priyanaz Chatterji

Scotland’s Women travel to Sri Lanka for the ICC Global Qualifier in buoyant mood. Qualification for the event crowned a memorable season for Steve Knox’s side, and after two warm-up games against Ireland in Dubai they will look to make the most of the opportunity to measure their skills against some of the finest players in the world.

For Priyanaz Chatterji the final weeks of preparation have been busier than ever. The Dundee-born seamer combines her Scotland duties with a full-time job at an energy consultancy in London, and as she prepares to meet up with her team-mates again her excitement at what lies ahead is clear.

“It’s probably not fully sunk in yet that I’m actually going, it’ll probably hit me on Sunday when I get on the plane!” she said. “I’m very excited, it’s an amazing opportunity and one that the girls have been working really hard for. There are some nerves there too of course, we’re going to be up against some pretty impressive opposition and we want to do ourselves justice.

“But personally it’s been really great to be involved with Scotland again and to see everyone on a regular basis. The team is definitely moving in the right direction, there’s a real togetherness about the squad and as last season went on we got more and more confident both individually and as a group.

“We had often relied very heavily on Kari [Carswell] in the past, and still do to some extent, but it was great to see other players stepping up and performing when it really mattered. That will stand us in good stead for Sri Lanka.”

Still only twenty-three, Chatterji was a regular wicket-taker for the Wildcats as they secured promotion to Division Two of the NatWest Twenty20 last season. It was a consistency of performance made all the more remarkable by a glimpse of her hectic weekly schedule.

“Monday-to-Friday I get up in the morning and go to the gym before work,” she said. “I aim for five times a week in an ideal world but depending on what else I have to do it might be closer to three or four. I work full-time but manage to train a couple of times a week after work, too, although being in London that can add an hour on just getting there.

“I’ve been travelling back to Scotland every other weekend for the last few months which is definitely challenging, especially when we have a double-header training session. Our starts on Saturdays are usually 9am and the same on Sundays and I don’t tend to get back home until about eleven or twelve at night.

“It’s tiring, but it’s the level of commitment that Knoxy is expecting and it is what’s needed to see my game improve.”

A successful season of Australian club cricket in 2014-15 with Perth’s Subiaco Floreat Cricket Club proved to be a memorable experience, and as she continues to develop her game Chatterji is keen to find other opportunities a little closer to home.

“To be able to train and play regularly for a Division Two county near me would be great,” she added. “Obviously if it happened to be a Division One side it would be too!”

But for now her attention is firmly directed towards Sri Lanka and the biggest occasion of her career to date. Scotland will play in Group B against South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea whilst India, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Thailand meet in Group A. The top three teams in each group qualify for the Super Six phase and the chance to claim a place at the ICC Women’s World Cup to be held in England later this year.

“It’s inevitably going to be a massive learning experience for us,” said Chatterji. “Just playing out in those conditions is going to be a massive physical and mental challenge after cold and rainy Scotland! But ultimately it’s a competition and we want to come away with as many wins as possible.

“Getting to play against world-class players can only be a good thing,” she continued. “But whatever happens, we will learn from it, we’ll come back home and carry on working hard.

“We’ll keep on challenging ourselves to improve.”

(Reproduced with the permission of Cricket Scotland)

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Jake Perry writes on Scottish cricket for Cricket Scotland and CricketEurope and is a regular contributor to HoldingWilley.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

 

WBBL Player Rankings – Batting + Bowling

Ahead of the semi-finals, we take a quick look at the player rankings from the group stages.

Our bowling rankings are topped by a seamer – Sarah Aley of the Sydney Sixers. Aged 32, and never having played a full international, Aley has to be a very outside bet to change that as a result of her performances in WBBL02; but she has nonetheless been massively consistent for the Sixers, as well as defying the dominance of spin which usually asserts itself in the women’s game.

Bowling Matches Wickets Economy
1. Sarah Aley (Sydney Sixers) 14 23 5.69
2. Jess Jonassen (Brisbane Heat) 14 18 4.88
3. Molly Strano (Melbourne Renegades) 14 21 5.92
4. Hayley Matthews (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 19 6.56
5. Megan Schutt (Adelaide Strikers) 12 13 5.06
6. Emma King (Perth Scorchers) 14 15 5.89
7. Marizanne Kapp (Sydney Sixers) 10 12 4.79
8. Jemma Barsby (Brisbane Heat) 14 16 6.83
9. Amy Satterthwaite (Hobart Hurricanes) 12 15 6.63
10. Julie Hunter (Hobart Hurricanes) 9 12 5.63
11. Gemma Triscari (Melbourne Stars) 14 13 6.18
12. Kristen Beams (Melbourne Stars) 7 11 5.34
13. Lauren Smith (Sydney Sixers) 14 13 6.61
14. Katherine Brunt (Perth Scorchers) 14 10 5.18
15. Nicola Carey (Sydney Thunder) 13 14 7.56
16. Rene Farrell (Sydney Thunder) 13 11 6.02
17. Suzie Bates (Perth Scorchers) 14 12 6.68
18. Brooke Hepburn (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 10 5.9
19. Piepa Cleary (Perth Scorchers) 6 9 5.36
20. Erin Osborne (Sydney Thunder) 13 11 6.59

No surprises who tops the batting rankings – do we even have to name her? More interesting are Nos. 2 and 3 – Beth Mooney certainly seems to have done enough at WBBL02 to earn a seat on the plane to the World Cup this summer as a pure batsman, regardless of her status as Assistant Glove Butler to Alyssa Healy; whilst Ashleigh Gardner too has been asking questions of the selectors, as the 19-year-old knocks on the door of a first full call-up to the national side.

Batting Matches Runs Strike Rate
1. Meg Lanning (Melbourne Stars) 13 502 120.09
2. Beth Mooney (Brisbane Heat) 14 469 116.37
3. Ashleigh Gardner (Sydney Sixers) 14 391 121.05
4. Alex Blackwell (Sydney Thunder) 13 386 109.03
5. Alyssa Healy (Sydney Sixers) 14 362 114.92
6. Heather Knight (Hobart Hurricanes) 13 331 119.06
7. Elyse Villani (Perth Scorchers) 14 367 106.37
8. Ellyse Perry (Sydney Sixers) 13 384 95.76
9. Sophie Devine (Adelaide Strikers) 9 270 135
10. Harmanpreet Kaur (Sydney Thunder) 13 296 116.99
11. Amy Satterthwaite (Hobart Hurricanes) 12 311 110.67
12. Stafanie Taylor (Sydney Thunder) 12 289 105.09
13. Sara McGlashan (Sydney Sixers) 14 297 99.66
14. Emma Inglis (Melbourne Stars) 14 286 100
15. Rachel Haynes (Sydney Thunder) 13 264 106.02
16. Kris Britt (Melbourne Renegades) 14 290 93.54
17. Tammy Beaumont (Adelaide Strikers) 12 276 96.5
18. Rachel Priest (Melbourne Renegades) 14 263 100.76
19. Danni Wyatt (Melbourne Renegades) 14 260 100.77
20. Sophie Molineux (Melbourne Renegades) 14 256 99.61

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate
Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

WBBL: Our Champagne Moments

Amy Satterthwaite’s Hat Trick

T20 cricket is about fine margins, and the difference between a total of 115 and one of 125 can be everything. The Sydney Thunder, batting first against the Hurricanes, must have been hopeful of 125+ going into the last two overs at 108-5, but Amy Satterthwaite had other ideas. A single was followed by two dots and then wicket, wicket, wicket. The Thunder had been silenced, leaving a final total of just 115, which the Hurricanes chased down with an over to spare – basically, the over Satterthwaite had bowled! [SE]

Sophie Devine’s Boxing Day Gift

Up against the Hurricanes on Boxing Day, the Strikers had conceded 143 in the field, and it looked a formidable total, especially after they lost 2 wickets with just 5 runs on the board. Enter a totally unfazed Devine, who proceeded to tear apart the ‘Canes attack, accumulating the second ever WBBL hundred in just 48 balls. Charlotte Edwards described it as the best T20 innings she had ever seen. The result: an easy win for the Strikers, coming off just 16.3 overs. [RN]

Corinne Hall Holds Her Nerve

In the Hurricane’s “winner takes it all” chase against the Stars, with the score on 123-4, chasing 135 with 8 balls to go, Corinne Hall knew that all she had to do was play the supporting role to Amy Satterthwaite – the big-hitting New Zealander at the other end. Two balls and two wickets later, suddenly Satts was back in the dugout and Hall was the senior partner. A single off the 4th ball of the final over, left Hall on strike needing 4 off 2 – the pressure was on, but she held her nerve magnificently, driving the 5th ball straight along the floor to the boundary to take the Hurricanes into the semis. [SE]

Deandra Dottin’s Comeback

3 weeks previously Deandra Dottin had suffered a horrific head clash with teammate Laura Harris as both of them attempted to prevent a boundary. Following surgery on her face she was, incredibly, allowed to play in the final two group games – fortunately for the Heat. In their must-win last clash with the Strikers, it was Dottin – complete with protective face mask – who was selected to bowl both the final over of the Strikers innings and then the requisite Super Over, in which she dispensed with Megan Schutt and Bridget Patterson, and conceded just 3 runs. Impossible to get away and bang on the money with every ball, the Comeback Queen thus sealed Heat’s place in the semi-finals. [RN]

Haidee Birkett’s Dolphin Dive

The Heat’s Haidee Birkett had quite a game in the field versus the Thunder – 2 run-outs, a C&B and 2 other catches, of which this was the pick – a dolphin dive running towards a sharply dropping ball at deep midwicket to dismiss Naomi Stalenberg. Will you see a better catch this summer? Well yes, actually… but you won’t see two!! [SE]

 

WBBL: James Piechowski’s Big #WBBL02 Catch-Up

James Piechowski reviews the last 2 days’ action in WBBL02, and how each side finished.

Team Played Won Lost NR NRR Points
Sixers 14 9 5 0 0.44 18
Scorchers 14 8 6 0 0.3 16
Heat 14 8 6 0 0.05 16
Hurricanes 14 7 6 1 -0.03 15
Stars 14 7 7 0 0.26 14
Thunder 14 6 7 1 -0.05 12
Renegades 14 6 8 0 -0.52 11.5
Strikers 14 3 9 2 -0.54 8

Thunder’s consolation win not enough; Scorchers blaze into home semi-final

It was the 24th January 2016, and the Sydney Thunder women’s team had just won the inaugural Women’s Big Bash (WBBL01) tournament. Lauren Cheatle and Claire Koski were in the middle and celebrated emphatically as they made it to their target of 116 with 3 balls remaining. They then watched their men’s side follow up that victory with one of their own. It was a fantastic achievement from all the players in light green.

Much was expected from the likes of Kaur, Taylor and Blackwell this time around, too.  With a batting line-up packed with experience and full of Australian internationals, and up-and-coming Shooting Stars, as well as a generous sprinkling of overseas talent, qualification for the semi-finals in the sophomore edition of the league seemed incredibly likely. 361 days later though, and both the Thunder men’s and women’s sides are out – they’ll play no further part in the BBL.

Thunder went into the first match of their pair against the Scorchers over the 20-21 January, desperately needing a win to keep their slim hopes alive. They won the toss and inserted the Scorchers, who went on to make 149/5 thanks largely to an excellent 74 from 55 balls by Elyse Villani. It was a magnificent display of hitting. Early in the Thunder reply, Shrubsole effected a crucial run out, catching the dangerous Stafanie Taylor out of her ground after running through following her delivery stride. Harmanpreet Kaur’s amazing big hitting was once again the highlight of the Thunder innings. She slammed a remarkable 64* off 37 balls including 6 big sixes. Apart from Blackwell (39 off 37) there was not enough support for her, though, and the Thunder middle order of Stalenberg, Carey and Osborne crumbled quickly again. Agonisingly for Thunder, they fell 4 runs short in a tight finish.

In the second game, Thunder took the honours. Scorchers had already qualified, and may have taken their foot off the gas a little. They failed to make quite as challenging a target this time, settling for 131-4. Bolton scored 53 off 43 balls, but Bates was strangely subdued in her innings of 28, which used up 36 balls, only striking 1 boundary – albeit a six. The Scorchers total proved a few short this time, as a Thunder side determined to go out on a high got home with 5 balls to spare, thanks to 62 off 54 balls from Stafanie Taylor. It was scant consolation though for a season that promised much but never quite turned out how they wanted. Scorchers must now get their “A” game back, for a tough encounter against Heat at the WACA in the semis.

Where did it go go wrong for Thunder? A feature of WBBL02 has been how close the league has been – sides have been separated by small factors, and fine margins. These stats might shed some light on their problems.

Thunder had the 3rd lowest run total (1611) over the course of the league, but scored a good amount of boundaries (157 fours and 25 sixes) so their failure to rotate the strike enough might have been a factor. Their players only feature once in the highest run scorers (Blackwell with 386) and once in the wicket-takers list (Carey with 14). However they featured twice in the most expensive bowling (Carey and Cheatle) and only Sam Bates featured in the top 10 cheapest bowling economy (5.45 RPO). Thunder scored none of the top 10 opening batting partnerships. Carey – a promising all rounder on the verge of the Southern Stars squads – scored only 64 runs with a top score of 20 and Stalenberg, a specialist batsman, with a full international cap, just 80 runs with a best of 24. Stafanie Taylor, one of the best bowlers in the KSL last summer, only bowled 12 overs and took 2 wickets.

Sixers confirm top spot with revenge victory over spirited Renegades

A Sixers team that had already qualified faced the lowly Renegades on the 20th and 21st January. The ‘Gades won a remarkable first match in which they chased down 149, but their slim hopes were soon extinguished after Heat completed their win over the Strikers. For Sixers, Ellyse Perry was injured whilst being out stumped for 7, and was not able to take to the field. She will reportedly miss the semi final.

The Sixers innings was anchored by a big partnership of 88 between Ash Gardner and Sara McGlashan, but when Renegades came out to bat, suddenly it didn’t look enough. Priest made 44 in quick order, and what stood out to me for the Renegades was Sophie Molineux. Just 19 years old, Molineux, a left-hander, looks really classy with the bat and has beautiful touch and timing, as well as plenty of power. She is a wonderful player to watch, and, if she can construct longer innings, I think could have a big future. It will be a good investment to focus on her batting because there is plenty of promise there. The other Renegades player that impressed me was Maitlan Brown, who with her accurate pace bowling and big hitting is also a prospect to watch.

In the Renegades reply, a few fielding errors were creeping in for the Sixers. It was a great innings by Britt 31 (23) but Maitlan Brown came in and cracked it everywhere, in particular taking the normally economical Aley to town, getting 30 off 15 balls including a massive six over midwicket to win the game! Sixers have had a couple of sluggish performances in the field, and sit at the top of the “dropped catches list” with 13 spills to their name. They will be eager to iron out these imperfections before the season climax.

In the second meeting between the sides there was less of a feeling of tension, as the qualification fate of each had already been decided the previous day.  Sixers came out on top comfortably this time; the main feature of their innings was a superbly powerful and inventive knock of 84 off 56 balls by Alyssa Healy. Using her feet well and hitting strongly over the top, Healy was imperious, and the total of 158 proved too many for a weary Renegades side. Molineux again impressed though, top scoring with 24.

Sixers now face the Hurricanes in the semis at the Gabba, in a strange result of the way the fixtures are arranged for the double headers with the men. Surely Sixers should have a home draw, but both they and Hurricanes will have to adjust to the less familiar conditions quickly.

Super-over win against improved Strikers fires Heat into semis

The Brisbane Heat faced the bottom-placed Adelaide Strikers in their final pair of fixtures at the Gabba. They needed one win, and possibly two depending on other results. Having won the toss, Kirby Short stuck the Strikers in to bat in the first game.

It was a familiar story for Strikers, who were reduced to 63/5 after 13 overs and looking at a total of maybe 110 or so. However, they then managed to piece together a recovery partnership of 71 between Beaumont (50* (42)) and Wellington (46* (25)) to lay a total of 139, which was maybe 10 runs short of ideal, but still competitive. It was a big improvement on their previous sub-100 run efforts.

Unfortunately for the Strikers it was the largesse of their bowlers that allowed the Heat to get away quickly in their reply, and they never looked back. Schutt proved very wayward in her early bowling, her line all over the place; likewise Sarah Coyte lost her radar also. There was a lot of short bowling, too, from the side in blue. The problem for Strikers has been they can’t seem to string together bowling and batting performances.

Sophie Devine had a bad day at the office. Out stumped second ball earlier, the Kiwi looked to have popped a finger out of joint dropping a hard chance off Schutt in the field. She then couldn’t bowl, which likely didn’t help Strikers. Wellington’s 2 overs for 15 runs was the most economical performance, Coyte’s 2 overs for 25 being the least. Heat’s win, after just 15 overs, was comprehensive and they looked semi-final bound, unless Strikers could turn this around.

The second match on Saturday began as almost a mirror image of Friday’s  game. This time Strikers put the Heat in, and they struggled early on, then recovered, making 127/6. It was Deandra Dottin this time with the chief contribution, smashing 51 from 41 balls before being run out. Dottin’s early return to action, following her terrible injury only a few weeks ago, shows her determination and bravery, and must be very welcome for the Heat. The next highest score was 19, but importantly none of the other Heat players chewed up too many deliveries.

It wasn’t the case for the Strikers. Edwards (21 off 19) got things off to a brisk enough start but after she was run out in unlucky fashion, everyone else struggled to get the ball away. Beaumont had to stick around for a long while, as the Strikers’ middle order was blown away by the Heat’s work in the field – there were 4 run-outs in total.  It wasn’t long after the halfway point that the required rate was already over 9 an over. But in came McPharlin and the captain-keeper hit 23 off 20 balls with 4 boundaries; and with Beaumont (58 off 54) launching against the spinners too, the Strikers were back in the hunt.

In the end, the death bowling expert Dottin (2 for 8), complete with protective face mask, bowled the last over. She nailed her yorkers well – Strikers only managed 5 off it, tying the game.

Unluckily for the Strikers their super over was a bit of a non-event, as they limped to just 4, losing 3 wickets in the process. Again, the absence of Devine seemed to really hurt them but with Dottin hitting the block-hole with metronomic efficiency, it would have been incredible for anyone to score many off it.

Heat secured their place in the semis in simple fashion. In their super over, after a Dottin single, Mooney creamed the ball through the covers for four. The Heat were through, despite fighting performances from the Strikers in these last 2 matches. It had been a big improvement  from the Adelaide side – if only this level could have been reached from the start, it could have been them rather than the Brisbane outfit that would be progressing.

The Heat, an unfancied side in the lead up, have proved the doubters wrong, and now join the men’s side in the semi final line up. They now face a very challenging task away at the WACA against the Scorchers. Aside from the dominance of Mooney with the bat, a player dominant to leg and seemingly unstoppable when she gets going, the fact that their non-international players like Kirby Short (212 runs) and Jemma Barsby (16 wickets) enjoyed successful campaigns has helped them a lot.

Hurricanes through; Stars blown out of semis in last over

The Hobart Hurricanes’ adversary for their final 2 fixtures was the Melbourne Stars. Hurricanes were put into bat by Meg Lanning and made 115/3 in 14 overs in a rain-affected innings, Knight top-scoring with a fine 45 off 31 balls. The Stars target had to be re-calculated, but Emma Inglis must have eaten a good breakfast on Friday morning because she came out all guns blazing, striking the ball sublimely well. All signs of the scratchiness of recent innings dismissed, it was pure power hitting from the 28 year-old Melbourne native as she smoked 51 from 31 balls, 360 degrees around the Blundstone Arena.

Lanning was subdued at the other end, until she clipped Hunter tamely to mid-on for 8. What followed after another rain delay and a reduced target for the Stars of 98 off 12 overs, was astonishing. They continued to lose wickets and the ‘Canes looked on top. Stars needed 15 off the last over bowled by Satterthwaite, whose slow bowling had proved tough to get away; and then 12 off the last 2 balls with Cameron, previously looking out of nick, on strike. She showed her hitting capability with a slog-sweep for six over cow-corner. Satterthwaite, coming around the wicket, then made the costly mistake of moving too wide on the crease, bowling a no-ball which must have been called for the position of her back foot. This delivery was also smited for four straight down the ground by Cameron. Jess then dinked the final ball to square leg for a single, and Stars had won an incredible match. The live stream commentators at Hobart went delirious. They really were showing all the emotion you might expect from a World Cup final! If you’ve not seen the highlights, I recommend it.

The next day, following the events at Brisbane, all eyes turned to the Blundstone Arena in Hobart. It was now a simple eliminator. As Heather Knight so aptly put it: a Quarter-Final. Hurricanes had to win.

Another strange lop-sided innings from the Stars ensued. Lanning scored most of the runs – 81 off 55 balls. It was another superb knock and enough to win her the player of the match award. She is so strong all around the wicket but particularly square on the off-side. The Stars middle order got bogged down again though, with only Cameron making double figures, and Mack using up 16 balls for her 7. Hurricanes were electric in the field, as has often been the case, effecting 3 run outs as the Stars got more and more desperate to rotate the strike.

Lanning was visibly fuming after the run out of her younger sister Anna. Using her feet to follow a wide ball she could have left, Lanning only fooled her sibling into thinking a quick run was on. It wasn’t, and Anna was some way short trying to scramble back. This seemed to spark something in the Australian captain though, as she then hit 4 consecutive fours. Stars were well on their way again. Lanning senior was finally dismissed when a full ball which appeared to be above waist height from Hayley Matthews, was called legitimate by the umpire, and was hit hard towards square leg only to be brilliantly caught by a diving Julie Hunter. She simply plucked it out of the air. Knight then took a superb diving catch of her own to dismiss Kearney, and Stars finished on 135/8, a challenging total that was a few more than they might have made, based on 86/4 after the 16 over mark.

The Hurricanes reply got off to a brisk start, but they soon found themselves 19-1 after 4 overs. Kristen Beams was the main danger for Stars, taking 3-11 as the other bowlers struggled to make an impression against a strong ‘Canes batting line up. Knight (35 off 26) continued a splendid recent run, sweeping and lapping with aplomb as she struck four fours and a six, top-scoring for the ‘Canes. The England captain has now scored 31, 34*, 45 and 35 in her last 4 innings and sits 8th in the WBBL02 top run scorers with 331, the best-placed Englishwoman. Encouragingly, these runs have come at a strike rate of almost 120. Only her bowling has disappointed, and she has opted to not bowl regular overs herself in recent games.

And so it came down to the final over, the Hurricanes needing 12 runs to win. Hall and Thompson played it expertly, striking 8 off the first 4 balls. After an incredibly close game the previous day, it was truly amazing that this one went the distance too, Corinne Hall hitting the penultimate ball from Triscari straight back past her to the rope. Cue jubilant scenes from the Huricanes – they had emerged victorious from this encounter by the smallest of margins, booking a semi-final place for captain Knight and the ‘Cane train. The contrasting emotions for Stars were pronounced – poor Gemma Triscari looked inconsolable. Having seemed a good bet for qualification, the Stars somehow missed out at the last hurdle. The ‘Canes now need to psyche themselves up for what should be an epic encounter with the Sixers in the semi finals.

*

It’s been apparent as WBBL02 progresses that most of the England players have come into better form in the latter part of the competition. For example Edwards and Knight, and also Beaumont who finished with two 50s against the Heat. Those players arriving as late replacements – for example Winfield for the Heat and Jones for the Sixers, have looked busy but are yet to make any big contributions. We also have, unlike last year, at least 2 guaranteed England players featuring in the final, as each of the remaining sides have one or more in their ranks, and they are all likely to be picked, barring injury. This will be important experience under maximum pressure for all the players that make it through.

As far as the competition goes, it’s remarkable that 3 of the 4 sides progressing are the same in both the men’s and women’s formats. Sixers, Scorchers and Heat all have a shot at the same double attained by Thunder last year. Meg Lanning’s Melbourne Stars were so close to making it all four sides. I think this kind of solidarity between the formats helps raise the awareness and profile of the women’s game.

179 Not Out: A Tribute To Rachael Heyhoe-Flint

It got so that I knew what was coming when I told someone I was researching the history of women’s cricket. “Aha! Rachael Heyhoe-Flint,” they would say. She was always – without fail – the name on people’s lips.

Sometimes they would ask, “Does she come into your research at all?” I scarcely knew how to answer. Did she come into my research? Of course she did.

When I tried to find other histories of women’s cricket, the closest I came was her wonderful 1976 volume Fair Play, co-authored with Netta Rheinberg. I was surprised, at first, to discover that there were two forewords, penned by Brian Johnston and Colin Cowdrey; I realised later that Rachael’s force of personality was such that they could hardly have resisted when she approached them.

Her autobiography, published in 1978, was endlessly informative but also, in keeping with the great lady herself, filled with humour. Feminism was one of the central themes of my thesis; RHF, in the preface to her autobiography, was pretty open about her own feelings on that topic:

“Challenging male supremacy…doesn’t mean I’m Women’s Lib. Far from it, because I value that bit of underwear they rush out and burn each week with a matinee on Wednesdays. I, too, believe in good support.”

In one memorable meeting with my thesis supervisor, in which I quoted from the Eric Morecambe-penned foreword to RHF’s book – “she rarely eats at home. In fact, her lonely husband has eaten so many frozen dinners that he’s been treated for a chilblained stomach and has had a gas heater fitted in his igloo” – my supervisor struggled to believe that it could have been written by THE Eric Morecambe. It was, of course.

When I went through the Women’s Cricket Association archive, there was an entire folder devoted to the euphemistically-termed “RHF Affair” – the occasion in 1977 when she was sacked from the captaincy and omitted from the World Cup squad.

When I looked for newspaper coverage of women’s cricket, she would inevitably crop up at some point. If the story wasn’t about her, it was written by her – like all those match reports in the Daily Telegraph in 1968/9. Looking for stories about women’s cricket was often like looking for a needle in a haystack; occasionally they would be there, but they were usually very hard to spot. Interviews with RHF, on the other hand, would be whole-page spreads. “Our busts don’t get in the way,” she told one Guardian reporter in 1973, when he asked. “We don’t have to cut them off.” Somehow she still managed to charm him.

Most recently – just last Monday in fact – I spent the afternoon in the library reading about her incredible innings of 179 not out at The Oval in 1976.

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Did she come into my research? Always.

She was such an ever-present theme, in fact, always there in the background, that when she agreed to meet me to be interviewed for the thesis I was rather nervous. They say, after all, that you should never meet your heroes. Thankfully in this instance that adage proved far from the truth. She was interested in my PhD. She was warm, funny, and charming. It was one of the best afternoons of the entire research process. All I can say is that I feel privileged, now, that I got the opportunity to talk to her about her incredible, eventful life before it was too late.

“Let’s rest on 179 for now,” her last email to me, sent just after Christmas, ended. Not a bad final note to strike.

Women’s Cricket Pays Tribute To Rachael Heyhoe Flint

Just some of the many thousands of tributes that have poured in to the former England captain, who has died aged 77.

WBBL: Where We’re At

Coming into the final two rounds of the group stages, there is still a lot to play for in the WBBL – only one side is certain of qualification, and just one team definitely can NOT qualify. (The remaining matches are all “pairs” – i.e. the Sixers play the Renegades twice, the Scorchers play the Thunder twice, etc.)

Team Won NRR Points To Play
Sixers 8 0.41 16 Renegades
Scorchers 7 0.37 14 Thunder
Hurricanes 6 -0.04 13 Stars
Stars 6 0.30 12 Hurricanes
Heat 6 -0.10 12 Strikers
Thunder 5 -0.08 10 Scorchers
Renegades 5 -0.49 9.5 Sixers
Strikers 3 -0.46 8 Heat

Here are the permutations… we think!! (Let us know below, if you think we’ve got it wrong.)

With 16 points already, the Sixers are certain of a semi-final, even if they lose their last two matches against the Renegades.

The Scorchers and the Hurricanes need to win at least one of their matches, against the Thunder and the Stars respectively, to be certain of qualification, or they will be depending on other results.

The Stars and the Heat need to win both of their matches, versus the Hurricanes and the Strikers, to be certain of a semi, else they will be looking to other results.

The Thunder have a slim chance of qualifying by winning only one match (see comments) whilst the Renegades need to win both their remaining matches, and hope other results go their way, with the Renegades specifically needing the Heat and the Stars to lose both their remaining games.

Finally, the Strikers are already out, because even though they can theoretically end up level-4th on 12 points, they can’t finish with more than 5 wins, and the Stars and the Heat already have 6 wins.

NEWS: Lydia Greenway Appointed Kent Player-Coach

Kent CCC have announced that Lydia Greenway is to take up the job of women’s player-coach, following the departure of Charlotte Edwards, who has moved on to a similar role at Hampshire.

Greenway came up through the Kent age-group and academy systems, first representing the county as a 15-year-old back in 2000; going on to make over 100 appearances, scoring more than 3,000 runs and taking 83 catches.

Kent have not announced who will replace Edwards as in her captaincy capacity – Greenway has deputised in the past, most recently in the final match of last season – but given that today’s announcement didn’t mention the captaincy, it seems likely that someone else will take on the official on-field leadership role.

This presents Kent with a dilemma – give the captaincy to a “big name” player, who may not play much due to England/ KSL commitments? Or give it to a a less high-profile figure, who won’t have any such conflicts or other obligations? Surrey and Warwickshire have both recently given the captaincy to players who aren’t even on Super League teams, for this very reason! Doubtless, we will discover Kent’s answer very soon!