England’s Academy have lost all 4 games of their One-Day Tri-Series versus Australia and South Africa in South Africa.
England – at a slight disadvantage coming into this tour off the back of their off-season – were bowled out in every match, losing twice to Australia and twice to South Africa.
In the first match, Izzy Cloke and Sophia Dunkley combined with 3 wickets apiece as Australia were bowled out for 169; and Dunkley then went on to hit 57 off 62 balls as England chased hard, but eventually fell short by 9 runs.
That was pretty much as good as it got for England, whose batsmen didn’t hit another 50 in the series. Dunkley top-scored again with 38 in the second match against South Africa, as England were bowled out for 152, which the South Africans chased with 10 balls to spare.
In their third match, England collapsed to 83-7 before Tara Norris added a bit of respectability – hitting 38* as they finished 144 all out, which Australia easily chased inside 37 overs; and then in their final game yesterday, England laboured to 138 all out off 48 overs, which South Africa knocked off in just 26.3 overs for the loss of only 3 wickets.
Dunkley aside, the only real success story from the trip in terms of numbers was Durham’s previously unknown leg-spinner Helen Fenby, who bowled 25 overs, taking 3 wickets at an economy rate of 2.72. (Lancashire’s Emma Lamb also had a reasonable return with the ball, taking 5 wickets at 3.53; but considering her status and seniority, had a massively disappointing tour with the bat, averaging 6 with a highest score of 12.)
England will, not unreasonably, chalk this up as a “learning experience” but the gulf between them and Australia’s next generation in particular, who won all 4 of their matches, must be worrying. By 2020, when these players are starting to come to maturity, all the Aussies will be full-time pros playing 50-over WNCL and T20 WBBL in the toughest leagues in the world… whilst all the England girls will have to look forward to professionally is 5 weeks of Noddy Cricket in “The 100”. If Mark Robinson isn’t more than slightly concerned by that… he should be.