NEWS: England Academy Schooled In South Africa / Australia Tri-Series

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.


5 thoughts on “NEWS: England Academy Schooled In South Africa / Australia Tri-Series

  1. There are huge concerns about the future. The Australian structure seems (from this distance and with very limited knowledge) to be a million times more robust, even without the full-time professional aspect thrown in. Why is that? Does the fact that there are only six states make it more intense, concentrated and therefore competitive?

    And how does Australia fund all those full-time pros where England appears not to have a cat in hell’s chance of doing so, let alone the will.

    Australia are making great strides towards the future. We seems to be making great strides too… albeit not necessarily in the same direction.


  2. Always on the ball Syd! Is it a coincidence that Sophia Dunkley has been involved in the Super League set up from the outset. As a youngster in the group she was given a chance to bowl and bat and show what she could do on the big stage.
    Too many of the younger players in the Super League are bit players, if at all. What chance do they have? They bat 8,9,10,11 (if at all!), but they bat a lot higher for their counties. They are given the ball to bowl when all other plans have been exhausted with the oppo on 140 for 1. England Academy players did not show their best on this tour, but some have been in the structure for a while now. As Richard says above, the intensity, flexibility and opportunity within the England structure seems limited. The opportunity for new players to enter the system leaves much to be desired. There needs to be a regular, competitive provision for players “bubbling under” the Academy set up. There may be some late developers coming through or regular players putting good performances in week on week, and ignored.
    But I hear Noddy and Big Ears form a good opening partnership, (for the older readers! Sorry)

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  3. The academy side were decimated under Robinson’s watch. It’s the one part of his reign that seems to have gone badly wrong and make no sense. You can hardly blame the current side for coming up short. I’m not sure how much importance to put on it.

    In the long run it won’t do the Australian players any good either to not have healthy competition from England, as the Ashes will risk become a formality and that’s what both nations hang their hats on. Personally I think this is a bit overstated – there are various reasons why this might not happen. Some younger players don’t make it to the senior side maybe due to injury or change in career; and you can’t tell how long some players in the current best XI will hang around for, keeping them out. You don’t have to have a constant conveyor belt, as long as new recruits are dropped off every few years. It may be in 4 or 5 years time when the state of the under 19’s will be more vital.


  4. I am glad you have picked up on this. From what I can see it is a real problem. For example in one of the best county sides of the last few years, 3 of the top 5 players have all quit county cricket – and these three would pretty much walk into any county side in the country. Reasons are diverse, but there are some similarities – and I wonder of its a similar story elsewhere. these are U15 players so not far off the Academy.
    Girls and women”s cricket remains poorly structured and catered for. Nothing has really changed since the world cup and i doubt it will either. As a (long suffering) coach I really do wonder how you translate the ECB ‘BS speak’ into something tangible on the ground. Boys and Men, it seems will always take priority.


  5. Just seen James comment but don’t understand how Robinson has decimated the Academy side? If he is referring to the release of some of the older players?
    The Australian team that was victorious in South Africa was an Under 19 team. Their squad included a 14 year old and a 15 year old. We had 3 or 4 twenty year olds in ours and still lost every game but one.
    I agree with Mr Anonymous that the E.C.B has to sort out the infrastructure of women’s cricket otherwise Robinson and his coaches are going to have an impossible job on their hands in competing with Australia. There is a good chance it’s probably too late already.


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