DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 2 – Sussex & Surrey Stay On Course

Team Played Won Lost Can’d Aban’d Points Min* Max*
Sussex 6 4 1 0 1 15.6 13.00 16.00
Surrey 6 5 1 0 0 15.17 13.00 15.57
Wales 6 3 2 0 1 13 10.83 13.83
Devon 6 3 3 0 0 11.33 9.71 12.29
Berkshire 6 3 2 1 0 11 9.17 12.17
Essex 6 3 2 1 0 10.4 8.67 11.67
Derbyshire 6 1 5 0 0 6 5.14 7.71
Northants 6 0 6 0 0 4.33 3.71 6.29

* Min/ Max = Minimum/ Maximum Possible Points

In Div 2 of the Women’s County Championship, Sussex and Surrey remain on-course for the two promotion spots, after both had unbeaten weekends.

Surrey hit relegated Derbyshire for a record 404-2 off 50 overs on Sunday, with Nat Sciver making 180 off 98 balls and Kirstie White a by-comparison sedate 80 off 111 balls. They then bowled Derbyshire out for just 50, to claim maximum bonus points – something they failed to quite do on Monday against also-relegated Northants – winning easily thanks to a Bryony Smith 50, but failing to take enough wickets for full bonus points.

Sussex also had a good weekend, beating Devon with maximum bonus points (Georgia Elwiss 4-22 and 39*) after their match against Wales was washed-out; but after stilettoing Northants Berkshire blew their promotion hopes by collapsing to 63 all out against Derbyshire.

This leaves Wales, who thrashed Essex, as the only other team who could possibly be promoted if Sussex (v Berkshire) or Surrey (v Essex) lose badly and they win well against Devon.

(But Wales could actually theoretically end up relegated as well – if they lose badly and other results go against them, they could finish 6th, which means they end up in the Div 3 play-offs!)

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DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 1 – Hampshire Stay Top Despite Yorkshire Defeat

Team Played Won Lost Cancelled Tied Points Min* Max*
Hampshire 6 5 1 0 0 15.17 13.00 15.57
Yorkshire 6 5 1 0 0 14.83 12.71 15.29
Kent 6 4 2 0 0 13.33 11.43 14.00
Lancashire 6 3 3 0 0 10.83 9.29 11.86
Nottinghamshire 6 2 3 0 1 9.83 8.43 11.00
Middlesex 6 2 3 1 0 9.6 8.00 11.00
Warwickshire 6 0 3 1 2 8 6.67 9.67
Somerset 6 0 5 0 1 5 4.29 6.86

* Min/ Max = Minimum/ Maximum Possible Points

Hampshire stay top of the Women’s County Championship going into the final round of matches next weekend, despite losing to Yorkshire on Sunday. Yorkshire reduced Hampshire to 50-7, before Charlotte Edwards (45) and Fi Morris (31) helped them recover to 131 all out, and crucially two batting bonus points.  Yorkshire then found the tables almost turned, at 35-4, before Katherine Brunt (53*) and Hannah Buck (40) brought them home, but for the loss of 6 wickets, which meant another two vital bowling bonus points for Hampshire.

Hampshire then recovered on the Monday to beat reigning champions Lancashire with maximum points, successfully chasing 199 thanks to 103* from Suzie Bates.

With Kent beating Notts on Sunday (Laura Marsh taking 4-32, and then hitting 51*) and then Warwickshire in a reduced match on Monday (Tammy Beaumont 98) they also remain in the mix for the title; but they will need to beat already-relegated Somerset and hope Hampshire and Yorkshire both lose.

Hampshire play Middlesex in their final match at Andover – if they win with either 7 or 8 bonus points, they are champions regardless; but if they drop more than 1 bonus point, Yorkshire could overhaul them by beating Notts at Harrogate, bearing in mind that Yorkshire only need to equal Hampshire’s points average, because they won the match between them.

At the bottom Warwickshire can still survive, but only if they win big against Lancashire and one of the teams above them loses very badly. (If Warwickshire really smash Lancs, then they could even consign the reigning champions to relegation in their stead, if other results go against Lancashire too.)

MATCH REPORT: Smith Makes KSL Case As Surrey Turn Up The Wattage At Wantage Road

Surrey made it from 2 from 2 this weekend in a clinical win against Northants at the Northamptonshire County Ground, beating their Division 2 opponents by 87 runs.

Bryony Smith led the charge, making 52 from 42 balls in an innings that will surely help to make the case for her return to the top of the order for Surrey Stars in this year’s Kia Super League.

“Our aim was to win both these 2 games convincingly and get as many bonus points as possible to help our promotion chances,” Smith told CRICKETher after close of play.

“I’ve had a few rough games so it was good the last few days to spend some time in the middle and get some runs on the board.”

“I’m looking ahead to the Super League to dominate in that back at the top of the order. The aim for me [for Surrey Stars] is to open again.”

The two sides were fortunate to get in a game at all after torrential rain fell overnight, leaving the original pitch unplayable due to moisture in the bowler’s run-up. But, after some creative conferring with the groundsmen, the game was moved across to a neighbouring wicket and a 29-overs-a-side match ensued, commencing at 3.30pm.

After winning the toss and putting Surrey in, the Northants bowlers looked dangerous early on, with Kirstie White surviving a convincing appeal for caught behind off Meera Patel’s first ball of the day, and Smith dropped by Alicia Presland off her own bowling after skying it when on just 9*.

The pair eventually added 89 for the first wicket as Smith in particular punished some short bowling, racking up 8 fours, 3 of which were clubbed over midwicket.

The introduction of off-spinner Emily Starr to the attack in the 11th over helped stem the flow as she bowled a consecutive 6-over spell that yielded 3 wickets for 25 runs, including both White (37) caught behind and Smith, bowled by a looping yorker just after bringing up her half-century.

Starr was instrumental, too, in Surrey’s late-order collapse, finishing with a catch and a run out to her name, leaving Extras (29) their third highest scorer and Surrey 8 wickets down at the end of their 29 overs.

Nonetheless Surrey’s total of 181 was always going to be an imposing one for a side whose highest score with the bat this season has been 127.

And while Northants kick-started their effort with successive boundaries in the first over from Amelia Gardner (17) through the off-side, her dismissal at the hands of Beth Kerins 6 overs in set the tone, as 5 Northants batsmen came and went by the 14th over.

Bethan Solomon (32*) and Meera Patel (19) shared a 32-run partnership for the 6th wicket but quickly fell well behind the required rate as the game eventually petered out to a slow conclusion.

For Surrey, it follows on from their annihilation of Derbyshire yesterday at the hands of Nat Sciver (180*) to leave the London-based club in the running for promotion to Division 1 as the Championship wraps up next weekend.

MATCH REPORT: Knight Hits 50 As Berkshire Tread On Stilettos

Heather Knight hit a rapid, run-a-ball 64 as Berkshire beat Northants by 9 wickets at Irthlingborough to stay in the fight for promotion from Div 2.

With play washed-out at Edgbaston, your correspondents raced across the Midlands from west to east, arriving at Irthlingborough near Northampton just in time to see the last 2 wickets fall as Berkshire bowled Northants out for 91, with 2 wickets apiece for Lauren Bell, Heather Knight and Lissy Macleod – Northants keeper-batsman Erica Turner left high and dry on 25*, with extras the next highest scorer.

With bonus points potentially critical, Berkshire needed to get the runs within 23 overs to take all 18 points. Northants opening bowler Farida Bibi beat the edge of Knight’s bat in the first over, but it was the only chance the England captain offered, as she cut and drove Berkshire to victory, hitting 8 4s in her 64 as she took the Beavers home with lengths to spare.

Afterwards, Berkshire coach Aftab Habib told CRICKETher:

“We had two good wins at the start of the season, then we had a bit of a wash-out losing to Surrey, but we were very clinical today – it was really pleasing the way we played and hopefully we can do the same tomorrow against Derbyshire as well.”

With previously unbeaten Essex losing to Devon, Div 2 remains absolutely wide-open still, with everyone having lost at least once; but Berkshire do need a win against Derbyshire tomorrow, and they’ll have to do it without Heather Knight, who is rested, to set up a big finale against Sussex in the final round next weekend.

NEWS: England Women Triumphant At #BeAGameChanger Awards

It was a good night for English women’s cricket last night, with the England team and the ECB both triumphant at the Women’s Sport Trust’s #BeAGameChanger Awards.

England Women took home the Sporting Role Model Team Award, while the ECB won National Governing Body of the Year.

While the England squad were unable to be present, sending a video acceptance, Clare Connor took to the stage to thank all those who had voted.

Speaking about England’s World Cup triumph, she said: “The team did us proud, and it’s up to us now to capitalise on it. We have to make sure it is a game-changing moment.”

“If we can look back in 10 years time and see as many girls playing the game as boys, that will show the game is in really good health.”

The Awards ceremony also saw the launch of the #ShowUp campaign, led by Sky Sports and the Women’s Sport Trust, which encourages people to support women’s sport by turning up to watch.

Former England netballer Tamsin Greenway explained that the campaign had been inspired by the sell-out World Cup final at Lord’s last summer: “I’ve never heard anything like the crowd that day,” she said. “I’ve had bragging rights ever since – ‘I was there!'”

As part of the campaign, Sky are giving away 5,000 tickets to women’s sports events this year to encourage attendance.

NEWS: Global Development Team To Play In KSL Warm-Ups

With the World T20 Qualifiers being played in the Netherlands in early July, the ECB has taken the opportunity to invite a selected group of players to complete in a series of warm-up matches against Kia Super League sides later that month.

The invited players include Gaby Lewis and Lucy O’Reilly from Ireland, and Scotland’s Sarah Bryce, as well as players from Bangladesh, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Uganda and the UAE.

Clare Connor said:

“Since the launch of our competition in 2016, we have been considering how we might use it as a platform to provide other playing opportunities for players around the world. We’re hopeful that a Global Development Team can offer those players representing the Associate Members those opportunities.”

The 5 matches take place on 17th, 19th and 20th of July against Surrey Stars, Loughborough Lightning and Western Storm.

  • July 17th v Surrey Stars @ New Malden (10:30 + 15:00)
  • July 19th v Loughborough Lightning @ Loughborough (10:30 + 14:30)
  • July 20th v Western Storm @ Bath (14:30)

MATCH REPORT: Middlesex Make It Four From Four As Dattani Stars In London Cup

On a sunny summer evening at Guildford CC, Middlesex once again stamped their dominance over neighbours Surrey, continuing their unblemished record in the London Cup with a 7-wicket win.

Naomi Dattani was the undoubted star, hitting a fast-powered 52 and taking 2-16.

Opening the innings and with Middlesex chasing Surrey’s 124, Dattani made her intent clear from the outset, blasting five boundaries in the first 2 overs, and punishing England’s Bryony Smith with a six over midwicket.

In no time at all she had reached 50, while partner Tash Miles, watching on from the other end, had only 4 runs to her name. It was an innings of sheer dominance, played with a level of aggression and confidence rarely seen at this level of the game.

Perhaps the only flaw was in its ending; Dattani was eventually dismissed in the 7th over just after passing 50, chipping the ball straight into the hands of the cover fielder, leaving Middlesex on 60-1.

When Dattani departed, the run rate dropped significantly – Middlesex did not reach 100 until the 15th over – but the damage was already done; and captain Tash Miles (28*) eventually saw her side safely over the line with an over to spare.

Earlier, Surrey had won the toss and chosen to bat first; a decision that was rather unfortunate for Middlesex, who with 2 players stuck in traffic on the M25 had to “borrow” Surrey’s 12th man to help field to ensure the game started on time.

Helped by some erratic Middlesex bowling, Surrey got going quickly with 20 runs coming off the first 2 overs.

But the introduction of Dattani to the attack halted the pace as she removed Aylish Cranstone and Hannah Jones in successive overs, leaving Surrey 71-3 at the halfway stage.

For a while it looked as though Bryony Smith would hold things together for Surrey, as she picked off the Middlesex spinners with some stylish cover drives; but young Emma Albery – fresh from taking 4-19 in Sunday’s Championship match against Somerset – eventually slipped through Smith’s defences, bowling her round her legs as she departed 6 short of her half-century.

Led by Eva Gray (15) Surrey attempted to push on with some quick running between the wickets, but Middlesex took advantage of the ensuing pressure to enact two sharp run-outs, ensuring that Surrey finished on a below-par 124-7.

MATCH REPORT: Durham End Wildcats Unbeaten Run to take ECB Division 3 To The Wire

Jake Perry reports

Wildcats ‘A’ missed the opportunity to all but secure top spot in Division 3 North after defeat to rivals Durham at Gala CC.

Durham 223-5 (R Hopkins 44, L Wilkinson 2 for 33) beat Wildcats ‘A’ 131 (S Bryce 28, H Falla 3 for 17) by 92 runs

Wildcats ‘A’ Head Coach Steve Knox was left to reflect on a below-par performance from his side as Durham claimed a 92-run win in their ECB Division 3 North encounter at Gala CC. The host’s inconsistency proved costly as the visitors exacted revenge for their eight-wicket defeat earlier in the campaign by ending the Wildcats’ unbeaten league run in emphatic style.

Speaking immediately after the game, the Head Coach gave his assessment of what had been a disappointing afternoon.

“We were very definitely second best today,” he said. “From the off I thought we were scrappy and a bit sloppy. We didn’t bowl the ball in the right place anywhere near enough and they were good enough to cash in on that and get a decent total. 

“Individually we had some good performances but at no stage did we have good partnerships with the ball or bat to let us impose ourselves on the game. To be fair that’s exactly what the girls have just said. They felt they were below par today and that was exactly right.”

The Wildcats’ victory in the opening match of the season had turned this into a must-win game for the visitors, and the Durham openers made their intentions plain from the outset as Laura Hockaday took two boundaries off Caitlin Ormiston’s first over. Lois Wilkinson and Katie McGill maintained a good line for the Scots, though, and with McGill beating the bat twice in the early exchanges the total was limited to 44-0 after ten nip-and-tuck overs.

The bowling side’s efforts were rewarded with a breakthrough in the 16th when Hockaday’s missed sweep saw her stumped for 26 off the bowling of Wilkinson. Rachel Scholes watched Laura Hopkins’ leading edge drop just short of wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce as pressure on the batsmen continued to build, and when Wilkinson claimed her second as Layla Tipton (36) edged behind, momentum was with the Wildcats.

From a precarious 72-2 Hopkins and Ami Campbell began to rebuild the innings, however. Their patient partnership took Durham beyond the hundred mark, and by the time Campbell (39) holed out to McGill in the 36th the visitors were well set at 143-3.

McGill’s well-taken catch had given Caitlin Ormiston a wicket on her home ground as she came back well from her difficult start, and the young Gala bowler added a second in the 42nd when visiting captain Becky Glen (22) was trapped in front. Hopkins and new partner Laura Ellison took Durham past 200, however, and although Hopkins (44) chopped on to give McGill deserved reward after another good display, Ellison (24*) remained unbeaten to steer the visitors to a good final total.

Wildcats openers Lorna Jack and Sarah Bryce began the chase watchfully, working the ball for ones and twos whilst waiting for the loose delivery, and when Jenny McDowell dropped short Bryce duly latched on with a pull shot to the rope. McDowell nearly had her revenge two balls later, however, as she found Bryce’s edge only to see the low chance put down at first slip.

With Bryce looking ominous once again it was a miss which could have proved costly, but as the opening pair threatened to break loose three quick wickets swung the momentum decisively in favour of the English County. Bailey Wanless found Jack’s leading edge to send the Wildcats’ captain on her way for 11 before Bryce (28) was stumped off Rachael Petherick, and with Rachel Scholes (5) chipping the slow left-armer to mid-off soon after, 33-0 had become 46-3. It was a position from which the chasing side would not recover.

Lois Wilkinson (20) played some good-looking shots as she looked to mount a fightback, but her departure amid another flurry of wickets was an ominous sign for the Wildcats’ chances. Despite Katie McGill’s battling 27, the lack of experience in the home batting line-up was exposed as the Wildcats innings petered out to 131, Hayley Falla taking 3 for 17 as the tail was quickly mopped up.

Division 3 concludes next weekend with a double-header in Dumfries as Wildcats ‘A’ take on Northumberland on May 27th and Cumbria on May 28th.

“We are still very much in this,” said Steve Knox. “I’m not sure of the exact situation with bonus points and so on but ourselves and Durham are now very close together. 

“We have to go out and get as close to maximum points as we can in our remaining games and then see where that takes us.”

“We were pretty disappointed in our performance today so we’ll be looking to bounce back,” added captain Lorna Jack. “There are two tough games of cricket coming up next weekend but we are all up for it.

“We’re very much looking forward to the challenge. Although today wasn’t to be, hopefully next time out we can show the West Coasters what we can do.”

———————

Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

MATCH REPORT: Worcestershire Beat Shropshire

Richard Clark in Kidderminster

This is an intriguing season for Worcestershire, who last season achieved the notable distinction of suffering relegation to Division 3 in 50 over cricket, whilst simultaneously earning T20 promotion to Division 1.

Thus far the county has made good strides towards the aim of regaining their second tier Championship place, and that continued with a third win from four games in glorious Kidderminster sunshine against Shropshire on Sunday.

In the end it was a comfortable – but not flawless – victory by 114 runs, built on a textbook batting performance. Electing to bat after winning the toss, the Pears got off to a solid start. But the loss in quick succession of Chloe Hill and captain Lauren Rowles left them 62 for 3 in the 19th over and needing a partnership.

It came from Clare Boycott (53) and Issy Wong (49), who bedded themselves in before beginning the acceleration as the third 50 came in just seven overs. Rachel Howells continued the good work alongside first Wong and then Ellie Fleck, whilst Emily Arlott contributed 14 off ten balls at the end.

Seven fours off the final 14 balls of the innings helped Worcestershire to an imposing 249-6 (their fifth highest Championship score), with the impressive Howells finishing 64 not out from 54 balls. It had been a perfectly-paced innings, showing the value of wickets in hand allowing batsmen to “catch up” after a patient start. Worcestershire had been 81-3 at halfway.

It felt like enough, and perhaps Worcestershire thought that too as they helped Shropshire along in the early overs with some wayward bowling, allowing the visitors to keep ahead of the required rate largely through the wides column.

Ashleigh Heath played a decent hand with 32 but partners came and went at the other end and although it wasn’t until the 29th over that Shropshire’s “worm” dipped below that of their opponents, and by that stage they were seven wickets down and fighting a lost cause.

Off-spinner Izzy Watson was chief tormentor, rattling through the middle order as she had done against Leicestershire a week earlier, adding 5-29 to her 6-21 from that match, whilst Wong showed good pace in conceding just 12 runs in her seven overs.

For the visitors, Zoe Griffiths and Jordi Matthews deserved credit as they dug in for the ninth wicket, Griffiths ending as second-highest scorer with 18, but Shropshire were never able to lift the rate to any extent once Worcestershire tightened up their bowling, and were eventually bowled out for 135 in the 37th over.

Worcestershire will be happy with the win, which moves them to the top of Group E, but will know that such profligacy with the ball could cost them against the tougher challenges of Staffordshire and Leicestershire next weekend.

Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

DEBRIEF: Women’s County Championship Div 2 – Essex Upset Sussex Bandwagon

Team Played Won Lost Cancelled Points
Essex 4 3 0 1 16.33
Sussex 4 3 1 0 15
Surrey 4 3 1 0 14
Berkshire 4 2 1 1 12
Wales 4 2 2 0 11.75
Devon 4 2 2 0 11.75
Derbyshire 4 0 4 0 4.75
Northamptonshire 4 0 4 0 4.75

The problem with having lots of England players is that when they are away on international duty you are suddenly a very different team, as Sussex discovered against Essex this weekend in Div 2 of the Women’s County Championship. Without Sarah Taylor, Georgia Elwiss or Danni Wyatt, Sussex were bowled out for 114 after Essex had posted 159-9.

Lauren Bell (36) dug Berkshire out of a horrible hole (again!) against Surrey – from 56-5 they recovered to post 149-9; but Surrey cruised to victory thanks to half-centuries from Kirstie White (58) and Aylish Cranstone (52).

For Wales, Rachel Priest smacked fifteen 4s and one 6, for 88 off 82 balls, as they put Derbyshire to the sword at Panteg CC.

Finally, down in Exeter, Devon had a bit of a scare after being bowled out for 129 against Northants; but were rescued by Felicity Leydon-Davis, who took 5-8 in just 4 overs as Northants were bowled out for 88.

Sussex’s defeat has blown the promotion race wide open. Essex play Derbyshire and Wales next weekend, and two wins would put them in a very strong position, with everyone else having already lost at least one game; whilst Berkshire will be looking try to post maximum bonus points against the bottom two sides, as they look to get things back on track before hosting Sussex in their final match the week after, which could end up in effect being a play-off.