Women’s County Championship Squads & Preview

Jump To: Hampshire, Kent, Lancashire, Middlesex, Nottinghamshire, Somerset, Warwickshire, Yorkshire

Last season’s Women’s County Championship went right down to the wire, with Lancashire pipping Yorkshire by just 0.14 average points. (If Yorkshire had taken just one more wicket in their final-day defeat to Notts, they would have won.)

(The WCC is decided on average points (total points divided by completed matches) to attempt to fairly account for the weather – this usually works, though it does theoretically mean that someone could win the Championship having won just one game, if all their other matches were cancelled – which almost happened once!)

This season’s big contenders are likely to be the same teams that took the top spots in 2017 – Lancashire, Yorkshire and Warwickshire – but with the England contracted players expected to play almost every match this time, there will no doubt be some upset apple-carts along the way.

Hampshire

Last Season: 1st Div 2 (Promoted)

After narrowly missing out on promotion in 2016, Hampshire recruited Charlotte Edwards and Suzie Bates for 2017; and it was Bates who made the difference – scoring 494 season runs as Hampshire topped Div 2. With Edwards likely to step ever further down the order, Hampshire will need Bates to bring her best form again… but when doesn’t she? Alongside the Kiwi skipper, they will be looking to Emily Windsor and all-rounder Charlie Dean to step up with the bat; whilst there will be a new level of expectation for Katie George, having won her first England cap out in India this spring, to make an impact in Div 1.

Squad

  • Suzie Bates
  • Matilda Callaghan
  • Ella Chandler
  • Providence Cowdrill
  • Clover Crosse
  • Charlie Dean
  • Charlotte Edwards
  • Katie George
  • Kim Healey
  • Naomi Lynch
  • Chloe Micklethwaite
  • Alice Monaghan
  • Fi Morris
  • Dani Ransley
  • Charlotte Taylor
  • Emily Windsor

Kent

Last Season: 6th

So often the queens of the championship cakewalk, Kent found themselves in the somewhat unusual position of being relegation candidates on the final day last season. They survived, but better will be expected this season from a team that, on paper, ought to be right up there, with 4 contracted England players (Tammy Beaumont, Alice Davidson-Richards, Tash Farrant and Laura Marsh) not to mention the best player in England not to have a KSL contract – off-spinner Megan Belt. Belt needs just 6 wickets this season to break the significant career landmark of 100 wickets in county cricket… and she is still only 20!

Squad

  • Tammy Beaumont
  • Alice Davidson-Richards
  • Megan Belt
  • Lottie Bryan
  • Izzy Cloke
  • Tash Farrant
  • Phoebe Franklin
  • Grace Gibbs
  • Lauren Griffiths
  • Jenni Jackson
  • Hannah Jelfs
  • Arlene Kelly
  • Laura Marsh
  • Emily Thompson

Lancashire

Last Season: Champions

Bowled to glory last season by Sophie Ecclestone, Lancashire will have to defend their title without skipper Meg Fairclough, who has retired to a new life in Italy. Her successor – Eve Jones –  might have been dropped from England’s Academy program; but she remains a fine county cricketer and is one of only a tiny handful of women to have scored a County Championship century. Opening the batting alongside Jones, Lancashire will need Emma Lamb to put some numbers on the scoreboard, because their batting thereafter is a little bit thin, though with a bowling attack that includes Kate Cross and Alex Hartley, as well as the aforementioned Ecclestone, it might not matter!

Squad

  • Eve Jones
  • Kate Cross
  • Sophie Ecclestone
  • Alex Hartley
  • Emma Lamb
  • Ellie Threlkeld
  • Natalie Brown
  • Rachel Dickinson
  • Ella Telford
  • Jess Couser
  • Nalisha Patel
  • Shachi Pai
  • Laura Jackson

Middlesex

Last Season: 5th

After battling through with 2 wins on the final weekend last season, this young Middlesex side might actually be an outside shot in 2018 to carry that momentum through to bigger and better things. They certainly started splendidly with a win against a strong MCC side at Lord’s last week – Maia Bouchier and Gayatri Gole both look like proper players now (Bouchier spent the winter impressing in domestic cricket in New Zealand) and with Sophia Dunkley coming of age, having had a good start to her season out in South Africa with England Academy, there is some real talent coming through alongside the established names like co-captains Natasha Miles and Naomi Dattani, England’s Fran Wilson, and ex-England batsman Beth Morgan.

Squad

  • Emma Albery
  • Maia Bouchier
  • Hayleigh Brennan
  • Amara Carr (T20 Only)
  • Cath Dalton
  • Naomi Dattani
  • Sophia Dunkley
  • Bhavika Gajipra
  • Gayatri Gole
  • Iqraa Hussain
  • Natasha Miles
  • Beth Morgan
  • Emily Thorpe
  • Rebecca Tyson
  • Fran Wilson
  • Katie Wolfe

Nottinghamshire

Last Season: 4th

Nottinghamshire somewhat defied gravity last season with a mid-table finish in the County Championship, and backed that up by winning Div 2 of the T20 Cup. With Kirstie Gordon getting better every year, and surely eyeing up a Super League contract with her economy rates, plus batsman Georgie Boyce coming through the England Academy system, they’ve got some talent coming on longer-term; but right now they are very dependent upon Sonia Odedra, stepping up season after season, scoring 452 runs and taking 15 wickets in 2017. Without her and Jodie Dibble (366 runs and 18 wickets in 2017) they’d be struggling.

Squad

  • Amy Gauvrit
  • Beth Unwin
  • Georgie Boyce
  • Hannah Hughes
  • Jodie Dibble
  • Kirstie Gordon
  • Lucy Higham
  • Megan Burton
  • Sonia Odedra
  • Sophie Munro
  • Yvonne Graves
  • Teresa Graves

Somerset

Last Season: 2nd Div 2 (Promoted)

The last time Somerset were promoted to Div 1, in 2016, they went straight back down again; and they’ve also found themselves playing ping-pong between the divisions in the T20 Cup in recent years. Sophie Luff – too good a cricketer to be playing in Div 2 – scored a staggering 38% of their runs last year, averaging 66, so she is key with the bat; but a lot might hang on how much Anya Shrubsole actually plays – or rather, how much she is allowed to play, by an England management team who will have a nervous eye on her fitness for the World T20 later in the year.

Squad

  • Anya Shrubsole
  • Georgina Adcock
  • Bernadette Forge
  • Sophie Luff
  • Olivia Hamilton
  • Nicole Richards
  • Carmen Clements
  • Georgia Tulip
  • Megan Hodkinson
  • Emily Dibble
  • Lauren Bowen–Jones
  • Lauren Filer
  • Lorraine Szczepanski

Warwickshire

Last Season: 3rd

Warwickshire probably spent more time at the top of the table than anyone else in 2016 and 2017, but still managed to fall away at the last to come 3rd on both occasions; there is no doubt that the only third they will be looking for this time around is third time lucky! Warwickshire under young captain Marie Kelly are a proper “team” with a lot of good players rather than one or two stars. Kelly herself, Kathryn Bryce and Amy Jones all made runs last season; whilst with the ball, wickets were shared between Anisha Patel (14), Liz Russell (10) and Becky Grundy (10). Expect more of the same this season, plus added Jenny Gunn and New Zealand superstar Sophie Devine for a couple of games in late May, and you could be looking at potential champions.

Squad

  • Marie Kelly
  • Kathryn Bryce
  • Amy Jones
  • Jenny Gunn
  • Laura Crofts
  • Katie Green
  • Lizzie Russell
  • Georgia Davis
  • Anisha Patel
  • Ria Fackrell
  • Mina Zahoor
  • Jo Gardner
  • Thea Brookes
  • Gwenan Davis
  • Sophie Devine

Yorkshire

Last Season: 2nd

Yorkshire are still smarting after being beaten by a nose last season, especially having won their head-to-head with eventual champions Lancashire by a whopping 122 runs; and they will certainly be up there this season. With Katherine Brunt and Dani Hazell on the squad, you’d think that would be enough bowling for anyone; but Yorkshire’s “secret” weapon is leg-spinner Katie Levick who, with 33 wickets last season, needs just one more wicket to overtake Holly Colvin and Danni Warren (who interestingly both finished their careers on 152 wickets) to become the leading wicket-taker of all time in women’s county cricket*. With the bat, they (and England) will be hoping that the less pressured environment of county cricket offers Lauren Winfield a chance to rediscover the form that deserted her over the winter in Australia, where a poor Women’s Ashes was followed by a nightmare WBBL.

2017† Squad

  • Jess Watson
  • Lauren Winfield
  • Katherine Brunt
  • Dani Hazell
  • Beth Langston
  • Hollie Armitage
  • Anna Nicholls
  • Steph Butler
  • Katie Levick
  • Cecilia Allen
  • Hannah Buck
  • Katie Thompson
  • Madie Walsh
  • Theresa Graves
  • Rebecca Newark
  • Hannah Poulter
  • Rachel Hildreth
  • Charlotte North

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* List here – stats on Play Cricket only go back to 2002, but the leading numbers are likely to be correct.

† We asked… we did not receive.

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3 thoughts on “Women’s County Championship Squads & Preview

  1. Am I right in thinking the WCC, while supported by the ECB, is still an “amateur” competition? Or do the Counties actually contract, for pay, the players?

    The KSL, as I recall, has overseas/star players assigned to them rather than bidding for them, but it seems the WCC is about somehow enticing players (transfers?) from one to the other. What inducements are they using/allowed to use?

    Serious questions, because if I don’t ask I won’t learn.

    Oh also (and it might be an obvious “Oh they’re Div 2” response) but Wyatt and Taylor, amongst others?

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    • Am I right in thinking the WCC, while supported by the ECB, is still an “amateur” competition? Or do the Counties actually contract, for pay, the players?

      It is entirely amateur.

      The KSL, as I recall, has overseas/star players assigned to them rather than bidding for them, but it seems the WCC is about somehow enticing players (transfers?) from one to the other. What inducements are they using/allowed to use?

      Some of them are paid to coach or do community engagement stuff. In other cases, it is just a “board and lodging” kind of arrangement.

      Oh also (and it might be an obvious “Oh they’re Div 2” response) but Wyatt and Taylor, amongst others?

      Wag (Wyatt), G (Elwiss) & Squirt (Taylor) at Sussex; Trev (Knight) at Berkshire; Nat (Sciver) at Surrey – all in Div 2.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ta muchly.

        Going to do a Div 2 pre-season too? I will confess to “Squirt” or “Tich” Taylor being my favourite cricketer since Ian Bell. No, actually since Graham Thorpe.

        Like

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