There was a mixture of trepidation and excitement as the teams lined up for the photocall in front of the historic pavilion on Tuesday prior to the MCC match with OUWCC.
Under leaden clouds the MCC lost early wickets before the sun glimpsed through, whilst Claire Taylor (41) and EM Porter (20) repaired the early damage with a stand of 68.
There were three wickets apiece for A Hearn, EA Harbourne and CE Dack, ably backed up by ME Bouchier and AVB Skinner. Quality bowling led to three of the top five MCC order falling without scoring and being in difficulty at 25-4 and 41-6, before the class of the former England captain told, helping the MCC to a defendable total of 127. The Oxford fielding was exceptional at times, as was that of the MCC later, including two catches of the highest standard.
Oxford started cautiously, building a stable base through the openers by the break. A century opening partnership and a huge 6 from Bouchier settled any nerves there might have been in the student camp. Bouchier, the Southern Vipers and Hampshire player, fell for 82 after brutally dispatching the MCC bowlers to various parts of the ground. Her partnership with VM Picker saw the Dark Blues home by 9 wickets to cap a memorable day, where every player did themselves justice.
Middlesex’s 100% record in the London Cup against Surrey remains just about intact after they got across the line on the final ball of a reduced-overs tonk-a-thon at Lord’s this evening, in the first ever women’s county fixture to be played at the ground.
Though the rain attempted to intervene, with only 12 overs able to be played out and a lengthy delay between the two innings, it was clearly still an intensely exciting day for the players, who had earlier been out and about assisting with the various softball cricket matches taking place on the ground throughout the afternoon.
“It was a great honour to be playing here,” Surrey captain Hannah Jones said after the match. “For a lot of us it’s the only time we’re ever going to get to play here – the moment really got us all as a team when we were walking out of the Long Room at the start of the match.”
Head of Women’s Cricket at Middlesex and MCC, Danni Warren, also heralded the day a great success.
“We had a very successful ‘Women’s Day’ in 2018, and the question is, how do you go one better? The London Cup is a very competitive fixture and one which the girls look forward to – it’s always been a goal of mine to make sure that we got to play it at Lord’s at some point, and the MCC were kind enough to let us take over their ‘Women’s Day’ with that.”
“It’s been a really enjoyable day, and the women’s softball event got over 200 women out here playing cricket on the outfield at Lord’s.”
On the pitch, the star of the show was Lauren Bell, making her Middlesex debut, who not only removed Surrey’s best batsman Bryony Smith in the opening over of the fixture; but also made an unexpected cameo with the bat, entering the fray with her side needing 8 runs from the last 5 balls of the match.
Bell kept a calm head, finding the gaps with two singles, running hard with partner Tash Miles, and – crucially – chipping in with the only boundary of the Middlesex innings as she middled it through backward point, finishing 6* at the end as Miles hit the necessary single off the last ball.
Earlier, play had eventually got under way 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, with Middlesex electing to field having won the toss.
Bell, who claimed the honour of being the first woman to open the bowling in a county match at Lord’s, celebrated by bowling Smith with a full-pitched inswinger with her fifth ball of the day.
Fellow pacer Katie Wolfe also struck in her first over – a wicket maiden – as Kirstie White sent a leading edge to Beth Morgan at midwicket.
By the time the rains came down, 7 overs into Surrey’s innings, the visitors were 3 wickets down with 28 runs on the board – Dunkley having trapped left-hander Aylish Cranstone LBW attempting the sweep.
Players currently engaged in the time-honoured Lords tradition of sitting in the dressing rooms, over there in the pavilion, hoping the rain is going to stop. #LondonCuppic.twitter.com/7tkLjAlkzK
It should have been an easy chase for Middlesex, who were set a reduced target for 26 off their allotted 5 overs, but nerves almost got the better of them.
The home side initially put their hopes in Naomi Dattani and Amara Carr, fresh from herself punishing the Middlesex bowlers in the Women’s County Championship on Monday with a century for her 50-over county, Devon.
However, Bryony Smith conceded just 2 from her first over, meaning the pressure was on. It quickly told: some smart work from Surrey keeper Rhianna Southby ensuring that – in the space of 3 balls – both Carr and the in-form Sophia Dunkley were stumped chasing deliveries from captain Hannah Jones.
When Dattani also departed in Smith’s next over – caught by Priyanaz Chatterji at mid-off – Middlesex were 5-3 and looking out of it completely.
Miles and Cordelia Griffith clawed it back by plundering 12 runs from the fourth over, taking advantage of the pace of Eva Gray and some sloppy fielding which cost Surrey a crucial overthrow.
It was Jones who stepped up to bowl the final over of the day, but despite a third lightning quick stumping from Southby (who was voted Player of the Match by the umpires) to see off Griffith, Bell’s cool head saved the day.
Credit should be given to the Lord’s groundstaff, who fought to get the players back out after it looked like the rain had set in for the evening; as well as to those at the MCC who allowed the fixture – which had been relegated to outgrounds on its two previous outings – to take place at Lord’s, thereby giving all the players a chance to make history.
[* Bonus points for Berkshire and Devon on Play Cricket are wrong – these totals are correct!]
A huge century from Heather Knight kept Berkshire in pole position in Div 2, but Middlesex also won twice to set up a showdown between the two for the title next weekend.
Having beaten Durham on Sunday (full report here) Berkshire travelled to Wales on Monday, where 69 from Alex Griffiths helped set up a total of 232-9 – a target that looked an awfully long way off when Berkshire’s number 9, Millie Allerton, walked to the crease to join Heather Knight at 153-7. But Knight – in what was almost certainly her last match for the Beavers – drove on, eventually hitting the winning runs in the 48th over, as she finished with 159* off 125 balls, with Allerton still there on 17* at the other end.
Middlesex’s weekend began at Sophia Dunkley’s alma mater – Mill Hill School – where they hosted Somerset. For once this season, Dunkley was upstaged – she “only” made 54, as Cordelia Griffith took the limelight with 112 off 106 balls, as Middlesex posted 246-8. Somerset were then bowled out for 214 – Katie Wolfe cleaning-up the tail with a hat-trick at the end!
Dunkley and Griffith were then in the runs again as Middlesex defeated Devon by 8 wickets on the Monday (full report here).
These results mean that next weekend sees a de-facto “final” between Berkshire and Middlesex at Mill Hill, with the likelihood that the winner will top the division. (Though it is definitely mathematically possible for Berkshire to lose the match and still finish first due to the way bonus points work*.)
Elsewhere, there were 4fers for Anje Lague – 4-23 in Essex’s 65-run win versus Devon – and Emily Arlott – 4-25 as Worcestershire beat Somerset by 4 wickets; with Worcestershire leapfrogging Durham off the bottom of the table having also won in Wales.
* E.g. Middlesex make 201-9 = Berkshire +4 for bowling; Middlesex +4 for batting; Berkshire make 200-2 = Berkshire +4 for batting; Middlesex +0 for bowling +10 for winning = Berkshire on 100; Middlesex on 99.
Kent have won a record 8th Women’s County Championship title – seeing off both their closest rivals over the Bank Holiday weekend to crown themselves with a game to spare.
Taking on Yorkshire at Harrogate, Kent were bowled out for 121 off the final ball in a rain-affected game – Fran Wilson and Maxine Blythin joint-top-scoring with 32. It proved 5 too many for Yorkshire, who finished 116-7, Leah Dobson 30* at the end.
This left Kent needing 15 points from their game the next day against Lancashire to make the title mathematically certain, and this they achieved as promising teenage fast bowler Chelsey Rowson took 4-24 to bowl Lancashire out for 161. An undefeated half-century from Fran Wilson then wrapped things up with 6 overs to spare, to send the trophy back to its forever-home in Kent!
Elsewhere, Hampshire picked up their first two wins – Providence Cowdrill taking 4-19 as they defeated Warwickshire, and captain Katie George hitting 80* to see off Notts. Warwickshire also finally got a win on the board – Amy Jones smashing 101* off 96 balls to defeat Surrey – completing a sorry weekend for Surrey, who also lost to Notts despite a run-a-ball hundred from Bryony Smith.
Meanwhile England fans will be delighted to see that Sarah Taylor made her return for Sussex, after missing most of the season through injury; though it didn’t help them much as they failed with the bat yet again versus Yorkshire – bowled out for 139. Sussex did get a win against Lancashire, thanks to Nancy Harman who took 4-19 as Lancs failed to chase 135 in a rain-reduced match at Kate Cross’s home club ground – Heywood CC.
Having won the toss, on a day when the weather could not make up its mind whether it was hot, cold, windy or still, Devon chose to bat at picturesque Eastcote Cricket Club.
Middlesex got an early breakthrough with the big wicket of in-form Georgia Hennessy – Katie Wolfe, having passed the bat several times in the early overs, going up for a huge appeal for caught behind, and Hennessy walking without the umpire needing to raise his finger.
Gaya Gole then clean-bowled Claire Varcoe for 1; but the match soon seemed to be turning in Devon’s favour, as Amara Carr and Emma Corney played sensibly, paddling the ball around to bring up their 50 partnership in the 19th over, and taking the score to 77-2 after 20 overs.
Carr brought up her 50 off 55 balls in the 27th over, and Corney’s half century followed shortly afterwards off 84 balls. The hundred partnership came too, but was finally broken shortly afterwards as Corney was bowled by Sonali Patel for 56.
Emily Edgecombe came and went – caught behind off Emily Thorpe for 3 – but Carr, who will be playing for Middlesex in the T20 London Cup at Lords this week, bustled her way on through the 80s and 90s to bring up her maiden County Championship hundred off 104 balls.
Carr was finally run out at the death on 105, by a direct hit from Naomi Dattani as she went for a sharp single, as Devon finished on 222-9, with Gole the pick of the Middlesex bowling taking 3-16.
In reply, Naomi Dattani and Cordelia Griffith – the latter fresh from a hundred the previous day against Somerset – got off to a flying start, with some generous help from the extras column, but were pegged-back a bit by a pair of maidens towards the end of the powerplay, which finished 56-0.
Dattani’s innings was ended by Charlie Phillips, though perhaps not in a way that the bowler herself would have wanted – the Middlesex captain caught by Ellie Mitchell off a high full toss for 19.
Griffith brought up her half century in the 22nd over, and she immediately followed it up by taking advantage of a very short boundary to smash a straight 6 over the sightscreen in celebration.
After 65 off 66 balls, Griffith didn’t quite get the full force of the bat on a lofted drive straight down the ground and was caught – Mitchell again the catcher – to give Phillips her second wicket of the afternoon.
Phillips had a chance for a third in her final over, but put down a tough caught and bowled opportunity from Sophia Dunkley, to finish with 2-41.
Dunkley passed 50 and was dropped again on 51, but gave no further alarms as her and Tash Miles (36*) cruised past the target with more than 5 overs to spare – Dunkley finishing things off with a lovely lofted drive for 4, to close on 75*.
Dunkley currently averages 113, having scored 451 runs in the Championship this season – yes it is Div 2, but surely enough to earn her selection for England’s up-coming series against the West Indies?
Meanwhile Middlesex go into a virtual “final” next weekend against leaders Berkshire, with the winner likely to take the Div 2 title as the County Championship draws to a climax one last time.
After their win at Yorkshire yesterday, Kent are now 15 points away from winning the last ever Women’s County Championship at Newton Le Willows CC on Merseyside today, where they meet Lancashire.
After Lancashire lost yesterday to Sussex, Kent’s nearest challengers are now Nottinghamshire on 64 points – Kent have 85* – 21 points clear with two games to play.
Notts could in theory reach 100 points with two “18 pointers” but because Kent have the head-to-head win against Notts in the bag, that means they only need to match them – i.e. Kent need to reach 100 points to take the title with one game left to play.
They can do that today by (a) winning, for 10 points; and (b) taking 5 of the 8 available bonus points.
Here’s a reminder of how bonus points work:
Bowling points are pretty simple – you take wickets; you get points!
Batting points are a bit more complicated, because they are calculated on the run rate, rather than the number of runs. To give you an idea, we’ve shown a 50 Over Equivalent score below; but remember if your side are chasing, it is really how quickly they score the runs rather than how many they score.
Run Rate (Per Over)
50 Over Equivalent
NB – If you are all-out, the run rate is calculated based on the full allocation of overs.
* Play Cricket says 84, but Kent’s batting bonus points from yesterday are wrong – 121 runs / 36 overs = 3.36 RPO = 3 bonus points, not 2! (HT @WomensCricDay for pointing this out!) This is now corrected!
A half century from Australian overseas Sophie Day set Berkshire up for a 36-run victory over Durham, which combined with Devon’s loss to Essex put the Beavers 11* points clear at the top of Division 2 of the Women’s County Championship.
Day, together with Emily Cunningham, got Berkshire off to a great start on the way to a hundred partnership – Cunningham hitting Rachel Petherick for 4-6-4 in her second over, as the Beavers, whose batting has struggled of late, cantered to 50-0 off the first 10 overs.
After seven 4s and one 6, Cunningham was eventually undone by one that kept low from England Academy leg-spinner Helen Fenby, LBW for 41; but the left-handed Day went on to bring up her 50 in the 28th over with a pull through midwicket for two, before being bowled shortly afterwards by Hannah Knowles for 59.
England captain Heather Knight followed shortly afterwards, caught off a toe-edge for a nice 38, but with the score on 174 Berkshire were already in a very strong position.
With heavy drizzle coming down and the ball slipping around like a raccoon on roller-skates, spinner Laura Ellison struggled with her length, finding herself called for no balls for both high full tosses and double-bounces – but still managed to get the wicket of Anya Shrubsole, who plonked a full toss straight into the hands of Ami Campbell at mid off.
But a 40-run partnership between Lissy Macleod and Amanda Potgieter took Berkshire past the 200 required for maximum batting bonus points. Potgieter was eventually clean-bowled for 15 by Hannah Knowles; but Mcleod continued to tonk and bonk her way to 53 off 43 balls, helping Berkshire to a final total of 284-6.
In reply, Durham made it through the powerplay for the loss of just 1 wicket – Laura Hockaday LBW to Anya Shrubsole; but a second wicket followed almost immediately afterwards – Rachael Petherick also LBW to Phoebe Graham, leaving them 42-2.
Durham kept wickets in hand, but the run rate was starting to climb, and by the time drinks were taken at 17 overs it had already hit an ominous 7-per-over.
Remarkably though Durham, who had just the one win coming into this match, were keeping up more or less with that rate, hitting at around 7-an-over to keep the chase in sight, as Rachel Hopkins and Becky Glen targeted cow corner with some lusty blows to put on 81 for the 3rd wicket, until Glen became the 3rd LBW dismissal of the innings to Kate Coppack.
But the turning point came with the dismissal of Hopkins, who got to a half century before she went for one big shot too many against Macleod, lost her balance and was stumped for 54.
As darkness began to descend upon both Durham and the greying skies above North Maidenhead CC, Ami Campbell (42) skied a slog-sweep towards Heather Knight at long off – the England captain making no mistake taking the catch; and Emily Cunningham took a brilliant one-handed catch at gully, leaping high and back to dismiss Laura Ellison off Phoebe Graham for 16.
Berkshire’s thoughts could then turn towards bonus points, which they duly reeled-in, Graham finishing with 3-39 and Coppack with 3-38, as Durham closed on 249-9, with Berkshire taking a maximum 18 points from the game.
* The current table shows a 9-point gap, but Devon have incorrectly banked bonus points from their abandoned match against Berkshire last weekend, which (we assume!) will at some point be removed.
However… they do need to do a little bit more than “just” win those two games.
Kent’s nearest challengers are Lancashire, who right now have 57 points – so assuming they do indeed lose to Kent on Monday, the most they can therefore get is 101 points – 8 bonus points v Kent, and two “18 pointers” from their other two fixtures.
Assuming, again, that Kent have beaten Lancs, Kent would have the “head to head” so would only need to finish level on points to win the title – ergo 101 points is Kent’s target!
Kent currently have 69 points – so two wins alone (with zero bonus points) takes them to only 89 points.
However, two wins with maximum (18) bonus points will get them to 105 – 4 more than they need.
So in other words the thing to watch is Kent’s bonus points – they can afford to drop 4 over the weekend and they will then be champions on Monday evening, regardless of anything that happens elsewhere.
Of course, this situation will have changed by Sunday evening, depending on the results of other games, so stay tuned and we’ll keep doing the maths so you don’t have to!
The top of Division 2 is unchanged this weekend, after the key match between the top two was abandoned, and the game between 3rd and 4th was tied, leaving things very-much “as you were”!
Top-of-the-table Devon were left cursing the weather after Georgia Hennessy’s 78* helped them to 203-5 against second-placed Berkshire. The Beavers, whose batting hasn’t been their strong point this season, were then in some trouble at 4-2, with both their openers out for golden ducks. With no Heather Knight to rescue Berkshire, Devon must have been anticipating virtually wrapping up the title there and then, but then the rain came down and didn’t stop – the game eventually abandoned and the points shared.
Middlesex’s trip to Wales saw Sophia Dunkley hit her second century of the season – 114 off 126 balls – as Middlesex posted 163 all out. 43 from Rachel Priest set Wales on their way, but they ended up with numbers 9 and 10 – Lydia Clements and Naomi Davies – at the crease, needing 11 off the final over for the win, which they couldn’t quite do – running two off the final ball to leave the scores tied.
Further down the table, Essex made hard work of beating Somerset, despite bowling them out for 123 – a marathon 46 off 115 balls from Jess Bird helped get Essex over the line with just 3 balls to spare. Meanwhile up in Durham, Worcestershire captain Georgie Adcock top scored with 75, but it wasn’t enough as the Rapids went down by 31 runs to give Durham their first win of the season.
Next weekend sees Devon take on Essex and Middlesex, whilst Berkshire host Durham before travelling to Wales.
As we pass the half-way point in the Women’s County Championship, with 3 games left to play, Kent opened up clear blue water between them and the pack with a win over Hampshire, as their closest challengers Lancashire slipped-up against Yorkshire.
It wasn’t quite the perfect performance from Kent – at Polo Farm in Canterbury they missed out on maximum bonus points by taking just 6 wickets as Maia Bouchier top-scored with 64, and Suzie Bates hit 63, to help Hampshire to 233; but a frantastic (!) 74 from Fran Wilson, set them on course to win by 3 wickets and maintain their unbeaten record this year. (Full report here.)
At Harrogate, Lancashire went down to their first defeat of the season in the Roses match against Yorkshire. Katie Thompson and Beth Langston shared 3 wickets apiece as Lancashire were bowled out for 158. Lauren Winfield’s miserable county season for Yorkshire continued – her run of scores thus far: 2, 21, 0 and 2 – but it didn’t stop Yorkshire chasing down their target by 5 wickets, Katherine Brunt finishing 48* at the end.
The return of Danni Wyatt to Sussex didn’t help their struggling batting much – Wyatt made 2 off 7 balls, and it was left to Carla Rudd (36), Ella Mccaughan (33) and Freya Davies (23) to get them out of trouble to 176-7 against Surrey, which they might have defended had it not been for Nat Sciver, who made 80* to give Surrey their second win of the season.
Finally, Warwickshire endured another agonisingly close defeat to stay rooted to the foot of the table. Set 207 to chase by Notts, with Scotland’s Sarah Bryce making 51 and Georgia Davies taking 4-43, Warwickshire fell just 4 runs short – Amy Jones 89 and Jo Gardner’s highest ever championship score of 59 not quite enough to get them home.
Kent aren’t anything like home and dry yet – they’ve got a difficult road trip next Bank Holiday weekend to their two closest challengers – Yorkshire and Lancashire – but two wins there could potentially make them champions by Monday evening if bonus points and other results elsewhere fall their way.