A maiden century from skipper Amara Carr proved in vain, as Sophia Dunkley drained Devon’s Div 2 title hopes with her 5th consecutive 50+ score in the Women’s County Championship for Middlesex.
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.
This is my England XI for the first ODI v West Indies on Thursday 6th June;-
1 Amy Jones
2 Tammy Beaumont
3 Sarah Taylor
4 Nat Sciver
5 Heather Knight
6 Danni Wyatt
7 Sophia Dunkley
8 Katherine Brunt
9 Anya Shrubsole
10 Sophie Ecclestone
11 Kirstie Gordon
Knight, Sciver and Dunkley give England so many bowling options that the batting line up can afford Wyatt at 6.
Fran Wilson in really good form too – think she might get the nod ahead of Dunkley.
That may be the case and Fran will be unlucky to miss out but you lose a bowling option.
However, if I was Robbo, I would release Sarah to play some more competitive cricket on Sunday at Beckenham.
If she is not “International fit” then Amy Jones keeps and Fran would bat at three.
An important point about this Sunday’s game ‘Anonymous’, and anyone else thinking about going is that the Kent v Sussex match starts at 11:00 on the beautiful St.Lawrence Ground in Canterbury which is approximately 60 miles east of Beckenham CC.
If I was Robbo, I wouldn’t want Sarah or anyone else to miss the start by travelling to the wrong ground.
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