With the County Championship having already retired, like some Edwardian maiden aunt, to a convalescent home in Kent, there was little but pride to play for in the final round of the tournament. Under these circumstances, it was perhaps fitting that it was the two great rivals of recent years – Kent and Sussex – who played out the key game of the weekend.
There is little love lost between the two counties, who have shared 14 of the last 17 titles, and whose animosity boiled-over in the infamous Beckenhamgate affair in 2015; but despite Kent having claimed the trophy, it was Sussex who had the final word with a huge 160 run triumph at Kent’s home Spitfire Ground.
Having won the toss, Sussex captain Georgia Adams (65) elected to bat and put on 118 for the first wicket with Izzy Collis (67). England’s Georgia Elwiss, making her comeback from the injury that ended her tour to the subcontinent early this spring, then added a 3rd half-century of the innings, as Sussex posted 268-6.
In reply, the champions – albeit missing half their team due to England call-ups ahead of the international season which starts this week – were skittled out for just 108, with Tara Norris, Cassidy McCarthy and Chiara Green taking two wickets each.
Elsewhere, Hampshire had an even bigger margin of victory as they walloped sorry Surrey by 192 runs. There were half-tons for Charlie Dean and Lucia Kendall as Hampshire posted 273-9, before dismissing Surrey for 81 – 3 wickets apiece for Danielle Ransley and Fi Morris.
Rain affected both the other two matches, but both nonetheless produced results – Hollie Armitage making 59 as Yorkshire secured second place, chasing a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted 206 against Notts; whilst the Duckworth-Lewis calculations set Lancashire 58 from 10 overs to beat Warwickshire, which they cantered to thanks to Eve Jones (27* off 19) and Emma Lamb (24 off 14).
So… that’s that for the Women’s County Championship, which is set to be taken behind the woodshed by the ECB after 23 years. (Conversations we’ve had suggest that rumours of a climb-down by The Powers That Be are little more than wishful thinking, we’re sorry to say, and though a delay is possible it would be little more than a stay of execution.)
It’s been a blast, and we’ll miss it like crazy, but there will still be cricket in years to come, because the 50 over game isn’t going anywhere – not yet, anyway! [Don’t give them ideas- Ed.]
It is a great shame the County Championship has (apparently!) been ditched for a hair brained, ill prepared and still confusing alternative.
For example, what lies next for the Sussex players who played yesterday versus Kent? They are a compact and game experienced team of players who developed through playing together this and previous seasons. Their opponents yesterday (Kent) were a shadow team with only a few players present from last weeks trip to the North. Without a county to represent next season I wonder where many of the players on show at Canterbury yesterday will be playing their senior cricket?
Whatever the bonkers 100 throws up could there be a Home Counties Championship set up, as the Eastern Counties are hopefully planning ?
Try to find nice club cricket grounds and we may not have seen the last of
Kent v Sussex, or Surrey, Middlesex, Berkshire, Essex? Who knows?
Tradition is starting to mean little if anything on the women’s cricket front. Decades of excellent cricket, the provision of the majority of those who have played for their country, and a home for those who’s skills are at the top, or above, those of the average club cricketer find themselves with no place to go. “Play club cricket” is the suggestion, but that is easier said than done in many parts of the country and many women will feel, with justification, that they are being demoted.
Sadly too, if rumours of the forthcoming contracts for non-England players are anywhere near the mark, many will simply not be able to afford losing well paid jobs for the ECB’s offering. The second tier of players is being culled.
The changes for 2020, if correctly reported, make the much spoken of “pathway” a joke. A multitude of players will be lost from the game and the ECB’s support of recreational at a higher level also come to an end.
Supporting the much younger, as the ECB has been doing of late, is a great idea. What I find inexplicable is why you would leave a huge hole in opportunity as they age.
The idea of a Home Counties Championship is a a fine one, but will the men (for it is they who run county cricket these days with the demise of the WCAs) prove they do support the women’s game, or will misogyny win out. There have been some fine words but we will have to wait and see.