At Leicester last Thursday, England took to the field against the West Indies, with a batting line-up (top 6) with an average age of 28 – the youngest of whom (Amy Jones) will be 26 next week.
After clear-outs in the Academy over the past couple of years, it has been common to ask where the next generation of batsmen are coming from, so it is hopefully encouraging to see that the two leading batters in this year’s County Championship were both youngsters.
21-year-old Bryony Smith was the leading run-scorer in Div 1 for Surrey with 347 runs, and also made the highest score in that division this season – 106 off 107 balls in a losing cause against Nottinghamshire. It is probably fair to say that Smith isn’t a touch player, but she hits the ball bloody hard, almost like a baseball slugger, and it has been very effective this season.
In Div 2, 20-year-old Middlesex allrounder Sophia Dunkley hit a mammoth 451 runs, including two centuries and three 50s. Even if you put a certain discount on Div 2 runs, it was a dominating performance over the season, which ought to see her selected for the T20s against the West Indies later this month, if not the Women’s Ashes which follow.
The usual suspects aside (in the nicest possible way, “Amy Jones Scores Runs” is starting to feel a little like “Sun Rises” in terms of headlines) the stand-out performers were Georgie Boyce, with 262 runs in her first season for Lancashire; Fi Morris – primarily an off-spin bowler prior to this season, who is turning herself into a proper allrounder, scoring 160 runs for Hampshire; and Cordelia Griffith, whose promising career as a seam bowler was cruelly cut short by injury, but who has almost certainly done more than enough with the bat this season to earn a “pro” contract next year, scoring 208 runs, including a century, for Middlesex.
|1. Bryony Smith (Surrey)||6||347||88.52|
|2. Amy Jones (Warwickshire)||6||302||89.34|
|3. Fran Wilson (Kent)||6||257||78.11|
|4. Tammy Beaumont (Kent)||6||243||76.65|
|5. Georgie Boyce (Lancashire)||7||262||66.66|
|6. Suzie Bates (Hampshire)||4||160||80.4|
|7. Jenny Gunn (Nottinghamshire)||6||187||66.54|
|8. Sonia Odedra (Nottinghamshire)||7||236||52.09|
|9. Fi Morris (Hampshire)||7||160||74.76|
|10. Sarah Bryce (Nottinghamshire)||6||175||63.63|
|1. Sophia Dunkley (Middlesex)||6||451||93.56|
|2. Heather Knight (Berkshire)||4||403||103.06|
|3. Rachel Priest (Wales)||7||282||92.45|
|4. Lissy Macleod (Berkshire)||7||249||78.54|
|5. Cordelia Griffith (Middlesex)||6||208||84.21|
Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate