The opening weekend of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy was dominated by the England players – Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver, Heather Knight, Sophia Dunkley and Sophie Ecclestone were all among those who put in match-winning shifts for their teams.
So after 2 rounds, Diamonds top the table in the North; while Vipers lead the way down South.
But now the England players go back into “The Bubble” to prepare for the T20 series versus West Indies, and their regional sides will have to make do without them, so how are they likely to do?
To give an idea of how things might pan out, we took the basic stats from the opening weekend – runs and wickets – and removed all the England “bubble” players.
The full “tables” are below, but if you are a Diamonds fan in particular you might want to look away now – they go from top to bottom in the North group, with Lightning the clear favourites going forwards, thanks mainly to the runs and wickets of Scottish duo Sarah and Kathryn Bryce. (There must be something in the porridge up at Loch Loughborough!)
In the South however, Southern Vipers actually retain their position at the top of the tree, thanks to good form with the bat from Georgia Adams and Charlie Dean, who both made 50s this weekend, and great numbers with the ball from Tara Norris and Paige Scholfield.
How scientific is all this? Not very! The non-England players will have the chance to prove themselves now. With everyone playing home and away, we are only a third of the way through the group stages and there’s still plenty of cricket to come. And of course, the final itself will see some of the England “bubble” players return – though not the big superstars, who will be on England duty.
So it’s all to play for, and while the Diamonds in particular might not have come out of this counterfactual so well, at the end of the day they are still the ones with the actual points on the board, which puts them in pole position going into next weekend’s third round of fixtures alongside the Vipers in the South group.
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