ENGLAND v INDIA 2nd ODI – The Day Sophia Dunkley “Won” Her England Cap

Way back in July 2014, I was at Wokingham Cricket Club to watch my beloved Berkshire in the county T20 Cup. The game against Middlesex ought to have been a shoe-in – Heather Knight hit 72 off 60 balls, supported by Corrine Hall (who would go on to captain Hobart Hurricanes in the WBBL) who made 42 off 34, as Berkshire (chasing) made 142-3, which was a lot in them days!

But it wasn’t quite enough – Middlesex had earlier posted 145-6, thanks to a 16-year-old in her first full season of county cricket, who had hit 61 off 52 balls.

Her name: Sophia Dunkley.

Dunkley announced herself as a county cricketer that day; and over the following 6 seasons, she would go on to score over 1,600 runs for Middlesex; but some doubts persisted. She never really settled in the Kia Super League, spending a couple of seasons at Surrey Stars before moving to Lancashire Thunder; and although she made an England debut at the T20 World Cup in 2018, she didn’t get much opportunity to shine, and until this summer she remained on the periphery of England’s radar – one for the future perhaps, but not quite for now.

Until now.

In the space of a few weeks, Dunkley has officially been awarded a central contract (though in practice she’d effectively had one for several months), made her Test debut, scoring 74* in her only innings, and made her ODI debut, in which she did not bat.

Her performance in the Test was obviously impressive, but the moment she really became an “England player”… as opposed to a “player who’s played for England” occurred on the 4th ball of the 27th over of England’s innings in the 2nd ODI today.

England were actually in a wee bit of trouble – with Tammy Beaumont gone cheaply, they had collapsed slightly and were 125-4. Dunkley and Amy Jones – the last two recognised batters – had their work cut out, with almost 100 still required. Dunkley herself was on 10 off 11 balls, when Deepti Sharma gave her a bit of width outside off stump. Dunkley pounced, like a cat on a mouse, cutting confidently through extra cover for 4 runs.

This was the shot of a player who knew, at last, that she really belonged at this level.

A few overs later she splattered Shikha Pandey for 6 over long too… but that was just the confirmation.

Supported by Katherine Brunt, who more than made amends for what had looked like a potentially disastrous final over with the ball costing 18 runs, she closed out the game, finishing on 73* off 81 balls.

It created a real dilemma for Player of the Match too. Though Dunkley ultimately missed out to Kate Cross, who had earlier taken 5-34, for me Dunkley’s was the key performance – taking as much courage as skill, to stare down the barrel of an Indian attack who were looking in fearsome mood after their early breakthroughs. Jhulan in particular threw everything she had at her, but she battled through – proving herself against one of the greatest bowlers the game has ever known.

Dunks may have been handed her ODI cap last weekend, but she won it today – she’s an England player now… and will be for many years to come.

NEWS: Dulwich CC Become First Club In England To Offer Priority Use Of Their Ground To Women And Girls

The Griffin Sports Ground in Dulwich Village, home to Dulwich CC, is set to become the first club cricket ground in the UK to give priority to women’s and girls’ players and teams.

The ground will be restored as a top-quality community facility for football and cricket, and will be run by a new charity established in partnership between Lambeth Tigers FC and Dulwich CC – the London Youth Sports Trust.

The Griffin will become home to Lambeth Tigers Football Club, which draws many of its players from communities where young people are denied access to good facilities, and to Dulwich Cricket Club’s women’s and girls’ teams, following the agreement of a new 30-year lease for the ground with the Dulwich Estate.

The Trust’s mission is to provide much-needed sports pitches for children and young people deprived of good facilities, for women’s and girls’ cricket and football, and for pupils at local state schools. The Trust will welcome partnerships with other clubs, residents and community groups that share its objectives, and is inviting these groups to suggest ideas for making full use of the ground. 

“The Griffin is going to transform the opportunities available in south London to two groups who are among those with most to gain from community sport: young people who growing with the extreme stress of living in high crime neighbourhoods but who deserve the best, and women and girls, who often take second place in sports grounds everywhere”, said Stephen Grey, chair of LYST and a parent at Lambeth Tigers. 

“We are hugely excited to take on this beautiful sports ground, and to develop it as a sporting hub for everyone from all communities and backgrounds. It will have lifelong benefits for the children and young people who play football and cricket there.”

Dulwich Cricket Club, established in 1867, has doubled the size of its women’s and girls’ section to more than 150 in the past 18 months, in line with cricket’s status as one of the fastest-growing female sports. The club currently has 10 girls, aged between 10 and 18, in Surrey’s performance programme.

The Griffin will become the home of the women’s and girls’ teams, who will have priority use of its facilities over men’s and boy’s teams. This is believed to be the first arrangement of its kind for a top-quality cricket ground in the UK.

The Griffin will enable the club to further expand its women’s and girls’ programme, which would otherwise be limited by a lack of access to pitches and practice facilities, and to provide more cricket opportunities to the Black community in South London. 

“Cricket is the fastest-growing sport for girls, and we’re experiencing a surge of interest – we’ve tripled our membership among primary school girls since March,” said Samantha Krafft, membership secretary of Dulwich Cricket Club. 

“We want to give girls exactly the same opportunities as boys to play cricket, and all that’s holding us back is a lack of places to play. There’s a shortage of good quality pitches in London, and many of those have long-standing use arrangements with men’s and boys’ teams. The Griffin will be the first cricket ground where women and girls come first – it’s what we need to achieve our dream.”

Kira Chathli, Dulwich CC’s Head Coach for Women & Girls, who represents South East Stars and Surrey, said: “When I started playing cricket at Dulwich, I was pretty much the only girl in the boys’ team. Now, I’m coaching well over a hundred players in girls-only sessions every week. The Griffin means we can keep growing – it’s going to change the game for women’s and girls’ cricket in South London.”

Lambeth Tigers, with support from Dulwich Cricket Club, is today launching a fundraising appeal to allow it to invest in improving the facilities at the Griffin, which need restoration, and to offer them affordably to its target users. Supporters are encouraged to donate online at https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/home4tigers.

Lambeth Tigers was formed in 1995 and re-founded 10 years ago in the Loughborough and Angeltown Estates in Brixton by two youth workers, David Marriott and Jamahl Jarrett. Both turned away from involvement in gangs after David’s brother was murdered, to focus on using football to transform lives.

The club has a proud track record both of developing outstanding football talent, and of providing life-enhancing opportunities for children and young people who might otherwise be vulnerable to the impact of crime or deprivation. Its development has been held back by a lack of access to pitches, and it has never had a permanent ground.

LYST and the Griffin project have been established with substantial help and support from Sport England, the England & Wales Cricket Board, the Surrey Cricket Foundation, the Arts and Culture Foundation, the London FA, Mentivity CIC, and with advice and support from Southwark and Lambeth Councils, Football Beyond Borders, Nike, Unity FC, Nasaa FC, and the London Schools Cricket Association.

Other partners in the initiative, who will use the Griffin’s facilities, include Girls United FA, a women and girls football club, Carnegie Cricket Club, a south London club with origins in the West Indian community, and several local state schools.

ENGLAND v INDIA 1st ODI – Tammy Gives Mithali The TB-Jeebies

Tammy Beaumont’s brilliant run of form in ODIs continued, as England put India to the sword in Bristol. In four ODIs this year (three in New Zealand plus this one versus India) she has scored 318 runs at an average of… wait for it… 318! (She hasn’t been dismissed in an ODI since the 1st match in New Zealand.)

She was in imperious form today – she made 87 off 87 balls, and was only denied what looked like a certain century by Nat Sciver coming in and clattering 74 off 74 balls. As well as employing her trade-mark sweeps and ramps, Beaumont also rolled-back the years by bringing out the punched drive down the ground, that was her key productive shot earlier in her career.

There was some talk during the innings break about “low scoring games” but this never really looked like one of those. As Beaumont and Sciver showed, there were plenty of runs out there today – it was just that India didn’t really look like they wanted them until it was far too late.

As the Manhattans show, India can actually boast the most productive “phase” of the game, when they finally woke up in the last 10 overs and pulled 67 runs out of the hat – 6 more than England made in their initial powerplay. But the damage was already done. In the first 30 overs, they had scored at a Run Rate of just 3.0, and that’s simply not enough in any form of cricket these days.

Looking at the raw scorecard, you might think Mithali played the captain’s innings, but the truth is that she was actually the problem. Having come in during the 10th over, she reached the 30-over mark languishing on 23 off a whopping 63 balls – a Strike Rate of 37. Yes she caught up, to finish on 72 off 108 balls (a Strike Rate of 67) but she’d left her teammates (and herself) with far too much to do at the back-end of the innings. India’s final total of 201 was a good 50 under par; and though they probably still wouldn’t have won the game with 250, given Beaumont’s (and Sciver’s) form, they could at least have made England work for it!

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Mithali has been left behind by the modern era. While players like Tammy have adapted their games, she has stood still. She has two more ODIs in this series to turn things around, but if not… if India want a real shot at the World Cup in New Zealand next year, she needs to make way – she has been treading water for far too long; and the worry has to be that she is now no longer waving, but drowning.

PREVIEW: Carlton Ready To Make Their Final Push For The Title

Jake Perry looks ahead to the penultimate round of the Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League. 

Carlton bring their Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League season to a close this weekend having cemented their position at the top of the table. Last Sunday’s victory over West of Scotland ensured that no team in the competition will finish it unbeaten, and with just one hurdle remaining, captain Annette Aitken-Drummond is delighted to still be out in front.

“We’re really pleased,” she said. “Our aim at the start was to win every single game, so to lose the second one [to Stewart’s Melville] was quite disappointing for us.”

“But I think it has boosted our performances since then, and it’s been really good to see how the girls have upped their game over the last couple of weeks or so. We’d like to finish the season off well if we can, too.” 

Carlton’s campaign has been built on some exceptional individual contributions. Sam Haggo, Charis Scott and Abbi Aitken-Drummond have all starred at various times with the bat, while Annette herself tops the averages with 191 runs at 95.5. But while the side’s Scotland contingent plays a central role, other members of the squad have also thrived in the opportunities they have been given.

“I think Maisie Maceira has been a real stand-out for us,” said Annette, “for her wickets but also her attitude as well. Being able to play alongside internationals like Hannah [Rainey] and Abbi and Sam and Charis [has really helped her game] – a lot of them are bowlers, so it’s been about getting her to think more about field placements, throwing in some variations, things that she might not have thought about had she not played alongside those players.”

“But whenever I’ve tossed her the ball and said go for it, she’s shown real heart. She’s hooping it in sometimes which is great to see, and her ability to perform under pressure has been really good as well. We got a team hat-trick last weekend, but I think she’s been on a hat-trick herself four times this season, which is absolutely nuts. And a lot of them have been bowled – Abbi in particular will say, bowl at the stumps, and that is the simple thing that Maisie does really well.” 

But Annette has also been excited by the standard of the division as a whole, including at West of Scotland, who put in another good performance after their heroics against Royal High Corstorphine in Round Four.

“They were really good,” she enthused. “I was really impressed with them and the way they were set up. They’ve got some Scotland players in Abtaha [Maqsood] and Ellen [Watson], but I was very impressed with their bowlers, who bowled a really consistent line and length which I was struggling to get away, to be honest.”

“Sophie Trickett played really well, too – she had no fear, just came in and absolutely biffed it. I love to see younger players who just come in and play a natural game. That’s what I try and say to the Carlton players, to just hit the ball, and she definitely came out and did that.”

“They got off to a really good start, and if I’m honest I was looking at the scoreboard and panicking a little bit, but we managed to rein them in, and then having Abbi open the batting and play in the way she did, it just took the pressure off the rest of the team.”

Chasing 147, Abbi’s 23-ball 49, which included two sixes and six fours, set Carlton on their way to an eight-wicket win, with Annette scoring her second fifty of the summer and Hannah Rainey chipping in with a quickfire 37. A strong Royal High Corstorphine eleven is still to be overcome, however, with Annette expecting another tough challenge at Barnton.

“RHC have put in some impressive performances,” said the former Scotland international. “Ikra [Farooq] has been scoring quite a few runs and they’ve got a few more big hitters in the team as well.”

“They should be well rested, too, after not playing last weekend, so it’ll be a real test for us.”

“But we won’t be thinking too much about what they are doing. We’ll focus on what we do well, and hopefully we can carry on the form we’ve shown and finish the season off with a win.”

Elsewhere, fifth-placed Dumfries & Galloway entertain the in-form Watsonians/Grange, while second-placed Stewart’s Melville travel to Hamilton Crescent on the back of a hard-fought victory over D&G last weekend. With West of Scotland still hoping to rearrange their COVID-delayed fixtures the game is a must-win for both sides, each of whom, like Carlton, have been beaten only once this season. After this weekend only one full round of fixtures remains – the title race, though, is still very much alive.

Women’s Premier League – 27 June 2021 

Dumfries & Galloway v Watsonians/Grange (at Gatehouse) 

Royal High Corstorphine v Carlton (at Barnton) 

West of Scotland v Stewart’s Melville (at Hamilton Crescent)


Jake Perry is the author of The Secret Game

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the men’s and women’s league action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from our featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.

Women’s Regional T20 Competition Named Charlotte Edwards Cup

The Women’s Regional T20 Competition has been named the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

The competition, which begins this weekend, sees the eight women’s regional teams go head to head in T20 cricket for the first time.

The move comes after the ECB’s decision to maintain the branding of the 50-over regional competition as the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, following widespread praise at their decision last season to honour one of the greats of the game.

Charlotte Edwards CBE made her international debut in 1996 against New Zealand aged just 16 years old, making her at that point the youngest player ever to represent England. She went on to represent England for two decades, retiring in May 2016. During that time she was a prolific run-scorer; she holds the record for most ODI runs ever scored by an English woman, with 5992 to her name, putting her second on the all-time list in women’s ODIs.

In 2006 she became England captain, and she went on to lead England to two World Cup wins in the space of 12 months in 2009, and three Ashes wins, including back-to-back series wins in 2013 and 2014.

She played in the first-ever international T20 match, against New Zealand at Hove in 2004, and is England Women’s leading run-scorer in IT20 cricket.

Edwards is of course also the current coach of Southern Vipers, which raises the amusing prospect of it being Charlotte Edwards who raises the inaugural Charlotte Edwards Trophy come September!

ECB Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor, said: “It’s powerful to be able to connect the women’s regional game with such iconic figures in women’s cricket. Last year we named the 50 over competition after Rachael Heyhoe Flint, and now this.”

“There are numerous individuals who have served English cricket with distinction who we could have chosen, but we felt with Lottie’s relevance to the T20 game and her excellence as a player in the international T20 format, it was most fitting for the competition to take her name.

Charlotte Edwards said: “It’s a huge honour to have my name attached to the competition. The regional players who’ll take part in the competition are at the beginning of such an exciting journey, and the pathway has progressed and developed so far since I was in their position.”

“I hope, like we saw with the Rachael Heyhoe Flint, that players from across the eight teams can continue to impress at regional level and push hard for international selection. The new domestic set-up is a real game-changer for women’s cricket in this country and I’m really proud to be a part of it.”

MATCH REPORT: Datts The Way I Like It As Middlesex Reclaim London Cup

On a sunny evening at Radlett, Middlesex regained their London Cup crown, beating Surrey by 8 wickets with 10 balls to spare thanks to a half-century from Naomi Dattani.

Three years ago Dattani blasted her side to a win in that summer’s London Cup at Guildford, in what we described on CRICKETher as “an innings of sheer dominance, played with a level of aggression and confidence rarely seen at this level of the game”. There were shades of that innings at Radlett, as Dattani made a difficult run chase of 125 look easy, with a raft of sweep shots and and one hefty pull for six taking her to a half-century from 44 balls, brought up in the 13th over.

Three balls after bringing up her fifty, she holed out to Hannah Jones at mid-on, but Amara Carr (29*) and Tash Miles (24*) finished the job with ease – Miles’ game awareness and ball placement allowing Middlesex to steal runs aplenty.

Earlier, Surrey had looked in some trouble after losing 3 wickets in the powerplay, including the dangerous-looking Alice Capsey – caught at extra cover for a run-a-ball 19, after executing the perfect ramp shot for four against speedster Katie Wolfe.

Amara Carr then enacted a tidy stumping to see off Chloe Brewer for a three-ball duck, leaving Surrey 35-4 in the seventh.

Hannah Jones, though, played a battling captain’s innings as, having been dropped by Cordelia Griffith at extra cover on 12*, she made Middlesex pay for their error, reaching 42 from 40 balls including some well-placed boundaries. Kirstie White (26 from 28) provided able support as the pair rotated the strike well.

Though Jones was dismissed in the 19th over, miscuing Holly Thorpe to long-off, Eva Gray (15* from 9) ensured that Surrey finished their innings strongly, with two fours in the 20th over including an audacious ramp shot against Kate Coppack.

Given that last year’s total of 108 was only just overhauled by Surrey, 124 looked like it should be a winning total, but that reckoned without the determination of Dattani.

Sunrisers have endured a difficult start to the 2021 season, with zero wins from four matches so far in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. The decision to allow the three Middlesex “pros” – Dattani, Carr and Griffith – to play in this match looks to have been a good one, as Dattani in particular will look to translate her form into the forthcoming regional T20s which begin this weekend.

NEWS: Danni Wyatt Omitted From England ODI Squad v India

The ECB has confirmed that, as CRICKETher announced on Twitter earlier today, Danni Wyatt has been omitted from England’s ODI squad against India.

Wyatt’s response was to score 70 not out for Southern Vipers in their win against Western Storm in today’s regional T20 warm-up.

Sophia Dunkley, who hit an unbeaten 74* in England’s first innings of the Test, has (as expected) retained her place and looks set to make her ODI debut on Sunday at Bristol.

Another possible debutant is pace bowler Emily Arlott, who has been retained in the squad, despite missing out on selection for the final Test XI.

Georgia Elwiss, who was included in the Test XI as a “specialist batter”, has also been left out of the ODI squad. However, Freya Davies and Sarah Glenn have both been recalled and will be expected to play a major role in England’s plans in the 50-over matches.

After the Test was drawn, with two points going to each side, there are six possible points available in the ODIs (two in each of the three matches), before the T20 leg begins next month.

The full squad is as follows:

Heather Knight (Western Storm, captain)

Emily Arlott (Central Sparks)

Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)

Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)

Kate Cross (Thunder)

Freya Davies (South East Stars)

Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)

Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)

Tash Farrant (South East Stars)

Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)

Amy Jones (Central Sparks)

Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds, vice captain)

Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)

Mady Villiers (Sunrisers)

Fran Wilson (Sunrisers)

Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)


By Richard Clark

There was much to celebrate at Bristol – Shafali & Sophia, Rana & Bhatia, Eccles (tone or cakes, take your pick), Brunt’s outswinger, Anya’s inswinger, THAT CATCH, the media positivity – social and mainstream – and plenty more besides.

But it’s not my intention to dwell on any of these because you will already have read and heard copious amounts on all of them. And because for all those stand-outs from a tremendous four days I came home with something else that will stick in my memory.

I don’t know whether they had just arrived, or perhaps had been sitting elsewhere up until then, but some time shortly before lunch on Saturday I became aware of people shuffling into their seats behind me. It turned out to be (one assumed) a father and two daughters, I’m guessing aged around 8 and 10, and for the next couple of hours the father – a patient chap, and clearly knowledgeable – took on the task of explaining to his girls what was happening.

We all know how difficult it is to describe cricket to the uninitiated. Where do you begin? And once you’ve begun, where do you end? The game is so utterly bonkers when you set about unravelling it all that even the most seasoned observer will readily admit to learning something new all the time.

But our man did his best, and his best was eminently passable, I assure you. Inevitably, though, the obvious question came soon enough from one of the girls. I can’t be sure – memory isn’t what it was these days – but I think it was after a few words centred on the square leg umpire being called “the square leg umpire.”


Every parent lives in dread of this question, the worst question your child can possibly ask. Worse even than “Are we nearly there yet?” Yes, that bad.

“Thank you for your explanation, father. However, I must inform you that, having given the matter due consideration, I consider it inadequate. Please try again, and do better this time.”

You have failed. In order to simplify things, maybe, you’ve tried to go for the lazy, half-cooked option and hoped to get away with it while she was distracted by that pigeon, or those clouds. But she saw you coming, and she’s not having it. Not only have you failed, but she has now pointed out to everyone around you that you have failed. Please try again, and do better this time. No pressure.

But at the same time it’s the BEST question you can be asked, because the alternative is a child who isn’t interested. And these girls WERE interested. So he did try better, and so the afternoon passed. There was never any hint of boredom, or mischief, just watching and chatting, chatting and watching. At one point even a tentative “Come on, Sophie,” was ventured by one of them, although it was in definite need of an exclamation mark that would have carried it across the Nevil Road ground and, who knows, might have sprung a much-needed wicket to spark an England victory march. Ah well…

Tellingly, when they all agreed to go home at the tea interval, it was the girls who were the more reluctant parties to the agreement. I suspect in the end there may have been bribery involved. We’ve all been there.

I tell this story apropos of nothing really. It’s not especially related to women’s cricket – after all, it could easily have been a couple of lads, and a men’s cricket match (and a mother, come to that). The scenario would have been the same. But the fact is, it wasn’t either of those things. It was two girls watching a women’s cricket match and learning about the game. And it was wonderful.


Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68