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)

Why?

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.”

“Why?”

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.

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Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

ENGLAND v INDIA TEST: Day 4 – Let Them Eat Ecclescakes

On July 3rd 2016, 17-year-old Sophie Ecclestone made her England debut in the 1st T20 versus Pakistan, taking 1-21 in her four overs. After being selected for the 2nd game (taking 2-26) she was then rested for the final T20 in favour of Alex Hartley. An ODI debut followed, in October of that year in the West Indies, with Ecclestone winning two caps in the 5 match series, taking 2-28 and 1-20.

It was a respectable enough start to an international career, but not earth-moving, and in the summer of 2017 Ecclestone was told by England management to concentrate on her A-Levels, while her team-mates were focussed on the small matter of winning the World Cup.

Her international career might have been put on hold in 2017, but her cricket career certainly wasn’t – Ecclestone went back to Lancashire that summer and took an incredible 35 wickets in the season as the Red Roses marched to the County Championship and T20 Cup double; so when it came time to select a squad to tour Australia for the 2017 Ashes, Ecclestone’s name could not be ignored, and she went on to make her Test debut that winter in Sydney.

Ecclestone took 3 wickets in that Sydney Test, and another 3 in Taunton in 2019; but it was in the T20 arena that she was beginning to really make her name for her consistency and economy, rising through the rankings until this March she found herself at the summit – officially the Number One T20 bowler in the world.

Carlsberg don’t do women’s Test rankings – apparently they make something called “beer” instead – but if they did, there’s a pretty good chance that Sophie Ecclestone would now be atop them too, after her performance in the one-off Test versus India this week.

Having taken 4 wickets for 88, at an Economy Rate of 3.4, in the 1st Innings, and then 4-118 at 3.1 in the second, her combined figures of 8-206 were the best achieved in a women’s Test since Ellyse Perry’s 9-70 at Canterbury in 2015.

She couldn’t win the game for England on her own though, and the toothlessness of England’s three specialist seamers on this pitch, with this ball, was cruelly exposed, as Brunt, Shrubsole and Cross between them took just 4 wickets, at a cost of 230-odd runs.

Would playing Emily Arlott or Tash Farrant – who were both in the squad – have changed the outcome? Both, but particularly Farrant, would have offered something different, which England did desperately seem to be searching for at times.

Should England have kept Sarah Glenn in the squad and played her? In hindsight, probably yes; and although I’ll never forget Mark Robinson once reminding me reproachfully during a press conference that “cricket isn’t played in hindsight”, in this case England really did close down their options by sending her back to Sparks last weekend.

(There was Mady Villiers, too, of course – but you get the distinct impression that her role here was to field if someone got injured – it never felt likely she’d make the XI.)

Perhaps the real story here though is not England’s bowling but India’s batting. They put a disappointing 1st innings behind them, and battled back to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat, with just dues in particular to Sneh Rana, coming in at 8 and finishing 80* off 154 balls, and Taniya Bhatia at 9, with 44* off 88 balls.

With the form of Player of the Match Shafali Verma, who hit 159 runs in the match, India will go into the next phase of this multi-format series with every hope of turning over their hosts with the white ball and achieving a famous series victory. If so, the fight we saw today will have been the moment the tide turned in their favour.

ENGLAND v INDIA TEST: Day 3 – The Smart Money Is Still On England

At lunch today, with Smriti Mandhana back in the shed and India still a way behind the follow-on, let alone making England bat again, I tweeted that I expected England to have this Test match wrapped-up by tea time.

That wasn’t how it played-out of course – partly because Shafali Verma and Deepti Sharma came out after lunch and batted pretty comfortably; and partly because the weather, which had been hanging around all day looking menacing, finally moved in and took over.

Ultimately, we lost half a day’s play and around 50 overs out of a 400-over game. However, I’m actually not convinced it really changed anything in terms of a getting result.

The weather looks good for tomorrow, with 108 overs scheduled, so that means India have to make it through 100 overs with 9 wickets in hand, to save the match.

There is still a “sweet spot” for a manufactured result. If India were to bat fairly positively, at around 4.5+ per over, for around 60 overs tomorrow, they’d be able to set England a 5-an-over target of 200 in 40-odd overs, which you’d hope England would have a go at, and the result could then go either way.

But 4.5+ per over feels like a big ask for India’s batters, and while they were going at something like that rate this afternoon, over the course of an entire day they’d find that kind of rate hard to sustain, especially if they started to lose wickets.

Much more likely, India will go at around 2.5+ an over, but continue to lose wickets and get bowled out for around 200. This would leave England chasing about 50 – the kind of chase which the commentators will label “tricky” to make it sound exciting, but which ought (!!) really to be a formality for this highly experienced England batting line-up.

Either that, or the pitch really is dead, and India can bat out the day in peace. If you are an India fan, you wouldn’t want to entirely rule it out; but nonetheless the smart money has to be on England this evening.

PREVIEW: Stew-Mel’s Young Guns Fire as The Battle for the WPL Hots Up

After a round of matches featuring some outstanding individual performances, Jake Perry looks ahead to Round Five of the Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League.

The 2021 Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League has its first centurion in Emma Walsingham, who reached three figures in Stewart’s Melville’s commanding win over George Watson’s College last Sunday. It continued what has been an excellent run of form for the young opener, who now tops the batting rankings with 189 runs at an average of 63.

“I was really excited because it was my first hundred,” she enthused. “It was a bit sticky at the start, but I got going and [reached three figures] off seventy balls in the end. Molly Paton then came in and got 46 off twenty-odd, so it was a really good day for us all round.”

With Paton also taking a hat-trick in her remarkable 5 for 1 with the ball and skipper Catherine Holland carrying her bat for 82, it was an impressive performance from Stew-Mel’s teenaged stars as the Edinburgh side bounced back from its defeat the previous weekend in the best way possible.

“We had a great start to the season against Carlton, but then we were all a bit down after we lost to Watsonians/Grange,” said Emma. “We weren’t on our best form that day, but we were very happy to come back and win on Sunday. We bowled brilliantly and had three good scores with the bat, so we were very pleased.”

“We’re looking forward to the next game,” she added. “The whole team is always up for a match, and we can’t wait to go into this one and see what we can do.”

Emma’s reputation as one of Scotland’s brightest young talents continues to grow. In addition to her experience in the national age-group set-up and in regional cricket with the Eagles, the fifteen-year-old made her debut for Scotland ‘A’ at the start of the summer, scoring 19 not out then 15 in the Vitality Women’s County T20 double-header against the North Representative Women’s XI at Leyland. Now a part of the senior Wildcats training group, she is relishing the opportunity it has provided to develop her skills even further.

“It all stemmed from the Scotland Under-17s and some Academy games we had as well,” she said. “I was asked to go to a training weekend, and then on the trip to La Manga [as a COVID reserve for the Ireland series, later postponed], which I was really excited about. I’ve been in training with the Wildcats recently, and I think I’ve grown a lot in myself as well as in my cricket because of it.”

The reigning champions will look for more of the same against Dumfries & Galloway, who will be hopeful of mounting a recovery of their own after going down by seven wickets to table-topping Carlton last weekend. The Grange Loan club was in fine form again as D&G was bowled out for just 84, Hannah Rainey and Ashley Robertson taking two wickets and Maisie Maciera 5 for 14 – her first five-fer for the side – at Gatehouse of Fleet. With two games left to play, Carlton has an eight-point advantage over second-placed Royal High Corstorphine – neither of the remaining matches will be straightforward, but capital side will be content to have its fate in its own hands.

The first of those games comes against West of Scotland, who won a thrilling encounter with RHC at New Williamfield. Nayma Shaikh proved to be the match-winner as WoS chased down their opponents’ total of 162-4 with four balls to spare to claim victory in what was the team’s first match of the season.

Ikra Farooq had put RHC in pole position with a stylish knock of 61 not out, but West’s reply hit the ground running, a fine innings of 42 from Abtaha Maqsood making up for the early loss of Ellen Watson (19). The real star of the show was Shaikh, however, who anchored the chase through a half-century of terrific poise and maturity, ably assisted by some quick-fire hitting from Neha Mahatma (24) towards the end. By the time Shaikh departed to a fine catch by Farooq, the victory was assured: the battle between West’s batters and Carlton’s always-impressive bowling attack will be a fascinating one indeed.

The third match of the weekend sees Watsonians/Grange take on winless George Watson’s College at Myreside, with the former hoping to build on their victory over Stew-Mel last time out. The young GWC side has been unfortunate to come up against some strong opposition this year, but their central core of talent including Emily Tucker, Gaby Fontenla, Nina Whitaker and Emily Tait has still provided plenty of cause for future optimism.

But as the final run-in begins, it is events in those matches at the top of the table which will be most revealing. While RHC sit out this weekend, their thoughts will already be turning to the next, when Carlton visit Barnton for what will be their last game of the campaign. What happens on Sunday at Grange Loan will be crucial in determining the significance of that one, but those in Inverleith, too, will be watching proceedings with considerable interest.

Women’s Premier League – 20 June 2021

Carlton v McCrea West of Scotland (at Grange Loan)

Watsonians/Grange v George Watson’s College (at Myreside)

Stewart’s Melville v Dumfries & Galloway (at Inverleith)

——

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.

ENGLAND v INDIA TEST: Day 2 – The Duel Of The Dual Debutantes

With women’s Tests being rare occasions, a number of debuts were anticipated at Bristol, but none more eagerly than those of England’s Sophia Dunkley and India’s Shafali Verma.

Both had a number of T20 caps to their name, with Dunkley having played 15 T20 Internationals since her debut in that format in 2018, and Shafali 22 since her first T20 in 2019. Intriguingly neither has yet played an ODI, and there were questions around whether Shafali in particular had the temperament for Test cricket; but ultimately neither disappointed.

Let’s begin, as did the day, with Sophia Dunkley. She made her T20 debut at the World Cup in the West Indies in 2018; but batting down the order, it was not until her third match that she actually made it to the crease, scoring 35 in England’s defeat to the Windies in St. Lucia. Overall 8 of Dunkley’s 15 T20 appearances have ended without a bat.

Shafali’s record is of course somewhat more colourful – 617 runs, including three 50s, with a top score of 73, at an overall Strike Rate of 148. Perhaps the only stat that would give you pause was her 2-run failure in the biggest match of her career – the T20 World Cup final at the MCG.

Having begun her innings yesterday evening, Dunkley came into Day 2 of this Test on 12 off 47 balls, with only the tail, initially in the shape of Katherine Brunt, for company. It was not an easy situation, and it looked shakier still when Brunt was out early on; but in partnership first with Sophie Ecclestone and later with Anya Shrubsole, Dunkley built a score brick by brick, to take England to 396-9 declared, finishing not out on 74.

If England go on to win this game, it will be in a very large part due to Dunkley’s contribution; but that’s not necessarily a given, thanks to Shafali Verma, who hit a cool, confident 96 to bring India back into the match.

Was it really her Test debut? It didn’t look it – not until she lost her head within a shot of her century, anyway!

Some have suggested she brought her T20 form to this Test match, but actually that’s exactly what she did NOT do: you only have to look at her Strike Rate of 63 – less than half her career T20 Strike Rate – to confirm that.

It wasn’t just the Strike Rate though – it was the way she approached her innings from the start. Her trademark today was defense – solid and straight – but with enough attacking intent to put on 167 in 50-odd overs for the first wicket, in partnership with Smriti Mandhana.

Sadly for India, all the good work their openers did was undone in the final hour, as they collapsed from 167-0 to 183-5. The decision by Mithali to send in Shikha Pandey ahead of her as a nightwatchman backfired spectacularly as they lost two more wickets, including the captain herself; and England will now feel they can run through India tomorrow morning, perhaps in time to enforce the follow-on, which India need another 60-odd runs to avoid.

It will then be up to Shafali to go out and do her thing all over again, and who knows: perhaps Dunkley to lead England’s chase on the final day?

The Duel Of The Dual Debutantes has been joined… but at the close of play on Day 2, it is still very much out there to be won.

ENGLAND v INDIA TEST: Day 1 – The Professionals

A few weeks ago, having handed back the keys to their Kias, the England squad took delivery of their latest rides, courtesy of new team sponsor Cinch. If I know anything at all about cars (and let’s be clear here… I don’t!) they were Ford Kugas; but perhaps Mark III Ford Capris would have been more appropriate, because this England team are The Professionals.

If one moment today summed this up, it was Tammy Beaumont facing Shikha Pandey. Beaumont came out of her crease looking to drive, but the shot wasn’t there and she was forced to just bunt it back to the bowler on her follow-through. With Beaumont out of her ground, seeing a glimmer of a chance Pandey pounced on the run-out opportunity, gathering the ball to shy at the stumps.

Beaumont’s instinct… anyone’s instinct… would have been to try to get back into her crease; but Beaumont is a wily old cat these days, so the first thing she actually did was subtly reposition herself to make sure her body was between the bowler and the stumps. Only then did she peddle back towards her ground, with Pandey’s throw hitting her “innocently” on the legs as she did so.

More generally, this wasn’t a glamourous day of cricket; but having chosen to bat, England’s top order all did their jobs. Lauren Winfield-Hill and Beaumont showed good control in the first hour, defending the good balls and making hay off the bad ones. It wasn’t risk free – Beaumont wasn’t afraid to play her trademark ramps and Winfield-Hill smashed two cracking sixes over the ropes. Of course, Winfield would have wanted more – losing her concentration for a moment, allowing Taniya Bhatia to take a showcase catch – but you can’t win ’em all, and she shouldn’t feel disgraced at all by “only” making 35.

Similarly, Heather falling within inches of what would have been her second Test hundred might look disappointing on paper… and might feel disappointing in the crowd… not to mention in the press box, where more than one scribbler had already all-but filed a piece with the words “Knight Century” in the headline. But in the scorebook where it really counts, the 95 runs she got were a whole lot more important than the 5 she didn’t; and she’ll absolutely know that.

The only thing I might have approached differently was the final 40-minutes or so. With the last “proper” batter, Georgia Elwiss gone, I might have told Katherine Brunt and Sophia Dunkley that 300-9 at the close was a better position than dropping anchor to 269-6.

But if Brunt and Dunkley can come out tomorrow and take England well past 300, there should still be plenty of time for England to go on to win the match; and they’ve probably ensured already that India will struggle to do so, unless Knight offers a generous second-innings declaration of course.

That would be fun… and sporting… though ironically not particularly “professional” – that’s a moral dilemma for the captain; but right now, it is a moral dilemma for another day.