Although COVID-19 has by no means “gone away”, and certainly hadn’t done so at the start of the season, when almost all the players were still ineligible for vaccinations in the UK, there was nonetheless a much more normal feel to this season, and that extends to the stats. England regulars (or, soon-to-be England regulars, in the case of Sophia Dunkley) dominated the first three rounds of the RHF Trophy, with three of them – Dunkley, Heather Knight and Amy Jones – making this list (which is designed to reward overall impact over one-off performances) despite only playing three games, where others played as many as nine!
Amy Jones stands out in particular, ranking second after scoring a run-a-ball hundred against Diamonds on the opening day, and then following that up with 163 off 114 balls versus Storm, lifting her overall Strike Rate way above anyone else close to her in terms of runs.
Jones’s performances weren’t quite enough to take her to first place on the list, though she was closer to first than third in terms of ‘points’ – sheer weight of runs was rewarded with a No. 1 spot for Sophie Luff. Having been the best team of the Super League era, Western Storm looked to have carried that forward into regionals last year, but although this season wasn’t a disaster (they lost 3, won 4) there were echoes of Somerset days past, as Luff carried the team, scoring one hundred and three 50s.
The Bryce sisters’ situation was reversed this season. After Sarah ranked 2nd last year and Kathryn 20th, this season it was Kathryn who placed 3rd, while Sarah ranked just outside the Top 20, at 21st. The sisters’ 200-run partnership on the closing day of the group stages against Sparks will take some beating when the history-books of this competition come to be written.
One name we could be hearing a lot more of in years to come, is that of Bess Heath – the Diamonds wicket keeper only played 5 matches after coming back from injury, but still made 6th spot thanks to a very positive Strike Rate. Earlier this season, I wondered who might be England’s Next Top Wicket Keeper, noting that it would probably be a batter who could keep wicket, and Heath’s case is starting to look strong in that regard.
Finally a word on Ami Campbell, who sneaks into the Top 10 after crucial performances for Diamonds in the semi-final and final. Top-scoring for Diamonds in both, for me she was Player of the Match in the final, having turned a game into a contest with her 60 off 73 balls. Aged 30, coming through Durham into a team which is essentially Yorkshire By Any Other Name, Campbell could have been forgiven for thinking she’d be a bit-part player at best; but she made it count when it counted, and you can’t help but wonder what might have been if she’d grown up in Kent or Sussex, rather than Northumbria…?
|1. Sophie Luff (Storm)||7||417||80|
|2. Amy Jones (Sparks)||3||282||116|
|3. Kathryn Bryce (Lightning)||7||353||81|
|4. Bryony Smith (Stars)||6||252||102|
|5. Georgia Elwiss (Vipers)||7||265||93|
|6. Bess Heath (Diamonds)||5||212||112|
|7. Cordelia Griffith (Sunrisers)||7||273||82|
|8. Heather Knight (Storm)||3||223||98|
|9. Emma Lamb (Thunder)||6||237||87|
|10. Ami Campbell (Diamonds)||8||223||87|
|11. Sterre Kalis (Diamonds)||9||290||67|
|12. Sophia Dunkley (Stars)||3||196||95|
|13. Eve Jones (Sparks)||8||299||62|
|14. Beth Langston (Diamonds)||9||141||131|
|15. Danni Wyatt (Vipers)||4||206||80|
|16. Fran Wilson (Sunrisers)||6||165||99|
|17. Lissy Macleod (Sunrisers)||7||214||74|
|18. Georgie Boyce (Thunder)||7||232||67|
|19. Georgia Adams (Vipers)||8||233||65|
|20. Holly Armitage (Diamonds)||9||197||77|
Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate
Whilst not doubting that the introduction of regional cricket has made it easier for people to transition to England, am I alone in thinking that there aren’t too many people near the top of this list who you would want to see in the national team in the immediate future? Eve Jones might be the exception, but after the way she bossed some of the world’s best bowlers in the Hundred, I can only assume that England Women are still using an unwritten rule of ‘no one is allowed to make a debut after age 24’!?