- Charlie Dean & Davina Perrin win Cricket Society awards
- Conflict over the future of The Hundred
- Equal match fees for India – good news?
- Domestic pay rises in England – why now?
Updated November 6th 2022
With over 20 games now in the bank, thanks to the ever-awesome cricsheet.org, we have the chance to look at how the new WBBL Power Surge is working out.
The Power Surge has come into the Women’s BBL for the first time this season, meaning a reduced powerplay (overs 1-4) and then a second two-over powerplay taken by the batting side sometime during the second half of the innings – the Power Surge.
Here are the average run rates for the games we have so far:
|Power Surge||9.4 (+2.4)|
As we can see, the initial powerplay is typically slower than the overall run rate, by more than half a run per over – this is normal in women’s short-form cricket (though The Hundred this year bucked that trend).
But the Power Surge shows an increase in the overall run rate, of two-and-a-half runs per over – ie. five runs overall.
However, these calculations do mask a difference between the first and second innings.
Here are the numbers for the first innings:
|Power Surge||10.0 (+2.8)|
So in the first innings, the increase is closer 3 runs per over – about five-and-a-half runs overall.
Meanwhile in the second innings:
|Power Surge||8.8 (+2)|
In the second innings, the Power Surge bonus is significantly smaller – just 2 runs per over, or four runs overall.
The Power Surge was imported from the Men’s BBL where the numbers are similar – an overall increase in the Run Rate of around 2.7 runs per over, or a little over five runs per innings. In both cases it is essentially one extra boundary per innings.
Can you really call that a “Surge”? I guess if you are in marketing you can call it anything, and I freely admit that “Power Blip” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but in terms of the numbers a “Power Blip” really is all it is.
The next round of central contracts is to be shortly announced and will run from November 1st. Securing one of these contracts is primarily about recognition, but it would be naïve to ignore the associated financial rewards.
The current batch of 17 central contracts was awarded following what the ECB described as “a comprehensive and objective process” which saw all the existing contracts renewed (except Kirstie Gordon, replaced by Sophia Dunkley).
A positive spin on this would be that this demonstrated that, upon fair review, the existing squad members were adjudged to still be the best players in the country. A negative spin would be that, despite all the money and resource invested in the regional academies and the KSL, the system had produced only one cricketer capable of displacing any of the incumbents.
Less easy to justify was the usually-long duration of these contracts – 18 months; timed “to align with the professional contracts at the eight regional teams”. The first (obvious) observation is that 6-month contracts could also have achieved the same alignment. More crucially, by awarding 18-month contracts the ECB was perpetuating the ‘closed shop’ for two more seasons; committing to the same group of players regardless of their individual form or evolving team strategies whilst also ruling out the ability to award a central contract to anyone else for this entire period. Effectively nothing anyone did during 2021 (including the first season of The Hundred) could secure them a central contract whilst, conversely, holders of a central contract were guaranteed their status (and pay) regardless of performances or their level of involvement in England matches.
So, what happened?
Obviously no one would expect teams to be chosen solely from the centrally-contracted cohort – but the right squad of 17 should contribute the vast majority of any team.
In fact, 9 players without central contracts were called up to the various teams; winning 93 caps (just under 20%).
In addition, Emily Arlott would have made her Test debut if she hadn’t caught Covid and it’s reasonable to surmise that Tash Farrant would also have played if she hadn’t been injured.
Could anyone have predicted in May 2021 which of these 9 (or 11) would have played for England in the next 18 months? Perhaps Emma Lamb? But six months later, by October 2021, Dean had already played 5 ODIs and Bouchier 2 T20s and most observers could have confidently predicted the names of several other players who’d win their England caps in the next 12 months.
So, with the next round of central contracts due to be announced imminently, what could be done differently this time?
England’s selection process is unquestionably far more sophisticated than the days of Kirstie Gordon and Linsey Smith’s short careers (or Bryony Smith and Alice Davidson-Richard’s first incarnations), in which case all 11 of these players must be assumed to be genuine contenders for a central contract.
Yet, the only certainty is that there are 2 contracts available following the retirements of Anya Shrubsole and Fran Wilson. And 11 doesn’t go into 2!
Some of the associated conversations will therefore be difficult with significant consequences for those affected (whether positively or adversely), yet surely there is an argument that, however fair and objective the selection process, the current structure is unnecessarily binary, restrictive and incapable of accommodating the very different teams which England might want to field for e.g., the world cup compared to the Ashes.
One easy improvement would be to have 2 types of central contracts. Instead of funding 17 full contracts (i) with the risk that some players don’t / rarely play) and (ii) having no ability to accommodate emerging talent, why not fund e.g., 12 full contracts for those players envisaged to form the core of any team across the formats and 10 incremental contracts for fringe players / emerging players / restricted format players (reserving 1 or 2 of these to be awarded based on performances after the World Cup or even the County Championship or Charlotte Edwards Cup).
This would give greater financial security to more players, increase the talent pool of centrally-contracted players, facilitate improved format-specific squad selection and provide the flexibility to recognise players who press their case for selection mid-term.
At the end of another exciting season, almost 200 players and officials from league member clubs came together for the Presentation Evening, held at the Halton Stadium in Widnes on Saturday October 1, for a chance to reward the teams and individuals who have been successful this year.
This may have been the league’s highest scoring season to date, with as many as 13 centuries in the first division alone, made by batters from seven different clubs. Ellie Mason reached three figures on three occasions, despite only playing five matches, but the overall highest run scorer was Rachael Walsh, whose 580 runs took Leigh to their first league title. The top-flight’s leading wicket taker was Emily Page, who played a major role in Appleton’s second place finish.
Leigh won this year’s league championship after finishing bottom of division one in 2021, becoming the seventh different team to finish as leaders in the top division of the CWCL in the last decade. The period starting from 2012 – the last of Appleton’s three titles in a row – has seen only one occasion when a club has retained the first division title. It all adds up to a level of competitiveness and unpredictability that is the envy of every other English women’s club competition! Indeed, with Leigh having finished bottom of division one last year, and only reprieved from relegation due to an expansion of the top-flight, this could be the League’s Leicester City moment!
Furthermore, 10 different clubs took home a team trophy this year, with no club winning more than one prize. The closest fought division was undoubtedly Division 2, where Upton edged out Lindow by a single point, despite a second division record of 432 runs across the season from Heidi Cheadle. Along with Leigh’s Jaimie-Lee Strang, New South Wales 2nd XI captain Cheadle heralded a new era in the league this year as one of the first women’s overseas players to come to Cheshire specifically to play for a club team.
The players winning two individual trophies this year were Appleton’s Emma Barlow (as wicketkeeper in both Division 1 and T20 competitions), Jenny Wallace of Langley (best bowler and fielder in Division 4) and Stockport Trinity’s Emma Royle (leading wicket taker in T20 and also tied for most fielding dismissals in the short-form competitions). After winning the division 1 batting award on numerous occasions – albeit not this year – Barlow has certainly won more individual trophies than anyone else since the league’s awards ceremonies began back in 2007.
INDIVIDUAL AWARD WINNERS
|BATTING AWARD (most runs)||BOWLING AWARD (most wickets)||FIELDING AWARD (most catches and run outs as fielder)||WICKETKEEPING AWARD (most catches and stumpings as ‘keeper)|
|DIVISION 1||Rachael Walsh (Leigh)
2nd Ellie Mason (Stockport Trinity)
|Emily Page (Appleton)
2nd Ali Cutler (Chester BH)
|Sophie Connor (Oakmere)
2nd Abbey Gore (Appleton)
|Emma Barlow (Appleton)
2nd Jaimie-Lee Strang (Leigh)
|DIVISION 2||Heidi Cheadle (Lindow)
2nd Lily Scudder (Upton)
|Lily Scudder (Upton)
2nd Philippa Dagger (Upton) & Libby Ackerley (Lindow)
|Rachel Warrenger (Hawarden Park)
3 players tied for 2nd
|Ellen McGowan (Upton)
2nd Heidi Cheadle (Lindow)
|DIVISION 3 WEST||Flo Seymour (Nantwich 2nd XI)
2nd Gemma Rose (Chester BH 2nd XI)
|Lucy McCarten (Chester BH) / Anna Bourne (Wistaston)||Hannah Thorley (Chester BH)
7 players tied for 2nd
|Alex Viggars (Porthill)
2nd Zoe Davies (Wistaston)
|DIVISION 3 EAST||Bethany Garforth (Greenfield)
2nd Helen Johnson (Didsbury 2nd XI)
|Zoe Cuthill (Greenfield)
2nd Charlotte Peacock (Hayfield)
|Charlotte Peacock (Hayfield)
2nd Jo Stephenson (Hawk Green)
|Ruth Lomas (Hayfield) / Helen Johnson (Didsbury 2nd XI)|
|DIVISION 4||Carolyne Jones (Langley)
2nd Amy Shaw (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle)
|Jenny Wallace (Langley)
2nd Charlotte Thompson &
Naz Hancioglu (both Lindow 2nd XI)
|Jenny Wallace (Langley)
2nd Olivia Randles (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle) & Becky Scholes (Stockport Georgians 3rd XI / North East Cheshire)
|Amy Shaw (Heaton Mersey & Cheadle)
2nd Kate Avery-Lofthouse (Stockport Georgians 3rd XI / North East Cheshire) & Emma Travis (Buxton)
|T20 COMPETITIONS||Ellie Mason (Stockport Trinity)
2nd Kate Harvey (Stockport Trinity)
|Emma Royle (Stockport Trinity)
2nd Abi Lamidey (Stockport Trinity)
|Nicole Fisher (Chester BH) / Emma Royle (Stockport Trinity)||Emma Barlow (Appleton)
2nd Rosie Davis (Didsbury)
President’s Award (Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Cricket in Cheshire): Sarah McCann
TEAM TROPHY WINNERS
|Division 3 West||Porthill Park Northern Stars||Chester Boughton Hall 2nd XI|
|Division 3 East||Hayfield||Greenfield|
|Division 4||Lindow 2nd XI||Langley|
|Division 5 West||Kingsley||Alvanley|
|Division 5 East||Macclesfield Treacle||North East Cheshire|
|T20 Divisional Competition||Appleton Tigers||Stockport Trinity Fire|
|Senior Knockout Cup||Nantwich Vipers||Stockport Trinity Fire|
|Development Knockout Cup||Greenfield||Hayfield|
More information on 2022 performances can be found in the Statistics document.
Alex Blake, who coached the Cheshire senior women between 2011 and 2014, was Master of Ceremonies for the event, which was once again superbly organised by Di Totty. Di chose Sarah McCann – league chair for more than a decade up until last year – as the recipient of the coveted President’s Award for an outstanding contribution to the sport in Cheshire.
The League was also delighted to welcome Laura MacLeod – currently director of West Midlands Women’s Cricket – as its special guest, and she presented the prizes to the winners and participated in a Q&A session with Alex, where she talked about her progression from grassroots cricket in Cheshire to an international career that included 13 Test matches, 73 ODIs and three IT20s. She spoke of the fact that women’s cricket can now be a career, but that sacrifices need to be made by those fortunate enough to make it to professional level. Laura also nominated an Ashes win in 2005 and her role in the first ever T20 international in 2004 as career highlights.
There was further recognition for a number of people connected with the League last Friday at the Lancashire and Cheshire Grassroots Cricket Awards and Lancashire Cricket Player of the Year Awards, where most of the league’s Officers were amongst the 750 attendees. At the event, held in Old Trafford’s The Point suite, Sarah McCann was again recognised for her 25-year commitment to the league and for the advances made during that time as she was the joint winner of Cheshire’s Growing The Game award. Long-time Alvanley CC stalwart Andy Bennion, now running the club’s women’s softball team, was the other recipient of this award. Stockport Georgians’ women’s manager Ray Bell scooped the Inspired To Play award, having also had a crucial role in the running of the league’s junior girls’ competitions in recent years.
This week we review the 2022 season: