NEWS: 2018 Cheshire Women’s Cricket League Awards & Wrap-Up

Martin Saxon Reports

TEAM HONOURS

WINNERS RUNNERS-UP
Division 1 (League Championship) Oakmere Appleton
Division 2 Stockport Trinity Leigh
Division 3 West Upton Nantwich
Division 3 East Appleton 2nd XI Woodley
T20 Divisional Competition Appleton Tigers* Stockport Trinity Fire*
Knockout Cup Appleton Tigers Stockport Trinity Fire
Development Knockout Cup Upton Nantwich Vipers

* Both clubs awarded trophies as winners of the respective Western and Eastern Divisions

Other Team Award

Tea Cup (Best matchday catering): Ashton-on-Mersey

Oakmere retained the Cheshire Women’s League Championship after losing just one league match. Curiously, their only reverse came in a cross-divisional fixture against second division Stockport Trinity – Oakmere were victorious in all matches against teams in their own division. Appleton maintained a strong challenge for a long time and hit the top spot as late as early August, but crucially they then lost to Oakmere for the second time. Ultimately though it was Oakmere who prevailed thanks to their wealth of bowling options and their ever-reliable key batters. Many of Oakmere’s wins were by large margins, and their second win over Chester Boughton Hall in early September was perhaps their most eye-catching performance, however Oakmere also had to rely on their winning knack in other closer fixtures, such as their first games against both Chester and runners-up Appleton.

Stockport Trinity were convincing winners of the second division and will be back in the top flight in 2019. Their dominance was such that not only did they have little difficulty with the opposition from their own division, they also won their cross-divisional fixture against division one champions Oakmere. Their only defeat came against Appleton on the final day, when the trophy had long since been secured. After a difficult start, Leigh finished strongly to finish second, in a season where all the sides in this division, bar Trinity, appeared to be fairly evenly matched.

Upton won Division Three West, ahead of Nantwich. In what was their first season of competitive cricket for both, the two clubs can look back with pride on what they achieved. Both clubs scored convincing wins on the opening day and went on to dominate this division throughout. However, thanks to two wins over Nantwich by margins of six runs and three wickets, it was Upton who finished in top spot.
Fielding a second team for the first time, Appleton’s second string held off Woodley’s challenge to finish as champions of Division Three East. Appleton did the league double over Woodley, but Woodley remained in contention until the very end, given that they beat Upton and Nantwich in cross-divisional matches, while Appleton’s seconds were beaten by both of these clubs.

Stockport Trinity and Appleton were undoubtedly the strongest teams in the shorter form of the game this year. The two clubs were unbeaten champions of the Western and Eastern divisions respectively, and also progressed largely untroubled through the Knockout Cup, although Trinity were pushed all the way by Didsbury in the semi-final. This all meant that Appleton and Trinity would meet twice on Finals Day, and it was Appleton who prevailed on both occasions – by margins of four and eight wickets – and who went home with both the Knockout Cup and the T20 Divisional trophy.

Upton and Nantwich not only dominated Division Three West, but also made it through to the final of the Development Knockout Cup, the cup competition for Division Three clubs. Upton beat their rivals once again, this time by 17 runs, to complete their own double.

INDIVIDUAL HONOURS

BATTING AWARD (MOST RUNS) BOWLING AWARD (MOST WICKETS) FIELDING AWARD (MOST CATCHES & RUN OUTS AS OUTFIELDER) WICKETKEEPING AWARD (MOST CATCHES & STUMPINGS AS WICKETKEEPER)
DIVISION 1 Emma Barlow (Appleton) 438 runs Lorna Starkey (Chester Boughton Hall) 22 wickets Emma Barlow (Appleton) 9 dismissals Eloise Jackson (Appleton) 6 dismissals
DIVISION 2 Megan Cureton (Oxton) 298 Liv Bell (Stockport Georgians) 17 Megan Cureton (Oxton) 7 Gaby McKeever (Stockport Trinity) 9
DIVISION 3 WEST Lily Scudder (Upton) 322 Charlie Scudder (Upton) 19 Charlie Scudder (Upton) & Izzi Pearson (Nantwich) 6 Flo Seymour (Nantwich) 3
DIVISION 3 EAST Abby Barlow (Woodley) 287 Georgie Morton (Woodley) 12 Kate Scott-Griffiths (Didsbury 2nd XI) 6 Judith Barnes (Appleton 2nd XI) 5
T20 COMPETITIONS Carys White (Stockport Trinity Fire) 204 Emma Royle (Stockport Trinity Fire) & Nathalie Long (Appleton Tigers) 18 Georgia Heath (Appleton Tigers) 7 Gaby McKeever (Stockport Trinity Fire) 8

Other Individual Awards

Cheshire Women’s County Club Players’ Player of the Year: Kate Coppack
Cheshire Women’s County Club Coach’s Player of the Year: Dawn Prestidge
President’s Award (Outstanding Contribution to Women’s Cricket in Cheshire): Ray Bell (Stockport Georgians)

Emma Barlow had another consistent season at the top of Appleton’s order, and duly won the Division 1 Batting Award for the leading run-scorer for the sixth year in the last 10. She also took home a fielding award, indeed the number of fielding and wicketkeeping awards won by members of the Appleton first and second teams suggests that it was not just their batsmen and bowlers who contributed to their successes this year.

Perhaps the most convincing winner of any of these awards was Lily Scudder, who made five half-centuries and finished with almost twice the runs total of her nearest rival in Division Three West. Her twin sister Charlie won the bowling award in the same division, also with something to spare over the chasing pack.

The following were all league records broken this season:

  • Wickets taken in division 1 (Lorna Starkey, 22)
  • Wickets taken in all competitions (Nathalie Long, 33)
  • Fielding dismissals in league matches (Emma Barlow, 9) – previous record equalled

OTHER SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

Didsbury reached the regional final of the National Club T20 and were only three runs away from a place in the national Finals Day.

The League XI beat MCC for the first time:

MCC 178 (Annie Rashid 3-21, Molly Price 3-33, Liv Bell 2-32)
Cheshire Women’s League XI 179-9 (Carys White 86*, Ali Cutler 26, Roshini Prince-Navaratnam 24)

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MATCH REPORT: The West win the Beyond Boundaries Women’s T20 Scottish Cup Final

Jake Perry reports

——

The West 112-3 (E Watson 55*, E Talbot 1 for 21) beat Edinburgh South-Stewart’s Melville 111-4 (K White 60*, C Dalton 3 for 19) by seven wickets

It was a tale of two openers at New Williamfield as The West claimed the 2018 Beyond Boundaries Women’s T20 Scottish Cup with a pulsating seven wicket win over Edinburgh South/Stewart’s Melville. Although ESSM’s Kathryn White carried her bat for an unbeaten half-century, The West’s Ellen Watson matched the feat with 55 not out as her quick-fire partnership of 60 with captain Charlotte Dalton confirmed a maiden cup win for their young team.

After the loss of Catherine Holland (7) and Kathryn Fraser (0) reduced ESSM to 42 for 2 within the first nine overs of the first innings, the experience of former Scotland international White had proved telling as she and captain Hannah Short (21) led their side’s recovery with a fourth wicket partnership of 59. White’s powerful hitting was a constant threat, and, despite being given a life on 53 after she turned a no-ball into the hands of Lois Wilkinson, the forty-year-old’s belligerent 60 had put her side into a good position as the innings came to an end.

Charlotte Dalton’s three wickets had kept The West in touch, however, and with tight bowling from Naimh Robertson-Jack (three overs for 5), Moon Mughis (two overs for 11) and Lois Wilkinson (four overs for 12), too, the game was tantalisingly poised.

The West’s chase got away to a shaky start as Neyma Shaikh (0) and Abtaha Maqsood (2) fell within the first four overs, and when the dangerous Wilkinson (16) followed in the tenth to leave the score on 52 for 3 the fate of the innings, and the match, rested on the partnership between Ellen Watson and the incoming Charlotte Dalton.

Any potential nerves were settled quickly, however, as the two calmly led their side to victory. The in-form Dalton found the rope twice in consecutive deliveries from Chloe Keily, first pulling a high full toss through backward square before skipping down to plant a lofted drive over mid-on. Watson followed suit off the first ball of the next over, too, as she played a neat turn off her pads through fine leg before bringing up her fifty as the target loomed ever closer. Fittingly, it was left to the Scotland player to seal the win in the 17th over with her sixth boundary in what had been a well-paced knock.

“We’re absolutely delighted,” said Charlotte Dalton. “We lost our quarter-final last week but got through because another team wasn’t able to field a team today so we were quite fortunate, but I think that our performance today has vindicated us. We put in a really strong team performance in the semi-final against Carlton which was really pleasing. We come from a variety of clubs, we don’t train together, so for us to be able to come together and play like that has done everybody proud.

“We had lost to ESSM in the quarter-final last weekend so we felt we had something to prove against them today. We maybe gave them a few too many runs at the top of the innings but our bowlers and fielders really pulled it back and then our batters put on a really awesome performance. There was a bit of squeaky bum time in overs twelve to fourteen, I was doing the maths in my head and it was almost a run a ball needed and it was getting tense, but what a time for Ellen Watson to score her maiden fifty. She made it look easy and really steadied the ship to take us to the win.”

In the two semi-finals earlier in the day, a partnership of 55 between Abtaha Maqsood (28*) and Lois Wilkinson (24) was decisive as The West chased down Carlton’s 83 for 7 within fifteen overs, whilst Kathryn White (41), Chloe Keily (3 for 5), Kathryn Fraser (2 for 5) and Emma Phipps (2 for 10) were the stand-out performers in ES-SM’s 71 run win over George Watson’s College.

The play-off between the two capital sides saw Carlton claim third-place after an eight-wicket win against outgoing cup-holders GWC. Scotland U21s Charis Scott (3 for 5) and Ikra Farooq (2 for 2) restricted GWC to 49 for 7, leaving Carlton’s top order to put the finishing touches onto a comfortable victory by chasing down the target with more than ten overs to spare.

——

Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

MATCH REPORT: Worcestershire v Cornwall WCC Division 3 Play-Off

By Richard Clark with quotes from Worcestershire Vice-Captain & Wicketkeeper Chloe Hill

We didn’t get very much of the Bank Holiday sunshine that had been hinted at, but we did get a victory to celebrate, and with it promotion, and for Worcestershire’s Women’s Rapids that would do very nicely, thank you.

In the end it was comfortable – 97 runs the margin – although there were times during the afternoon when the odd doubt may have crept in, as Worcestershire did their best to undermine an excellent start with the bat.

There are many ways to reach a total of 227 for 9 off 50 overs, and this was probably among the more unlikely ones. Opting to bat after winning the toss, the Rapids could hardly have been better-placed at 147 without loss, and rattling along at five-an-over, only for a flurry of wickets to derail their progress and leave them a little way short of where they might have expected to be.

The innings was founded on half-centuries from Chloe Hill (78 from 86 balls) and Beth Ellis (69 from 118).  As the numbers suggest, Hill played the aggressor with eight boundaries, whilst Ellis was happy in a largely supporting role, turning over the strike and collecting singles at every opportunity.  The Rapids could hardly have wished for better.

And yet… attempting to turn the second ball of the match from Emily Geach to leg, Hill’s leading edge had looped up to midwicket where the fielder appeared to misjudge it, coming in a couple of steps before having to back-track in a vain attempt to take the catch. Fine margins…

*   *   *

“My heart was in my mouth. The biggest match of the year, all that build-up, so much at stake, and I’d stuffed it up right at the start!  I can’t describe the relief when I saw she wasn’t going to get to it.  But I guess it woke me up a lot!!”

*   *   *

The partnership wasn’t chanceless.  Hill was perhaps fortunate to survive a huge stumping appeal, and rode her luck again when a fierce pull went straight through the hands of Kellie Williams, striking the Cornish skipper a blow on the eye that forced her off the field for a while and left her with a handsome black eye to remember Hill by.

More than once, a fumble at the stumps allowed the batters to escape a run-out and the edge of the bat was beaten a good few times.  But Hill and Ellis ploughed on for the best part of 30 overs until Ellie Mitchell deceived and bowled Hill as she gave the leg-spinner the charge.

*   *   *

“Oh, there was a massive amount of frustration!  Everyone who was there would have seen my face when I walked off!  Who wouldn’t love a century on their home ground?!  But from the team perspective we couldn’t have dreamed of a better position to be in.  Runs on the board and plenty of batting to come.  I thought, ‘I’ve done my job and the rest of the team can chip in nicely to reach a big score.’”

*   *   *

Mitchell waited politely for Ellis to collect the two runs she needed to complete her own half-century at the other end, and then took up the attack again to great effect.  Within five balls she ripped out the “engine room” of the Worcestershire order, doing to the experienced Clare Boycott and Lauren Rowles exactly what she had done to Hill, but this time without either of them troubling the scorers.  147 for none had become 149 for 3.  Not so comfortable now…

Ellis and Rachael Howells steadied things for a while, adding 27 for the fourth wicket before Howells was caught behind chasing a wide one, and thereafter arrivals and departures came and went at a rate that would have alarmed the Stationmaster at nearby Foregate Street.  It wasn’t long before the Rapids found themselves 199 for 8, with Ellis among those to go, bowled by Charlotte Phillips.

*   *   *

“This 100% wasn’t in the plan!  You always expect to have a sticky spell during an innings but we couldn’t get ourselves going – although the strip was the same one used two days earlier for the Men’s T20 Blast quarter-final, a low-scoring match itself.  But with the positive start we thought we had a big total coming at the end of 50 overs.”

“I think we got caught between the need to push on and the need for new batters to just take an over or two.”

“But credit to Cornwall too.  They kept at us, there was a lot of ‘pace off the ball’ and not much that was there to hit.  They took the initiative away from us as much as we surrendered it.  We definitely needed a few runs from the lower order as I know we can bat right through.”

*   *   *

Those few runs came – 28 of them in the last seven overs – with the relatively experienced Jess Humby marshalling youngsters Ellie Fleck (the only player other than Hill or Ellis to reach double-figures) and Philippa Bray though.  It was “one of those” totals – a match that perhaps should have been out of reach… wasn’t.

Cornwall began with a flourish, Boycott’s opening over going for 14 with the help of five wides, but thereafter she and Issy Wong applied the brakes, albeit without being able to make inroads.  Mitchell (if anybody should know about opening at New Road, it’s a Mitchell…) and Caitlin Burnett looked largely unhurried.

At 34 without loss after eight overs, neither team had put themselves in the ascendency until Emily Arlott rattled Burnett’s stumps in her first over, and almost immediately Wong did likewise to Mitchell from the other end next over.

Rapids on top, and more so when the same bowlers repeated the dose to Amber Cummins (LBW to Arlott) and Sophie Richards (bowled by Wong).  Cornwall 44 for 4 and badly holed below the waterline…

*   *   *

“We didn’t start as well as we would have liked, but we knew a couple of wickets would change things.  Em and Issy are both pretty quick and I would back their bowling to take wickets.  For a 16-year old Issy gets some real pace, hits the gloves very hard which is pleasing to see at her age. Once Issy found her length and her rhythm she was on fire!”

“Em’s got so much experience now.  She knows exactly what she’s doing. She trains extremely hard to hit her areas.  Having seen Cornwall use their slower bowlers well we weren’t sure how pace would go.  Everyone knows it can fly off the bat and runs can come quickly.  But Em and Issy just didn’t give anything away in that spell.  With hindsight, that was the period that won us the match.”

*   *   *

For a while, Rebecca Odgers and Joleigh Roberts defied the home side.  Odgers in particular played beautifully, hitting 11 fours in her 56 from 57 balls, most of them textbook drives through the off side, and keeping Cornwall up with the rate.

They were undone by the curse of the drinks break, though, Roberts just failing to beat Boycott’s throw from backward point after an untimely mid-wicket “debate” about the possibility of pinching a single, and Charlotte Williams was snaffled by Rowles at midwicket soon afterwards, leaving the visitors 81 for 6.

Geach held firm in a stand of 40 as Odgers continued to carve away at the other end but the final nail came when Ellis had Odgers stumped by Hill.  Odgers couldn’t have moved her foot very far, or for very long, but Hill’s hands were fast, and she knew…

*   *   *

“When someone’s batting like that there’s always something in the back of your mind that thinks she could do it all on her own.  You know deep down it’s unlikely but it’s that little voice of doubt that nags away.  You get anxious, you try a bit too hard for a wicket and it doesn’t come, so you get a bit more anxious, and so on. But as soon as I saw her foot lift and drag out slightly I knew I’d got her, and let’s just say it was definitely a massive relief when that finger went up!”

*   *   *

The final two wickets fell quickly – fittingly one each for Wong and Arlott, who finished with 4 for 22, and 3 for 21 respectively.  Ellis deserves a mention too, her ten overs quietly yielding 1 for 29.  Job done.

Cornwall will be disappointed but looking down their team sheet I recognised at least five names who have played age-group cricket against my 15-year old daughter.  They include Odgers and Geach, who took 2 for 29 off her ten overs and – Odgers excepted – faced more balls than anybody else.  There should be encouragement for them in the performances of those youngsters.  They can only continue to improve.

For Worcestershire, Division 2 awaits after a single season away.  It will be a challenge but one the Rapids will hope to meet head on.

*   *   *

“What a day!  It’s always fun to play at New Road but to do so with something real at stake, and to win in front of your own supporters – not much beats that!  And to be back in Division 2 where we knew we should have been last season is great!”

“There were celebrations and it was great that we could do that with our teammates, friends and families.  And personally, I just want to say a massive ‘Thank You’ to all our supporters this season, and to our home ground Kidderminster CC and New Road.  Hopefully all these positives can go into next season.  As we all say,  #UPTHERAPIDS!🍐🌊”

——–

Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

PREVIEW: What’s Hove Got To Do With It?

By Richard Clark

Monday sees the climax to the Women’s domestic cricket season, with five momentous matches taking place across the country.

That’s right, five.  For whilst KIA Super League Finals Day down on the South Coast will attract all the interest and headlines, attention in Long Melford, Bicester and at Blackfinch New Road, Worcester will be on other matters, with six counties vying for promotion to Division 2 of the Royal London One-Day Cup (the County Championship to some of us) – or in Essex’s case hoping to retain their place there.

At Bicester, Oxfordshire welcome Durham, whilst Long Melford plays host to something of a local derby, as Suffolk welcome the afore-mentioned Essex.

Worcestershire, meanwhile, will entertain Cornwall – provided the visitors can first overcome the notorious Bank Holiday weekend M5 traffic – and whilst the Women’s Rapids home matches are usually played at Kidderminster, it was announced soon after the fixture was confirmed that this one would go ahead at “County HQ”.

It remains relatively rare, of course, for the major county grounds to host women’s county matches.  Kent and Northamptonshire have played one home fixture each at Canterbury and Northampton respectively this season, but they are the notable exceptions rather than the rule.  County CEOs see the matches as loss-making, and no doubt some groundsmen would have their own views on their workload being added to.

The switch to New Road, though, is not a one-off, and is indicative of an increasingly close relationship between the County and the Cricket Board, with at least one match being played at New Road every year since 2015.

That summer saw a 50-over Championship game against Devon, whilst a “triangular” T20 Cup day (sadly rain-affected) followed in 2016.  Those fixtures were competitive, but last season saw only a T20 “friendly” played as a post-script to a men’s T20 Blast fixture, and this summer’s two scheduled T20 “curtain-raisers” to men’s Blast fixtures were both – during our driest summer for many years – wiped out by rain.

Monday, therefore, marks a welcome return to competitive women’s county cricket at New Road, and Womens’ Rapids coach Sam Wyles feels that can only be positive.

“We really appreciate being given this opportunity to play at Blackfinch New Road,” says Wyles, “And our thanks go to everyone at Worcestershire CCC for their support.  It’s a relationship we see growing in 2019 and into the future.”

County CEO Matt Rawnsley agrees.

“The relationship between the County and the Women’s rapids is very important to us, and that goes beyond just staging matches now and then.  At the moment the County Cricket Club and the Cricket Board operate separately, and in many ways that makes no sense.  The link between the men’s and women’s games is something we are working hard on, because we believe it will be beneficial to both sides.”

“Throwing a bit of money at it and thinking that is enough would be an easy option, but there are so many more ways where we can work more closely.  Greater use of shared facilities and coaching resources is one area, commercial sponsorship involving both men’s and women’s teams in some way is another.”

“We have to be realistic in our aims, but a lot of things can be done that would be very effective but wouldn’t involve huge cost.  There are some exciting things in the pipeline.”

As an example of that “joined-up” approach, the Women’s team already wears the same playing kit as the men’s team, and shares the “Rapids” branding. And both kit and name have been extended this season down through the girls are group squads. It all helps to re-enforce the impression of a single entity.

As for Monday’s match, Wyles believes his team is ready to grasp the opportunity with both hands.

“Preparation hasn’t been ideal, with the two games we had hoped to use as practice both washed out, but the squad is working hard at training and are very focused on Monday.”

“Playing at New Road may be daunting in some ways but a lot of our players have played there before and know the ground, so it’s at least a familiar venue to us.  We can treat it as just another game of cricket.  Perhaps playing on a bigger stage adds a bit more pressure for Cornwall.”

For the players, meanwhile, the match can’t come soon enough.  Rapids’ bowler Jess Humby sums up the mood in the camp ahead of the game.

“As a one-off fixture it’s huge!  We talked a lot over the winter about getting into the play-off.  That was always our target, but then to be at the County Ground where we really only get the occasional chance to play really adds to the occasion.”

Fast bowler Emily Arlott puts it more succinctly, describing the match as “the biggest certainly of this summer if not for a few years.”

Worcestershire’s season has been a case of taking both the high road and the low road, mixing Division 3 cricket in the 50-over game with a first ever venture into Division 1 of the Vitality T20 Cup, and whilst relegation from the top flight was a blow, their campaign at that level may well stand them in good stead.

“Playing in Division 1 has definitely helped,” says Humby.  “We came up against some very good teams and it perhaps took us out of our comfort zone.  You learn so much more about yourselves – the importance of bowling good lines, backing our bowlers up in the field, batters hitting the gaps and running hard. You can get away with those little things at a lower level but in Division 1 they really count.”

The vagaries of the calendar mean that these games take place a full three months after the conclusion of the “regular” 50-over season back in late May.  As Humby points out, that in itself poses a challenge.

“We haven’t played much cricket together since the T20 campaign finished nearly two months ago.  Our luck has been out with the weather and the two T20 wash-outs.”

Wicket-keeper and Vice-Captain Chloe Hill points out that the players haven’t been idle, though.

“Most of us have been playing club cricket which is 40-50 overs, so we’re all still playing the longer form.  We should all still be disciplined, and we certainly won’t be coming in cold.”

As far as the opposition is concerned, it’s very much “the Devil you don’t know”!  Whereas the professional men’s teams will have video footage and endless analysis to pore over, the Women’s game – of necessity – relies more on teams just playing their own game

“We played them three years ago in the T20 competition, so we have come up against them before,” explains Arlott, “but most counties tend to change personnel a bit year-by-year, so it will be interesting to see how they compare.”

Hill agrees.  “When I played for Buckinghamshire we played against Cornwall regularly, but any team can change over time.  Our squad has evolved over the three years I’ve been with Worcestershire, so I expect it will be much the same with Cornwall.  We can look at the stats from their matches and that might tell us who their key players could be, but that’s as far as it goes.”

“Ultimately, if we all believe in our own game then we know we can do no more.”

For the players of Worcestershire, promotion on Monday may be all they are thinking about, but it would seem that is only one part of a bigger picture in the ongoing development of the bond between “the County” and the Women’s team, with Worcestershire hopefully leading the way for other counties to follow.

Follow Richard Clark on Twitter @glassboy68

KSL: Thunder v Stars

Martin Saxon reports from Old Trafford

A winning margin of 55 runs is certainly a ‘thrashing’ when it comes to T20, and by triumphing by this margin Surrey Stars moved within one point of third-placed Lancashire Thunder. It was of course a much-needed victory for the Stars, while things are looking a bit more precarious for the Thunder, especially as they now face away trips to both of the top two sides.

When Sophie Ecclestone was deservedly named Player of the Series in the recent international tri-series, there was at least one batsman who had not been bamboozled by her bowling. South Africa and Stars opener Lizelle Lee is certainly a superb player of spin bowling, and it’s easy to imagine that she was licking her lips here against a Lancashire side who have only one seam bowling option, where once again Old Trafford’s playing area was akin to a postage stamp in size.

After a relatively sedate powerplay, Lee actually decided to accelerate once the boundary was well patrolled. Even her most ardent admirers may not suggest that the South African possesses an array of elegant shots, or that she scores all around the ground, however although her wagonwheel here would have showed a significant number of runs hit over ‘cow corner’, it really didn’t matter. Thunder posted the boundary riders in the right areas, but it didn’t seem to stop her at all – Lee just hit the ball way over their heads! Her blistering innings of 70 from just 37 deliveries included six maximums, and even Sarah Taylor was reduced to simply working the ball for singles to give her partner the strike.

Lee is certainly a major asset to any team at any level, but if she was English (or Australian), would she be rejected as an international player due to a perceived lack of athleticism?

After Lee had finally holed out in the deep, her brute force was replaced by some superb stroke making from both Taylor and Dane van Niekerk, whose combination of dabs, sweeps, ramps and more conventional shots such as drives and cuts ensured that the scoreboard operators remained busy. Taylor made 51 from 37 balls and although van Niekerk only made 19, she had certainly played her part in entertaining the crowd and the watching TV audience.

Five wickets fell in the last three overs, so the final total of 167-8 was lower than might have looked likely just a short time earlier. Emma Lamb added to her growing reputation as a spin bowler by finishing with 2-12 – she bowled two overs at the start before Lee had opened her shoulders, and one more after she had been missed. Kate Cross (1-27) and Ecclestone (2-32) also did a reasonable job, but Danielle Hazell and Alex Hartley suffered badly against Lee’s onslaught.

So Thunder needed 168 to win, which they shouldn’t have regarded as impossible, having made just 15 fewer on the same ground four days earlier. However, their reply never really got going – Nicole Bolton and Eve Jones came out and displayed an uncanny knack of hitting the ball straight to the fielders for most of the first five overs. 

Whether wickets were falling or not, the scoring rate remained pedestrian – Bolton and Jones took 9.4 overs to add 55 for the first wicket, then in the remaining 9.4 overs, the entire Thunder team were dismissed for the addition of just 57 more.

If the run chase was looking tough when Harmanpreet Kaur came to the wicket first down with the required rate around 11, it looked even harder when the Indian start batter had once again been run out for a duck. On this occasion she never even got to take guard; once again the call from her partner was ambitious to say the least, but once again Kaur seemed extremely slow out of the blocks.

Amy Satterthwaite came in at four looking like she meant business, striking her first two deliveries for four. She was the only Thunder batsman to record a strike rate of appreciably over 100, but fell for 21 from 11 deliveries, having tried in vain to single-handedly give the innings some momentum.

Van Niekerk’s 3-20 and Bryony Smith’s 2-9 from two overs were the best of a series of excellent Surrey bowling figures.

This is the fourth time Lancashire Thunder have played what might be described as a showcase fixture at Old Trafford, and all four have resulted in defeat. Indeed only the first of this year’s matches at the Test ground could be described as being in any way a competitive match. Seeing the home side thrashed year on year is not encouraging the people of the North West to come back and watch more elite women’s cricket, and the eerie silence amongst the crowd during the stuttering run chase was far from pleasant to experience.

MATCH REPORT: Cavender stars as Scotland claim back-to-back wins over Germany

Jake Perry reports from Meigle Park

Match One: Scotland Women U21 161-6 (E Cavender 56, T Gough 2 for 24) beat Germany Women 54-8 (C Scott 2 for 6, I Farooq 2 for 6) by 99 runs (revised target)

Match Two: Scotland Women U21 139-5 (E Cavender 58*, T Gough 2 for 7) beat Germany Women 64-8 (T Gough 20, M McColl 2 for 9) by 75 runs

The old cliché of four seasons in one day was in evidence in Galashiels as Scotland Women U21 completed two comprehensive wins against Germany in the T20 double-header at Meigle Park. On a day which began in cloudy humidity and ended in hot sunshine, punctuated by a heavy shower, two magnificent half centuries from sixteen-year-old Emily Cavender put the icing onto what were two excellent performances from Gordon Allan’s young side.

The changeable weather added to the challenge of batting on what was already a tricky looking surface. From the outset several deliveries popped up off the soft, green track, and with the hot sunshine drying the pitch from the earlier rain, too, Scotland’s greater experience was to tell in both matches as Germany struggled to get their innings going.

In the first game of the day a superb partnership of 91 between Cavender (56) and Megan McColl (28) had formed the backbone of Scotland’s imposing 161 for 6. Sarah Bryce’s 23-ball 41 set her side on their way before Germany struck back with four quick wickets to peg the hosts back to 63 for 4, but with Cavender and McColl subsequently taking control, Cavender bringing up her first half century of the day off 36 deliveries, Scotland posted a total which was never likely to be threatened.

Left-arm seamer Tina Gough (2 for 24) bowled particularly well for the visitors, nipping the ball in off the soft, green surface, but with Scotland’s batters regularly finding gaps in the field the bowling side struggled to put their opponents under any sort of pressure.

Germany’s run-chase got off to the worst possible start as Karthika Vijayaraghavan (1) cut Laura Grant (1 for 3) straight to Ailsa Lister at point, and with Scotland captain Abtaha Maqsood (2 for 16) and Isobel Couttie (1 for 13) claiming early wickets, too, the visitors were soon struggling on 19 for 3 after nine.

The first ten overs of the reply featured no boundaries as Scotland tightened the screw, and despite the weather intervening to reduce Germany’s target to 154 off 19 a further flurry of wickets confirmed what had already become an inevitable outcome. Charis Scott (2 for 6) took two in an over as Germany lost three with the score on 51 before Ikra Farooq (2 for 6) put the seal onto a comfortable win with the wicket of Asmita Kohli (1) off the final ball of the innings.

After their 99-run win earlier in the day Scotland lost Scott (0), Grant (4) and Lister (16) within the first seven overs of the second match after being asked to bat first once again, but Bryce (28) and Cavender then picked up the pace with some aggressive batting. Bryce cleared the rope at midwicket for the first six of the day and although the wicketkeeping all-rounder was to fall two balls later Cavender continued the assault as Scotland pulled away. Cavender’s second fifty of the day arrived off only 27 balls and featured nine fours as the Scots finished on 139 for 5 off their twenty overs.

Faced with another target in excess of a run a ball Germany again faltered, losing Stephanie Frohnmeyer (0) in the first over as she mistimed a catch to Maqsood. Bianca Maes (2) soon followed, McColl (2 for 9) claiming her second wicket, and when Maqsood effected the run out of Karthika Vijayaraghavan (8) in the eighth, Germany were again in trouble at 19 for 3.

All-rounder Gough (20) and Anuradha Doddaballapur (11) offered brave resistance but after the two fell in close succession, the latter run out after hesitation in going for a quick single before a sharp catch by Maqsood at midwicket to dismiss Gough, Germany’s innings fell away quickly to confirm Scotland’s second win of the day.

“I’m very happy,” said Abtaha Maqsood. “We hadn’t really played together as a squad before, our first game together was only on Wednesday, but the way we all came together and played as a team was really nice to see.

“It was tricky to bat out there with the pitch and it was pretty windy too but we still got two good scores on the board. Bowling into the wind wasn’t easy so I’m really pleased with our performances.

“It’s been a good day. Everyone contributed and for Emily in her first game to get two fifties is amazing.”

“It’s been a great learning experience for us today,” said Germany captain Anuradha Doddaballapur. “Most of us don’t get to play on grass pitches in Germany so conditions-wise this is something for us to learn from.

“I think we did pretty well in our bowling and batting. It was good to play against spin because again we don’t have the chance to do that very often in Germany and that’s something we want to work on. There are quite a few young girls in the squad as well, for some it’s their first tour with the national team, so I think overall it was a great experience for everyone. It’s lovely to be able to play in Scotland, too, although it’s hard not to be distracted by the scenery!”

Germany’s tour now continues in the north of England.

“We’re based in Ashington for the next four or five days,” she said. “We have two games against Northumberland Women and then against Durham. It’s been really good for us and for German cricket, to see the standard we are pitching against.”

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Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

KSL: Thunder v Storm – Match Thoughts

From Martin Saxon at Old Trafford

Western Storm made it four wins from five by beating Lancashire Thunder at Old Trafford, in doing so ending the home side’s own winning run of three matches. The Storm look to have enough in all departments to really challenge for honours once again.

Thunder’s 153-7 may have looked more than respectable on paper, but here the boundaries were ridiculously short, even by recent standards in elite women’s cricket. Coupled with a lightning fast outfield it meant that scoring boundaries was relatively simple, and the total was certainly below par.

Most of the batsmen who had starred in previous Thunder matches failed to fire here. Eve Jones scratched around for four in 14 deliveries, Nicole Bolton hit two boundaries but failed to extend her stay at the crease, Harmanpreet Kaur was suicidally run out after only one delivery and Ellie Threlkeld and Emma Lamb failed to get out of the teens.

The only score of note came from Amy Satterthwaite, who made her second 50 of the tournament, finishing with an unbeaten 85 from 57 deliveries with 11 fours and three sixes.

Claire Nicholas had another good game with the ball, conceding 21 in her four overs, and it was noticeable that most of Storm’s non-international bowlers also kept Thunder’s scoring rate down, with Naomi Dattani and Freya Davies also impressing.

Kate Cross again struck in the first over for the Thunder, removing Rachel Priest, but her second over saw her hit for successive sixes by Smriti Mandhana. Although Stafanie Taylor’s 33 not out provided good support, thereafter it really was the Mandhana show as she reached her century off just 60 deliveries, hitting two further maximums, and finally departed when only two were required.

Much has been made of the successes of the Thunder spin quartet in previous matches, and here Lancashire actually tried six spin options in a vain attempt to break the momentum of the innings. Their only chances came in the 10th over, bowled by Sophie Ecclestone, when Mandhana was dropped twice – neither was straightforward but they were catches you would hope international players would have held on to.

As it was, the Indian’s mighty innings led the way as Storm got home with seven wickets and ten balls in hand.

INTERVIEW: Ireland’s Ciara Metcalfe Reflects On Her International Career And Ireland’s Future

Ireland’s Ciara Metcalfe – leg-spinner, coach and co-star of YouTube duo Hairy and Brains – speaks to Jake Perry.

The ICC World T20 in November is sure to bring mixed emotions for Ireland. Joy at participating in their third WWT20 will be tempered by the understanding that it will be the last hurrah for two of their greatest-ever servants, but as Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe leave the international stage they will do so in the knowledge that Irish cricket has never been better placed.

The Global Qualifier in the Netherlands, which saw Bangladesh and Ireland secure the two remaining places in the West Indies, also brought a notable personal landmark for Ciara as she notched up her hundredth wicket for Ireland. Ranked twentieth in the ICC T20 bowling rankings and with a century of international wickets in sight, too, the thirty-eight-year-old leg-spinner is determined to end her nineteen-year playing career on a high.

“It’s taken a long time for me to get to this point,” she said. “When I started out we were playing maybe one game a year, three at most, which is something I don’t think the younger players today necessarily realise. Now these kids are playing so much cricket they’ll be catching me up at the age of nineteen or twenty!

“But it was a lovely milestone for me to reach. It was in the game [against Uganda] we needed to win as well so it all came together at the right time for the team too.”

After a one-off T20I and three-match ODI series against New Zealand, Ireland had completed their preparations for the Global Qualifier with a closely-contested T20I series against Bangladesh. That four of Ireland’s five bowlers in the first ODI against New Zealand were aged seventeen or under, says Ciara, bodes well for Irish cricket in the years to come.

“Having New Zealand and then Bangladesh over was really good for us,” she said. “There was a lot of quality learning for what was a very young team and although the results didn’t go our way for the most part the games will stand the youngsters in very good stead for the future.

“Against Bangladesh we finally got over the line in the third game after they had got away from us in the first two. That was really good because in winning that we peaked as we were going into the [WWT20Q] instead of before it.”

After going unbeaten in the group stages in Holland, Ireland beat PNG in the Semi-Final before losing to Bangladesh by 25 runs to finish as tournament runners-up.

“We had a nicely balanced team in the Netherlands, a mixture of older players coming back in alongside the youngsters,” said Ciara. “I actually think we put out one of the strongest teams we’ve seen in an Irish jersey for a long time.

“We played well although every game still gave us bits and pieces to work on. I don’t think we fired in all departments in every game and then in the Final I felt that we let Bangladesh win to be honest.

“We were in a great position having kept them to 125 or thereabouts but then we had a lot of soft wickets. Whether it was just the occasion, trying too hard to get over the final hurdle, I don’t know, but what was most important was that the job was done and we achieved our main goal which was qualification.”

Although the final places at the WWT20 were secured by the only two Full Member nations competing in the Netherlands, Uganda’s defeat of Zimbabwe in the Africa Qualifier, coupled with Thailand’s recent victory over Sri Lanka, provide evidence of an increasingly competitive international landscape. When it comes to those at the top of the tree, however, Ciara feels that the distance between the ‘best’ and ‘the rest’ is becoming ever more pronounced.

“It’s a hard one,” she said. “There have been some eye-catching results recently, but I’d say the gap is getting bigger when it comes to the top four or five teams.

“The standard that their players are able to play at consistently with the KSL, BBL and so on makes a huge difference. Having the same players playing against each other with top-level coaching all of the time has pushed them on even further. That’s my view anyway.

“I have always believed that teams like Uganda and PNG are just a money load away from being really good teams,” she continued. “We turn up to things like the World Cup Qualifier having no idea about a lot of the teams we’ll be facing, and if they get someone to invest in them they can turn up to a tournament like that and cause a surprise. Teams like that, they can play cricket, they just don’t have the structure and everything else behind them yet.

“Speaking about ourselves, with a little more structural change and a bit more investment we can definitely compete with the likes of Sri Lanka and Pakistan,” she went on. “I’m hoping that with Full Membership there’ll be some more money available which can support us in different ways.

“In time we will have to go down the central contract route. It won’t be in my time but I’m definitely one of the people who will still be around on the coaching side. It would make such a difference. We’d be up there with Pakistan and Sri Lanka straight away.”

Although Ireland’s elevation to Full Member status was marked by a men’s Test against Pakistan, Ciara was a member of the first Irish side to play Test cricket. At Dublin’s College Park she took 4 for 42 in the first innings as Pakistan were defeated by an innings and 54 runs in July 2000.

“When we played we thought it would be the first of many, but then it was forgotten about,” said Ciara. “Because of the way women’s cricket has shaped up over the last couple of years Test cricket hasn’t been on many people’s minds, so looking back it was definitely a special occasion to be a part of.

“It shows how far they have come. Pakistan were so far behind at that time but now they’ve overtaken us.”

For now, though, Ciara is looking forward to writing the final chapter of what has been an outstanding international career.

“Clare and I both said that the game against Bangladesh was our last home game and I think I can speak for both of us in saying that yes, the World T20 will be our farewell. It’ll be an emotional time, but it won’t be the last of Hairy and Brains!”

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Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

PREVIEW: Kia Super League 2018

The third edition of the Kia Super League – KSL03 – begins this weekend, with all 6 teams in action on Sunday afternoon: Stars v Vipers at Guildford; Thunder v Lightning at Southport & Birkdale; and Storm v Diamonds at Taunton.

We look at the squads… and make our predictions!

Southern Vipers

Last season’s runners-up, Southern Vipers have strengthened in all departments – out the door from the team that lost last year’s final go Georgia Adams, Hayley Mathews and Linsey Smith; replaced respectively by Tammy Beaumont, Sara McGlashan (ex-New Zealand, but playing as a “domestic” player on a British passport) and Amelia Kerr – significant upgrades in all cases. With Katie “Lieutenant” George’s rapid promotion up the England ranks since KSL02, they will have an all-international opening bowling partnership with her and Tash Farrant; and an all-international top 4 of Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Suzie Bates and Mignon du Preez. Perhaps the only question is how much of a look-in England’s next generation (Charlie Dean, Maia Bouchier and Lauren Bell) get this season – carrying drinks may be a rite of passage… but it doesn’t bridge many gaps! [Syd Egan]

Suzie Bates, Tammy Beaumont, Danni Wyatt, Tash Farrant, Mignon Du Preez, Amelia Kerr, Katie George, Paige Scholfield, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Arran Brindle, Carla Rudd, Lauren Bell, Sara McGlashan, Fi Morris

Western Storm

Reigning champions Storm have a very similar squad to last year, which is a good omen given that their strength has always been a healthy team environment where overseas and non-overseas alike contribute fully. Assuming Anya Shrubsole is back to full fitness after missing the ODI series v New Zealand with a side strain, their bowling looks strong, with Sussex’s Freya Davies and Wales’s Claire Nicholas two of the best non-internationals in the competition. Meanwhile they’ve signed Smriti Mandhana to bolster their batting, as well as Naomi Dattani, whose innings v Surrey in the T20 London Cup this season was a sight to behold. They’ll make Finals Day for sure. [Raf Nicholson]

Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Fran Wilson, Freya Davies, Rachel Priest, Stafanie Taylor, Smriti Mandhana, Sophie Luff, Claire Nicholas, Lauren Parfitt, Danielle Gibson, Naomi Dattani, Lissy Macleod, Amara Carr, Rebecca Silk

Surrey Stars

With their strong South African backbone of Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp and Dane van Niekerk, the Stars are looking good for another visit to Finals Day, after their third-placed finish last season. Sarah Taylor’s arrival strengthens them further, although it isn’t great news for future England hopeful, wicket-keeper Rhianna Southby, who may find herself sitting on the sidelines as a result. Whether the Stars can go better than third this year may depend on how young-guns Sophia Dunkley and Bryony Smith step up – both have been in great form at county and for England Academy, and this is their chance to show the world what they can do on the bigger stage, so if they can grab it… who knows! [SE]

Nat Sciver, Dane Van Niekerk, Lizelle Lee, Marizanne Kapp, Aylish Cranstone, Grace Gibbs, Hannah Jones, Mady Villiers, Rhianna Southby, Sophia Dunkley, Eva Gray, Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor, Bryony Smith, Gayatri Gole

Loughborough Lightning

It’s all change at Lightning this season with a shake-up both at squad level and with a brand new coach in Rob Taylor after Salliann Briggs left for pastures new in March. The loss of Ellyse Perry, who has elected to stay home in Australia, will be a big blow to their hopes, only slightly softened by the return of Sophie Devine from the Diamonds, fresh from her mammoth century in the 3rd ODI against England. Key to their performance could be the signing of Kirstie Gordon, who has deservedly picked up her first KSL contract on the back of a strong domestic season: she finished far and away top of our County Championship bowling rankings. A mid-table finish seems most likely, however. [RN]

Georgia Elwiss, Amy Jones, Jenny Gunn, Sophie Devine, Rachael Haynes, Elyse Villani, Izzy Cloke, Linsey Smith, Sarah Glenn, Georgia Adams, Tara Norris, Kirstie Gordon, Jo Gardner, Abi Freeborn, Lucy Higham

Yorkshire Diamonds

Yorkshire have yet to make it to a KSL Finals Day and although they have significantly reshuffled their squad, it is difficult to see that changing this season. Beth Mooney’s return could be significant – when she is at her explosive best she can win matches single-handed – and Lauren Winfield will be desperate to impress after sitting on the sidelines for England for much of the summer, but whether that makes up for the loss of Sophie Devine back to the Lightning is debatable. One to watch, if she gets a game [Do we sense a theme here? Ed.] may be Helen Fenby – she has impressed for the Academy, but this will be a very different stage to playing for Durham in Div 3 of the County Championship. [SE]

Lauren Winfield, Katherine Brunt, Beth Langston, Alice Davidson–Richards, Beth Mooney, Chamari Athapaththu, Delissa Kimmince, Helen Fenby, Katie Levick , Sophie Munro, Bess Heath, Thea Brookes, Alice Monaghan, Gwen Davies, Katie Thompson

Lancashire Thunder

The surprise appointment of Alex Blackwell as coach could be crucial to marshalling a team who have finished bottom of the table in both previous editions of the KSL. Bravely, they’ve persisted with the route of selecting their squad largely from local players who also play county cricket for Lancashire. Emma Lamb – who’s had a good season for Lancashire at county, finishing second in our Div 1 batting rankings behind only Suzie Bates – will presumably open again, alongside overseas stalwart Amy Satterthwaite. Nicole Bolton is their new overseas signing, playing in KSL for the first time, while Alex Hartley joins them from “down South”; but will that be enough to propel them to the opposite end of the table? I’m not convinced. [RN]

Danielle Hazell, Nicole Bolton, Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Kate Cross, Rachel Dickinson, Alice Dyson, Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley, Eve Jones, Harmanpreet Kaur, Emma Lamb, Natasha Miles, Amy Satterthwaite, Ellie Threlkeld

PREDICTIONS

Raf:

  1. Vipers
  2. Storm
  3. Stars
  4. Thunder
  5. Lightning
  6. Diamonds

Syd:

  1. Vipers
  2. Storm
  3. Stars
  4. Lightning
  5. Thunder
  6. Diamonds

 

PREVIEW: Scotland Hunting Another Piece of History as the WWT20 Qualifier Begins

Ahead of the ICC Women’s World T20 Global Qualifier in the Netherlands, Jake Perry talks to Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce and Head Coach Steve Knox as they look to take Scotland to the final stages of a major tournament for the first time.

Eleven months after winning the ICC Europe/Americas Qualifier in Stirling, Scotland’s Women will begin the last round of their bid to reach the 2018 ICC Women’s World T20 at Amstelveen’s VRA Cricket Ground on Saturday. The group match against Uganda will be the first of three in the initial stages of the Global Qualifier as the national team looks to improve on the fourth-place finish they recorded in Thailand three years ago and reach the finals of a major ICC tournament for the first time in their history.

Steve Knox’s side goes into the competition in the best possible position having just completed the T20 leg of their domestic summer. Although promotion to Division One of the Vitality Women’s Twenty20 Cup was to ultimately prove elusive, the Scotland Head Coach is pleased to have had the opportunity to focus on the format for an extended period of time.

“It’s been a busy six weeks down in England but it’s been great in terms of getting time in the middle,” he said. “With the weather we’ve been having we’ve played every single game, too, so we couldn’t have wished for a better preparation.”

“T20 is a very tactical game. It’s about getting the right people into the right positions and that’s why the past few weeks have been so important. The girls are in form and everyone knows their role within the team, so now it’s just a case of performing on the day.”

With several regulars unavailable for the Netherlands, Scotland’s squad includes a number of international rookies alongside experienced campaigners.

“The senior players have really important role to play,” said Steve. “There are seven guys in the squad who have played fifty games or more and people like Abbi [Aitken] and Jacko [Lorna Jack] will be very important, especially with the new faces in the squad.”

“We know we’re still a work-in-progress but we’re definitely improving and we’re certainly [further on than we were] twelve months ago. But regardless of what happens over the next two weeks we’re moving in the right direction, and with it being such an inexperienced squad that’s going to continue [beyond this tournament].”

The Global Qualifier will also be the first major assignment for Kathryn Bryce as captain, and the twenty-year-old all-rounder is looking forward to the challenge that the next fortnight will bring.

“I’m really excited and a bit nervous but I’m taking it as it comes,” she said. “Putting together tournament performances is a bit different from going game-to-game so it will be a different challenge, playing [against Uganda] then resetting and going again the day after [against Ireland].”

“It’s quite a new squad compared to what we’ve had in global competitions before but we’ve been together since the end of last summer and we’re starting to see solid performances from a lot of people,” continued Kathryn. “Over the past few years we hadn’t really scored 120 many times before whereas this year we’ve been consistently doing that, especially over the last few weekends.”

With 203 runs at 40.6 in domestic T20 wicketkeeping all-rounder Sarah Bryce has been central to that success and the eighteen-year-old is keen to carry that form into the Qualifier.

“It’s been a pretty good season for me so far, I’ve had a couple of fifties and a really good opening partnership with Jacko,” she said. “But the whole of the top order has been chipping in with runs. We haven’t been relying on any one player in particular and that’s really important for us going into the tournament.”

“We won seven out of eight games down in England so we’ve got some momentum to build on.”

The Global Qualifier will be Scotland’s third in succession after appearances in Thailand and Sri Lanka, and the team will look to take advantage of what will be more familiar playing conditions this time around.

“Hopefully we can make the most of the conditions especially playing against teams like Bangladesh who we’ve previously played in conditions which are more familiar to them,” said Sarah. “All being well we can use that to our benefit.”

“It’s a bit strange to be playing the Qualifier in Europe because we were almost expecting to be somewhere like Sri Lanka or Thailand,” added Kathryn. “The conditions there are so different with the heat and everything like that, so it’s nice knowing that that we won’t be facing that this time.”

“We don’t know exactly what it will be like but it’s good to be going somewhere that will maybe give us a little bit of an advantage. Hopefully the ball is going to move around a bit early on and then the spinners will play a big role I think.”

The side will find inspiration in the achievements of their male counterparts, too, as they look to crown what has already been an historic summer for Scottish cricket with what would arguably be the greatest achievement of all.

“We were on our way back from Hampshire when the game against England was going on and the girls were absolutely buzzing,” said Steve Knox. “When the Channel Five highlights came on we stopped and had dinner and watched them on about six tablets and it was brilliant. You could see the girls almost puff their chests out a little bit more seeing what was possible and we’ll certainly be using that over the next two weeks, absolutely.”

And with recent results demonstrating the closing gap within the women’s game, too, Scotland will begin their campaign knowing that anything is possible.

“[Uganda’s win over Zimbabwe and Thailand beating Sri Lanka] shows how much women’s cricket has grown,” said Kathryn. “Two or three years ago those teams wouldn’t have dreamed of beating the others.”

“It also shows how a T20 game can go either way if you have a good day or a bad day, and I think that could be an advantage for us especially going up against Bangladesh and Ireland who are ranked above us.”

“Anyone is beatable and qualification is not out of reach at all.”

 

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Jake Perry is a cricket writer based in Scotland.

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket