Thursday, 28 March 2013

ECB Women's County Championship 2013 Preview (Part 2)

ECB Women's County Championship Division 2

There are nine teams in Division Two of the ECB Women's County Championship and they are Cheshire, Devon, Durham, Ireland, Lancashire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Wales and Worcestershire. Last year Warwickshire and Worcestershire played off for the right to spend 2013 in Division 1 and Warwickshire came out on top by 6 wickets. Three or four teams look likely to be in the running for this year's play-offs and with some decent weather the competition will throw up some close games.

Cheshire (last year 5th)
Led by the young former England Academy bat Jenny Halstead, Cheshire have a young team again this year, but with a strong age group set-up they will be looking to make a push towards better results, particularly in the T20 format.
Squad - not yet confirmed

Devon (last year 3rd)
Devon will be looking to be in the mix for promotion to Division One next year with plenty of good youngsters in their midst in the shape of Academy stars Amara Carr and Jodie Dibble and U19s Rebecca Bertrand, Aylish Cranstone, Lydia Harris, Alli Kelly, and Caitlin O'Keefe, all of whom are under the charge of the vastly experienced former England international Rosalie Birch. The team finished third in the recent MCC Women's U19 Tournament in UAE, beating Wales in the 3rd/4th play-off. They should lead from the front.
Squad - not yet confirmed

Durham (last year 9th, but not relegated as Netherlands dropped to Div 3)
The squad gained some valuable experience out in the UAE in the pre-season MCC U19 Arch Trophy, in which Rachel Petherick and Laura Ellison shone with both bat and ball. But they are likely to find life tough again at this level.
Confirmed Squad -Hayley Falla (Capt), Laura Hockaday (V Capt), Sarah King, Laura Ellison, Catherine Chapman, Lynn McDonnell, Caroline Jamieson, Becky Glenn, Jane Riddell, Lucy Pringle, Rachael Petherick, Vanessa Watson, Rachel Hook, Beth Webb, Lucy Charlton

Ireland (last year promoted from Div 3)
New to Division 2 Ireland will be looking to claim a few scalps during the season. They are led by Isobel Joyce, who is probably fed up of being reminded that she is sister to Sussex's Ed Joyce. Top performers last year with the ball were opening bowlers Kim Garth and Louise McCarthy. Isobel Joyce has averaged over 80 in the county championship for the last two seasons, while Clare Shillington scored a century in the playoff match with the Netherlands to secure promotion and was player of the year in 2012. There are a number of youngsters vying for a call up to the senior squad and many of them are getting in some early outdoor practice with a trip to La Manga in Spain, where they are taking on Division 1 side Berkshire in both T20 and 50 over format games.
Confirmed Squad - Isobel Joyce (capt), Cecelia Joyce, Clare Shillington, Eimear Richardson, Mary Waldron, Laura Delany, Louise McCarthy, Kim Garth, Elena Tice, Clodagh Conway, Shauna Kavanagh, Rebecca Rolfe, Emma Flanagan, Laura Cullen, Emma Beamish, Melissa Scott-Hayward

Lancashire (last year 4th)
Too big and too good a county to be out of the top division for long and with plenty of youngsters coming through, they could be a surprise package this year. They have eight girls who are part of the EWDP U19 and U15 programmes who will be pushing for places this season, including Georgia Holmes on loan from Cumbria, an exciting opening bowler and explosive mid order batsman. They have strength and depth in bowling with seamers including Kate Cross, Nat Brown and Bhumika Doshi along with an "array of spinners". On their day they will be tough to beat.

Provisional squad - Jen Laycock (Captain), Jasmine Titmuss, Meg Fairclough, Natalie Brown, Emma Lamb, Nalisha Patel, Hannah Till, Chloe Wallwork, Alex Hartley, Jess Couser, Laura Marshall, Hayley Martinus, Olivia McCusker, Georgia Holmes, Bhumika Doshi, Maddy White

Somerset (last year relegated from Div 1)
Did not manage a win in four games played last year and so were subsequently relegated to Division 2 for this season, but with England World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole leading the attack and England Academy player Fran Wilson, not to mention the England U19 Development Squad captain Sophie Luff, 2013 could see a return to the top flight for the 2014 season. Former Sussex and England star Caroline Atkins is also now Women's and Girls' coach at the county and she will expect good things from all age groups.
Squad - yet to be confirmed

Staffordshire (last year 6th)
Another county with a young side but one that is full of promising young talents such as Elyse Lally, Evelyn Jones and Steph Butler. Staffs are weakened this year with the loss of England's Danni Wyatt (on loan to Notts) and overseas Australian World Cup winner Elyse Villani. Franki James who plays men's 2nd XI at Meir Heath along with offspinner/Staffs captain Elsa Evans will need to lead from the front. The aim of this season will be to maintain their position in this league while allowing players to gain senior experience.
Confirmed Squad - Elsa Evans (capt), Franki James(wkt) , Kate Dicken, Laura Malkin, Cheryl Allcock, Charlotte Whyle, Kathryn Whyle, Looby Lally, Stephanie Butler, Evelyn Jones, Amy Carnwell, Charlotte Mincher, Lyn Spooner, Danni Wyatt( on loan at Notts) (plus u17/development side players).

Wales (last year 7th)
Only managed two wins in six games last year and will be hoping to improve this year. They have England U19 Gwenan Davies in their squad, and have recently come back from a successful MCC Women's U19 Tournament in UAE, where they lost out to Devon for third spot. Their batting looks stronger than their bowling.
Squad - yet to be confirmed

Worcestershire (last year 2nd)
Pipped at the post by Warwickshire to promotion to Division One last year, they are likely to be knocking at the door again this year. Katie Blunt is captain for the second successive year and leads from the front. Last year she was the team's leading wicket-taker. The bowling will be boosted with the inclusion of juniors Emily Arlott, Jess Hunby and Abbie Houghton. Aussie all-rounder, Mel Norup will join the ranks in early April. The 18-year old from NSW comes highly recommended by Stan Gilchrist (father of Adam Gilchrist). Thea Brookes will head the batsmen, along with the likes of Charlotte Holtom, Claire Boycott and Naomi Heywood.
Confirmed squad - Katie Blunt (capt), Thea Brookes, Mel Norup, Naomi Heywood (wkt), Rachel Baldwin, Charlotte Holtom, Claire Boycott, Lauren Rowles, Jo Greaves, Salma Bi, Ellen Smith, Katie Trounson, Emily Arlott, Jess Hunby, Abbie Houghton, Millie Marriot.


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