It is a massive weekend for the Women's County Championship with a full fixture list in all divisions on both Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday. Here are the Division 1 fixtures (I will look at Div 2 in a separate blog):-
Sunday 5th May (11am start)
Essex v Notts at Garon Park, South End
Surrey v Yorkshire at the Brit Oval
Kent v Middlesex at Upchurch CC
Warwickshire v Sussex at Wellesbourne CC
Monday 6th May (11am start)
Essex v Yorkshire at Billericay CC
Notts v Kent at Welbeck CC
Middlesex v Berkshire at Uxbridge CC
Sussex v Surrey at the County Ground Hove
With only one game completed, due to the weather, in Week One (Kent beat Warwickshire in a low-scoring game) it is still early days for assessing the relative strengths of the teams. The only real indicator is club and university form. Loughborough Uni also take on the England Academy today, which should also be a good form guide.
On Day One Essex will hope to overcome Notts on a normally flat Garon Park wicket. It will help that Essex bat Karen Baker notched her first century of the season for Loughton last weekend, but Notts' Sonia Odedra has also hit some form for Clifton and Danni Wyatt will be looking to make an impact for her new county. Should be a tight high-scoring game.
Great to see Surrey entertaining Yorkshire at the Oval. Lauren Winfield has been in great touch and will be looking forward to batting on the Oval square. Yorkshire should be too strong for Surrey.
England skipper Charlotte Edwards did not play in Kent's first game of the season, but opened up her 2013 with a century for new club Wokingham Ridgeway. Middlesex are a young team and may have trouble keeping the Kent girls in check.
Sussex take a full strength team to Warwickshire and should be difficult to beat. Georgia Elwiss has hit runs for Meir Heath CC and Sarah Taylor runs for Walmley CC men and women, but Warwickshire have some potentially exciting players.
On Day Two Essex will take on the travelling Yorkshire, fresh from the Oval. I think Yorkshire might just pip Essex in another tight game.
Kent will be making the journey up to Notts for their Monday game. I think Notts might just pull off a bit of a shock win.
Middlesex host Berkshire for their only game of the weekend. Heather Knight will lead her young Berkshire side from the front and it is likely to come down to one outstanding performance from an individual to win the game. Too close to call.
And finally Sussex host Surrey at the County Ground at Hove. There are not many better places to be on a sunny day - plus there is a beer festival within the ground! Sussex to win.
Come Tuesday there will be lots of tired bodies and plenty of stories to tell. Let us have yours at firstname.lastname@example.org