After another great weekend of games it looks like Lancashire and Somerset are heading for the top of the table decider and a chance at getting into Div 1 next year, while Devon, Wales and Durham slug it out at the other end of the table. Here are the match details:-
Lancashire beat Wales by 80 runs
Lancashire made it five wins out of five with a convincing effort against Wales, who have struggled so far this season. Asked to bat Lancashire scored a respectable, if unspectacular, 198/8 based around solid knocks from Kate Cross (58), Natalie Brown (37) and Emma Lamb (35). Rebecca Struthers was the best of the Welsh bowlers with 3/30. But Wales were soon in trouble in reply losing their top three batsmen with just 28 runs on the board. Megan Burton (42) and Gwenan Davies (24) did their best to restore some sanity, but got little support and Wales slumped to their fourth defeat in five games when they were all out in the 43rd over for just 118. Bhumika Doshi mopped up the tail with a quick 3/9 off just 16 balls.
Lancashire are comfortably top of the league and seem unlikely to relinquish their hold on one of the playoff places.
Wales are in the dogfight at the bottom of the table with just one win to their name and some tough fixtures to come. They will need to find some form and quickly.
Games to play
Lancs - v Devon, v Durham and v Ireland
Wales - v Somerset and v Worcestershire
Cheshire beat Devon by 15 runsA vital clash at the bottom of the table went the way of Cheshire thanks to a heroic eighth wicket stand of 102 from Lauren Griffiths (59) and Kate Harvey (44*). They rescued Cheshire from 70/7 to end on 172/9 and set Devon, who have struggled to win games they should have this year, a competitive target. Rebecca Donahue (3/27) and Aylish Cranstone (3/30) were the main wicket-takers for Wales. Cranstone (48) and the experienced Rosalie Birch (31) took Devon to 81/1 before Birch ran herself out and when Cranstone fell at 102 the Devon boat began to rock. Spinners Griffiths (3/25) and Raffaella Rodighiero (3/37) gradually whittled their way through the lower order and Devon's boat finally sank with 11 balls left of their innings, and with 15 runs still required.
Cheshire will be breathing a little easier after this win, but will need to beat bottom of the table Durham in their final game to be sure of safety from the relegation playoffs.
Devon on the other hand still have the top two teams in the league to play so their relegation worries remain. A win or big bonus points for Wales or Durham below them and they may be playing again at the end of the season to keep their place in Div 2.
Games to play
Cheshire - v Durham
Devon - v Lancashire and v Somerset
Somerset beat Staffordshire by 7 wicketsSecond-placed Somerset completed a comfortable win over Staffordshire in a game reduced to 36 overs per side, thanks to a mature knock of 55 from former England star and team manager Caroline Atkins. Staffs had scored a slow 130/6 with Charlotte Whyle hitting 40. Atkins and Sophie Luff (25) kept Somerset on course for the win, before they both fell in quick succession. But it was a minor blip and Somerset got home with 16 balls to spare.
Somerset continue to edge out Ireland for the second playoff place at the top of the league and finish with games against two teams at the bottom of the league.
Staffordshire look destined to finish mid-table but will be hoping to finish on a high in their last two games.
Games to play
Somerset - v Wales and v Devon
Staffs - v Worcestershire and v Ireland
Ireland beat Worcestershire by 7 wicketsIreland kept up the pressure on Somerset with a convincing win of their own against a Worcester team that have not lived-up to last year's potential. They skittled them out for 147 after an opening stand of 59 in which Thea Brookes (34) was the main contributor. After her departure wickets fell at regular intervals to Melissa Scott-Hayward (3/33) and the rest of the Irish bowlers. Isobel Joyce (44) and Kim Garth (40*) set up the win with Cecelia Joyce (37) also contributing as Ireland lost just three wickets in the chase and won with 14 overs in hand.
Ireland will need to win their last two games and hope that Somerset slip up in order to make the playoffs, unless Lancashire implode at the top of the table.
Worcestershire will look to finish strongly against two counties currently below them in the table, but mid-table is where they are now likely to finish.Games to play
Ireland - v Staffs and v Lancashire
Worcestershire - v Staffs and v Wales