As the Women's County Championship gets to the sharp end of the season (despite the fact that it is only June!), there were some significant results at both the top and the bottom of Division One.
Sussex beat Notts by 114 runs
Top of the table Notts were dispatched by Sussex in a clinical performance which showed Sussex's strength in depth. Georgia Elwiss (98) missed out on her second century of the season by just two runs as she became one of five run out victims in the Sussex innings. She had already watched Georgia Adams, Arran Brindle and Izi Noakes perish in similar fashion at the other end (none her fault), before she clipped a ball to midwicket and was herself run out by a direct hit. The returning Sarah Taylor (33) looked in good touch before being inexplicably stumped and Sussex closed on 227/9, perhaps 30 runs short of where they might have expected to be. But it was plenty of runs. Notts struggled to score against the pace of Noakes and Freya Davies, and once Aussie import Olivia Thornton (40) and Sonia Odedra (28) had gone, and Davies had run out the dangerous Danni Wyatt, Notts offered very little resistance. Off spinner Rebecca Silk mopped up with 3/7 as Notts subsided to 113 all out.
Sussex leapfrogged over Notts to go top of the table. They have a double-header weekend in three weeks time against Berkshire and Essex which will be decisive in their campaign to reach the Championship playoffs.
Notts will need to win their last two games and hope that either Sussex or Kent slip up if they are to have any chance of qualifying for the play-off. But Yorkshire and Berkshire are also in the mix, having also lost only two games so far.
Games to play
Sussex - v Middx, v Berks and v Essex
Notts - v Yorkshire and v Berkshire
Kent beat Essex by 8 wickets
Kent made light work of defeating Essex after they had inserted them and then restricted them to just 169/8 in their 50 overs. The top six Essex bats all got into double figures, but at generally slow-scoring rates, and only Lauren Onojaife (50) went on to make a significant score. All the Kent bowlers were economical with Alice Davidson-Richards, Grace Gibbs and Charlotte Pape all chipping in with a couple of wickets each. In reply Tammy Beaumont (78) and Charlotte Edwards (59) set up the win with an opening stand of 126 and the job was finished off by Lydia Greenway (14*) and Laura Marsh (18*) with 11 overs in the bag.
Kent's victory takes them to second in the league behind Sussex and they look well placed to make the Championship playoff. But Yorkshire in Yorkshire may be a tough game to finish on, and they can take nothing for granted
Essex are not out of the woods at the bottom of the league. Their rearranged clash with Surrey, if it happens, could be a very significant one.
Games to play
Kent - v Surrey and v Yorkshire
Essex - v Sussex and v Surrey
Middlesex beat Warwickshire by 8 wickets
Middlesex have given themselves a lifeline at the bottom of the league with their first victory of the season over an inconsistent Warwickshire team. Warwickshire could only stumble to 114/9 in their 50 overs with Ria Raval taking 3/15. Only three Warwickshire players got into double figures. Middlesex knocked off the runs with just two wickets down. Natasha Miles (44*) and Catherine Dalton (34*) saw them home.
Middlesex have two tough games to go and they will struggle to avoid finishing in the bottom two (remember bottom two play-off and loser plays Div 2 winner to see who goes into which league). Warwickshire really need to win just one of their last two games to remain in Div 1 for a second season.
Games to play
Middlesex - v Sussex and v Yorkshire
Warwickshire - v Berkshire and v Surrey
Berkshire beat Surrey by 10 runs
Berkshire sneaked past a spirited Surrey effort to chase down 213 to win. Invited to bat Berkshire made 212/9 in their 50 overs with Heather Knight (45) again leading from the front. She got a bit more support than usual with contributions from almost all the batsmen, but chiefly Alice MacLeod (36) and Alex Rogers (34). For Surrey Nat Sciver (2/52) and Sarah Clarke (2/37) were the main wicket-takers. Surrey's reply looked in good shape thanks to openers Kirstie White (53) and Hannah Jones (34) and at 118/1 they were probably favourites, but two wickets changed the complexion of the game and when Susie Rowe (29) went at 177/5 Surrey's valiant effort petered out and they finished 10 runs short on 202/8.
Having lost only two games so far Berkshire are not out of the playoff picture, but they are likely to need to win all of their last three games, which may be a tall order.
Surrey too have three to play and the rearranged game with Essex, if it happens, may end up being crucial, if they can't sneak a win before then.
Games to play
Berks - v Warwickshire, v Sussex and v Notts
Surrey - v Kent, v Warwickshire and v Essex