Friday, 19 July 2013

Yorkshire show true spirit

If you want to talk about the "Spirit of Cricket" then nothing exemplifies it more than Yorkshire's game against Middlesex in the Women's County Championship tomorrow at Arnold House Activity Centre.

Technically Yorkshire have already qualified to play Sussex in the Division One Women's County Championship final on 15th September. They have finished second in the league, beating Kent by 0.05 average points. Had Kent got one more bonus point during the season the positions would have been reversed, so it was the narrowest of margins. Kent have played all their eight games - won six and lost two. Yorkshire have played seven - won five and lost two and had one game cancelled. As far as the average points are concerned their cancelled game is ignored.

Yorkshire could therefore have just sat on their hands and looked forward to the final, but they want to get their "properly". They have rescheduled the cancelled game against Middlesex for tomorrow. It means they have to win their game tomorrow and get at least 4 bonus points. If they do not then Kent will jump into second place in the league table and will meet Sussex for the title.

A win will put Yorkshire into the final for the first time since 2002. In fact they won the Championship for five of the first six years and were runners-up in the other final (1997-2002). Since then it has been lean times for the Tykes, which even included a spell in Division 3 in 2008.

This season has not been their most consistent. They lost to Warwickshire by 34 runs and got tonked by Berkshire, but they have beaten the top teams, including both Sussex and Kent. And it was that last win, by six wickets chasing down Kent's 188 in the 42nd over, which moved them passed the current champions and into a play-off place. They seem to be a team on a mission under the careful leadership of Salliann Briggs. Their batting this season has been led by Lauren Winfield (averaging 64), which has earned her an England call-up. Danni Hazell and Aimee Simms head the bowling attack, in the absence this season of the enigmatic Katherine Brunt. She returned and bowled six overs in the win over Kent. They will be hoping she is fit enough to take the field against Middlesex tomorrow, because it is going to be a tough game.

Middlesex have a strong top five, who have all performed well this year. They have recent wins over Sussex and Warwickshire under their belts. It may all come down to who wants it more, and there is little doubt that Yorkshire really want it. A win would also be very good for the Spirit of Cricket.


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