Thursday, 29 May 2014

Rain and the Women's County Championship

The poor weather over the second Bank Holiday weekend has again thrown into the spotlight some anomalies in the rules in the Women's County Championship, which have not really been ironed out following the 2012 season when Essex made it through to the then County Championship play-off final, having played only two games against Notts and Yorkshire.

The first issue is that cancelled games - ie games where there has been no play can be replayed - even if they have not been cancelled until both teams are at the ground and have hung around for five hours fruitlessly waiting for the wicket to dry out. Whereas abandoned games - ie any game that has started but has failed to finish (ie the side batting second has failed to bat 20 overs) cannot be replayed. I fail to understand the logic of this.

The second issue is that no points are awarded for a cancelled game - that I understand. However 5 points AND the bonus points are awarded for an abandoned game. If these were allowed to count towards the average number of points per game, which is the deciding factor for league positions, then a team's season could be scuppered. A win with full batting and bowling bonus points is 18 points (10, plus 4 and 4). The maximum a team could get for an abandoned game is 13 points, although full batting and bowling points are unlikely as one innings at least would be less than 20 overs. The simple solution, which has been applied is to ignore any points from abandoned games, but that begs the question the question why award them at all? All it does is make a complete mess of the league tables on the Play Cricket website - Sussex currently average 20 points per game apparently (for accurate tables see here).

The third issue is the shortening of games. The rules basically state that provided both teams bat 20 overs this constitutes a game. The scenario where this could occur almost happened on Sunday between Berks and Sussex. The pitch was wet, but the weather fine. The teams sat around waiting for the pitch to dry. Had it done so then they would have played a 20/20. This competition is the Women's County Championship not the Women's T20 trophy. In my opinion 50 over cricket and T20 cricket are very different beasts and should not be confused. I would suggest that 35 overs per side is the minimum that should constitute a game.

There is a fourth issue which arises from shortened games and that is the lack of opportunity to acquire bonus points, particularly bowling bonus points. A team is far less likely to get 9 wickets (needed for a full 4 points) in 20 overs than they are in 50 overs. They are therefore penalised for playing a shortened game.

And finally there is a fifth issue, again from a shortened game, which is the fact that if the game is started and it rains the side batting second has a huge advantage. Runs Per Over (RPO) is the crude calculation used to adjust the score that the side batting second must score to win in the limited number of overs available. A side batting first may score 200 in their 50 overs (4 RPO). If it rains at tea and the second innings is reduced to 20 overs they only have to score 81 to win in 20 overs with all their batsmen allowed to bat. It is a huge advantage. Duckworth Lewis is the answer, but it seems this is too complex. Perhaps a simpler solution would be to reduce the number of batsmen allowed to bat in the second innings along the lines of 8 if 20+ overs; 9 if 30+ overs; 10 if 40+ overs.

Let's hope the rest of the season is sunny!!


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Women's County Championship - Week Two Round-Up

The weather effectively ruined the second weekend of fixtures in Division One of the Royal London Women's County Championship, with only two games completed. In Division Two six of the eight games survived with Staffs the big winners and Lancashire only just squeaking past Durham.

Division One
The two games that survived the weather were Essex v Surrey and Kent v Warwickshire. Surrey demolished Essex, bowling them out for just 64 in 39 overs and knocking off the runs for the loss of two wickets in under 12 overs. Veteran leg-spinner Sarah Clarke picked up 5/11 (her fifth five wicket haul for Surrey) as only Lily Reynolds (12) and Karen Baker (10) got into double figures for Essex.
Thanks to 64 from Amy Jones and some late order resistance, Warwickshire managed to post a half-decent 158 all out against Kent at the St Lawrence Ground, for whom Grace Gibbs took 4/39. But Charlotte Edwards (100*) and Tammy Beaumont (50*) knocked them off in 32 overs without loss and gave Kent their third 18 point haul of the campaign.

Two other games were started, but abandoned. On Monday Notts had put 248/5 on the board against Sussex on a great batting track at Wellbeck Colliery CC. Danni Wyatt (109) and Jenny Gunn (68*) made the most of it as they added 163 for the third Notts' wicket. In reply Sussex were going well at 57/0 after 13 overs, before the drizzle became a downpour and the game was called off.
The other game to start was the Warwickshire v Middlesex clash, where Warwickshire had struggled to 141/9 in 42 overs. Georgia Hennessy (27) and Fran Clakson (25) had top scored. Maia Bouchier had grabbed 3/24 on her Middlesex debut. But that was as far as the game got.

It is perhaps worth pointing out that abandoned games, although 5 points per team are given, cannot be replayed and are ignored for the purposes of calculating average points scored. Absolutely no point giving any team any points at all!

Division Two
Staffs were the big winners in Division Two as they managed to get both their games in and managed to win them both. On Sunday they bowled out Durham for just 50 - Amy Carnwell helped herself to 3/4 and Steph Butler 3/21. Only Catherine Chapman (23) put up much resistance for Durham. Staffs managed to lose four early wickets in reply (three to Rachel Petherick) to set the nerves jangling, before Francesca James (35*) blasted them to victory. On Monday they met Ireland and managed a three wicket win in another low-scorer. Ireland could only put 92 on the board after being 16/5 at one stage. Mary Waldron top-scored with 26. Cheryl Allcock (3/8) and Elsa-Marie Evans (3/31) did the damage with the ball. Ireland reduced Staffs to 61/7 at one stage, but number 9 Carnwell (13*) and a healthy smattering of wides saw Staffs home.

Top of the table Lancashire had a huge scare against the same Durham team on Monday. Durham were put into bat and Lancs were probably quite happy when they kept them down to 105/7 in their 50 overs. Six Lancs bowlers picked up a wicket apiece with wides (25) top scorer for Durham. But after an opening stand of 41 between Emma Lamb (18) and Laura Marshall (20) the wheels started to fall off the Lancs' reply. Lynn McDonnell (5/25) reduced Lancs to 56/7 before Bhumika Doshi (33) and number 9 Nalisha Patel (12) took them to within touching distance of the win at 101 before Patel was out. When Doshi went with the scores level the tie was on, but it was not to be as Lancs scraped home by one wicket.

Devon kept up their good start to the season with a comfortable 28 run win over last year's play-off winners Somerset. Devon would have liked more than the 155/8 they managed to put on the board, thanks in the main to 58 from Rosalie Fairbairn (formerly Rosalie Birch), but Cait O'Keefe (3/22) and Hazel Garton (3/10) kept taking wickets as Somerset slipped to 71/6. The tail wagged for Somerset, but not enough as they ended up well-short of Devon's target.

Unbeaten Wales also kept their 100% record intact after hammering Worcestershire in their only game of the weekend. Worcestershire were rolled over for 78 with Lauren Parfitt taking 5/20. Skipper Thea Brookes (36) desperately needed some support from her fellow batsmen. Gwenan Davies (35*) and Parfitt (31*) brought Wales safely home after Brookes had claimed Worcestershire's only wicket.

The final completed game saw Ireland clinch a nine wicket win over Cheshire in a game shortened to 26 overs per side. Cheshire scored 109/4 with Jennifer Dunn (45) top scorer. Clare Shillington (62) and Rebecca Rolfe (29) knocked them off with just one wicket down in just over 20 overs.

For full scorecards check out the Women's County Championship Play Cricket site

Current league tables according to me - please let me know if they are wrong!


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Women's Cricket on TMS

I know I am a Grumpy Old Man. My children tell me the same all the time and even buy me birthday cards to reflect the fact, but given my age I think it is my role in life. So here goes.....

Happy as I was that BBC TMS decided, rather bizarrely, that they were going to cover the MCC Women v Rest of the World Women on the wireless (as we old people call it), I'm afraid to say that I sat in the Press Box at Lords quietly fuming (it doesn't take much) every time Iain O'Brien came onto commentary.

The commentary duties were shared during the day between himself and the consummate professional Charles Dagnell. Summarisers duties were shared between the bubbly Ebony Rainford-Brent and Barnsley-lass Katherine Brunt. Daggers has a genuine love of the women's game, and it shows. He seems destined for "greater things" (men's cricket) and he will be a great loss to the women's game if he goes.

If Iain O'Brien loves women's cricket then it does not really show. In his first stint on commentary he made the usual complaint about all the girls looking the same and having no numbers by which he could identify them. How about a bit of research? He spent the entire day mixing up the tall and lean Stafanie Taylor with the squat power-house that is Deandra Dottin. He also insisted on calling Taylor "Stefarni" as in Gwen Stefani. Sana Mir became Sana Myrhh and having struggled with Shashikala Siriwardene all afternoon he finally resorted to referring to her as Suranami - a cross between a tidal wave and a South American country!

When I listen to radio commentary it is because I want to know what is happening and frequently mis-identifying fielders or simply failing to name them is simply not good enough. I have to say that I have a similar gripe with Blowers - character he may be, but I like to know what is happening.

I am a huge fan of TMS. It takes me back to my childhood and listening to the Ashes commentary on a portable radio whilst lying in bed. With the lack of television coverage of the women's game, TMS is a vital broadcasting medium for women's cricket. All I ask is that the BBC don't undersell it. I realise it is not a priority in BBC Radio scheduling or budgeting, but you need to find another Daggers asap.


Week 2 of the Women's County Championship

Another Bank Holiday another double-header for many of the teams in Div One and Div Two of the Women's County Championship.

Division One

Sunday 25th May

Berkshire v Sussex at Wokingham CC
Essex v Surrey at Felsted School
Kent v Warwickshire at Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence
Yorkshire v Middlesex at Harrogate CC

Monday 26th May
Berkshire v Surrey at Wokingham CC
Kent v Essex at Hayes CC
Notts v Sussex at Welbeck CC
Warwickshire v Middlesex at Wellesbourne CC

The three double-winning teams from the first weekend of fixtures all have two more games this week (which will mean they are halfway through their fixtures).
Surrey take on Essex and Berkshire away - they will be looking to get full points from the Essex game, but Berkshire will be a tougher nut to crack on Monday. They too are unbeaten, although they only just squeaked past Notts by 1 run in their only game of the opening weekend.
Kent host Warwickshire and Essex and will be confident that they can beat both, as Sussex did last weekend. Some of the young Warwickshire players will be keen to impress in front of the England skipper, but the Kent batting line-up looks very strong. Also Laura Marsh is now twirling her arm again.
Sussex travel away to Berkshire and Notts and will hope to keep up their 100% record. Berkshire will find it tough to score runs against the Sussex attack, and Notts came back from their agonising defeat to Berkshire by thrashing Essex. New girl Amy Gauvrit took 10 wickets last week for Notts. Can she keep up that wicket-taking record in their only game of the weekend?
Middlesex are the other team who play both days against Yorkshire and Warwickshire, both away. They had a decent start to their season against Kent, going down by just 34 runs. Yorkshire and Warwickshire are both 0/2 and will be keen to get their seasons underway. Both games are likely to be tight.

Division Two

Sunday 25th May
Cheshire v Ireland at Alvanley CC
Staffordshire v Durham at Bloxwich CC
Wales v Devon at Pontarddulais CC
Worcestershire v Lancashire at Coombs Wood CC

Monday 26th May
Somerset v Devon at the County Ground Taunton
Durham v Lancashire at Durham City CC
Staffordshire v Ireland at Alrewas CC
Wales v Worcestershire at Pontarddulais CC

Lancashire will go into the second weekend of fixtures full of confidence after two comprehensive wins in Week 1 against Somerset and Ireland. Their opponents this weekend are Worcestershire and Durham. Durham lost both their opening games, while Worcestershire beat Cheshire, but lost to Somerset. Lancs are likely to prove too strong for both.
This could be a big weekend for Devon and their title chances. They take on Wales, who won their only game of the opening weekend against Durham, and last year's play-off winners Somerset. Devon started their season with a resounding victory over Staffordshire and look like they just might be the team to challenge Lancs for the top spot, but they will need to win both these games.
Ireland did not make the start they would have liked losing to Lancs and then just squeezing past Durham by 6 runs in a low-scorer. Runs seem to be their biggest issue, but they should be favourites against both Cheshire (1/2) and Staffs (0/2).
At the bottom of the league the game between Staffs and Durham could prove to be pivotal to both county's seasons. Both are looking for their first win and both will be targeting this game as a good opportunity to clinch a possibly vital extra 10 points.

If you live close by get out and support your local girls.


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A Grand Day Out at Lords

MCC Women v Rest of the World Women - Lords 19th May 2014

History was made at Lords this week as the first ever Women’s Rest of the World team took on the MCC Women. The game was a celebration of 200 years of cricket at the Home of Cricket, but it was also a tantalising glimpse of a possible future for women’s cricket, with the prospect of the best players in the world playing together in future global tournaments (albeit T20 tournaments).

It was no great surprise that a strong Rest of the World team came out on top on a glorious day in central London. They batted all the way down to 10, a position that Shashikala Sirawardene can rarely have found herself occupying. Having posted 283/9 in their 50 overs courtesy of half centuries from Mithali Raj and Meg Lanning , they had little trouble in keeping the MCC team (consisting entirely of current and former England players) to 242 all out, despite a battling 70 from Charlotte Edwards, with Pakistan’s Sana Mir taking 4/36.

The Rest of the World did not make the best of starts as Stafanie Taylor fell to the fourth ball of the innings and her first of the match, wafting at a wide ball from Kate Cross (4/48) and edging through to keeper Amy Jones, standing in for the injured Sarah Taylor. But skipper Suzie Bates (31) and Meg Lanning (59) soon found the Lord’s pitch to their liking as they followed coach Lisa Keightley’s instructions to the tee “to express themselves and showcase women’s cricket”. Boundaries were coming freely from Bates’ bat off the bowling of both Cross and Jenny Gunn and it was a surprise when she edged Cross through to Jones in the seventh over, with the score on 41. But this just brought the majestic Mithali Raj to the crease and she was not going to miss out on this opportunity. She and Lanning made batting look easy as they added 90 in just under 13 overs, punishing anything that was off-line or off-length. Lanning finally fell for 59 when she smashed Dani Hazell to deep extra cover where Heather Knight held on to a good catch. Her fellow countrywoman Ellyse Perry replaced her and the runs continued to flow freely. The ROW were 147/3 at the halfway stage and 300 plus looked on the cards with West Indian powerhouse Deandra Dottin waiting in the wings.

When Raj’s innings came to a rather tame end, as she played all round a straight one from Jenny Gunn to be lbw, the stage was set for some Dottin fireworks to entertain the small crowd of a few hundred people. Alas it was not to be as she was out-thought by the wily old heads of Charlotte Edwards and Arran Brindle, with her military medium-pace. She floated one up and tempted Dottin to hit the big shot over long-on and she fell for it, hitting it straight down Georgia Elwiss’s throat. It was a very long slow walk back to the Lord’s Pavilion.

From theron in the ROW muddled along. Kate Cross returned for the end of the powerplay overs and picked up Ellyse Perry with one that nipped back up the Lord’s slope and Marizanne Kapp lbw for a second ball duck in her final over, to finish with four wickets on her first visit to Lords. Jhulan Goswami (27*) played a nice 25 ball cameo, including a slog sweep for six off Holly Colvin. In the end the ROW would probably have felt a little disappointed with 283/9, while the MCC were probably mighty relieved.

Charlotte Edwards (70), who had apparently slept the night before in her new MCC jumper and had fielded all day in it, despite the blazing sunshine, and Heather Knight (51) set about the MCC’s reply in fine style. They put on 98 for the first wicket in 20 overs before Knight missed a rather expansive drive at Siriwardene and was stumped by Priest. Clare Taylor and Arran Brindle came and went rather quickly and if the umpire had given Nat Sciver out for what looked to all the world like a large inside edge off Kapp through to Priest, then the game may have ended rather early. As it was she survived and while she and Edwards remained there was at least some hope for the MCC.

That hope was expunged when Edwards, having pulled a below-par Perry for two sumptuous fours, edged a slower ball through to Priest. Amy Jones was then Priest’s fourth victim of the day caught behind off Sana Mir, who then bowled a swinging Jenny Gunn in her next over. For a short while Sciver and Hazell kept the MCC flame flickering, but Sciver (49) slogged Siriwardene to one of the three leg-side boundary riders and was well caught by Perry. Hazell followed soon after plumb lbw stepping across her stumps to Taylor, and Georgia Elwiss gave Priest her fifth victim of the day as she walked past a floaty delivery from Taylor to be comprehensively stumped. Kate Cross and Holly Colvin made the most of their chance to bat at Lords, taking the game into the last over before Colvin missed a heave to leg and was Mir’s fourth wicket of the day.

The Rest of the World had won by 41 runs and it had been a good game of cricket. There was some talk of making it an annual fixture, but, good as it was to see the girls in whites on the hallowed Lord’s turf, money might be better spent getting bigger crowds to watch the stars of the women’s game at smaller venues, like Chelmsford, in an English T20 tournament.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The English Women's T20 League

OK here is the deal.........

You are the owner of one of the six franchises for the new Women's T20 Cricket tournament to be played here in England in September*.

You need to recruit your players, but you have a limited budget so you have restrictions. You need a squad of 12. You are allowed to recruit two overseas players; three England players - one from each of the three sub-groups of the 18 recently contracted - see list below; and seven more players currently playing in any division of the Women's County Championship in England.

Assuming all are fully fit, who would you pick? It's more difficult than you think.

Answers by twitter @wmnscricketblog; email or on a postcard. I'll collate the results (if anyone responds) and let you know how the tournament teams are shaping up.

The 18 contracted England players are:-
Group 1 - Katherine Brunt, Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway, Danielle Hazell, Anya Shrubsole, Sarah Taylor,
Group 2 - Jenny Gunn, Heather Knight, Laura Marsh, Natalie Sciver, Amy Jones, Kathryn Cross
Group 3 - Tammy Beaumont, Georgia Elwiss, Natasha Farrant, Rebecca Grundy, Lauren Winfield, Danielle Wyatt

My 12 would be :-
Meg Lanning (Aus)
Staphanie Taylor (WI)
Sarah Taylor (Eng)
Paige Scholfield (Sussex)
Georgia Hennessy (Warks)
Sophie Luff (Somerset)
Fran Wilson (Somerset)
Arran Brindle (Sussex)
Jodie Dibble (Devon)
Freya Davies (Sussex)
Nat Sciver (England)
Rebecca Grundy (England)


*btw I made this up............or did I? How about this instead of the Super 3s?

Friday, 9 May 2014

Lancs in charge in Div 2 after Week One!

Div 2 County Championship Results Round-Up

Week One

Lancashire have stamped their authority all over Division Two of the County Championship with two convincing wins over possible title challengers Somerset and Ireland. They were the only team to win both their games and sit proudly at the top of the league with maximum bonus points. It seems unlikely that they will be shifted from this spot. Hard on their heels though are Devon and Wales, who put the disappointment of last year's campaigns behind them to start their seasons with thumping wins. At the bottom Staffs and Durham lost both their opening games. 

Lancashire started their promotion campaign against Ireland on Sunday. Inserted by Lancs' skipper Jasmine Titmuss Ireland's innings never really got going as they lost wickets at regular intervals, mainly to England's Kate Cross (4/29). Bhumika Doshi and Nalisha Patel also picked up a couple of wickets each. Only the experience of Isobel Joyce (35) and Mary Waldron (25) saw Ireland through to an under-par 122/10. Lancs lost Laura Marshall early in their reply, but from then on the win was never in doubt as Emma Lamb (57) and Eleanor Threlkeld (31) steadily accumulated the runs. Both eventually fell but not before the game was effectively won, which it duly was in the 31st over with four wickets down.
On Monday Lancs turned their attention to Somerset, who surprisingly beat them in the top of the table play-off last year. Despite being so early in the campaign this was potentially the promotion-winning match. Lancs sailed through it with flying colours. Again they inserted their opponents and 31 overs later they were all out for just 103. Only Sophie Luff (35) put up any meaningful resistance to the rampant Lancs' bowlers. Megan Fairclough took 4/24 as all the Lancs' bowlers chipped in. Lamb (62*) and Marshall (32) put on 84 for the first wicket in reply and victory was secured by eight wickets in the 25th over. Job done.

Devon had to be better this year than they were last, and they started with a crushing 167 run win over Staffs. Put into bat their top six all got starts with Amara Carr (53) and Jodie Dibble (49) making the most of their time at the crease. After 50 overs they had accumulated 228/6. Elsa-Marie Evans claimed 2/41. Thanks to Jodie Dibble (4/11) and two wickets each for Rebecca Donahue and Hazelle Garton, Staffs were shot out for 61 in reply with six ducks for their batsmen. Only Evelyn Jones (26) and Francesca James (12) made double figures for the Midlands side.
It was a disappointing end to the weekend for Staffs who had lost a tight match the day before against Cheshire. Electing to bat Cheshire made 175/6 from their 50 overs with the top four all making contributions. Opener and skipper Jennifer Dunn set the tone with a 136 ball 54. Stephanie Butler claimed 2/10 from her 10 overs. Butler (43) then opened the batting, but lost her opening five partners getting to just 60 runs. At 114/8 the game looked done and dusted in Cheshire's favour, but number 10 Elsa-Marie Evans had other ideas as she hit a run a ball 27, including the only 6 of the game. But with an improbable victory in sight she was stumped with six balls remaining and just eight runs short of the Cheshire total.

Fresh from their victory the previous day Cheshire then travelled to Worcestershire for their second game of the weekend. Inserted by Worcestershire they made 119/10 - Jennifer Dunn, Kate Coppack and Ellie Mason all got into the twenties, but could not go on. Rachel Baldwin took 3/20 and Vicky Evans and Abigail Houghton both took a couple of wickets each. A 70 run partnership between Worcestershire opener Naomi Heywood (46) and number three Thea Brookes (34) put the game to bed and despite a late flurry of wickets to Kate Coppack (3/25) Worcestershire won by four wickets with nine overs in hand.
The day before Worcestershire had lost by three wickets to Somerset. Put into bat Worcs could only make 112/9 in their 50 overs against an accurate Somerset attack lacking Anya Shrubsole. The only release was the bowling of Anya's sister Lauren, but she had the last laugh claiming four Worcs wickets for 42 runs. Somerset made hard work of getting the runs they needed and had Sophie Luff (42*) to thank for anchoring an innings that was drifting onto the rocks at one stage. Thea Brookes (3/29) was the best bowler for Worcs as they claimed seven Somerset wickets (and 3 bowling bonus points) before they reached the required 113 in 30 overs.

Durham joined Staffs at the bottom of the league after defeats to both Wales and Ireland. In the opening game of the season they were bowled out by Wales for just 79. Lauren Parfitt took 3/18, Marsha Davies 2/7 and Naomi Williams-Wadley 2/18. Only three Durham batsmen crawled into double figures. Wales got the runs they needed, but not without losing four wickets and taking up 32 overs. The game with Ireland the following day was a much closer affair, even if runs were still not in great supply. Ireland batted first and made 108/10 in 44 overs with Loughborough's Emma Flannagan (23) the top scorer. In reply Durham staggered to 37/7 and then 66/9, before a brave last wicket partnership took them passed 100 and within touching distance of victory. But a direct hit run out from Amy Kenealy at mid-off ended the spirited Durham fightback and won the game for Ireland.

scorecards - here
league table - here


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Div 1 County Championship Results Round-Up

Royal London Women's County Championship
Week One - Division One Results Round-Up

There were three big winners in the first week of Division One of the Women's County Championship - all winning both their opening games. Defending champions Sussex, and former champions Kent, were no great surprise, but Surrey also got their season off to a magnificent start with wins over fancied Warwickshire and Yorkshire. At the other end of the table it was a horrible start for Essex, Warwickshire and Yorkshire as they all lost both their games. With the entire season consisting of just eight games per team losing your first two is a bit of a disaster.

Sussex defeated Essex on Sunday by 9 wickets. Bowled out for 116 Essex never looked like making a game of it and Sussex romped home to victory. Arran Brindle helped herself to 4/16 and Georgia Elwiss 3/15. Georgia Adams hit a 72 ball undefeated 56, with Elwiss (36) the only victim for Essex. As expected it looks like it is going to be a difficult season for Essex.
On Monday Sussex almost repeated the previous day's events, bowling out a disappointing Warwickshire for 118 and knocking them off for the loss of just Adams (6) and Elwiss (18). Sarah Taylor (41*) and Arran Brindle (34) brought home full batting points. Earlier Elwiss (3/20) and Brindle (2/26) had once again combined to rip the middle out of the Warwickshire innings, following on from accurate opening spells from Izi Noakes and Freya Davies.Warwickshire's bowling looked pretty innocuous with the exception of Georgia Hennessy's right arm medium pace.

Kent showed the power of their batting line-up by clocking up 265/5 against Yorkshire on Sunday and then 231/9 against Middlesex the following day. Charlotte Edwards (129) and Tammy Beaumont (86) put on 226 for the first wicket against Yorkshire, who wilted under the burden of the runs needed and were bowled out for a paltry 92 in the 31st over. 16 year old Megan Belt claimed 3/12.
On Monday Kent made it two from two as they beat Middlesex. Charlotte Edwards raced to 44, with Tammy Beaumont still in single-figures before she was brilliantly run out by Anna Nicholls' direct hit from cover-point. The run-rate then slowed down distinctly as Beaumont and Lydia Greenway dug in to take Kent past the hundred mark by drinks, with Beaumont reaching her second half-century of the weekend, before being caught the next ball. Laura Marsh (who batted but did not bowl) also followed her to the 50 mark as Kent closed on 231/9. Middlesex's reply began solidly enough, with Helena Stolle and Natasha Miles 44/0 after 10 overs; but they had slowed to 69/0 after 20; and when the wickets started to fall thereafter their challenge began to falter. However, some strong hitting by Anna Nicholls (41) towards the end brought Middlesex up to a respectable 197 before they were all out; although this was somewhat abetted by the fact that Kent spent the final overs of the game with just 10 players on the field, with Charlotte Pape in hospital with a dislocated finger and Deanna Cooper on the boundary having twisted her ankle fielding the ball. It was doubtless a disappointing day for Middlesex but not a dispiriting one; and their young amateur team can feel proud of their showing against the seasoned pros from Kent.

Surrey also made a near-perfect start (they dropped just one bowling bonus point) with two narrow victories. On Sunday they put 210/8 on the board against Warwickshire. Kirstie White (26) and Nat Sciver (39) laid the foundation with a 65 run second wicket partnership, and when the momentum stalled Holly Knight (43) and New Zealander Rachel Candy (44*) took up the baton. 17 year old Georgia Hennessy picked up 5/38 for Warwickshire. She then opened the batting and after a nervy start she had scored 84 of her side's 128 when she was the sixth wicket to fall in the 35th over. Warwickshire still needed less than a run a ball, but the rate gradually climbed and wickets fell and they ended 16 runs short as they were bowled out in the penultimate over of the game.
On Monday Surrey again batted first and set opponents Yorkshire a target of 223 to win. Kirstie White (43) made another important contribution at the top of the order, but the stand-out knock came from 16 year old Bryony Smith who scored 60* from 42 balls coming in at number 7 and hitting five 4s and two 6s. Dani Hazell (in her only game of the weekend) claimed 5/42. Yorkshire made a solid start in reply through Lauren Winfield (78), but from 58/0 they fell to 87/3. Winfield then found a willing ally in Kathryn Doherty (47). Together they took the score to 152 before Winfield fell to Holly Knight (2/40). Doherty continued to battle for Yorkshire, but the run rate gradually increased and wickets fell. With three overs left they still needed 18 to win with four wickets in hand. Only two came from that Sciver over, and then five and a wicket from Knight's penultimate over, leaving 11 required from the last, again from Sciver (3/33). It was not to be for Yorkshire as Sciver kept her nerve to bring Surrey home by 7 runs.

The two other games from this opening weekend involved Nottinghamshire. On Sunday they lost to Berkshire in a tight, low-scoring game. Berkshire batted first and were all out in the 48th over for just 141. Top scorers were Carla Rudd and Alex Rogers, both with 27. Aussie Megan Schutt, on her Notts debut, took 3/31, but she was out-performed by Amy Gauvrit, also on debut for Notts (from Northants) who took 4/7 in a four over spell to bring the Berkshire innings to a swift end. In reply Notts got off to a steady start, but none of their top order could get beyond the mid-20s and a run out ended their chances of a win just one run short of the Berkshire total, and with 12 balls still left in the game.
On Monday Amy Gauvrit remarkably took her season's wickets tally into double figures as she claimed 6/24 against a dispirited Essex batting line-up (she only took a total of three wickets for Northants in the 2013 season). Essex only made it up to 93 all out thanks to a late middle-order effort from Laura Owen (22) and Kara Toleman (17). Notts cruised home for the loss of just two wickets with Sonia Odedra (44) top scoring.

The up-to-date league table is here.
Full scorecards are available here