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


1 comment:

  1. A mixture of the predictable (Kent and Sussex's success, Essex's troubles) and the less so (Surrey's success and Yorkshire's troubles). The only disappointing thing from a Sussex point of view was that they didn't take advantage of the low totals they were chasing and let the younger batters have a bit of practice (obviously I have no problem with the Georgias opening, but while Taylor and Brindle probably had fun, I doubt they learned an awful lot).

    A related gripe; Essex, and to a lesser extent Warwickshire, would have known going into their matches with Sussex that they were probably going to lose, and were therefore playing to maximise bonus points. So why bat first? The predictable happened - they were bowled out cheaply and therefore picked up no bowling points as Sussex were able to chase down the totals for one and two wickets.

    Compare that with Middlesex against Kent. Middlesex won the toss and fielded, and were rewarded with maximum bowling points as Kent threw the bat at the end of their innings. Swap the innings around, though, and curtail Kent's innings at the point they passed Middlesex's total, and they would have won the match by 5 wickets, leaving Middlesex with only two bowling points. Based on last weekend, Middlesex should be handily clear of Essex for the relegation place, but if it comes down to a point or two then Essex could be counting the cost of ignoring "marginal gains".

    This is related to my previous gripe because had Essex and Warwickshire done the sensible thing and bowled first, then it's likely more of Sussex's batters would have been required. It's not ideal that the bonus points system rewards winning the toss, but it's even less ideal when teams act contrary to both their own interest and that of player development in general (as a Sussex fan, I'm more annoyed by the lack of practice for our batters, but it also meant around 25 overs less bowling for Essex and Warwickshire).

    Anyway, enough of the negativity. Those are some eye-catching figures by Gauvrit. I'm guessing from circumstantial evidence she's a spinner? She isn't in the Super 3s squads, but presumably if she can reproduce those sorts of performances a couple more times they'll have to find space for her.