Friday, 3 April 2015

Women's County Championship 2015 Div 2 Squads, Preview & Fixtures

The nine teams in Division 2 for 2015 will be - Devon, Durham, Essex, Ireland, Scotland, Somerset, Staffordshire, Wales, Worcestershire. Cheshire were relegated from Division 2 last year and Scotland were promoted to Division 2 after finishing top of Division 3. Worcestershire retained their place in Division 2 after beating the Netherlands in the relegation/promotion play-off last season.

Each team will play each other just once and the teams that finish first and second in Division Two at the end of the season will be promoted to Division 1. The teams that finish eighth and ninth will be automatically relegated to Division 3 for the 2016 season.

Positions in the league will again be decided on the average number of points a team achieves from completed, but not cancelled or abandoned games (which are ignored). Teams are awarded 10 points for a win and 5 points for a tie. No points are awarded for an abandoned game. Up to 4 batting (RR of 4 RPO required) and 4 bowling bonus points (9+ wickets) can be achieved, making a maximum of 18 points per completed game.

Having failed to achieve promotion in 2013, despite winning all their games, Lancashire were red hot favourites to make it into Div 1 in 2014. They achieved their goal winning all but their last game of the season to Staffordshire. Somerset just pipped Ireland to second place in the league, beating them by 10 runs in the last game of the season. It meant they got to play against Div 1's Warwickshire to decide who played in Div 1 next year. Having missed out on promotion last year (due to the weather) they must have been heartbroken when Warwickshire achieved the required 15 runs needed off the last over (from Anya Shrubsole no less) to win by 3 wickets and preserve their place in Div 1. Ireland had a good season finishing with five wins out of eight, as did Devon and Staffs.

The scrap at the top in 2015 should be between these four teams - Somerset, Ireland, Devon and Staffs, with newcomers Scotland the wildcard. They were promoted as champions of Div 3 last year and will be keen to make their mark in this higher league.

Devon (finished 3rd in 2014)
Team Colours : Blue
Overseas Player : Hannah Linton
England Academy Players : Aylish Cranstone, Jodie Dibble

Devon will be looking to make that final step to Division 1 in 2015 with what looks like being a fully fit squad for the first time in recent years. They welcome back top order bat and left arm seam bowler Aylish Cranstone after a year out recovering from shoulder injury. They will be skippered once again by Jodie Dibble and will be hopeful that they can get a full season out of both her and keeper bat Amara Carr. They also welcome back Kiwi Hannah Linton for a second stint and have added the promising young all-rounder from Cornwall, Sophie Mackenzie, to bolster the seam attack and middle order. It is also hoped that former U19 Development player Rebecca Bertrand will make herself available for the 2015 campaign, which should help to cover the loss of last year’s stand out batsman Rosalie Fairbairn, who misses the season as she prepares for the birth of her first child. Perhaps the most interesting additions are the signings of Rebecca Silk and Bryony Butcher, formerly of Sussex and Essex respectively. Both bring Division 1 experience and Silk gives more balance to the spin attack of  left armers Dibble and Garton, with her off breaks. Devon are a youthful looking side that should be looking to make a serious challenge for the top two spots. 
Squad (with numbers) : Jodie Dibble (48) capt, Amara Carr (1), Lydia Harris (2), Rebecca Bertrand (3), Vicky Bowden (5), Hazelle Garton (6), Alli Kelly (8), Lauren Bowden (9), Cait O'Keefe (10), Rebecca Donahue (11), Lydia Clements (15), Bryony Butcher (20), Hannah Linton (23), Phoebe Graham (25), Rebecca Silk (26), Claire Varcoe (28), Sophie MacKenzie (32), Aylish Cranstone (44), Jodie Dibble (48)

Durham (finished 7th in 2014)
Team Colours : Dark Blue with yellow details
Overseas Player : None
England Academy Players : None
Durham only beat the two teams who finished below them in the league last year and struggled against the rest, apart from a tight, low-scoring game with champions Lancashire. Runs were often the issue. Laura Hockaday hit her maiden century for the county against Worcestershire, but could not get past 50 in any other game. Catherine Chapman was the only other batsmen to get beyond 50 during the season. Lynn McDonnell and Rachael Petherick led the bowlers. 2015 could be another tough season.
Squad (with numbers) : Laura Ellison (31) (capt), Hayley Falla (2), Laura Hockday (9), Rachael Petherick (3), Catherine Chapman (5), Danielle Peart (1), Sarah King (14), Elysa Hubbard (8), Rebecca Newark (37) , Laura Jones (4), Phillipa Rawbone (56), Lynn McDonnell (98), Caitlin Byrne (7), Jane Riddell (11), Helen Fenby (6), Courtney Coulson (26), Becky Glen (24), Caroline Jamieson (28), Courtney Rowland (97), Bethany Walker (10), Sophie Jacobson (12), Amy Hearn (16), Vanessa Watson (17), Athena Fernyhough (25)

Essex (relegated from Div 1 in 2014)
Team Colours : Blue
Overseas Player : Emily Smith
England Academy Players : Beth Langston
Essex struggled in Div 1 for the past two seasons and were relegated to Div 2 after finishing bottom last year, with just one win. They struggled to score runs all season except in their win over Berkshire (chasing down 193 to win). Overseas signing Emily Smith will keep wicket, but will not strengthen the batting a great deal. If Beth Langston and Cordelia Griffith can both stay fit and play then Essex will at least have a fighting chance, but they are are more likely to be in the bottom three than the top three.
Squad : Hannah Courtnell (capt), Beth Langston, Cordelia Griffith, Lilly Reynolds, Hannah Jeffery, Kara Toleman, Emily Smith, Mady Villiers, Kelly Castle, Shona Keaney, Jessica Bird, Florence Wilkinson, Millie Oddi, Rebecca Neill, Charlotte Hayman.

Ireland (finished 4th  in 2015)
Team Colours : Green
Overseas Player : None
England Academy Players : None
Ireland had a decent season in 2014 winning five of their eight games and finishing level with Staffs in fourth place in the league and 2015 will be a big season for them. Veteran Clare Shillington topped the batting in 2015, but only she and Cecilia Joyce got past 50. 17 year old leg-spinner Elena Tice was top wicket-taker last year (18 wickets) and she will be a key weapon this year. Ireland will also be hoping that the influential and experienced Isobel Joyce, who missed two months in the middle of the 2014 season, will be fit for all their games this year. With World Cup qualification also looming at the end of the year Ireland will need her. Should be in contention for promotion.
Squad (with shirt numbers): Hannah de Burgh Whyte (32), Laura Delany (14), Emma Flannagan (20), Kim Garth (34), Jennifer Gray (29), Cecilia Joyce (44), Isobel Joyce (33), Shauna Kavanagh (85), Amy Kenealy (18), Louise McCarthy (47), Kate McKenna (46), Lucy O'Reilly (99), Eimar Richardson (8), Rebecca Rolfe ((5), Clare Shillington (11), Elena Tice (48), Mary Waldron (81)

Scotland (promoted from Div 2 in 2014)
Team Colours : Blue with a wee bit of tartan
Overseas Player : None
England Academy Players : None
Scotland arrive in Div 2 as Div 3 champions having lost only one game, to Northants, in their 2014 season opener. They are a young and enthusiastic bunch ably led by veteran Abbi Aitken. Scotland's player/coach and number 3, Kari Anderson (Carswell), was the most consistent with the bat, finishing with a league average of 85 thanks to four not outs in seven innings. She also topped the wicket-takers. Her potential absence on the pitch this year will be a big blow. Scotland too are involved in the World Cup tournament in November, so will be challenging themselves in their first season in Div 2. They may find life quite a bit tougher.
Squad (with shirt numbers): Abbi Aitken (91) capt, Charlotte Bascombe (19), Sarah Bryce (6), Kathryn Bryce (17), Kari Carswell (82), Priyanaz Chatterji (7), Lynne Dickson (13), Annette Drummond (8), Briony Gillin (46), Kirstie Gordon (24), Sam Haggo (42), Lorna Jack (10), Abtaha Maqsood (9), Caitlin Ormiston (33), Liz Priddle (16), Ollie Rae (14), Rachel Scholes (5), Kirsty Strachan (1), Fiona Urquhart (27), Nadia Wheeler (23), Kathryn White (11), Lois Wilkinson (73), Ruth Willis (4)

Somerset (finished 2nd  in 2014)
Team Colours : Maroon
Overseas Player : Lizelle Lee
England Players : Anya Shrubsole
England Academy Players : Sophie Luff
Somerset have missed out on promotion for the last two years and you get the feeling that that boat may have sailed. They are unlikely to see much of Anya Shrubsole, although they didn't see much of her last year (she only bowled 18 overs in county games). They have also lost Fran Wilson to Middlesex. But they have bolstered  their batting line up recruiting Gwenan Davies from Wales and South African international Lizelle Lee, who could have a huge impact. 2014 saw the emergence of young bowlers Lorraine Szczepanski & Cassie Coombes who both made a significant impact and a great deal may rest on their shoulders again this year. Lee could be key to another promotion challenge.
Squad (with shirt numbers): Anya Shrubsole capt (41), Lizelle Lee (67), Beth Howe (3), Cassie Coombes (5), Emma Godman (19), Georgia Adcock (7), Georgia Tulip (13), Gwenan Davies (33), Gwyn West (20), Jackie Hawker (21), Jenny Withers (9), Lauren Shrubsole (16), Lorraine Szczepanski (10), Moira Comfort (1), Sophie Luff (6)

Staffordshire (finished 4th  in 2014)
Team Colours : tba
Overseas Player : Molly Strano
England Academy Players : Steph Butler, Evelyn Jones
Staffs were due to have South African Dane van Niekerk as their overseas player for 2015, but when that fell through they picked up promising young Aussie off-spinner Molly Strano. If she makes the Aussie Ashes touring squad she will not play much of the season, but she and Steph Butler may prove an interesting combination. Much will be expected of opening bat Evelyn Jones after her swift elevation to the England Academy this winter. The left-hander will be looking to make some big runs this season. Staffs are likely to be in the top four again, but there are other teams that again look stronger in this division this year.
Squad : Elsa Evans capt, Francesca James, Molly Strano, Steph Butler, Evelyn Jones, Elysse Lally, Charlotte Whyle, Kathryn Whyle, Amy Carnwell, Lucy Kelsall, Cheryl Allcock, Alex Hale, Charlotte Steele

Wales (finished 6th  in 2014)
Team Colours : tba
Overseas Player : None
England Academy Players : None
Wales struggled for runs against the decent sides last year and with the loan of key bat Gwenan Davies to Somerset they are likely to struggle in 2015. Lauren Parfitt will probably shoulder most of the burden for runs and wickets and she will need some of her young players to help her out, if Wales are not to be fighting relegation come September.
Squad : yet to be announced

Worcestershire (finished 8th in 2014)
Team Colours : tba
Overseas Player : None
England Academy Players : None
Worcestershire struggled in 2014 beating just relegated Cheshire in the regular season, but then survived with a win over Div 3 runners-up Holland in a low-scoring play-off game. Lauren Rowles takes over the captaincy full time this year having performed really well in the role last year having deputised for Thea Brookes towards the end of 2014. Brookes should be available for the whole of the 2015 season and her experience and quality will be invaluable in providing the team with firepower at the top of the order, and quality spin bowling and athleticism in the field. Emily Arlott had a wonderful breakthrough year in 2015. Having been involved in the England Women’s Development Programme over this past winter, it will be interesting to see how she progresses. Charlotte North returns on loan from Yorkshire again for 2015.
Squad : Lauren Rowles capt, Naomi Heyward, Emily Arlott, Rachel Baldwin, Clare Boycott, Thea Brookes, Jo Cull, Vicky Evans, Jo Greaves, Abi Houghton, Jess Humby, Charlottre North, Sarvi Razavi, Emma Waters


Sunday 3rd May
Devon v Essex at Exmouth CC
Staffs v Somerset at Bloxwich
Wales v Scotland at St Helens Swansea CC
Worcs v Ireland at Kidderminster Victoria CC

Monday 4th May
Devon v Durham at North Devon CC
Somerset v Ireland at Bath CC
Staffs v Scotland at Oakmoor
Wales v Essex at Pontarddulais CC

Sunday 24th May
Devon v Wales at Sidmouth CC
Durham v Staffs at Durham City CC
Essex v Ireland at Felsted School
Worcs v Scotland at Barnt Green CC

Monday 25th May
Durham v Scotland at Durham City CC
Somerset v Devon at Taunton CC
Staffs v Ireland at Meakins
Worcs v Wales at Kidderminster Victoria CC

Sun 21st June
Devon v Ireland at Tiverton Heathcoat
Durham v Worcs at Durham City CC
Essex v Somerset at Felsted School
Wales v Staffs at Ynystawe CC

Sunday 19th July
Durham v Ireland at Durham City CC
Essex v Worcs at Garon Park, Southend
Somerset v Scotland at Brislington CC
Staffs v Devon at Milford Hall CC

Monday 17th Aug
Durham v Staffs at Durham City CC

Sunday 30th Aug
Essex v Scotland at Billericay CC
Somerset v Durham at Midsomer Norton CC
Wales v Ireland at Newport CC
Worcs v Devon at New Road, Worcs

Mon 31st Aug
Essex v Staffs at Garon Park, Southend
Scotland v Ireland at Wellesbourne CC
Wales v Durham at Newport CC
Worcs v Somerset at Barnards Green CC

Sun 13th Sept
Devon v Scotland at Exmouth CC
Durham v Essex at Durham City CC
Somerset v Wales at The County Ground, Taunton
Staffs v Worcs at Meakins



  1. No Beth McGregor for Essex, what's happened there?

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.