Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Surrey, Notts and Devon make the perfect start

Despite the weather doing all that it could to spoil the first weekend's fixtures, the Royal London Women's County Championship got off to a cracking start, with only three of the sixteen games in Divs 1 and 2 lost to the weather. Thanks to all the groundsmen who did such a great job to get Sunday's games, in particular, played.

Once the dust had settled on Monday evening (and there was quite a bit of dust to settle) it was Surrey, Notts and Devon who made the most of the opening weekend with two wins out of two. Surrey head Div 1 with full points, but Devon are technically fourth in Div 2 as Somerset, Staffs and Wales all won the one game they played with full bonus points.

Here's a review of all the Div 1 and 2 results...
(scorecards should be available here)

Div 1 Review

Game 1 - Middx v Berks - cancelled
Rain had apparently got under the temporary tarpaulin covers which caused the game to be cancelled. You can read more here.

Game 2 - Kent v Yorks
(game reduced to 46 overs per side)
Yorks - 157/9 (Laura Spragg 41*, Charlotte Pape 2/31)
Kent - 158/1 (Charlotte Edwards 88*, Tammy Beaumont 43) in 31.5 overs

Kent won by 9 wickets
An easy victory for Kent against a depleted, but spirited, Yorkshire team missing Brunt, Hazell, Macdonald and Winfield, due to an England spin camp in Sri Lanka. Is Brunty thinking of becoming a spinner now too?

Game 3 - Notts v Warks 
(game reduced to 35 overs per side)
Warks 104 all out (Minahil Zahoor 34, Zoe Richards 3/13, Rebecca Widdowson 3/24)
Notts 105/5 (Jenny Gunn 27)

Notts won by 5 wickets
Invited to bat Warwickshire never looked like posting anything like a competitive score as they lost wickets early and continued to lose them as their innings progressed. Only opener Minahil Zahoor (34) put up any great resistance as Warwickshire crumbled to 104 all out. Notts overcame the required score, but it took them 33 overs and they lost five wickets in the process.

Game 4 - Surrey v Sussex
(game reduced to 31 overs per side)
Sussex - 139/9 (Sarah Taylor 77, Sarah Clarke 3/28)
Surrey - 143/3 (Kirstie White 67*, Nat Sciver 67, Ellen Burt 2/27) in 27.3 overs

Surrey won by 7 wickets
A wet outfield meant a late start and when Surrey won the toss they inserted Sussex on a green and speedy wicket. Only Sarah Taylor ever got to grips with the pace of the ball as she hit a fluent 77 out of the first 112 runs Sussex scored, before she was the fifth wicket to fall. Tormentor-in-chief for Surrey with the ball was leg-spinner Sarah Clarke, who claimed 3/28 from her seven overs including the key wicket of Taylor. Sussex had been heading for over 150 after 22 overs, but could only add 27 in the last 9 overs to fall well below a par score.
In reply Surrey lost Knight early, but Kirstie White and Nat Sciver both scored 67 apiece in a 129 second wicket stand as Sussex bowled without any great control or discipline. Sciver was dropped at slip off Colvin when on 9, with Surrey on 32/1. Had it been held it might have been a different game, but both White (who also took four catches and a stumping behind the stumps) and Sciver punished the far too frequent short balls, as a well-organised Surrey cruised to full points.

Game 5 - Berks v Surrey
Surrey 217/7 (Rachel Candy 81*, Imogen Brown 3/44)
Berks 215 all out (Emily Gerke 57, Corinne Hll 54, Katherine Robson 2/29) in 49.1 overs

Surrey won by 2 runsSurrey recovered from being 94/5 to post a competitive 217/7 in their 50 overs, thanks in the main to a sparkling 81* (71 balls) from Kiwi Rachel Candy. In response Berks lost Alex Rogers and Linsey Smith before reaching double figures, but Heather Knight (65) and Aussie Corinne Hall (54) took Berkshire beyond 100 before they lost their third wicket. Unfortunately Knight, and Carla Rudd fell in quick succession and when Hall was out, it was left to Emily Gerke (57) to try and steer her side to victory. She hit a maiden half-century, but when she was run out Berks ran out of steam, despite only needing 11 off the last four overs with two wickets in hand. They took it to the last over, needing three to win, but Immy Brown was caught in the gully off the first ball of Rachel Candy's over to get Surrey home

Game 6 - Kent v Sussex
Kent 185/7 (Deanna Cooper 82*, Holly Colvin 2/13, Ellen Burt 2/26)
Sussex 185/7 (Izzy Collis 63*, Charlotte Pape 2/32) in 50 overs.

Match tied ***Kent are appealing the result to the ECB***[see ECB statement here]
An extraordinary game of cricket that ended in a tie, when Sussex sneaked a single off the last ball as Kent erroneously believed the ball to be dead as it was in the keeper's gloves, and started to celebrate what they thought was a win.
Sussex will be kicking themselves for not winning this match. They had Kent 56/5 with Tammy Beaumont (0), Lydia Greenway (8) and Charlotte Edwards (27) back in the hutch, before a fine innings of 82 from Deanna Cooper (not selected the previous day and her highest score for Kent by some way) took Kent to a respectable, but gettable, 185/7. Cooper and keeper, Lauren Griffiths (27), salvaged Kent's innings with a stand of 87 for the sixth wicket, as Sussex failed to hammer home their early advantage, based on a good opening spell from Ellen Burt (2/26), and another stunning legside stumping from Sarah Taylor off Georgia Elwiss, to remove Edwards.
Sussex got off to a rollicking start in reply through Georgia Elwiss, before she was brilliantly caught by Beaumont in the gully from a slashing drive off Farrant. Sussex's 50 came up in the 9th over, but when Alexia Walker (18) fell in the 10th over the scoring dried up, as Sussex failed to look for singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The next 50 runs took another 16 overs and when Sarah Taylor (26) was out in the 27th over Sussex were 104/3, needing 82 off 23 overs. Holly Colvin departed for 14 in the 38th over by which time Sussex had only moved the score on to 133/4. 53 were still needed off 12 overs. The equation came down to 34 off the last 6 overs before Sussex seemed to realise the urgency of the situation. Singles began to be taken freely, although boundaries remained completely elusive (not one was hit in the last 15 overs). Ultimately Sussex needed five to win off the last over, and then two to win off the last ball, bowled by Kent skipper Edwards. She bowled the ball, it was missed by batsmen Ellen Burt and taken by Griffiths behind the stumps, who then removed a bail in a failed attempted stumping. The Kent team, as one, began to celebrate an unlikely victory, but non-striker Izzy Collis (63*) was already halfway down the track looking for a single. She called her partner through for the bye, as Kent continued to celebrate. Despite Kent's protests the umpires rightly adjudicated that the ball was not dead just because it was in the wicket-keeper's gloves, as Sussex were attempting a run. The run therefore stood and the game was tied.

Game 7 - Notts v Lancs Thunder
Lancs 141 all out (Natalie Brown 26, Jenny Gunn 2/20, Sonia Odedra 2/30)
Notts 142/5 (Jane Smit 31, Nalisha Patel 3/24) in 46.5 overs
Notts won by 5 wickets
New girls Lancs Thunder came unstuck in their first game in the "Big Time" as they were bowled out for 141. Their top order all made starts, but no-one could go on to make a significant score as Notts shared the wickets around. At 73/4 with Gunn and Wyatt out Lancs might have sniffed an unlikely win, but Aussie Zoe Richards came in at 7 and smashed a quick-fire 28 off 16 balls to bring the game to an abrupt ending.

Game 8 - Warks v Yorks 
Yorks 207/9 (Lauren Winfield 64, G Davies 3/28)
Warwks 121/8 (Katie Levick 5/19)
Yorks won by 86 runs
Yorkshire bounced back from their defeat to Kent on Sunday with a convincing win over Warwickshire, It helped that they had Brunt, Hazell, Macdonald and Winfield back in the fold, particularly as Winfield top scored with 64. Brunt then took two early wickets, but it was Katie Levick's legspin which put paid to Warwickshire's chances. She took 5/19 which ensured Warwickshire ended well short.

Div 2 Review

Game 1 - Devon v Essex
Essex 98 all out (Karen Baker 21, Cait O'Keefe 2/13, Hazelle Garton 2/17, Jodie Dibble 2/18)
Devon 99/6 (Cait O'Keefe 19, Hannah Courtnell 3/28)

Devon won by 4 wickets
Only Karen Baker (21) and Beth Langston (20) got into double figures for Essex as they struggled to make any headway against the Devon attack. After an opening stand of 34 Devon lost three quick wickets in the 40s, to be 45/4 at one stage, but recovered their composure to defeat an Essex side who look like they may struggle again this season, despite the drop in divisions.

Game 2 - Staffs v Somerset - cancelled due to rain

Game 3 - Wales v Scotland - cancelled due to rain

Game 4 - Worcs v Ireland
Ireland 315/5 (Isobel Joyce 127*, Meg Kendal 56*, Abigail Houghton 3/49)
Worcs 189 all out (Rachel Baldwin 47, Laura Delany 3/27)

Ireland won by 126 runs
Isobel Joyce got her, and Ireland's, season off to a flying start hitting an unbeaten 127 in Ireland's massive total of 315, against the Div 2 underdogs Worcs. She shared an unbroken stand of 150 for the sixth wicket with New Zealand import, Meg Kendal.
In reply Worcs batted well to reach a creditable 189 with decent contributions from the top and middle order, but never looked like troubling Ireland's huge total.

Game 5  - Devon v Durham
Devon 268/4 (Amara Carr 95, Aylish Cranstone 60)
Durham 102 all out (Jodie Dibble 3/19)

Devon won by 166 runs
Openers Amara Carr (95) and Aylish Cranstone (60) put on 144 for the first wicket for Devon, which set the platform for a sizeable total, which Durham never got close to overcoming. They were bowled out in the 42nd over for 102 with Jodie Dibble the chief wicket-taker (3/19).

Game 6 - Somerset v Ireland
Somerset 223/9 (Sophie Luff 65, Gwenan Davies 52, Louise McCarthy 2/35)
Ireland 65 all out (Anya Shrubsole 2/9, Lauren Shrubsole 2/9, Jeny Withers 2/23)

Somerset won by 158 runs
Ireland came crashing back down to earth after their huge win against Worcs on Sunday when they were on the other end of a hiding from title-chasers Somerset. South African Lizelle Lee missed out at the top of the Somerset order, but Welsh import Gwenan Davies (52) and Sophie Luff (65) set up the Somerset innings with a stand of 83. Skipper Anya Shrubsole (37) kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the Somerset innings fell away towards the end to leave them slightly short of where they might have expected to be. But it proved to be plenty as Ireland subsided to 65 all out in less than 25 overs with only Gaby Lewis (28) scoring above 14 and four players picking up ducks, including the previous day's heroine Isobel Joyce.

Game 7 - Staffs v Scotland
Scotland 194 all out (Kirstie Gordon 60*, Kathryn Whyle 3/40)
Staffs 196 for 5 (Evelyn Jones 54) in 43.5 overs

Staffs won by 5 wickets
Having had their game the previous day rained off this was Scotland's debut in Div 2. Promising youngster Kirstie Gordon (60*) top-scored for the Scots with a maiden half-century, but found little support from the Scot's middle and late order batsmen. Staffs made a solid if unspectacular start to their reply through Evelyn Jones (56) and Charlotte Whyle (26). Scotland took the occasional wicket but could never really impose too much pressure on Staffs who knocked off the required runs in the 44th over.

Game 8 - Wales v Essex
Wales 217/6 (Lauren Parfitt 109*)
Essex 133 all out (Beth Langston 65, Claire Thomas 3/22)

Wales consigned Essex to their second defeat of the weekend as opener Lauren Parfitt scored her maiden Wales Senior's century, in her 60th knock for her country. Opening bowler Beth Langston could not break through with the ball for Essex, but she did hold the faltering Essex reply together with 65 off 101 balls. Karen Baker (19) was the only other Essex batsman to make double figures, as Essex stumbled to 133 all out in the 41st over.



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  3. Thank you once again Martin. It's a great, and may I say very quirky rule, that allows Ireland to select overseas players players for their team. If only England were afforded the same luxury...We could second Ellyse Perry for the Ashes!

    Joking aside, that Kent/Sussex match raised some controversy. Appealing to the ECB seems drastic but it shows they want to win badly. Presumably Kent would have needed to remove a stump to effect a run out and win outright.

    Elsewhere it looks to me like Sciver is still doing enough to warrant an England place. Getting Knight out would have helped.

    1. Nat was certainly quick; and she is seriously fit - chased down a ball that looked like a CERTAIN four from 30-odd yards across the outfield. Daisy Gardner looked a better bowler on the day though. Oh... and the edge that got Knight was... shall we say... very, VERY thin ;-)

  4. Great stuff as usual Martin. If the circumstances you describe here are correct re Sussex-Kent then the correct decision was made. Surely the Laws don't permit an appeal against the umpire's decision, even had they been wrong on a point of law? Ireland having overseas players, well it's a county competition, so if say Yorkshire are allowed to select people who aren't from Yorkshire, which they are and do, same should apply to Ireland. Netherlands have also used OS players in the past.

    1. Yes. It's fine, and only fair as the counties they're competing against can have OS players. It just sparked a thought about the vagaries of teams like Ireland and Scotland playing both county and international matches, and having to change the side in between!

  5. Great start to the season, watching on line score, deterred me from heading down to the Kent game. Should've known it was never going to be a straight forward game. While I can understand their frustrations, an appeal does nothing for the reputation of Kent CCC. This is the contradiction between growing professionalism and the spirit of the game. Umpires are always under more pressure in games involving professional / semi professional cricketers.