It was another action-packed weekend of women's cricket in Divisions 1 and 2 of the Women's County Championship, with some great performances and some amazing results.
In Division 1 Surrey and Notts went into the weekend having won two from two, only for both of them to lose both their games this weekend and throw the County Championship wide open again. It was Middlesex that stepped through the wide-open door, with a nail-biting four run win over Surrey and a comfortable eight wicket win over struggling Lancs. They now sit top of the league with those two wins and the Championship seems to be theirs to lose now. True they still have Kent and Sussex to play, but Kent are likely to be without Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway and Laura Marsh, at least, for that encounter at the end of August, and Sussex could well be missing five front-line players when they meet Middlesex in mid-July. The fixtures have fallen beautifully for Middlesex and it is a question of whether they can hold their nerve. Kent remain unbeaten after comfortable wins over Lancs and Notts, but their strength in depth will be tested in their last four fixtures against Warwickshire, Surrey, Middlesex and Berkshire, who will also be missing their England players of course.
In Division 2 Somerset have shown their title credentials after an emphatic 117 run win over fellow-contenders Devon in their only game of the weekend. True Devon's bowling attack was somewhat depleted after injuries the previous day, but South Africa's Lizelle Lee is loving life in Division 2, smashing runs to all parts of the ground for her maiden century for Somerset. It won't be her last this year. Staffs share top-spot after easy wins over Durham and Ireland. They have tougher games to come. It was also a great weekend for Worcestershire who won both their games against Scotland and a cliff-hanger against Wales. They have proved to be the surprise-package of Div 2 this year and they must be looking forward to their next fixture against Durham in four week's time.
(Div 2 matches will be reviewed and uploaded this afternoon)
Div 1 Review
Game 9 - Berks v Notts
Berks - 182/8 (Alex Blackwell 38, Danni Wyatt 2/18)
Notts - 145 all out (47.1 overs) (Jenny Gunn 52*, Fi Morris 3/28)
Berks won by 37 runs
Berkshire were probably disappointed to only post 182, but it proved to be more than enough as Notts crumbled to 145 all out with only Jenny Gunn (52) and Georgie Boyce (35) putting up any real resistance. Notts made a terrible start to their reply losing Richards, Wyatt and Odedra with only five runs on the board. They also lost Wyatt to hospital as she was run out after slipping and dislocating her shoulder. Gunn did her best to keep Notts in the game, but ran out of partners in the 47th over.
Game 10 - Kent v Lancs
Lancs 180/8 (Kate Cross 68, Kara Sutherland 3/17)
Kent 142/2 (33 overs) (Charlotte Edwards 51, Tammy Beaumont 47)
Kent won by 8 wickets on a faster run rate when game ended by rain after 33 oversLancs did well to recover from 76/5 to post a respectable 180/8 thanks to the bat of Kate Cross and some stickability from the lower middle-order. But Charlotte Edwards (51) and Tammy Beaumont (47) broke the back of the run chase with an 84 run opening partnership despite Kate Cross's bowling, and Greenway and Marsh were leading Kent to an easy victory when the rain brought a premature halt.
Game 11 - Surrey v Middx
Middx 170 all out (Tash Miles 50, Rachel Candy 4/21, Sarah Clarke 3/50)
Surrey 166 all out (41.3 overs) (Libby Walters 30, Danni Warren 5/34)
Middlesex won by 4 runs
Beth Morgan's 100th game for Middlesex was an absoulte cracker. Kiwi Rachel Candy continued her good form for Surrey picking up four wickets as Middlesex threw away a good start (they were 104/2 at one stage) set up by Tash Miles (50), Catherine Dalton (39), and Fran Wilson (30) to finish on a below-par 170. Surrey just needed one of the top five to stick around and they would have got home, but they all fell for 30 or less and it was too much for the lower order who subsided to the wily old medium pace of Danni Warren with more than eight overs still left to play and only four runs needed.
Game 12 - Sussex v Warks
Warks 148/9 (Rebecca Grundy 32, Minahil Zahoor 30)
Sussex 149/3 (Sarah Taylor 74)
Sussex won by 7 wickets
A rather disjointed Sussex strolled to victory over a dysfunctional Warwickshire, who having won the toss bravely elected to bat against one of the strongest bowling attacks in the country. Their opening pair of Rebecca Grundy (32) and Minahil Zahoor (40) managed to add 70 for the first wicket, but they took 21 overs to do so. Amy Jones (1) came in at three but when she was nonchalantly caught one-handed over her head by Izi Noakes at mid-off trying to hit Holly Colvin over the top, the writing was on the wall for Warks. Their young batting line-up gradually capitulated with only Georgia Hennessy (27) putting up any great resistance, as Warks were helped to their total by three dropped catches, some shoddy Sussex fielding, plus a rather blinkered attitude to the bowlers used. The wickets were shared around and Aussie import Erin Osborne claimed her first wicket for the county.
In reply Sussex made a swift start as Adams (20) hit three 4s off the second over, but Georgia Elwiss (10) went in the 6th over and Adams was well caught at slip shortly after to leave Sussex on 40/2. But Sarah Taylor (74) and Izzy Collis (32*) dispatched the far too frequent bad balls adding 93 for the third wicket before Taylor lofted a catch to mid-off, but it was too little too late for Warks.
Game 13 - Berks v Yorks
Berks 104 all out (Alex Rogers 24, Dani Hazell 6/28)
Yorks 105/1 (Lauren Winfield 42*, Katherine Brunt 41*)
Yorkshire won by 9 wicketsBerkshire's batting crumbled to dust before the spin bowling of Dani Hazell (6/28) and Katie Levick (2/40) as they stumbled their way to just over 100 runs. It was never going to be enough and Katherine Brunt, batting at three smashed a quickfire 41* to end the game in just the 15th over of the Yorkshire reply.
Game 14 - Kent v Notts
Kent 214/7 (Laura Marsh 58, Lydia Greenway 57, Sonia Odedra 2/33)
Notts 87 all out (26.5 overs) (Zoe Richards 34, Laura Marsh 5/15, Megan Belt 4/34)
Notts started strongly against the current County Champions removing both Tammy Beaumont (14) and Charlotte Edwards (17) to leave Kent on 40/2, but Laura Marsh (58) and Lydia Greenway (57) added 122 for the third wicket to set up a total well beyond the reach of Notts, minus Dani Wyatt due to her injury from the previous day. From 56/1 Notts disintegrated as a procession of batsmen came and went, with the next nine wickets adding only another 31 runs to the total, as off-spinners Laura Marsh (5/15) and Megan Belt (4/34) wrapped up an easy victory for Kent.
Game 15 - Middx v Lancs
Lancs 101 all out (Natalie Brown 28, Izzy Westbury 3/15, Sophia Dunkley 3/28)
Middx 102/2 (Sophia Dunkley 36*)
Middlesex won by 8 wickets
Middlesex kept their 100% record with a convincing win over Lancs who are really struggling to find their feet in Div 1. Invited to bat Lancs could only muster 101 as they were tied in knots by the Middlesex spinners - Westbury, Dunkley and Hartley. Once Middlesex's Dunkley and Tash Miles had added 63 for the first wicket the result was never in doubt. It was only when skipper Titmuss brought Kate Cross on at fourth change that Lancs got a breakthrough as she picked up both openers. But Middx did not panic and they got home in the 28th over.
Game 16 - Surrey v Warks
Warks 176/9 (Georgia Hennessy 66, Sarah Clarke 3/32)
Surrey 171 all out (49.4 overs) (Sarah Clarke 34*, Katie Green 4/24)
Warwickshire won by 5 runs
Warwickshire pulled off a remarkable victory against title-contenders Surrey thanks to a battling 66 off 110 balls by Georgia Hennessy, and the complete failure of Surrey's top order to score any runs. Hennessy entered the fray with Warks in trouble at 16/2 with both opening bats back in the hutch. When she left Warks had taken their score to 132/6. The lower order eked out another useful 44 runs, five of which would ultimately prove to be the difference between the teams. Surrey's top order got bogged down and then got out to Rebecca Grundy after opening bowler Katie Green had taken two wickets in two balls, including Nat Sciver for her second golden duck of the season. For a while it looked as though 7,8 and 9 - Candy (25), Scutt (23) and Clarke (34*) - might pull off the victory for Surrey, but Anisha Patel accounted for Candy and Scutt and then Green returned to finish off what she had started and to finish with the fine figures of 4/24. Surrey ended up just 5 runs short to round off a thoroughly miserable weekend for them.
Div 2 Review
Game 9 - Devon v Wales
Devon 217 all out (Jodie Dibble 118, Claire Thomas 3/37)
Wales 136 all out (32 overs) (Lauren Parfitt 46)
Devon won by 4 runs when Wales set revised target of 140 to win in 32 overs due to rain interruption
Devon had skipper Jodie Dibble's 118 to thank for their par total of 217 all out. Only three other Devon batsmen made double figures and the highest of those was Cait O'Keefe's 24. Wales used eight bowlers as they tried to winkle Dibble out, but she completed her maiden senior century before falling with the score on 195/7. Between innings rain delayed Wales' response and when they came back out they needed to score 140 from 32 overs. Devon made early inroads, but opener Lauren Parfitt (46) kept Wales' hopes alive. Even when she fell with the score on 100 Wales only needed 40 off 8 overs. Gradually the equation reduced to 17 off 5 with three wickets still in hand, then 11 off three and eight off two. Cartwright was the eighth wicket to fall and with five needed off the last over both Scarborough and Parfitt were run out by Rebecca Silk to clinch the win for Devon.
Game 10 - Durham v Staffs
Staffs 244/1 (Evelyn Jones 115*, Molly Strano 80*)
Durham 150/9 (Rebecca Newark 36*, Stephanie Butler 2/16)
Staffs won by 94 runs
Evelyn Jones (115*) batted throughout the entire Staff's innings for her maiden century for Staffs. She was joined in the controlled run-fest by Aussie Molly Strano who hit 80*. Durham were never in the game after they lost early wickets and only reached 150 thanks to the late order efforts of number 8 Rebecca Newark (36*).
Game 11 - Essex v Ireland
Ireland 139 all out (Kim Garth 49*, Hannah Jeffrey 5/19)
Essex 123 all out (47.1 overs) (Cordelia Griffith 31, Amy Kenealy 3/17, Kim Garth 3/20)
Ireland won by 16 runs
The only significant partnership in the Irish innings was the ninth between Kim Garth (49*) and Amy Kennealy (7 off 33 balls). They took the Ireland score from 63/8 to 112/9 before Kenealy succumbed. A last wicket partnership of 27 between Garth and Jennifer Gray took the final Ireland score to 139. It proved to be too much for Essex who are struggling desperately in Div 2 having been relegated from Div 1 last year.Only opener Cordelia Griffith (31) and keeper Emily Smith (23) scored above 11 as Garth and Kenealy took on the role of tormentors with the ball too. Essex eventually ended 16 runs short when they were bowled out for 123.
Game 12 - Worcs v Scotland
Worcs 211/9 (Joanna Cull 49*, Thea Brookes 43, Abbi Aitken 5/34)
Scotland 179/9 (Olivia Rae 36, Kate McGill 32*, Abigail Houghton 3/32)
Worcestershire won by 32 runs
Worcestershire's middle-order batting all contributed with Joanna Cull (49*) and Thea Brookes (43) the pick of the them. Together they got Worcs to the respectable total of 211/9. Regular early wickets in the Scotland reply, including three in a row to Abi Houghton (3/32), put Scotland on the back foot and they never recovered to challenge the Worcs total despite 36 from Olivia Rae and late runs from Katie McGill (32).
Game 13 - Durham v Scotland
Durham 166/7 (Catherine Chapman 39, Becky Glen 37)
Scotland 50 all out (Elizabeth Priddle 32*, Helen Fenby 4/11. Rachael Petherick 3/24)
Durham won by 105 runs
Durham set Scotland 167 to win, based around a decent third wicket stand between Catherine Chapman (39) and Becky Glen (37). It was a target that Scotland probably felt happy chasing, until that is, they went into bat. Elizabeth Priddle (32*) was the only Wildcat to get into double figures as her partners found ways t get out at the other end. Coming in at four she remained unbeaten as Helen Fenby took four wicket in just 28 balls (4/11) to skittle Scotland out for just 50.
Game 14 - Somerset v Devon
Somerset 312/2 (Lizelle Lee 111, Sophie Luff 109*)
Devon 195 all out (50 overs) (Jodie Dibble 54, Cait O'Keefe 48)
Somerset won by 117 runs
South African opener Lizelle Lee (111) and England Academy's Sophie Luff (109*) took full advantage of a depleted Devon bowling attack (due to injury the day before) and the beautiful Taunton wicket to add 153 for the second Somerset wicket. Luff, scoring her maiden senior century, then added another 139 with Anya Shrubsole (63*) as Somerset piled up 312/2. Devon got to 96/1 in reply, but then lost wickets in clusters as the game slipped away from them.
Game 15 - Staffs v Ireland
Ireland 133 all out (Shauna Kavanagh 36, Laura Delany 34)
Staffs 137/4 (Francesca James 52)
Staffs won by 6 wickets
Once again Ireland's batting looked fragile as they struggled to 133 all out in 44.1 overs with all five of the Staff's bowlers used claiming a brace of wickets for not many runs. Only three Irish players made it into double figures with opener Shauna Kavanagh (36) and number 6 Laura Delany (34) the only major contributors. Staffs had little trouble knocking off the runs they needed, with Francesca James, coming in at four, after some rather pedestrian progress, smashing 52 off just 26 balls including five 6s. She left the carnage with just 11 needed to win, which Staffs achieved in the 32nd over.
Game 16 - Worcs v Wales
Worcs 176/8 (Clare Boycott 53, Lauren Rowles 44)
Wales 174 all out (50 overs) (Megan Burton 35)
Worcestershire won by 2 runs
Having used eight bowlers the previous day Wales went one better in this match with only the keeper and one other not getting a bowl. Ffion Wynne came out the top bowler with 2/16. Worcs' middle-order did most of the run-scoring with Clare Boycott (53) and Lauren Rowles (44) chief scorers. After losing the in-form Lauren Parfitt early Wales looked to be in trouble as they tried to chase down 177 to win, but Megan Burton (35) got them to 130/5, before a flurry of wickets left them floundering again on 137/8 with overs running out. Rose Evans (21) added 14 for the ninth wicket with Cartwright before she became Sian Ruck's second victim. Evans and number 11 Marsha Davies then took the game to the last over, but still needed 15 to win. They got 13 but Evans was out off the last ball to give Worcs the win by just 2 runs.