Friday, 19 June 2015

County Champs reaches half-way stage

Attention turns again to The Women's County Championship as it reaches it's half-way stage this Sunday with the fifth round of fixtures being played. We look at all the fixtures in Divs 1 & 2 and try to pick some winners.

Division One
Lancashire v Surrey at Urmston CC
Sussex v Notts at Billingshurst CC
Warwickshire v Kent at Egbaston Foundation Ground
Yorkshire v Middlesex at Harrogate CC

In Div 1 unbeaten Middlesex make the long journey to Harrogate to take on Yorkshire. Lauren Winfield and Katherine Brunt should be in the Yorkshire line-up, but it will be interesting to see if Dani Hazell makes it on to the field. She was absent from Yorkshire's recent T20 games in Surrey, where they beat Surrey, but lost to Sussex. Yorkshire will also have played Notts in a T20 match at Headingley tonight (Friday), before the same men's T20 Blast fixture. Middlesex will be buoyant after winning their first two County Championship games (against Surrey and Lancs) and their first two T20 games (against Notts and Somerset), but Yorkshire may prove tougher opposition particularly on home turf.
Sussex host the mercurial Notts at Billingshurst, which could prove to be the game of the weekend. Danni Wyatt is in sparkling form with the bat in T20 cricket, but can she convert that to the longer format? Sussex will hope not. They should be at full strength, and after a shakey start to the season they seem to have got their ducks in a row and look a formidable side in all formats.
Kent will be hoping to take full points from their encounter with Warwickshire to keep themselves in the title battle, before losing their England contingent for the remainder of the Championship season. But Warwickshire beat Surrey in their last County Championship game and if they can put some runs on the board then they could give Kent a good run for their money. They are a young team under the leadership of 24 year old England left-arm spinner Rebecca Grundy. Could she get one over on her illustrious England skipper?
Finally in Div 1 Lancs host Surrey for whom not much has gone right since they beat Sussex and Berkshire on the opening weekend of the season. They have subsequently lost in the County Championship to Middlesex and Warwickshire and they lost both their opening T20 games on Sunday to Yorkshire (by 10 wickets) and Sussex (by 8 wickets). They will be looking to bounce back against Lancs who have yet to pick up a win in the top flight of the County Championship. If Rachel Candy and Sarah Clarke are back in for the fixture then Lancs might still be winless come Monday.

Division Two
Devon v Ireland at Tiverton Heathcoat
Durham v Worcestershire at Durham City CC
Essex v Somerset at Felsted School
Wales v Staffordshire at Ynystawe CC

Staffordshire sit at the top of Div 2 with three wins out of three, but suffered a torrid time at last weekend's Div 2 T20 matches, losing to the Netherlands and Warwickshire. Mind you Wales, their opponents on Sunday didn't fare much better, losing to Cheshire and Durham in the same division. Staffs look likely to make it four from four.
Somerset are also unbeaten so far this season and Essex are the team that have to find an answer to South African opener Lizelle Lee, who is getting great support at the top of the order from Gwenan Davies, Sophie Luff and Anya Shrubsole. Over 300 could be on the cards again if Somerset get to bat first.
Devon need to beat Ireland to keep their title challenge on track. Ireland have struggled for runs after scoring over 300 in their first game of the season, and so are won two lost two so far this season. Jodie Dibble has been scoring plenty of runs at the top of the order for Devon and they look like they might be too strong for Ireland, but this could be the game of the weekend in Div 2.
Finally Worcestershire have made a great start to the season with wins over Scotland and Wales in the Championship. Durham pasted Scotland in their last Championship game and had a decent opening to their Div 2 T20 campaign last week, beating Wales and narrowly losing out to T20 surprises Cheshire. This could go either way.


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