Friday, 14 August 2015

Who will be Div 1 & 2 T20 Champions?

This Sunday is the final weekend of the NatWest Women's County T20 competition. Here are the fixtures

Division One
Yorkshire, Ireland and Middlesex are at Harrogate CC
Sussex, Somerset and Berkshire are at East Grinstead CC
Kent, Surrey and Notts are at Polo Farm Sports Club

Division Two
Derbyshire, Cheshire and Warwickshire are at Denby CC
Essex, Wales and the Netherlands are at Billericay CC
Durham, Staffs and Lancashire are at Durham City CC

Division One - Preview (hold on to your hats this may take a while)
There is a very plausible scenario where four teams could all end up on 24 points at the top of Division One - Yorkshire, Kent, Sussex and Middlesex. Yorkshire and Kent are in the driving seat as they currently sit on 20 points (five wins out of six games), whereas Sussex and Middlesex have 16 points (four wins from six games). If either Yorkshire or Kent win both their games on Sunday then they will finish on 28 points. They are not playing each other, so this is very possible. If they both win both games, then it will be Yorkshire that take the title as they beat Kent in the group fixture.
[Check out the current league table here]

Yorkshire have a rampant Ireland (fresh from wins over Sussex and Notts last weekend) and title-chasers Middlesex to play. The last game at Harrogate will be Yorkshire v Middlesex. If they have both defeated Ireland then it will be all to play for in that final game. A win for Middlesex would mean they equal Yorkshire's points tally.

Meanwhile down in Canterbury Kent have Surrey and Notts to play. They currently fill the last two relegation places in Div 1, Surrey without a win to their name so far in T20s this year (and now without Rachel Candy, safely back in New Zealand) and Notts with just one win to date over Somerset. It seems that Kent have the easier fixtures and they should have the benefit of the return of Tammy Beaumont and Tash Farrant. But with Surrey and Notts scrapping for survival and with Danni Wyatt back in Nott's colours things could get tastey down at Polo Farm CC.

Just over the border in Sussex, Sussex will be taking on Somerset and Berkshire. After a disappointing defeat to Ireland last week they know they have to win both games to stand any chance of winning the division. Opponents Berkshire are relatively safe from relegation (it is statistically possible) having already secured three wins, but Somerset could find themselves being relegated to Div 2 next season if they do not at least pick up one win.

So if all four teams finish on 24 points what will happen? The rules state that "when more than two teams have equal points, the team that was the winner of the most number of matches played between those teams will be placed in the higher position". In my scenario Yorkshire will have lost to Sussex and Middlesex; Middlesex will have lost to Sussex and Kent; Kent will have lost to Yorkshire and Sussex will have lost to Kent. Which would put Kent and Sussex in top spot and they would have to be separated by the dreaded net run rate.

Division Two - Preview
Division Two is Lancashire's to lose. They are currently unbeaten and the only team that can realistically stop them taking the title are Staffordshire, who they meet along with Durham at Durham City CC. Lancs would have to lose both games and Staffs win both for the two teams to finish on the same points at the top of the league. If this happened then Staffs would potentially be the champions as they would have beaten Lancs in their league fixture, but only if no-one else finishes on 24 points too! Lancs play Staffs at 1.30pm and then finish their season against Durham in the final game of the day.
[Current Div 2 Table is here]

In fact Netherlands, Staffs and Warwickshire could all finish on 24 points if they all win both their games. Realistically they should be fighting it out for the second promotion spot behind Lancs, but it could be a four-way tie at the top!

At the other end of the table Derbyshire are languishing at the bottom without a win to date and will need to pull off two wins against Cheshire and Warwickshire if they are to have any chance of surviving the drop into Div 3 next year. With two teams to go down Cheshire are themselves under a bit of pressure as they only have 8 points, as do Wales. Wales have mid-table Essex and Netherlands (who have four wins under their belts) as their final two opponents of the season at Billericay CC. Just one win for Cheshire and Wales should see them safe.

In fact Netherlands, Staffs and Warwickshire could all finish on 24 points if they all win both their games, which could match Lancs current score. If they were all to tie then it looks like it would be a net run rate shoot out between Lancs and Warwickshire.

Let's hope the weather doesn't play too much of a part in deciding who wins and who loses their top of the table or relegation scraps. Crazily cancelled games give teams just one point each which could totally wreck any team's chances. Fingers crossed for some sun.


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