Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Round 3 of the Women's County Championship

Another Bank Holiday weekend brings another double-header in the third round of fixtures in the Royal London Women's County Championship.

In Division 1 Surrey are in the firing line of both the current unbeaten top team - Warwickshire, and six times champions and leading contenders - Kent. After defeating last year's county champions Yorkshire away at Harrogate last time out, Surrey will go into both games in a much more positive mindset than they might have done. It is Warwickshire's only game of the weekend and they will be desperately keen to remain unbeaten with Staffs their only other opponents (in three week's time) before the county championship mid-season break. For Surrey, having lost their opening two games of the season, two more defeats would leave them in a heap of trouble with just three games to play.

At Finchampstead opponents Berks and Yorkshire will both be looking to bounce back from defeats two weeks ago. Yorkshire must feel that if they can get Heather Knight cheaply then they should get their first win on the board. They will also be confident of inflicting a similar result on new girls Staffs the following day. Berkshire will be making the trip down the M4 to Somerset for their second game of the weekend. It is a game that Somerset must be targeting for a win. They have been second-best by some way in games against Kent and Sussex so far this season and if they are to avoid the drop back into Div 2 this is a must-win game for them.

The previous day they take on Middlesex, who were bowled out for 92 by Kent two weeks ago. England hopeful Fran Wilson missed that game with a knee injury sustained in the warm-up, and is not playing again in a T20 game for Middlesex this evening. Without her the Middlesex batting looks exposed and Somerset could be in with a shout of a bit of an upset.

Kent v Staffs completes the Sunday line-up. It is difficult to see Staffs getting very much out of the game as Kent once again parade their seven current or former international players.

The final game of the weekend is Sussex's only one as they host Middlesex. Sussex will be hoping to keep up the pressure on the top teams with their third win of the season. They will still be missing Sarah Taylor and Georgia Adams, which gives Middlesex the opportunity to pressurise the young Sussex batting line-up. It should be an intriguing contest.

In Division 2 there are just six games over the two days, with most teams only getting one outing. Top two - Devon and Lancs, take on Wales and Worcestershire respectively and will be expecting to remain unbeaten. Also unbeaten Notts, who have perhaps been the most impressive side in the division in their games to date, will be looking to clock up wins against Hampshire and Essex in home games at Welbeck CC.

Worcestershire will have played Leicestershire the day before, which could get them their first win on the board, but they failed to chase down Hampshire's 110 two weeks ago, and Leicestershire will scrap hard. It could be a tough match.

After their trip to Notts Hampshire return home on Bank Holiday Monday to take on Wales, who started their season with a good win over Essex, but then lost by 5 wickets to Notts. It should be a tight game on the Nursery Ground at the Ageas Bowl.

Division 1

Sunday 29th May
Berkshire v Yorkshire at Finchampstead CC
Kent v Staffs at KCCC Beckenham
Middlesex v Somerset at Teddington CC
Surrey v Warwickshire at Reed's School

Monday 30th May
Kent v Surrey at KCCC Beckenham
Somerset v Berkshire at Midsomer Norton CC
Staffs v Yorkshire at Meakins
Sussex v Middlesex at Billingshurst CC

Division 2

Sunday 29th May
Leicestershire v Worcestershire at Empingham CC
Notts v Hampshire at Welbeck CC
Wales v Devon at Usk CC

Monday 30th May
Hampshire v Wales at Nursery Ground, Ageas Bowl
Lancashire v Worcestershire at Northern CC
Notts v Essex at Welbeck CC

MD 24/V/16

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