Monday, 13 June 2016

Rain turns County Championship into tactical minefield

Rain ruined the fourth round of games in the Women's County Championship, with just three games out of seven being completed in the top two divisions.

In Division 1 Kent kept up their push for a seventh Championship title with a crushing win over last year's champions Yorkshire, who were without opening bowlers Katherine Brunt and Beth Langston. Yorkshire managed to restrict Kent to 206/6 off their 50 overs, but were then rolled over for just 54, with only two batsmen making double figures and Kent off-spinner Megan Belt taking 5/8.

It means that Kent have taken full bonus points from every game they have played so far, even their defeat to Sussex, which leaves them breathing hard down the necks of current leaders, the unbeaten Warwickshire. The two teams meet on Sunday 28th August when the WCC resumes and the winner will have the Championship in their pocket by the close of play. Kent will have Berkshire still to play and Warwickshire will have Middlesex and Somerset. Technically they also have Yorkshire and Staffs to play (both games cancelled), but, given the ridiculous WCC rules, they are unlikely to play either of them as it would be of no benefit to them to do so.

The rain has also created a similar position at the bottom of the league with some teams desperate to play games they think they might win, and others happy to avoid games they think they might lose. There seems little incentive for Surrey to agree to replay yesterday's cancelled game with Sussex. They have the two teams below them in the league still to play - Somerset and Staffs, and will be hoping to beat at least one of those teams. Yorkshire with games against Middlesex, Somerset and Sussex know they need at least one more win to be safe and are apparently keen to play Warwickshire. But Warwickshire have nothing to gain by playing them, so it seems unlikely to happen.

The one cancelled game that might get played is yesterday's Berkshire v Middlesex, if Berkshire have enough money to restage it! Both teams will believe that it is a game they can win, which would take them to the potentially magic three in the wins' column. Berkshire are likely to be the more desperate as they only have Sussex and Kent left to play. Middlesex still have Yorkshire, Warwickshire and, most importantly, Staffs. They may be content to see how those games go before entering into any meaningful dialogue with Berkshire over restaging their game.

This is, of course, a ludicrous situation, as has been pointed out to the ECB on numerous occasions, but it is one that they seem to have no interest in fixing. It would be hugely ironic if it were to rain on 28th August and the Warwickshire v Kent game were to be cancelled, and the title's ultimate destination be settled by the weather.

Meanwhile two of the three games in Division 2 did go ahead, albeit shortened by the weather. Notts beat Devon by 98 runs with a first championship century for Notts' skipper Sonia Odedra, and Worcestershire consigned Essex to their fifth defeat in five games as they chased down a revised target of 132 in 28 overs, by scoring the runs required in 25 overs with eight wickets in hand. Aussie Chloe Piparo lead the run chase with 58*. Notts look destined to challenge for promotion and Essex look almost certain to be playing their cricket in 2017 in Division 3. Sad times for a county with a good record in women's cricket, an enthusiastic set-up, and probably the best supporters in women's cricket, who regularly pack out Chelmsford, where the Finals Day of the KSL will be hosted this year.


1 comment:

  1. Too few games once again makes the Championship dependant as much on weather as talent - and the "let's not play in case we lose" attitude of some not exactly in the "Spirit of Cricket". More games, please, and an absolute right of either team to demand a replay or failing that the maximum points for the abandoned match for the team requesting that replay and being denied.