Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Decisive weekend in County Championship

Right, lets park the razzmatazz of the KSL, (which was won by the Southern Vipers, by the way, and not just Charlotte Edwards, despite what the Press may say!), it is time to refocus on the bread and butter of women's cricket - the Women's County Championship, with a double-header Bank Holiday weekend ahead of us. If it wasn't for the County Championship there would be no players for competitions such as the KSL and the WBBL.

Catch Up....Unfancied Warwickshire top the league table having won the three games they have played against Sussex, Berkshire and Surrey. Their games against Yorkshire and Staffs have been washed out. Behind them loom Kent, who have lost one game to Sussex, who themselves are third, having been beaten on the opening day of the season by Warwickshire.
Yorkshire, Berkshire and Middlesex have all won two games, and then at the bottom of the league sit Surrey, Somerset (one win) and Staffs (winless)...

All of which means that this Sunday's game between Warwickshire and Kent at the Edgbaston Foundation Ground, could be the game that decides who wins the 2016 County Championship title. It seems that the ECB have decided that the England girls can only play one game this weekend, but for Kent this will not be an issue as they only have one game. For Warwickshire one assumes they will play their full team, including Amy Jones. Jenny Gunn and Rebecca Grundy, against Kent, but they will miss the game against Middlesex the following day. In form Suzie Bates has remained in England after the end of the KSL, so Kent should be at full strength. It will be a tough ask for the young Warwickshire side, but ironically the pressure will actually be on Kent to win. If Warwickshire can get early wickets then that pressure will build. It should be a fascinating game.

As I've said, win or lose on Sunday, Warwickshire take on Middlesex on Monday, with what will be an even younger squad, probably against a Middlesex's full compliment, with Fran Wilson and Alex Hartley back in Middlesex blue, after successful KSL campaigns. This game will be just as key as the one the previous day, and Warwickshire will have to dig deep (no matter what the result the previous day). It may be a tough call for Middlesex regarding their England players, as the previous day they play Yorkshire. Both games are at home and Middlesex could decide to field their strongest side against their northern rivals, given that they are struggling a bit to get many wins on the board this season, and it is almost as important that Yorkshire lose as Middlesex win.

On Monday Yorkshire make the journey from Middlesex down to Bridgwater in Somerset. Somerset will be following them down the M4 as they play Surrey at Reed's School the previous day. With three teams to be relegated from Div 1 at the end of the season these are key games for all involved. Somerset have only beaten Berkshire so far this season and their game against fellow relegation candidates Staffordshire was abandoned (so cannot be rearranged). They have to beat the teams just above them to give themselves a chance of staying in Div 1 next year.

Surrey themselves will be hoping to ease their relegation worries with wins over Somerset, and then on Monday against Staffs. They have lost four of the five games they have played this season, and two wins this weekend are essential.

Sussex are the other team with two games to play, taking on Staffs at home on Sunday and then travelling to North Maidenhead on Monday for Berkshire's only game of the weekend. If Sussex want to keep up any pressure on the top two then they need two wins and full bonus points, but realistically having dropped five bonus points already, they will need both Warwickshire and Kent to have some poor games if they are going to get past them.

Sunday 28th August 2016 - 11am start
Middlesex v Yorkshire at Merchant Taylors School
Surrey v Somerset at Reed's School
Sussex v Staffs at East Grinstead CC
Warks v Kent at Edgbaston Foundation Ground

Monday 29th August 2016 - 11am start
Berks v Sussex at North Maidenhead CC
Middlesex v Warwickshire at Merchant Taylors School
Somerset v Yorkshire at Bridgwater CC
Surrey v Staffs at Reed's School


1 comment:

  1. Yes it should be an interesting couple of days, let's hope the groundsmen are supportive. I witnessed an hour and a half delay against Staffs at meakins ground for fear of rain, then an over and a half stopped because of rain and then match abandoned just as the skies cleared!
    Also the first match of the season played on second ground at Taunton Vale despite the proliferation of white Kia's in the car park, the main pitch being reserved for a men's match the following day, (when it was cancelled due to non stop rain).