Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Kent take title as contenders falter

Kent are the 2016 Women's County Championship champions - they're seventh title in the last 11 years.

As Kent beat previously unbeaten Warwickshire (who then lost the next day to Middlesex), Sussex had their game against Staffordshire washed out and then crashed to a dismal defeat against Berkshire. It means that no-one can catch Kent at the top of the league, so their last game of the season against Berkshire next week will be a victory parade.

On Sunday Kent cruised to victory over Warwickshire thanks in the main to Kiwi Suzie Bates. She hit 75 out of Kent's moderate total of 214/9 and then took 4/12 as Warwickshire subsided to 112 all out.

Meanwhile Kent's only other challengers Sussex were being frustrated by the rain, the Staffs' batsmen and their inability to catch at East Grinstead. Staffs had made it to 168/7 with Charlotte Whyle top-scoring with 47 and Freya Davies taking 3/25 for Sussex, before the persistent rain closed in and ended the game. Sussex fared little better the next day as Berkshire racked up 277/6 with former Sussex keeper Carla Rudd (79) scoring her maiden County Championship 50, and Freya Davies (2/29) again the pick of the Sussex bowlers, bizarrely left with two overs unbowled by skipper Georgia Elwiss. Sussex looked well-placed to chase down the mammoth total at 141/1 in the 22nd over, before Izzy Collis (34) was mistakenly given out stumped. Two overs later Georgia Adams, who had batted well for her 75, skied Linsey Smith (3/38) to midwicket and in Smith's next over Dani Wyatt (12) unnecessarily drove her to cover. Sussex had needed just 4.5 an over for the last 25 overs at this stage. But the Sussex innings stalled and the run-rate climbed. The next six overs produced just 11 runs. With 10 overs left Sussex found themselves needing over seven an over with only three wickets in hand. It proved far too much. Abbey Freeborn finished on 43* off 61 balls, and Sussex 34 runs short.

So attention turns to the relegation zone, with three teams due to drop out of Division One this year, to be replaced by two from Division Two - somewhat of an anomaly given the huge difference in standards of the two leagues. With Staffs winless it seemed to be a question of who would join them in Div 2? Berkshire eased their worries with their win over Sussex, particularly bearing in mind that their game to play next week is against Kent.

It ended up being Surrey that were the weekend's biggest losers as they went down to fellow relegation strugglers Somerset on Sunday by 64 runs and then lost to Staffs by seven wickets on Monday. Having been 86/6 Somerset were indebted to Nicole Richards (52) and the lower order as they scrambled their way to 188 all out. Once Somerset had removed Bryony Smith (28) and Nat Sciver (22), it was just a matter of time. Surrey capitulated in 34 overs for 124. The next day Surrey themselves recovered from being 85/8 thanks to 53* from Libby Walters and 43 runs from 10 and 11, Beth Kerins and Laura Sandy. On another day it might have been enough, but Eve Jones (110), out for a golden duck the day before, hit her first Div 1 century to lead Staffs to their first win of 2016. It will almost certainly not save them from returning to Div 2 next year, but it meant that they consigned Surrey to last place in the division, with one round of games to go. Surrey are due to take on Sussex in a re-arranged game on 17th September, by which time it may already be too late for Surrey to save themselves.

Yorkshire made sure that they will be in Div 1 next year with two wins. On Sunday they dispatched Middlesex by eight wickets (scorecard not yet on Play Cricket or Cricket Archive), chasing down 60 it seems off 20 overs in a rain affected match. Middlesex had limped to 94/8 off 33 overs, dashing in and out of the rain and with their overs gradually reduced. On Monday Yorkshire bowled out Somerset for just 60, before nervously losing five wickets chasing down the required runs. Katie Thompson took a career best 6/10 for Yorkshire, with no Somerset bat scoring more than eight. The loss and severe lack of bonus points means that Somerset are precariously poised in the drop zone with their final game against Warwickshire to come next week.

Having lost on the Sunday Middlesex were also in a spot of bother with just two wins to their name, but they beat a deflated Warwickshire on Monday by five wickets, having bowled them out for 97 (Alex Hartley 3/17), with the experienced Beth Morgan (36*) and youngster Sophia Dunkley (30) steadying the nerves after Middlesex had slipped to 34/4. They remain just outside the relegation zone and play the rejuvenated Staffs in their final game of the season next week. They could still go down if they fail to win and other results go against them.

All of which means that we think the current league placings are as below (still await official Middlesex v Yorkshire scorecard)


1 comment:

  1. Coming in as an outsider, a few things about how the championship are run make no sense to me. One is this weird 3 teams being relegated thing. This is one-third of the league! Apart from Kent quite comfortably romping to victory, the rest of the league table down to Middlesex at least is quite close and competitive. A league with only 9 teams should definitely only have one relegation/promotion spot. If they want to reduce the size, best to either relegate one with no promotion (maybe not that bad an idea if division 2 is really that much worse) or relegate 2 and promote 1. Why would you want to relegate 3 which must include one of the competitive sides? It will just lead to certain players wanting to leave their county to stay in the England reckoning and the counties will lose their standout players. And best not to mention how the point-scoring system works. Don't understand this, and also the record keeping by the ECB is simply unacceptable. Accurate and up-to-date scoreboards, tables and stats should be readily available for a top-tier competition. Players and fans should know the situation going into important games without having to go out of their way to find out from helpful blogs like this!