Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Warwickshire & Somerset head Divs 1 & 2

Division One

Warwickshire could not have hoped for a better weekend of results, as they not only trounced Berkshire and then demolished Middlesex, but saw closest rivals, Yorkshire, slip up against Sussex, before they resumed normal service with a comprehensive win over Kent, to keep them on four wins out of five. It means that Warwickshire remain the only unbeaten team with just two games to go - they have Yorkshire and Lancashire to play at the end of August.

Sussex also dented Lancashire's Championship hopes, clocking up their second win of the weekend, and of the season, to ease their relegation worries slightly.

Surprise package Notts have joined Lancs on three wins out of five games, as they downed both Middlesex and Berkshire this weekend.

The second loss of the weekend for Berkshire means they will almost certainly be playing in Div 2 next year. The question is who will join them? At the moment it looks like Middlesex, who only have one win to their name and have Kent and Sussex left to play, but both of those teams have only two wins under their belts, so are not out of the woods. It looks like Middlesex will have to win both games to give themselves a chance, and, even then, other results may go against them. Four teams could all finish on three wins each, so bonus points could prove crucial in the final relegation battle.

Div 1 Results

Berkshire 73 all out lost to Warwickshire 74/1
Lancashire 198/9 beat Kent 114 all out
Notts 252/9 beat Middlesex 151 all out
Sussex 182 all out beat Yorkshire 151 all out

Berkshire 105 all out lost to Notts 106/5
Yorkshire 241/4 beat Kent 121 all out
Warwickshire 329/7 beat Middlesex 125 all out
Sussex 199/9 beat Lancashire 135/7

This is how we think the table looks with all results included up to this weekend.

Division Two

Somerset won the only game they could get through in a nail-biter with Wales, Wales coming up just six runs short, chasing down Somerset's 210/9. Gabby Basketter's 107* for Wales was in vain, as they ran out of overs.

Behind Somerset at the top of the table are a gaggle of teams on four out of five wins - Hampshire, Surrey and Devon. They all won both their games this weekend to keep the pressure up on Somerset.

At the bottom of the table Staffs and Worcestershire remain winless, and it looks to be between the two of them and Derbyshire, who have just one win to their name, for the relegation slots. Worcestershire have both Staffs and Derbyshire to play in the last set of fixtures, so their destiny could lie in their own hands. Two wins could be enough to save them, with Derbyshire having Wales to play as their other game.

Final fixtures at the top of the table see some big clashes with both Somerset and Devon due to play both Surrey and Hampshire. There could be some cracking games amongst that little lot!

Div 2 Results

Worcestershire 117 all out lost to Devon 120/0
Derbyshire 109 all out lost to Hampshire 110/1
Somerset 210/9 beat Wales 204/6
Surrey 302/4 beat Staffs 68/8

Wales 142/9 lost to Devon 144/7
Hampshire 188 all out beat Staffs 73 all out
Somerset 52/1 v Worcestershire - match abandoned
Surrey 193 all out beat Derbyshire 137 all out


Friday, 26 May 2017

Women's County Champs Double Header

It's another double header weekend of Women's County Championship action, which will see teams in both Division One and Two complete five of the seven games that make up the County Championship "season".

In Division One unbeaten Warwickshire travel away for the first time to take on winless Berkshire and then Middlesex, who only just scraped through against Berkshire last week for their only win of the season. Warwickshire could make it five out of five, leaving Yorkshire and Lancashire left to play at the end of August.

Yorkshire themselves could still be unbeaten when they meet Warwickshire later in the season, but they will have to overcome Sussex and Kent this weekend. They have already accounted for Berkshire, Middlesex and Lancashire, but this weekend could be a tougher challenge. As predicted leg-spinner Katie Levick has been reeking havoc with the ball, with 13 wickets to her name already.

The other two teams realistically challenging for a top two or three finish are Kent and Lancashire. As well as their fixtures against Yorkshire and Sussex respectively, the two meet at the Spitfire Ground on Sunday, with the winner keeping themselves in a position to challenge. Lancs will have to pick themselves up after a recent drubbing by local rivals Yorkshire, and Kent should come out on top.

Desperately clinging to the side of the lifeboat at the bottom of the table are Berkshire, Sussex, Middlesex and Notts. It seems unlikely that Berkshire will get much out of their Warwickshire game, but they must target a win against fellow strugglers Notts on Monday. Notts, on the other hand, will know that if they can beat either Middlesex or Berkshire this weekend then they will be in much better shape than some of their rivals (two wins). Middlesex may well prove too strong for the Midlanders (which would give them two wins too), but the game at North Maidenhead CC against Berkshire on Monday has all the hallmarks of being a low-scoring scrap to the death.

Sussex's batting has been woeful so far this season with a highest score of just 100 in their three matches to date. Someone needs to bat long against either, or both, Yorkshire and Lancs if they are to have any chance of not being nought from five. Sussex must win at least one game this weekend or they will be staring at the prospect of life in Div 2 next year.

Division 1
Berkshire v Warwickshire at North Maidenhead CC
Kent v Lancs at Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence
Middlesex v Notts at Mill Hill School
Sussex v Yorkshire at the Saffrons, Eastbourne

Berkshire v Notts at North Maidenhead CC
Kent v Yorkshire at Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence
Middlesex v Warwickshire at Teddington CC
Sussex v Lancs at the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy Ground

In Division Two Somerset are currently the only unbeaten team and I'd be very surprised if they slipped up this weekend against Worcs, but Wales, who sit in joint second, with Hampshire, with two wins out of three games played, could be a tougher nut to crack. If Somerset could beat them too, then they would have fancied Surrey and Hampshire to play in the last weekend's fixtures, which could be an intriguing finish to the season.

Win or lose to Somerset Wales will hope to keep their promotion hopes alive with a win over inconsistent Devon on Monday. Devon were bowled out for just 45 by Somerset in their last outing, after having opened their campaign with wins over Staffs and Derbyshire. Wales are favourites for the win, although Devon may well have won the previous day against winless Worcestershire.

Hampshire, with Kiwi Suzie Bates and former England skipper Charlotte Edwards, in their ranks, should prove far too strong for Derbyshire and Staffs. I would be very surprised if Bates does not make at least one more hundred, before reuniting with her Kiwi team mates ahead of the Women's World Cup starting at the end of June.

Surrey have the same two opponents as Hampshire, which could make it a miserable weekend for the Northern teams. Surrey, with Nat Sciver, at their core, will be hoping to keep their promotion dreams intact with two more wins, to take them to four from five too.

Division 2

Devon v Worcs at Bovey Tracey CC
Hants v Derbyshire at Basingstoke & North Hants CC
Somerset v Wales at Nailsea CC
Surrey v Staffs at Whitgift School

Devon v Wales at North Devon CC
Hants v Staffs at Cove CC
Somerset v Worcs at Nailsea CC
Surrey v Derbyshire at Reed's School


Monday, 15 May 2017

County Champs Round-Up

Teams played their third game in the Women's County Championship on Sunday and here are the results from Divisions One and Two.

Division One

Kent 166/8 beat Sussex 100 all out by 66 runs
Kent's apparently under-par total of 166 was built around a solid innings of 50 from Alice Davidson-Richards and a stylish 34 from Laura Marsh. Lauren Griffiths added a useful, swashbuckling, 22, late in the innings, as Kent looked to be struggling to 150 against some tight Sussex bowling. Linsey Smith (2/15), Tara Norris (2/24) and Dani Wyatt (2/31), were the main wicket-takers.
As it turned out 166 was more than enough for a Sussex team where only Sarah Taylor showed up to bat. On her return to cricket, after overcoming mental health issues, she hit an assured 61 with her trademark cover drive back on show. But at the other end Sussex batsmen contrived to find ways to get out without making double figures. It meant that Sussex were bowled out for just 100 for their third defeat in three games and a spot at the foot of the table.

Middlesex 152/9 beat Berkshire 151 all out by 1 run
Middlesex were again indebted to 35 year old Beth Morgan, whose 60 ball 37, held their batting together to allow them to post 152. Young Berkshire off-spinner Emma Walker picked up 5/28 in just her third game at senior level. In reply Berkshire got off to a rollicking start courtesy of the bat of Rachel Priest, who hit 47 off 37 balls, but after she departed with the score on 58 there were a steady stream of departing Berkshire batsmen. Only Lauren Bell (26) and then Ashleigh Muttitt (11) held their nerve as Berkshire inched towards an unlikely victory. With one wicket left and just two runs required to win, Naomi Dattani bowled a full-toss at Muttit, who skied it and was caught. Had the umpire signalled a no-ball the game would have been tied with a free hit to come. As it was his arm remained at his side and Middlesex had their first win of 2017.
(for a fuller match report click here)

Warwickshire 253/7 beat Notts 104 all out by 149 runs
Warwickshire made it three out of three with a comprehensive win over Notts. The Warwickshire top four effectively took the game away from Notts with scores of 61, 51, 43 and 20 (Jones, Bryce, Hennessy, Kelly respectively), taking the team to 188/2 at one stage. By contrast Notts were only on 53 when their third wicket went down and they had already taken nearly 30 overs to get there. Leg-spinner Anisha Patel with 6/17 put Notts out of their misery in the 45th over as they were bowled out for 104.

Yorkshire 250/6 beat Lancashire 128 all out
A decisive victory for Yorkshire over their local rivals keeps them right up at the top of Div 1 matching Warwickshire's three wins on the bounce. This one was based around Katherine Brunt's highest ever score for her beloved Yorkshire, 93, with assistance from Dani Hazell 50*, and Anna Nicholls 50. This took Yorkshire to 250/6 despite being bowled at by four international players (Cross, Hartley, Ecclestone and Satterthwaite). In reply Lancs tried to recover from being 32/3, but when Ellie Threlkeld 39 and Amy Satterthwaite 55, departed, it was curtains for Lancs, with leggie Katie Levick helping herself to 6/28.

Division Two

Somerset 211/7 beat Devon 45 all out by 166 runs
84 for Anya Shrubsole with the bat as Somerset cruised to their third win of the season. Only 40 for Sophie Luff to take her current average down to 258. Somerset the only team with three wins from three and looking good to return to Div 1 at the first time of asking.

Staffs 89 all out lost to Derbyshire 90/2 by 8 wickets
Staffs were blown away by Derbyshire as they limped to 89 all out in 45 overs and Derbyshire took less than 22 overs to get over the line. It was a welcome first win for Derbyshire and there are ominous signs for Staffs.

Surrey 329/5 beat Hampshire 162 all out by 167 runs
Nat Sciver pounded the Hants attack (including Suzie Bates) to hit an unbeaten 135 off just 98 balls. Sophie Pout 67 and Aylish Cranstone 47*, also enjoyed themselves. In response Bates could only score 26 before she was cleaned up by her fellow countrywoman, Lea Tahuhu, playing her first game in Surrey colours. Hants battled on but were well beaten.

Wales 138/9 beat Worcestershire 61 all out
Wales struggled to 138/9 as Beth Ellis claimed 4/20 for Worcs, but when it came to their turn to bat they struggled even more than Wales. Nicole Reid took 4/11 and Ffion Cartwright 3/15 as Worcs subsided to 61 all out.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Second Round of Women's County Championship

A single block of fixtures this weekend makes up the second round of the Women's County Championship, with some intriguing games in both the first and the second divisions, and the likely appearance of many of the England contractual players for the first time.

Pick of the weekend's clashes in Div 1 should be the Yorkshire v Lancashire scrap at Harrogate CC. Both teams won their first two games and, if they are both at full strength, then it could be an intriguing battle, with the bowlers likely to be on top for both teams. It could be a low scoring thriller.

Elsewhere Kent host old foes Sussex, who once again made a dreadful start to their season, losing both their first two games badly. With the possible return of Danni Wyatt, Georgia Elwiss and also Sarah Taylor, Sussex will be a tougher proposition. But Kent should have skipper Tammy Beaumont back to lead her troops, together with Laura Marsh and Tash Farrant. It has the makings of another needle game.

Warwickshire should be favourites to maintain their 100% record against Notts, at home for the third game in a row. Notts dispatched Sussex, but were bowled out for 144 by Kent to lose their second game. With Jenny Gunn and Amy Jones likely to add to Warwickshire's solid team, it could be a miserable day for Notts.

Finally either Middlesex or Berkshire will get off the mark in the final game in Division One. Heather Knight's foot injury will keep her out of the Berkshire side, but Middlesex will be very pleased to welcome back Fran Wilson to bolster their batting. The evergreen Beth Morgan has shown that she too is in good form with the bat, which could be enough to give Middlesex the edge.

Division One Fixtures 
Kent v Sussex at KCCC Beckenham
Middlesex v Berkshire at Mill Hill School
Warwickshire v Notts at Edgbaston Foundation Ground
Yorkshire v Lancashire at Harrogate CC

In Div 2 unbeaten teams Devon and Somerset clash. People will be keen to see England's Anya Shrubsole as she tries to keep her Somerset team at the top of the league, plus can Sophie Luff maintain her form with the bat (just the two centuries so far)? If Shrubsole can break through early Devon might find the going tough.

Also unbeaten Hampshire travel to Surrey, who have one win under their belt to date. Suzie Bates is the big hurdle Surrey will need to overcome. She too picked up a brace of 100s in the first weekend's fixtures and will be looking to make it three in three. Surrey should have Nat Sciver back in the team. On paper Surrey have the greater depth, but it is who performs on the day.

Staffs and Derbyshire will both be looking for their first win of the season at Moddershall. Derbyshire might just be favourites, but it will be tight.

And finally Wales, fresh from a victory over Surrey, are at home again to Worcestershire. Wales will expect to get full points

Division Two Fixtures
Devon v Somerset at North Devon CC
Staffs v Derbyshire at Moddershall CC
Surrey v Hants at Reed's School
Wales v Worcs at Panteg

Martin Davies

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

First week Div 1 & Div 2 Round Up

We have managed to get through the first weekend of the Women's County Championship without too much disruption from the weather. All the games were played, even if some were foreshortened by rain.

The big winners in Division One were Lancashire, Warwickshire and Yorkshire, who all won both their games. The big losers were Sussex, Berkshire and Middlesex, who all lost both theirs. Kent and Notts both won one game apiece.
Top scorer in Division One was Middlesex's Beth Morgan, who hit 80 out of her team's 142 all out on Monday, but it was not enough to prevent Yorkshire from taking the win.
Liz Russell (Warks), Sophie Ecclestone (Lancs), Katie Levick (Yorks) and Sophia Dunkley (Middx) all picked up 4-fors, to top the early bowling stats.

In Division Two is was a similar story with three sides winning all their games - Devon, Somerset and Hampshire, and Worcestershire, Staffs and Derbyshire each losing their opening two games. Surrey and Wales won a game each.
Suzie Bates with Hampshire, and Sophie Luff with Somerset, both got their season's off to a fine start with back-to-back hundreds for their respective counties.
With the ball Devon's Hazelle Garton picked up 6/20 against Derbyshire to head the second tier averages.

Here are all the results from the first weekend's fixtures in the Women's County Championship

Division One
Lancashire 221 all out beat Middlesex 133 all out by 88 runs
Notts 71/5 beat Sussex 70 all out by 5 wickets
Warks 201/8 beat Kent 200/9 by 2 wickets
Yorks 199/9 beat Berks 89 all out by 110 runs

Lancs 148/4 beat Berks 145 all out by 6 wickets
Kent 185 all out beat Notts 144 all out by 41 runs
Warks 85/4 beat Sussex 84 all out by 6 wickets
Yorks 143/7 beat Middx 142 all out by 3 wickets

Division Two
Somerset 204/9 beat Derbyshire 135 all out by 69 runs
Devon 105/1 beat Staffs 104 all out by 9 wickets
Surrey 205/2 beat Worcs 203/6 by 8 wickets
Hants 244 all out beat Wales 87 all out (adj target of 98 in 20 overs)

Somerset 231/6 beat Staffs 136/9 by 95 runs
Wales 173/8 (adj target of 170 in 43 overs) beat Surrey 197 all out
Devon 212/5 beat Derbyshire 87 all out by 125 runs
Hampshire 249/5 beat Worcs 82 all out by 167 runs