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

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