Thursday, 30 October 2014

Aus v Windies - mouth-watering series

Sunday sees the start of a truly mouth-watering series between Australia and the West Indies. The tour matches start with four T20s, followed by the three ICC Women's Championship ODIs, and then an extra ODI just for good measure.

There is little doubt that Australia are currently the team to beat in world cricket. They hold the T20 and 50 over World Cups and have probably the strongest batting line-up in women's cricket. The Windies are a team on the up, with some of the most explosive players in women's cricket - Deandra Dottin and Stafanie Taylor to name just two. They also come to Australia on the back of a comprehensive 3-0 thrashing of New Zealand in the first round of the ICCWC in the Caribbean in September, which sees them currently sitting pretty in top spot in the ICCWC points table.

Will the Aussies fear them? Probably not. It is not really in their nature to do so. Should the Aussies fear them? Probably yes. The Windies have a swagger about them and they now have some batting to back up the mercurial Dottin and the world class (if fit) Taylor. Shanel Daley and opener Kycia Knight are growing into their roles with the bat in the team and 16 year old Hayley Matthews looks like an exciting young batting talent too. Their bowling too looks in better shape than it has done in the past. They have no great pace in their attack, but medium-pacers Smartt, Selman, Dottin and Daley have become more accurate and they have depth in their spin options with Mohammed, Quintyne and Taylor.

The Windies bowlers will have their hands full though with the Aussie batting line-up. Unlike most teams Australia have a host of batsmen that can take the game away from their opponents, rather than just one or two - Meg Lanning, Jess Cameron, Elyse Villani and Ellyse Perry are all potential match-winners with the bat, and they have the steadying influence of Alex Blackwell, Nicole Bolton, Delissa Kimmince and Jess Jonassen when they need it.

With two strong batting line-ups and some decent wickets this could be a very high-scoring series. The question for me is how strong is the Aussie bowling? Holly Ferling is still out injured and Ellyse Perry is coming back from yet another injury (this time a knee). She deserves her place in the team as a batsman and this may well be her future in cricket. Support seamers Rene Farrell, Julie Hunter and Sarah Coyte do not look that threatening and will have their work cut out. Their repetitive length and line may just be up Dottin and Taylor's street. Spinners Erin Osborne and Jess Jonassen can get rattled if the attack is taken to them, which you would guess the Windies girls will do. Leg-spinner Kristen Beams will also need to be at her most accurate, if selected in the T20 games, as she may well be.

This will be a good test for both teams and I can see the Windies giving the Aussies a real run for their money. If they hit their straps then they might even sneak the ODI series and could easily win the T20 series. Fasten your seatbelts this could be a bumpy ride!


Friday, 10 October 2014

First Results in Aus State Cricket

Results of the first round of T20 matches in Aussie state cricket are below. Big wins for the Lend Lease Breakers and Vic Spirit and Queensland Fire beat Western Fury comfortably.

WT20 - First Round
Tradies Meteors 118/8
(Kriss Britt 73*) (Erin Osborne 2/27)
Lend Lease Breakers 119/1 (Alyssa Healy 51*, Leah Poulton 50)
Lend Lease Breakers won by 9 wickets

SA Scorpions 114/8 (Sarah Taylor 38, Tegan McPharlin 30) (Emily McIntyre 2/14, Nicole Bolton 2/19, Molly Strano 2/20)
Vic Spirit 117/0 (Meg Lanning 58*, Elyse Villani 50*)
Vic Spirit won by 10 wickets

Queensland Fire 122/6 (Beth Mooney 33) (Gemma Triscari 2/25)
Western Fury 96/7 (Charlotte Edwards 36) (Jemma Barsby 4/9, Jess Jonassen 2/17)
Queensland Fire won by 26 runs

WNCL - First Round
Tradies Meteors 224 all out 
 (Kriss Britt 74) (Lauren Smith 4/36)
Lend Lease Breakers 227/3 (Alyssa Healy 90)
Lend Lease Breakers won by 7 wickets

Vic Spirit 299/3 (Nicole Bolton 112*, Jess Cameron 67, Meg Lanning 66) (Samantha Betts 2/38)
SA Scorpions 152 all out (Sarah Taylor 58) (Emily McIntyre 2/17, Briana Binch 2/25, Kristen Beams 2/29)
Vic Spirit won by 147 runs

Western Fury 144 all out (Charlotte Edwards 63*) (Grace Harris 3/16, Jess Jonassen 2/28)
Queensland Fire 148/2 (Jess Jonassen 70*)
Queensland Fire won by 8 wickets


WT20 - Second Round

Lend Lease Breakers 141/4 (Ellyse Perry 47*) (Nicola Browne 2/24)
Tradies Meteors 114/9 (Rene Farrell 28)) (Ellyse Perry 3/20)
Lend Lease Breakers won by 27 runs

SA Scorpions 84 all out  (Brittany Perry 18) (Molly Strano 4/15)
Vic Spirit 88/1 (Meg Lanning 41*)
Vic Spirit won by 9 wickets

Western Fury 116/5 (Charlotte Edwards 34) (Jemma Barsby  2/17, Felicity Leydon-Davis 2/26)
Queensland Fire 117/4 (Jodie Fields 43*) (Emma King 2/27)
Queensland Fire won by 2 wickets

Next round of games start on 24th November - see fixtures here.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Aussie WT20 and WNCL kick off this weekend

This weekend sees the first set of fixtures in the Australian WT20 and WNCL (Women's National Cricket League) state cricket competitions. Both competitions are fought out between the 7 state sides ( I know ACT is technically a territory and not a state, before you go there!).

The sides are:-

ACT (Tradies ACT Meteors)
New South Wales (Lend Lease NSW Breakers)
Queensland (Konica Minolta Queensland Fire)
South Australia (SA Scorpions)
Tasmania (Cripps Tasmanain Roar)
Victoria (Commonwealth Bank Vic Spirit)
Western Australia (Alcohol. Think Again Western Fury)

The format is that there are just six state 50 over white ball matches in the WNCL and 12 T20 games, before semi-finals and a final in the WNCL and a final in the T20. Two T20 games and one 50 over game are usually played against the same opponents over a long weekend - Friday pm T20; Saturday 50 over game; Sunday am T20. There are exceptions including eight T20 games that are going to played before men's Big Bash T20 league matches and the final on 28th January 2015.

This weekends fixtures (all 2xT20 and 1x50 over) are:-

Western Fury v Queensland Fire
NSW Breakers v ACT Meteors
Vic Spirit v SA Scorpions

Former Aussie skipper Lisa Sthalekar has previewed the season beautifully here. She suggests the NSW Breakers are still the front-runners in both competitions - they have won the WNCL for the last nine years on the bounce!! But Vic Spirit will be hard on their heels again, and with the influx of international players SA Scorpions and Western Fury are likely to be challenging hard too.

With the Aussies coming over to England next year for the Ashes it will be good to judge their players form, and many of the New Zealanders that England are due to meet out in New Zealand in February are also involved in Aussie state cricket. Not to mention our own Charlotte Edwards, Sarah Taylor and Heather Knight!

WCB will bring you regular updates as the season goes along, so stay tuned.


Friday, 3 October 2014

Women's Cricket Blog Awards 2014

Is it really a year since WCB gave out our first set of Gongs? Apparently it is - see here for last year's winners. So here goes for this year. Congratulations to all the winners and commiserations to all the losers. We like to keep the categories fluid, so there are a few new awards this year and a few from last year that have not made the cut this.

Unluckiest Team of the Year
Well who would have thought that last year's winners, Somerset, would step up and win it again this year! Having only just secured (by 10 runs) the win they needed against Ireland in their final league game to finish runners-up in Div 2, Somerset brought out their big guns for the play-off game with Div 1's Warwickshire. Having won the toss Somerset elected to bat and with good contributions from Fran Wilson (53), Anya Shrubsole (49) and Sophie Luff (49) looked set to post beyond 250, but from 194/4 they ended up being bowled out for 220. Helen Shipman and Manahil Zahoor (25) set about steadily building the Warwickshire reply. After 14 overs they were 56/0; after 20 overs 75/0 and they brought up their 100 partnership in the 26th over, but then Zahoor went followed by the rest of the Warwickshire middle-order. Shipman was ploughing a lone furrow and the required run rate was increasing. She made it to 100 and then beyond, but when she was out for a magnificent 124, Warwickshire still needed 22 with less than three overs to go. With two to go they still needed 20 to win with three wickets in hand, As Syd tweeted "Somerset's to lose now". Numbers 8 and 9, Liz Russell and Isabelle Watson, could only manage five off the penultimate over - 15 needed then off the last over from England's Anya Shrubsole. Russell crashed the first ball straight for 4, and then again with the second; third ball single and then Watson hit the fourth for four more - unbelievably just two needed from two..and with two singles Warwickshire were home and dry and Somerset were consigned to another season in Division 2.

Best Idea of the Year
I guess you have to say that central contracts were the best idea in women's cricket this year. The media made much of this being the new "professional era" for women's cricket, but in fact little had changed from the previous year, apart from the top 18 players being paid something to train as they had done before. No-one knows the salaries involved but they are not life-changing. For those on Tier 3 contracts (the lowest awarded) they are probably not even enough to live on. Many of the England players still have Chance to Shine contracts, which presumably top-up their ECB contracts. In addition, those who wanted them, have also taken possession of a Kia Sportage. Current contracts are due for review in a year's time.
Runner-up in this category is the new ICC Women's Championship, which means the top eight women's international teams will play each other, home and away, over the next two years in series of three ODI games. It means more structured international cricket and better opposition for some of the lesser teams. The top four teams will automatically qualify for the 2017 World Cup. The bottom four will go into a ten team competition with regional qualifiers to try and qualify for the main event. Series coming up are:-
Sri Lanka v South Africa (October 2014)
Australia v West Indies (November 2014)
New Zealand v England (February 2015)

Worst Idea of the Year I was tempted to put central contracts in here again, but that would have been churlish. However it should be said that central contracts does create the gnarly problem of what to do with those just below contract-status, and what to do with those that lose their contracts, as, no doubt, some will this time next year. For the men who lose their ECB contracts there is the comfort of going back into county cricket, on the same terms as their previous ECB contract, for 12 months. A headache for the counties but reassuring for the players. In women's cricket there is no such luxury. There is nothing below contract status. Some form of semi-professional level (as exists in Australia) needs to be created here too.
But having said that I feel that the award is better thrown at whoever decided it was alright to say the County Championship season was over on 27th July when there were six cancelled games in Div 1 and two in Div 2, which could, and should (according to the rules), have been played, and which could have affected top and bottom places in both leagues. Berkshire, who finished third in Div 1, played just five games in the 2014 season. Scrap the play-offs and play more county cricket in August and September - with or without the England players.

Best Crowd of the Year
It has to be the Chelmsford Massive, again. They pitched up in their thousands again (paying a fiver each) to create a great atmosphere for the first of the England v South Africa T20s. Small grounds, good marketing, low entry fees (not free as this suggests it has no value) and no men's game in sight, has to be the way forward.
As a sub-category of this award I have to mention the Scarborough crowd for the two ODIs v India. It was "a bit parky" at North Marine Road, but they breed them tough up north and they stuck it out and were rewarded with a great century from Charlotte Edwards and some beautiful batting from Indian star of the future Smriti Mandhana.

Surprise Team of the Year
Runners-up in this category are India for their comfortable win over England in the Test Match at Wormsley. It was a bad few days for England (with the exception perhaps of Jenny Gunn), but India were worthy winners, with Mithali Raj leading her side over the line from the crease.
But the winners are Middlesex, who not only beat Sussex in the County Championship, but then did it again in the T20 qualifying competition and then went on to beat Kent in the Group A final before losing out on NRR to eventual winners Notts. All of this without a current England or England Academy player in their midst (although Alex Hartley has now been called back into the Academy squad). They have been brilliantly lead by ex-England player Beth Morgan and deserve their success. They also have some very talented youngsters in their squad, so they will be back next year too!!

Broadcaster of the Year
There can only be one winner and that is BBC Radio's Test Match Special Team. They covered every ball of the England Women's Summer Schedule with the verve, humour and enthusiasm that you expect from people who love their cricket. It was a pleasure to listen in to them and to chat with them off-air. Next summer is an Ashes Summer, so fingers-crossed we get the same great coverage.

Catch of the Year
Lydia Greenway takes the award this year for her tumbling effort at Chelmsford out at Cow Corner, to remove South African skipper Mignon du Preez in the first T20. I'd love to link to a video of the said catch, but there isn't one that I can find.

And so we march on into winter and then the 2015 season when the County Championship will become white ball and the Aussies will again be here for a beating! In between we have three mouth-watering ICC series (see above), plus we have Lottie, Squirt, and Trev out in Aus until Christmas with various state teams. The WNCL kicks off on 11th October and I will be blogging updates throughout their season. Winter well!!


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Fancy helping design women's cricket products?

I read a tweet about TITAN CRICKET ( wanting help to create and launch a new line of equipment and clothing specifically for women, so I contacted owner Naveed Khan to see what it was all about and his reply is below. If you are interested in getting involved then please contact him (& tell him it was through WCB).

"TITAN is a new brand of cricket equipment and clothing that launched in January this year. We currently supply a range of Men's products and our original intention was to expand our range to include Colts & Juniors. However, since our launch we have noticed a serious lack of products and clothing for Women cricketers and we were shocked to learn that as little as 3-4 years ago the England Women's team were still wearing "boys" clothing. In light of the current situation many female cricketers find themselves in, namely having to buy boys/youths clothing and forced to buy mostly pink equipment, we are committed to launching a complete range of equipment and clothing that is focused purely for women. It may not be as lucrative as the colt/juniors market, which is probably why the more established brands have neglected it thus far, but we believe that embracing this challenge fits into our company ethos which is to ensure buying cricket equipment does not exclude people from playing/joining the sport.
We have spoken to a couple of cricketers that are local to us and have taken on board their feedback but it would be great to get as much input as possible. We welcome ideas/thoughts from cricketers at all levels and are completely open to suggestions for styling, design, colours, fit, weight etc. We are not looking to trade off anybody's name or snag a high profile player's endorsement, we are merely committed to providing the best quality products possible.
If you know of anybody who may be interested in taking part in this process then please do not hesitate to pass on our details. 
I can be reached by email ( or by telephone on 07530 004 124.
Kind regards,


Good luck to Titan!!