Sunday, 31 May 2015

Amy Jones ton keeps Eng B in touch

England's reserve wicket keeper, Amy Jones, threw down her keeper's gauntlet to the rest of the England middle order batting line-up for a place as a batsman in the Ashes starting 11, with a sensational hundred in England B's first innings against Charlotte Edwards' England A.

She dominated the England B innings of 247 all out, sharing a third wicket partnership of 105 with Evelyn Jones (57) and was the eighth wicket to fall having taken Eng B to 240. Within four more overs the Eng B innings was over in the last over of day two. Jones timed the ball exsquisitely from ball one and was ruthless on anything overpitched or short, hitting to both sides of the wicket.

Chief wicket-takers for Eng A were Dani Hazell 3/45 and Georgia Elwiss 3/46, but in reality many of the Eng B batsmen contributed to their own downfall. Evelyn Jones hit a full-toss to mid-off; Lydia Greenway was lbw missing her favourite sweep shot; Nat Sciver was bowled off her gloves; Katherine Brunt chipped an innocuous ball to mid-on; Amy Jones smashed a long hop to deep square and Laura Marsh failed trying to go over the top of mid-off.

Eng A had taken their overnight score from 245/6 to 306 all out mainly thanks to a solid 50 from Sophie Luff (51). She gradually ran out of partners at the other end, and having completed her half century was the last man out about 45 minutes before the lunchbreak.

So Eng A take a lead of 59 into day three and they will hope to build on that steadily, before declaring and trying to bowl Eng B out again. As for Eng B they will hope to bowl Eng A out for 150 or less and then have plenty of time to chase down the runs, but they will be without slow left-armer Ecclestone, who was so miserly in the first innings (she has exams). The weather too may still have a big part to play in this game too, so the next couple of days should be a good test for both sides and their captains.

England A
1st innings
Knight         ct Jones          b Marsh            58
Winfield      lbw                 b Shrubsole     56
Taylor          ct Beaumont b Grundy         45
Edwards      ct Jones          b Grundy         53
Elwiss                                  b Ecclestone      0
Luff                                      b Marsh            51
Hazell          lbw                 b Brunt               9
Macdonald lbw                 b Shrubsole       3
Odedra                                b Davies             7
Cross                                    b Ecclestone      2
Farrant        not out                                       4

TOTAL                                                          306 all out

Brunt              11-4-31-1
Shrubsole      16-1-52-2
Davies            10-3-14-1
Langston       14-4-43-0
Grundy          21-6-49-2
Sciver               8-0-40-0
Marsh              10.2-0-31-2
Ecclestone      22-1-28-2

England B
1st Innings
Beaumont   lbw                 b Farrant     13
Jones E        ct Dibble        b Farrant     57
Wilson         lbw                 b Odedra       4
Jones A        ct Elwiss        b Hazell      118
Greenway   lbw                 b Dibble       22
Sciver                                  b Elwiss          0
Brunt           ct Dibble       b Elwiss         12
Shrubsole   ct Taylor       b Elwiss           2
Marsh          ct Farrant     b Hazell        10
Langston     ct Knight       b Hazell          0
Grundy         not out                                  1

TOTAL                                                     247 all out

Cross         11-2-36-0
Farrant     11-7-19-2
Hazell        11.5-1-45-3
Odedra       3-0-19-1
Hartley      11-3-33-0
Elwiss        13-0-46-3
Knight        10-0-23-0
Dibble          6-0-21-1


Saturday, 30 May 2015

Eng A pegged back late on Day One

Day One 

Highlights of the first day of four were the batting form of the England top order, plus the controlled bowling of youngsters Sophie Ecclestone and Freya Davies.

Unsuprisingly England A, who seemed to have most of the England batting line-up, elected to bat against England B, who had the main England seam attack.

After heavy morning rain the start was delayed until 2pm, and within 25 minutes the players were back off the field after another heavy shower, which included hail. About another 35 minutes play were lost before play could recommence at 3pm. Thereafter the weather remained cold and blustery, but otherwise allowed play to continue.

Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole took the new ball, Brunt looking lively with the strong breeze behind her. But Heather Knight and Lauren Winfield looked in control and kept the scoreboard ticking over, without too many alarms. After five overs into the wind Shrubsole gave way to Freya Davies, who immediately bowled a much fuller length and had both batsmen flashing outside their off stump. Beth Langstone also took over from Brunt and she too passed the bat, but without any success.

The partnership grew steadily with both openers reaching their 50s before Knight was caught behind by Amy Jones in Laura Marsh's first over. She seemed reluctant to leave but had to go. Within three overs Winfield had gone too, lbw to the returning Shrubsole, this time with the wind.

The openers demise had just brought Sarah Taylor and Charlotte Edwards to the crease and the run rate started to climb as they both latched on to anything short or on the leg-stump. But in the 47th over 16 year old left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone was thrown the ball and apart from changing ends she bowled an excellent 16 over spell. She did not appear to be getting much turn, but she bowled remarkably few bad balls, and those that she did bowl down the leg-side generally went unpunished. She came off to allow England B to take the new ball with two overs left in the day, by which time she had figures of 1/26, having bowled Georgia Elwiss off an inside edge for an unfortunate duck. She was the middle wicket in a good spell for Eng B. Taylor was caught at short leg turning a short ball from Grundy to Beaumont under the lid, and after Elwiss left, Edwards was caught behind trying to cut a ball from Grundy that was not quite short enough. 208/2 became 229/5 and Eng B were back in the game.

There was just time for one over from Brunt and Shrubsole with the new ball before play finished at 7.45pm, and it brought rewards for Eng B as Brunt trapped Hazell lbw in the penultimate over. Eng A will therefore start Day Two on 245/6 and Eng B will be hoping to wrap up their innings early and set off in pursuit of well below 300. With a better forecast and an early start, Day Two could well shape this game.

[unofficial scorecard]
England A v England B at Loughborough University
Day One of Four

England A - Batting
Heather Knight      ct Jones         b Marsh         58
Lauren Winfield     lbw               b Shrubsole   56
Sarah Taylor           ct Beaumont b Grundy      45
Charlotte Edwards  ct Jones         b Grundy      53
Georgia Elwiss                             b Ecclestone   0
Sophie Luff             not out                               11
Dani Hazell             lbw               b Brunt           9
Alex Macdonald     not out                                 0

TOTAL                                                            254 for 6

England B - Bowling
Brunt          8-2-26-1
Shrubsole 11-0-45-1
Davies        6-3-9-0
Langston    9-3-33-0
Grundy     21-5-49-2
Sciver         3-0-19-0
Marsh         7-0-25-1
Ecclestone 16-7-26-1


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Week 2 - Middlesex and Somerset set the pace in Divs 1 & 2

It was another action-packed weekend of women's cricket in Divisions 1 and 2 of the Women's County Championship, with some great performances and some amazing results.

In Division 1 Surrey and Notts went into the weekend having won two from two, only for both of them to lose both their games this weekend and throw the County Championship wide open again. It was Middlesex that stepped through the wide-open door, with a nail-biting four run win over Surrey and a comfortable eight wicket win over struggling Lancs. They now sit top of the league with those two wins and the Championship seems to be theirs to lose now. True they still have Kent and Sussex to play, but Kent are likely to be without Charlotte Edwards, Lydia Greenway and Laura Marsh, at least, for that encounter at the end of August, and Sussex could well be missing five front-line players when they meet Middlesex in mid-July. The fixtures have fallen beautifully for Middlesex and it is a question of whether they can hold their nerve. Kent remain unbeaten after comfortable wins over Lancs and Notts, but their strength in depth will be tested in their last four fixtures against Warwickshire, Surrey, Middlesex and Berkshire, who will also be missing their England players of course.

In Division 2 Somerset have shown their title credentials after an emphatic 117 run win over fellow-contenders Devon in their only game of the weekend. True Devon's bowling attack was somewhat depleted after injuries the previous day, but South Africa's Lizelle Lee is loving life in Division 2, smashing runs to all parts of the ground for her maiden century for Somerset. It won't be her last this year. Staffs share top-spot after easy wins over Durham and Ireland. They have tougher games to come. It was also a great weekend for Worcestershire who won both their games against Scotland and a cliff-hanger against Wales. They have proved to be the surprise-package of Div 2 this year and they must be looking forward to their next fixture against Durham in four week's time.
(Div 2 matches will be reviewed and uploaded this afternoon)

Div 1 Review

Game 9 - Berks v Notts
Berks - 182/8 (Alex Blackwell 38, Danni Wyatt 2/18)
Notts - 145 all out (47.1 overs) (Jenny Gunn 52*, Fi Morris 3/28)

Berks won by 37 runs
Berkshire were probably disappointed to only post 182, but it proved to be more than enough as Notts crumbled to 145 all out with only Jenny Gunn (52) and Georgie Boyce (35) putting up any real resistance. Notts made a terrible start to their reply losing Richards, Wyatt and Odedra with only five runs on the board. They also lost Wyatt to hospital as she was run out after slipping and dislocating her shoulder. Gunn did her best to keep Notts in the game, but ran out of partners in the 47th over.

Game 10 - Kent v Lancs
Lancs 180/8 (Kate Cross 68, Kara Sutherland 3/17)
Kent 142/2 (33 overs) (Charlotte Edwards 51, Tammy Beaumont 47)

Kent won by 8 wickets on a faster run rate when game ended by rain after 33 oversLancs did well to recover from 76/5 to post a respectable 180/8 thanks to the bat of Kate Cross and some stickability from the lower middle-order. But Charlotte Edwards (51) and Tammy Beaumont (47) broke the back of the run chase with an 84 run opening partnership despite Kate Cross's bowling, and Greenway and Marsh were leading Kent to an easy victory when the rain brought a premature halt.

Game 11 - Surrey v Middx
Middx 170 all out (Tash Miles 50, Rachel Candy 4/21, Sarah Clarke 3/50)
Surrey 166 all out (41.3 overs) (Libby Walters 30, Danni Warren 5/34)

Middlesex won by 4 runs
Beth Morgan's 100th game for Middlesex was an absoulte cracker. Kiwi Rachel Candy continued her good form for Surrey picking up four wickets as Middlesex threw away a good start (they were 104/2 at one stage) set up by Tash Miles (50), Catherine Dalton (39), and Fran Wilson (30) to finish on a below-par 170. Surrey just needed one of the top five to stick around and they would have got home, but they all fell for 30 or less and it was too much for the lower order who subsided to the wily old medium pace of Danni Warren with more than eight overs still left to play and only four runs needed.

Game 12 - Sussex v Warks
Warks 148/9 (Rebecca Grundy 32, Minahil Zahoor 30)
Sussex 149/3 (Sarah Taylor 74)
Sussex won by 7 wickets
A rather disjointed Sussex strolled to victory over a dysfunctional Warwickshire, who having won the toss bravely elected to bat against one of the strongest bowling attacks in the country. Their opening pair of Rebecca Grundy (32) and Minahil Zahoor (40) managed to add 70 for the first wicket, but they took 21 overs to do so. Amy Jones (1) came in at three but when she was nonchalantly caught one-handed over her head by Izi Noakes at mid-off trying to hit Holly Colvin over the top, the writing was on the wall for Warks. Their young batting line-up gradually capitulated with only Georgia Hennessy (27) putting up any great resistance, as Warks were helped to their total by three dropped catches, some shoddy Sussex fielding, plus a rather blinkered attitude to the bowlers used. The wickets were shared around and Aussie import Erin Osborne claimed her first wicket for the county.
In reply Sussex made a swift start as Adams (20) hit three 4s off the second over, but Georgia Elwiss (10) went in the 6th over and Adams was well caught at slip shortly after to leave Sussex on 40/2. But Sarah Taylor (74) and Izzy Collis (32*) dispatched the far too frequent bad balls adding 93 for the third wicket before Taylor lofted a catch to mid-off, but it was too little too late for Warks.

Game 13 - Berks v Yorks
Berks 104 all out (Alex Rogers 24, Dani Hazell 6/28)
Yorks 105/1 (Lauren Winfield 42*, Katherine Brunt 41*)

Yorkshire won by 9 wicketsBerkshire's batting crumbled to dust before the spin bowling of Dani Hazell (6/28) and Katie Levick (2/40) as they stumbled their way to just over 100 runs. It was never going to be enough and Katherine Brunt, batting at three smashed a quickfire 41* to end the game in just the 15th over of the Yorkshire reply.

Game 14 - Kent v Notts
Kent 214/7 (Laura Marsh 58, Lydia Greenway 57, Sonia Odedra 2/33)
Notts 87 all out (26.5 overs) (Zoe Richards 34, Laura Marsh 5/15, Megan Belt 4/34)

Notts started strongly against the current County Champions removing both Tammy Beaumont (14) and Charlotte Edwards (17) to leave Kent on 40/2, but Laura Marsh (58) and Lydia Greenway (57) added 122 for the third wicket to set up a total well beyond the reach of Notts, minus Dani Wyatt due to her injury from the previous day. From 56/1 Notts disintegrated as a procession of batsmen came and went, with the next nine wickets adding only another 31 runs to the total, as off-spinners Laura Marsh (5/15) and Megan Belt (4/34) wrapped up an easy victory for Kent.

Game 15 - Middx v Lancs
Lancs 101 all out (Natalie Brown 28, Izzy Westbury 3/15, Sophia Dunkley 3/28)
Middx 102/2 (Sophia Dunkley 36*)

Middlesex won by 8 wickets
Middlesex kept their 100% record with a convincing win over Lancs who are really struggling to find their feet in Div 1. Invited to bat Lancs could only muster 101 as they were tied in knots by the Middlesex spinners - Westbury, Dunkley and Hartley. Once Middlesex's Dunkley and Tash Miles had added 63 for the first wicket the result was never in doubt. It was only when skipper Titmuss brought Kate Cross on at fourth change that Lancs got a breakthrough as she picked up both openers. But Middx did not panic and they got home in the 28th over.

Game 16 - Surrey v Warks
Warks 176/9 (Georgia Hennessy 66, Sarah Clarke 3/32)
Surrey 171 all out (49.4 overs) (Sarah Clarke 34*, Katie Green 4/24)
Warwickshire won by 5 runs
Warwickshire pulled off a remarkable victory against title-contenders Surrey thanks to a battling 66 off 110 balls by Georgia Hennessy, and the complete failure of Surrey's top order to score any runs. Hennessy entered the fray with Warks in trouble at 16/2 with both opening bats back in the hutch. When she left Warks had taken their score to 132/6. The lower order eked out another useful 44 runs, five of which would ultimately prove to be the difference between the teams. Surrey's top order got bogged down and then got out to Rebecca Grundy after opening bowler Katie Green had taken two wickets in two balls, including Nat Sciver for her second golden duck of the season. For a while it looked as though 7,8 and 9 - Candy (25), Scutt (23) and Clarke (34*) - might pull off the victory for Surrey, but Anisha Patel accounted for Candy and Scutt and then Green returned to finish off what she had started and to finish with the fine figures of 4/24. Surrey ended up just 5 runs short to round off a thoroughly miserable weekend for them.

Div 2 Review

Game 9 - Devon v Wales
Devon 217 all out (Jodie Dibble 118, Claire Thomas 3/37)
Wales 136 all out (32 overs) (Lauren Parfitt 46)

Devon won by 4 runs when Wales set revised target of 140 to win in 32 overs due to rain interruption
Devon had skipper Jodie Dibble's 118 to thank for their par total of 217 all out. Only three other Devon batsmen made double figures and the highest of those was Cait O'Keefe's 24. Wales used eight bowlers as they tried to winkle Dibble out, but she completed her maiden senior century before falling with the score on 195/7. Between innings rain delayed Wales' response and when they came back out they needed to score 140 from 32 overs. Devon made early inroads, but opener Lauren Parfitt (46) kept Wales' hopes alive. Even when she fell with the score on 100 Wales only needed 40 off 8 overs. Gradually the equation reduced to 17 off 5 with three wickets still in hand, then 11 off three and eight off two. Cartwright was the eighth wicket to fall and with five needed off the last over both Scarborough and Parfitt were run out by Rebecca Silk to clinch the win for Devon.

Game 10 - Durham v Staffs
Staffs 244/1 (Evelyn Jones 115*, Molly Strano 80*)
Durham 150/9 (Rebecca Newark 36*, Stephanie Butler 2/16)
Staffs won by 94 runs
Evelyn Jones (115*) batted throughout the entire Staff's innings for her maiden century for Staffs. She was joined in the controlled run-fest by Aussie Molly Strano who hit 80*. Durham were never in the game after they lost early wickets and only reached 150 thanks to the late order efforts of number 8 Rebecca Newark (36*).

Game 11 - Essex v Ireland
Ireland 139 all out (Kim Garth 49*, Hannah Jeffrey 5/19)
Essex 123 all out (47.1 overs) (Cordelia Griffith 31, Amy Kenealy 3/17, Kim Garth 3/20)

Ireland won by 16 runs
The only significant partnership in the Irish innings was the ninth between Kim Garth (49*) and Amy Kennealy (7 off 33 balls). They took the Ireland score from 63/8 to 112/9 before Kenealy succumbed. A last wicket partnership of 27 between Garth and Jennifer Gray took the final Ireland score to 139. It proved to be too much for Essex who are struggling desperately in Div 2 having been relegated from Div 1 last year.Only opener Cordelia Griffith (31) and keeper Emily Smith (23) scored above 11 as Garth and Kenealy took on the role of tormentors with the ball too. Essex eventually ended 16 runs short when they were bowled out for 123.

Game 12 - Worcs v Scotland
Worcs 211/9 (Joanna Cull 49*, Thea Brookes 43, Abbi Aitken 5/34)
Scotland 179/9 (Olivia Rae 36, Kate McGill 32*, Abigail Houghton 3/32)
Worcestershire won by 32 runs
Worcestershire's middle-order batting all contributed with Joanna Cull (49*) and Thea Brookes (43) the pick of the them. Together they got Worcs to the respectable total of 211/9. Regular early wickets in the Scotland reply, including three in a row to Abi Houghton (3/32), put Scotland on the back foot and they never recovered to challenge the Worcs total despite 36 from Olivia Rae and late runs from Katie McGill (32).

Game 13 - Durham v Scotland
Durham 166/7 (Catherine Chapman 39, Becky Glen 37)
Scotland 50 all out (Elizabeth Priddle 32*, Helen Fenby 4/11. Rachael Petherick 3/24)

Durham won by 105 runs
Durham set Scotland 167 to win, based around a decent third wicket stand between Catherine Chapman (39) and Becky Glen (37). It was a target that Scotland probably felt happy chasing, until that is, they went into bat. Elizabeth Priddle (32*) was the only Wildcat to get into double figures as her partners found ways t get out at the other end. Coming in at four she remained unbeaten as Helen Fenby took four wicket in just 28 balls (4/11) to skittle Scotland out for just 50.

Game 14 - Somerset v Devon
Somerset 312/2 (Lizelle Lee 111, Sophie Luff 109*)
Devon 195 all out (50 overs) (Jodie Dibble 54, Cait O'Keefe 48)

Somerset won by 117 runs
South African opener Lizelle Lee (111) and England Academy's Sophie Luff (109*) took full advantage of a depleted Devon bowling attack (due to injury the day before) and the beautiful Taunton wicket to add 153 for the second Somerset wicket. Luff, scoring her maiden senior century, then added another 139 with Anya Shrubsole (63*) as Somerset piled up 312/2. Devon got to 96/1 in reply, but then lost wickets in clusters as the game slipped away from them.

Game 15 - Staffs v Ireland

Ireland 133 all out (Shauna Kavanagh 36, Laura Delany 34)
Staffs 137/4 (Francesca James 52)

Staffs won by 6 wickets
Once again Ireland's batting looked fragile as they struggled to 133 all out in 44.1 overs with all five of the Staff's bowlers used claiming a brace of wickets for not many runs. Only three Irish players made it into double figures with opener Shauna Kavanagh (36) and number 6 Laura Delany (34) the only major contributors. Staffs had little trouble knocking off the runs they needed, with Francesca James, coming in at four, after some rather pedestrian progress, smashing 52 off just 26 balls including five 6s. She left the carnage with just 11 needed to win, which Staffs achieved in the 32nd over.

Game 16 - Worcs v Wales
Worcs 176/8 (Clare Boycott 53, Lauren Rowles 44)
Wales 174 all out (50 overs) (Megan Burton 35)
Worcestershire won by 2 runs
Having used eight bowlers the previous day Wales went one better in this match with only the keeper and one other not getting a bowl. Ffion Wynne came out the top bowler with 2/16. Worcs' middle-order did most of the run-scoring with Clare Boycott (53) and Lauren Rowles (44) chief scorers. After losing the in-form Lauren Parfitt early Wales looked to be in trouble as they tried to chase down 177 to win, but Megan Burton (35) got them to 130/5, before a flurry of wickets left them floundering again on 137/8 with overs running out. Rose Evans (21) added 14 for the ninth wicket with Cartwright before she became Sian Ruck's second victim. Evans and number 11 Marsha Davies then took the game to the last over, but still needed 15 to win. They got 13 but Evans was out off the last ball to give Worcs the win by just 2 runs.


Monday, 18 May 2015

Four unbeaten teams in Div 2 head into Week 2 fixtures - full preview

Devon follow up their two wins from Week One (against Essex and Durham) with a home game against Wales and then a quick trip down the road to Taunton on Monday for the local derby with Somerset. Wales will be no pushover after a successful start to their campaign last week (also at the expense of Essex), but Devon will back themselves to come away with a win. However Monday's game against title-contenders Somerset will be a whole lot tougher. Somerset smashed Ireland in their only game of Week One. With hard-hitting South African opener Lizelle Lee in their midst, Somerset's bating line-up looks strong, and their bowling is not too shabby either as they bowled Ireland out for just 65. Devon need to convert their strength on paper to an overall team performance. This is their chance to prove themselves and if they do so they will be in the box seat for one of the two promotion places. It should be a cracker.

Unbeaten Staffs (they beat Scotland in Week One) are on the road to Durham on Sunday, who struggled for runs against Devon in their opening encounter of the season. Staffs will be looking for maximum points. They return home on Monday to meet Ireland, who had a topsy-turvy weekend in Week One, amassing 315/5 against Worcestershire, before being brought crashing down to earth the next day by Somerset. This is a must-win game for both these teams, who both harbour promotion ambitions. Staffs probably start as favourites to come out on top, but another good game is in prospect.

The day before Ireland will have been down in deepest Essex, where they should come out on top. Relegated Essex are finding life tough in Division 2 and Ireland can add to their woes if they beat them in their only game of the weekend. Essex's batting looks fragile, but then so did Ireland's against Somerset. It may be a case of who can hold their nerve?

Newly promoted Scotland pushed Staffs hard in their only game of Week One and will be looking to chalk up their first win in Div 2 against either Worcestershire or Durham. If they play their cards right they have the potential to win them both. Neither Worcestershire nor Durham have particularly strong bowling attacks and runs on the board against them puts more pressure on their batsmen. It will be tough for them both.

The final game of the weekend is Worcestershire's home game to Wales. This is likely to be a low-scoring affair that could go either way. It is a game that both teams will be targeting for a win. It may well be a question of who can grind out the victory.

Sunday 24th May
Devon v Wales at Sidmouth CC
Durham v Staffs at Durham City CC
Essex v Ireland at Felsted School
Worcs v Scotland at Barnt Green CC

Monday 25th May
Durham v Scotland at Durham City CC
Somerset v Devon at Taunton CC
Staffs v Ireland at Meakins
Worcs v Wales at Kidderminster Victoria CC


Sunday, 17 May 2015

Women's County Champs - Div 1 Week 2 Preview

The second Bank Holiday weekend in May sees the second set of Women's County Championship double headers.

All the teams should be able to pick from their full squads, subject to injury of course, so if you want to go and see some of the best players in the country then get out sometime over this coming weekend (fixtures are at the bottom of this piece).

Table-toppers Surrey are at Reed's School again on both days, where they beat Sussex on the opening day of the season. On Sunday they take on Middlesex who are yet to get their season underway due to rain, and this looks like being Surrey's toughest game of the weekend. Early wickets will be key for Middlesex, particularly those of in-form opener Kirstie White and number 3, Nat Sciver. Middlesex perhaps lack a really penetrating opening bowler, but their spinners - Hartley, Westbury and Dunkley might be able to strangle Surrey's batting if they can get their line and length right. I think Middlesex might just clip high-flying Surrey's wings.

On Sunday Surrey host Warwickshire, who lost both their games in the opening weekend (to Notts and Yorkshire). Surrey look odds-on to come away with the win, plunging Warwickshire into further trouble at the foot of the table. The previous day they will have taken on Sussex, who have not won in their last five county championship games (losses to Kent, Surrey, and Middlesex to end last season and then Surrey and Kent (the infamous tie) at the start of this one). Sussex will be keen to get back to winning ways and should be at full strength as Georgia Adams, Freya Davies, and Aussie import Erin Osborne all report for duty for the first time. Sussex's bowling looks too strong for Warwickshire.

New guys LCB Thunder may also struggle to get their first Div 1 win on the board as they have to travel to Kent and then Middlesex, for their second and third games in the top flight. Sussex proved that Kent's batting line-up is not invincible, but Charlotte Edwards will be determined that Kent pick up two more victories before she and her fellow England contingent concentrate their efforts on the Ashes. Lancs may just pay the price. Middlesex too will not want to slip up against the northerners. If they can make this their second win of the season they will be in prime position to challenge for the title as they have no players likely to feature in the Ashes series.

Kent's Monday game is an intriguing encounter against Notts. Notts' Danni Wyatt will be keen to show the England skipper what she is missing with the bat, and perhaps even the ball, if not selected for the national team. Notts' fortunes may fall on her shoulders, but the sensible money will be on another Kent win. Odds on the tie will be pretty long!

The previous day Notts will have been at Berkshire, who were only just pipped, by two runs, in their opening game of the season against Surrey. They will have taken heart from that and from the arrival of Aussie star bat Alex Blackwell who should make her first appearance of the season. This could be a tight game, hinging on just one key performance on either side. On paper Notts have the edge and I think they will probably win it.

The final game is Berks v Yorkshire on Bank Holiday Monday, which could be another monumental tussle. If Berkshire can make early inroads into the Yorkshire batting line-up then they might just pull off a bit of a surprise victory.

Sunday 24th May
Berks v Notts at Finchampstead CC
Kent v Lancs at Spitfire Ground St Lawrence
Surrey v Middx at Reeds School
Sussex v Warwickshire at East Grinstead CC

Monday 25th May
Berks v Yorkshire at Finchampstead CC
Kent v Notts at Spitfire Ground St Lawrence
Middx v Lancs at Edmonton CC
Surrey v Warwickshire at Reeds School


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

ECB confirm Kent v Sussex match was tied

The first statement issued by the ECB on 6th May 2015 concerning Kent's appeal against the tied result of their game against Sussex on 4th May 2015

"The ECB is currently in communication with the umpires, and the Kent and Sussex management teams as to the outcome of the Royal London Women’s One-Day Cup match between the two sides on Monday 4 May 2015. 

The incident came to the ECB’s attention immediately following the conclusion of the match.

All of the information is being carefully considered as a matter of priority."

Subsequently the statement below was issued on 7th May 2015 by the ECB confirming that the result of the game was a tie.

"The ECB has been in communication with the umpires, and the Kent and Sussex management teams regarding events at the conclusion of the Royal London Women’s One-Day Championship match between the two sides on Monday 4 May 2015. 

Following receipt of all information and discussions with the Head of ECB Association of Cricket Officials, it has been decided that there is no reason to overturn any decision made by the umpires on the day, nor the outcome of the game as had been determined on the day.  The match is therefore a tie."


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Surrey, Notts and Devon make the perfect start

Despite the weather doing all that it could to spoil the first weekend's fixtures, the Royal London Women's County Championship got off to a cracking start, with only three of the sixteen games in Divs 1 and 2 lost to the weather. Thanks to all the groundsmen who did such a great job to get Sunday's games, in particular, played.

Once the dust had settled on Monday evening (and there was quite a bit of dust to settle) it was Surrey, Notts and Devon who made the most of the opening weekend with two wins out of two. Surrey head Div 1 with full points, but Devon are technically fourth in Div 2 as Somerset, Staffs and Wales all won the one game they played with full bonus points.

Here's a review of all the Div 1 and 2 results...
(scorecards should be available here)

Div 1 Review

Game 1 - Middx v Berks - cancelled
Rain had apparently got under the temporary tarpaulin covers which caused the game to be cancelled. You can read more here.

Game 2 - Kent v Yorks
(game reduced to 46 overs per side)
Yorks - 157/9 (Laura Spragg 41*, Charlotte Pape 2/31)
Kent - 158/1 (Charlotte Edwards 88*, Tammy Beaumont 43) in 31.5 overs

Kent won by 9 wickets
An easy victory for Kent against a depleted, but spirited, Yorkshire team missing Brunt, Hazell, Macdonald and Winfield, due to an England spin camp in Sri Lanka. Is Brunty thinking of becoming a spinner now too?

Game 3 - Notts v Warks 
(game reduced to 35 overs per side)
Warks 104 all out (Minahil Zahoor 34, Zoe Richards 3/13, Rebecca Widdowson 3/24)
Notts 105/5 (Jenny Gunn 27)

Notts won by 5 wickets
Invited to bat Warwickshire never looked like posting anything like a competitive score as they lost wickets early and continued to lose them as their innings progressed. Only opener Minahil Zahoor (34) put up any great resistance as Warwickshire crumbled to 104 all out. Notts overcame the required score, but it took them 33 overs and they lost five wickets in the process.

Game 4 - Surrey v Sussex
(game reduced to 31 overs per side)
Sussex - 139/9 (Sarah Taylor 77, Sarah Clarke 3/28)
Surrey - 143/3 (Kirstie White 67*, Nat Sciver 67, Ellen Burt 2/27) in 27.3 overs

Surrey won by 7 wickets
A wet outfield meant a late start and when Surrey won the toss they inserted Sussex on a green and speedy wicket. Only Sarah Taylor ever got to grips with the pace of the ball as she hit a fluent 77 out of the first 112 runs Sussex scored, before she was the fifth wicket to fall. Tormentor-in-chief for Surrey with the ball was leg-spinner Sarah Clarke, who claimed 3/28 from her seven overs including the key wicket of Taylor. Sussex had been heading for over 150 after 22 overs, but could only add 27 in the last 9 overs to fall well below a par score.
In reply Surrey lost Knight early, but Kirstie White and Nat Sciver both scored 67 apiece in a 129 second wicket stand as Sussex bowled without any great control or discipline. Sciver was dropped at slip off Colvin when on 9, with Surrey on 32/1. Had it been held it might have been a different game, but both White (who also took four catches and a stumping behind the stumps) and Sciver punished the far too frequent short balls, as a well-organised Surrey cruised to full points.

Game 5 - Berks v Surrey
Surrey 217/7 (Rachel Candy 81*, Imogen Brown 3/44)
Berks 215 all out (Emily Gerke 57, Corinne Hll 54, Katherine Robson 2/29) in 49.1 overs

Surrey won by 2 runsSurrey recovered from being 94/5 to post a competitive 217/7 in their 50 overs, thanks in the main to a sparkling 81* (71 balls) from Kiwi Rachel Candy. In response Berks lost Alex Rogers and Linsey Smith before reaching double figures, but Heather Knight (65) and Aussie Corinne Hall (54) took Berkshire beyond 100 before they lost their third wicket. Unfortunately Knight, and Carla Rudd fell in quick succession and when Hall was out, it was left to Emily Gerke (57) to try and steer her side to victory. She hit a maiden half-century, but when she was run out Berks ran out of steam, despite only needing 11 off the last four overs with two wickets in hand. They took it to the last over, needing three to win, but Immy Brown was caught in the gully off the first ball of Rachel Candy's over to get Surrey home

Game 6 - Kent v Sussex
Kent 185/7 (Deanna Cooper 82*, Holly Colvin 2/13, Ellen Burt 2/26)
Sussex 185/7 (Izzy Collis 63*, Charlotte Pape 2/32) in 50 overs.

Match tied ***Kent are appealing the result to the ECB***[see ECB statement here]
An extraordinary game of cricket that ended in a tie, when Sussex sneaked a single off the last ball as Kent erroneously believed the ball to be dead as it was in the keeper's gloves, and started to celebrate what they thought was a win.
Sussex will be kicking themselves for not winning this match. They had Kent 56/5 with Tammy Beaumont (0), Lydia Greenway (8) and Charlotte Edwards (27) back in the hutch, before a fine innings of 82 from Deanna Cooper (not selected the previous day and her highest score for Kent by some way) took Kent to a respectable, but gettable, 185/7. Cooper and keeper, Lauren Griffiths (27), salvaged Kent's innings with a stand of 87 for the sixth wicket, as Sussex failed to hammer home their early advantage, based on a good opening spell from Ellen Burt (2/26), and another stunning legside stumping from Sarah Taylor off Georgia Elwiss, to remove Edwards.
Sussex got off to a rollicking start in reply through Georgia Elwiss, before she was brilliantly caught by Beaumont in the gully from a slashing drive off Farrant. Sussex's 50 came up in the 9th over, but when Alexia Walker (18) fell in the 10th over the scoring dried up, as Sussex failed to look for singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over. The next 50 runs took another 16 overs and when Sarah Taylor (26) was out in the 27th over Sussex were 104/3, needing 82 off 23 overs. Holly Colvin departed for 14 in the 38th over by which time Sussex had only moved the score on to 133/4. 53 were still needed off 12 overs. The equation came down to 34 off the last 6 overs before Sussex seemed to realise the urgency of the situation. Singles began to be taken freely, although boundaries remained completely elusive (not one was hit in the last 15 overs). Ultimately Sussex needed five to win off the last over, and then two to win off the last ball, bowled by Kent skipper Edwards. She bowled the ball, it was missed by batsmen Ellen Burt and taken by Griffiths behind the stumps, who then removed a bail in a failed attempted stumping. The Kent team, as one, began to celebrate an unlikely victory, but non-striker Izzy Collis (63*) was already halfway down the track looking for a single. She called her partner through for the bye, as Kent continued to celebrate. Despite Kent's protests the umpires rightly adjudicated that the ball was not dead just because it was in the wicket-keeper's gloves, as Sussex were attempting a run. The run therefore stood and the game was tied.

Game 7 - Notts v Lancs Thunder
Lancs 141 all out (Natalie Brown 26, Jenny Gunn 2/20, Sonia Odedra 2/30)
Notts 142/5 (Jane Smit 31, Nalisha Patel 3/24) in 46.5 overs
Notts won by 5 wickets
New girls Lancs Thunder came unstuck in their first game in the "Big Time" as they were bowled out for 141. Their top order all made starts, but no-one could go on to make a significant score as Notts shared the wickets around. At 73/4 with Gunn and Wyatt out Lancs might have sniffed an unlikely win, but Aussie Zoe Richards came in at 7 and smashed a quick-fire 28 off 16 balls to bring the game to an abrupt ending.

Game 8 - Warks v Yorks 
Yorks 207/9 (Lauren Winfield 64, G Davies 3/28)
Warwks 121/8 (Katie Levick 5/19)
Yorks won by 86 runs
Yorkshire bounced back from their defeat to Kent on Sunday with a convincing win over Warwickshire, It helped that they had Brunt, Hazell, Macdonald and Winfield back in the fold, particularly as Winfield top scored with 64. Brunt then took two early wickets, but it was Katie Levick's legspin which put paid to Warwickshire's chances. She took 5/19 which ensured Warwickshire ended well short.

Div 2 Review

Game 1 - Devon v Essex
Essex 98 all out (Karen Baker 21, Cait O'Keefe 2/13, Hazelle Garton 2/17, Jodie Dibble 2/18)
Devon 99/6 (Cait O'Keefe 19, Hannah Courtnell 3/28)

Devon won by 4 wickets
Only Karen Baker (21) and Beth Langston (20) got into double figures for Essex as they struggled to make any headway against the Devon attack. After an opening stand of 34 Devon lost three quick wickets in the 40s, to be 45/4 at one stage, but recovered their composure to defeat an Essex side who look like they may struggle again this season, despite the drop in divisions.

Game 2 - Staffs v Somerset - cancelled due to rain

Game 3 - Wales v Scotland - cancelled due to rain

Game 4 - Worcs v Ireland
Ireland 315/5 (Isobel Joyce 127*, Meg Kendal 56*, Abigail Houghton 3/49)
Worcs 189 all out (Rachel Baldwin 47, Laura Delany 3/27)

Ireland won by 126 runs
Isobel Joyce got her, and Ireland's, season off to a flying start hitting an unbeaten 127 in Ireland's massive total of 315, against the Div 2 underdogs Worcs. She shared an unbroken stand of 150 for the sixth wicket with New Zealand import, Meg Kendal.
In reply Worcs batted well to reach a creditable 189 with decent contributions from the top and middle order, but never looked like troubling Ireland's huge total.

Game 5  - Devon v Durham
Devon 268/4 (Amara Carr 95, Aylish Cranstone 60)
Durham 102 all out (Jodie Dibble 3/19)

Devon won by 166 runs
Openers Amara Carr (95) and Aylish Cranstone (60) put on 144 for the first wicket for Devon, which set the platform for a sizeable total, which Durham never got close to overcoming. They were bowled out in the 42nd over for 102 with Jodie Dibble the chief wicket-taker (3/19).

Game 6 - Somerset v Ireland
Somerset 223/9 (Sophie Luff 65, Gwenan Davies 52, Louise McCarthy 2/35)
Ireland 65 all out (Anya Shrubsole 2/9, Lauren Shrubsole 2/9, Jeny Withers 2/23)

Somerset won by 158 runs
Ireland came crashing back down to earth after their huge win against Worcs on Sunday when they were on the other end of a hiding from title-chasers Somerset. South African Lizelle Lee missed out at the top of the Somerset order, but Welsh import Gwenan Davies (52) and Sophie Luff (65) set up the Somerset innings with a stand of 83. Skipper Anya Shrubsole (37) kept the scoreboard ticking over, but the Somerset innings fell away towards the end to leave them slightly short of where they might have expected to be. But it proved to be plenty as Ireland subsided to 65 all out in less than 25 overs with only Gaby Lewis (28) scoring above 14 and four players picking up ducks, including the previous day's heroine Isobel Joyce.

Game 7 - Staffs v Scotland
Scotland 194 all out (Kirstie Gordon 60*, Kathryn Whyle 3/40)
Staffs 196 for 5 (Evelyn Jones 54) in 43.5 overs

Staffs won by 5 wickets
Having had their game the previous day rained off this was Scotland's debut in Div 2. Promising youngster Kirstie Gordon (60*) top-scored for the Scots with a maiden half-century, but found little support from the Scot's middle and late order batsmen. Staffs made a solid if unspectacular start to their reply through Evelyn Jones (56) and Charlotte Whyle (26). Scotland took the occasional wicket but could never really impose too much pressure on Staffs who knocked off the required runs in the 44th over.

Game 8 - Wales v Essex
Wales 217/6 (Lauren Parfitt 109*)
Essex 133 all out (Beth Langston 65, Claire Thomas 3/22)

Wales consigned Essex to their second defeat of the weekend as opener Lauren Parfitt scored her maiden Wales Senior's century, in her 60th knock for her country. Opening bowler Beth Langston could not break through with the ball for Essex, but she did hold the faltering Essex reply together with 65 off 101 balls. Karen Baker (19) was the only other Essex batsman to make double figures, as Essex stumbled to 133 all out in the 41st over.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

EWA beat EWDP in season opener

A somewhat depleted England Women's Academy offered the EWDP U19s an early season opportunity to score some bragging rights over their more senior counterparts. However early wickets from the Sussex quick, Freya Davies, put the EWDP on the back foot, and confident runs from fellow Sussex player, Paige Scholfield, ensured the EWA cruised home with more than 12 overs still in the locker.

The EWA were missing - Georgia Adams (injured), Hollie Armitage (injured), Steph Butler (Sri Lanka), Alex Hartley (Sri Lanka), Georgia Hennessy (unavailable), Emma Lamb (Sri Lanka) and Alex Macdonald (Sri Lanka), so it was left to Davies, Scholfield, Aylish Cranstone, Evelyn Jones, Sophie Luff, and Carla Rudd to keep the young upstarts down, with help from some of the U19s themselves - namely Emily Arlott, Maia Bouchier, Marie Kelly, Sophie Mackenzie, Caitlin O'Keefe and, most significantly, Durham left-arm spinner Rachael Petherick.

In the opposition camp EWDP coach Sally Ann Briggs thought she had a decent line-up of young talent, namely Anna Nicholls, Ellie Threlkeld, Cordelia Griffith, Bryony Smith, Izzy Collis, Alli Kelly, Georgie Boyce, Sophia Dunkley, Nalisha Patel, Katie George and Tara Norris. It was a team that looked on paper to have a strong batting line-up and their self-confidence was evident when they won they toss and elected to bat first on the main pitch at Loughborough, which looked to have plenty of runs in it.

Unfortunately for the EWDP things did not go according to plan as Freya Davies, bowling with good pace and swing, removed three of the top four in her opening six over spell. In the first over of the game Anna Nicholls (2) played across the line and was lbw, beaten for pace, and in the third over her fellow opener, Ellie Threlkeld (5), was bowled. Just as the batsmen seemed to be getting on top Davies accounted for Bryony Smith as she too was beaten for pace, skying a top edged pull to square leg. At 43 for 3 the EWDP were in trouble. But Essex's Cordelia Griffith (54) and Sussex's Izzy Collis (40) gradually rebuilt the EWDP innings through a mixture of caution and occasional aggression. Both dealt harshly with the short ball both on the off-side and the leg-side and together they took the score to 109 for 4 when the players left the field for a short rain break. Unfortunately on their return Griffith immediately drove Sophie Mackenzie to extra cover to depart, and then Alli Kelly was lbw first ball to the left-arm seam of Aylish Cranstone. But Notts' Georgie Boyce proved to be another willing partner for Collis and together they added 54 for the sixth wicket before Collis became Rachael Petherick's first victim, caught and bowled on the drive. It was just reward for the left-arm spinner who bowled well on a pretty unresponsive pitch. Davies returned for the batting powerplay and conceded just four runs in two overs, and when Petherick accounted for Sophia Dunkley missing a favoured sweep shot, skipper Sophie Luff decided to try and finish the EWDP off. It was a tactic that worked perfectly. The hard-hitting Boyce (34) was run out after a mix up by a fine throw from deep cover by Maia Bouchier, and Petherick (3/28) then claimed her third, enticing Nalisha Patel to drive her to cover. Davies (4/34) finished off the innings when she had Bea Firth lbw in the 43rd over. The EWDP were all out for 184.

The EWA were gifted the ideal start with 26 off the first over as Katie George struggled to find her line. Unfortunately most of those runs came in extras. Thereafter Yorkshire's Bea Firth (2/27) and Tara Norris bowled tight lines and Norris was rewarded when Cranstone (5) was bowled in the fifth over. In the next Evelyn Jones chopped a short ball onto her stumps for a 19 ball duck, and the EWA were tottering on 32 for 2. Paige Scholfield came to join her skipper Luff at the crease and the pair initially made steady progress before Scholfield, playing her first game of the season, got her eye in and took a liking to Norris and Patel, hitting five 4s in the space of seven balls. It looked as though the EWDP were going to be heading for an eight wicket defeat, but Dunkley sneaked one past the advancing Luff (25), who was harshly adjudged to have been bowled amid a flurry of keeper's gloves and dropped ball. Bouchier then ran herself out attempting a suicidal single to mid-off and the EWDP sniffed an opportunity. Had Norris held on to a regulation catch at mid-on off Scholfield in the next over the game could have opened up, but it was not to be. Scholfield lost Rudd bowled by the returning hard-working Firth with 35 still needed, but then she and Davies guided the EWA towards a comfortable victory. With the finish line in sight Scholfield holed out to deep square leg for 75, but Davies (22*) rounded off a good day as she hit the winning runs in the 37th over.

full scorecard here


Friday, 1 May 2015

County Champs - Div 1 - First weekend preview

The Women's Royal London One Day Championship (that's what the rules call it) starts in just two days. You cannot actually win the County Championship in the first weekend, but you can certainly go a long way towards winning it. With just eight games scheduled to be played, by Monday evening most teams will be a quarter of the way through their season (weather permitting of course).

County champions Kent should be at full strength, given that none of their England players are currently in Sri Lanka learning how to become spin bowlers, or learning how to bat against spin bowlers. The only doubt would seem to be Laura Marsh, who pulled out of going to Sri Lanka with an apparent thigh injury. Yorkshire, on the other hand could be without Lauren Winfield, Dani Hazell, Alex Macdonald and Katherine Brunt (all currently in Sri Lanka). It could be embarrassing for Yorkshire. Kent are likely to make it two out of two on Sunday when they meet a weakened Sussex team, missing several key players through injury, restriction and exams, and without overseas signing Erin Osborne. But Sussex will have Holly Colvin back in their ranks which should add some spice to the game.

On the previous day Sussex will have met with last year's runners-up, Surrey. If Sussex can put enough runs on the board then they can dent Surrey's chances of going one better this year. Sussex will be hoping to keep Nat Sciver quiet and contain overseas player Rachel Candy to avoid a second defeat to Surrey in two years. Sussex should come out on top. They need to win this one if they are to have any chance at the 2015 title.

Surrey are then off to North Maidenhead for their Bank Holiday Monday encounter with Berkshire. If Surrey can take the key wicket of England vice-captain Heather Knight they should come away with their first win of the season.

Berkshire (without Knight) will have been at Middlesex the previous day, in their only game of the weekend, and Middlesex look favourites to come away with a win from that game, if they can build on their T20 form from last season. New skipper Izzy Westbury will be leading from the front in her Lillee-esque headband no doubt.

Notts start their 2015 campaign against Warwickshire at their home ground at Welbeck CC on Sunday. Its a good batting track with plenty of runs in it, and if Danni Wyatt is free to play (which seems unlikely), she could make hay. She is currently having a great time with the bat in Sri Lanka, and will be keen to press for an Ashes squad place. Warwickshire will hope Amy Jones is fit enough to play, and that Becky Grundy (also in Sri Lanka) is allowed to play. Notts might just pip a close game.

Notts second game of the weekend will see the first appearance of Lancashire in Division 1. It could be the game of the weekend, as the LCB Thunder look to get off to a winning start. They have done a great job off the pitch, and will now hope to emulate that on the pitch. But Notts will be a tough start to life in Div 1. Early wickets from Kate Cross could be the key to a Lancs win.

The final game of the first weekend is Warwickshire v Yorkshire. It is a game that both teams will be targeting as a "must-win", which could add to the pressure on both batsmen and bowlers. It could be a nervy low-scoring affair, with Yorkshire (restored to full strength), perhaps, just getting over the line.

There will be a round-up of all the results and performances early next week. If you think there is something I should include then email me -

Div 1 Fixtures
Sunday 3rd May
Middlesex v Berks at Edmonton CC
Kent v Yorkshire at KCCC Beckenham
Notts v Warwickshire at Welbeck CC
Surrey v Sussex at Reeds School

Monday 4th May
Berks v Surrey at North Maidenhead
Kent v Sussex at KCCC Beckenham
Notts v LCB Thunder (the cricket team formerly known as Lancashire) at Welbeck CC
Warwickshire v Yorkshire at Moseley CC