Sunday, 31 July 2016

Western Storm silence Thunder

A magnificent bowling and fielding display by the Western Storm allowed them to cruise to a bonus point win over the Lancashire Thunder in their first KSL league game.

The Thunder won the toss and elected to bat on what looked like a good Taunton wicket, in front of about 1,100 spectators, basking in glorious sunshine. The Storm did not let their new followers down as they applied pressure with tight bowling which was backed up by some magnificent catching. The first Thunder player to suffer was Hayley Matthews (7), who had been bogged down by Freya Davies (1/12) and Anya Shrubsole (0/14). Last ball of Davies' second over she attempted a flamboyant extra cover drive, but the ball skewed high off the face to deep cover where Lizelle Lee made great ground to take to the catch.

The Thunder finished the powerplay on 26/1 and got to 10 overs with 48/2 on the board, having lost Amy Satterthwaite (13) bowled by Jodie Dibble. But it was the wicket of Emma Lamb (25) when the score was on 63 to another stunning catch by Lee on the cover boundary off the bowling of Stafanie Taylor, that started a calamitous collapse. It was the first of four wickets for Taylor (4/14), who along with Heather Knight (3/11) bowled overs 12 through to 17 taking seven wickets for 10 runs. This included two further outstanding catches from Cait O'Keefe, at long on, and Knight off her own bowling, to remove Deandra Dottin and Dani Wyatt respectively. The last pair did manage to add 10 more runs, before Georgia Hennessy had Ellie Threlkeld caught behind by Rachel Priest.

Stafanie Taylor
(C) Don Miles
With just 83 to chase the Storm lost Priest (2) early to Kate Cross, but Knight (23) and Taylor (14) seemed to be making serene progress until Taylor was deceived by West Indian teammate Matthews and was stumped. But this brought Fran Wilson (16) to the crease, who along with her skipper took the Storm to within 19 of the runs they needed to win before she was bowled by Dottin (3/8). In the same over Lee came and went, and in the next Knight was bowled by Sophie Ecclestone. Three wickets had fallen for one run. Another collapse looked possible, but Hennessy (11*) restored some calm, despite losing Sophie Luff (6), as the Storm got over the line in the 16th over to ensure a three point start to the season.

Lancashire Thunder 83 all out
Emma Lamb 25, Stafanie Taylor 4/14, Heather Knight 3/11

Western Storm 86/6 (15.3 overs)
Heather Knight 23, Deandra Dottin 3/8

full scorecard here


Saturday, 30 July 2016

Lightning win first KSL clash

Loughborough Lightning have taken three points from the first ever KSL T20 match after a 43 run victory over the Yorkshire Diamonds at Headingley.

Having won the toss the Lightning struggled early on, losing Dane van Niekerk (1) early in the powerplay, and only managing 29 in the six powerplay overs. Things got worse when Gerorgia Elwiss (10) was stumped off Dani Hazell in the seventh over, but the introduction of Katie Levick in the ninth over released the shackles as overseas stars Sophie Devine (52) and Ellyse Perry (17) started to move the score along with ease. Devine's 50 came in the 12th over off just 35 balls, but almost immediately Perry was run out, and then Amy Jones was lbw first ball to leave Lightning on 85/4. This soon became 97/7 as Sonia Odedra (9), Devine and Thea Brookes (0) all contrived to get themselves out. Fortunately Eve Jones (12) and Paige Scholfield (13) added a vital 21 for the eight wicket, before Jones was caught at mid-off. Another nine runs were added in the last two overs as Lightning made it to 128/9.

In reply the Diamonds made a great start despite losing Holly Armitage to an lbw decision for 9. Lauren Winfield, dropped first ball ball by Jones behind the stumps, took a liking to Sophie Devine's bowling as she crashed her for three consecutive 4s in the third over, to take Yorkshire to 32/1. But having taken the score to 37 Yorkshire lost three key wickets - Winfield (23) run out after a misfield by bowler Perry, Alice Davidson-Richards (3) caught by Perry in Rebecca Grundy's first over, and Beth Mooney (0) lbw to the same bowler two balls later. The guts had been ripped out of the Yorkshire innings, and they never recovered. Katherine Brunt (16) and Dani Hazell (15) did what they could, but the Diamonds were bowled out in the 17th over for 85 - still 18 short of the bonus point score and a hat full of runs short of the Lightning's total.

Loughborough Lightning - 128/9
Sophie Devine 52, Jenny Gunn 2/20. Dani Hazell 2/22
Yorkshire Diamonds - 85 all out
Lauren Winfield 23, Rebecca Grundy 3/21, Georga Elwiss 2/6, Sophie Devine 2/27
full scorecard here


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Opening KSL games previewed

Storm's Heather Knight
(C) Don Miles
The KSL kicks off this weekend with all six teams in action. With just five league games to be played by each team, and a place in the top three required to get to Finals Day at Chelmsford on Sunday 21st August, an opening win (preferably with a bonus point) will be most welcome. There are 2 points a for a win and 1 bonus point for the winning team if they can achieve 1.25 times the run rate of their opponents.

Saturday sees Yorkshire Diamonds taking on Loughborough Lightning, while on Sunday Southern Vipers host Surrey Stars, and Western Storm welcome Lancashire Thunder to Taunton. Below is a preview of the opening games. For all the teams, fixtures and news check out our dedicated KSL page, where we will continue to post news, reports on all KSL games, scorecard links and the ongoing league table.

Diamonds v Lightning
This could be one of the best games of the competition with the Lightning in good form with the bat in their warm-up games (Georgia Elwiss, Sophie Devine and Amy Jones in particular), and the Diamonds with a strong bowling contingent - Katherine Brunt, Shabnim Ismail, Jenny Gunn and Dani Hazell amongst them. But it is the batting that may be more of an issue for the Diamonds. They will rely heavily on Lauren Winfield, and Aussies Beth Mooney and Alex Blackwell. They will have to contend with the Lightning's attack led by Ellyse Perry, and new Saffer captain Dane van Niekerk. It will be a tough ask and I think the Lightning will edge this one, but without a bonus point.

Vipers' Suzie Bates
(C) Don Miles
Vipers v Stars
Vipers' Kiwi contingent - Suzie Bates, Sara McGlashan and Morna Nielsen, create a strong backbone to the Vipers' team, who probably start as tournament favourites. With Bates and McGlashan helped out in the top order by the experience of Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway they could post some imposing totals, but the flip side is that early wickets could put the pressure on some inexperienced lower order batsmen. The Stars build-up has been far from ideal with a host of injuries to players, including their key overseas signing, Meg Lanning. They have replaced her with seamer Lea Tahuhu, which leaves Tammy Beaumont, Nat Sciver and Marizanne Kapp to lead the batting. It is strong, but it is not very long. The Stars are going to need runs from the likes of Laura Marsh and Beth Morgan. I think the Vipers will make a winning start but with no bonus point.

Western Storm v Lancashire Thunder
The Thunder's fortunes could hang on how their two West Indian players - Deandra Dottin and Hayley Matthews, adapt to English conditions, both with bat and ball. They have both come straight over from domestic 50 over and T20 competitions in the Windies, and will have little time to settle in. That could open the door for the Storm in this opening encounter, but they will need one of their top five - Lizelle Lee, Rachel Priest, Stafanie Taylor (also from the Windies), Heather Knight or Fran Wilson to go big. Anya Shrubsole will lead the Storm's bowling attack with Davies and Hennessy the other main seam options, and plenty of spin possibilities - Knight, Taylor, Dibble and Westbury. This competition is a massive opportunity for Thunder's Danni Wyatt to show what she can do with the bat, and Thunder's Kiwi skipper - Amy Satterthwaite is no slouch with the willow. Kate Cross leads the bowling attack, but confident left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone could turn games. Tough one to call, but maybe the Storm by a whisker.


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Warks' stumble allows Kent to take T20 title

It was a dramatic last day in the all too short T20 County Cup, with Kent eventually running out winners of the T20 title; Warwickshire being forced to settle for second; Sussex beating Berkshire to send Notts into Div 2 next year; and last year's Div 1 relagatees - Somerset and Surrey coming straight back up into Div 1.

The top of the table action was at Beckenham, where Kent hosted table-toppers Warwickshire and Middlesex. Warwickshire knew they just had to win one of their games. Kent knew they had to win both of theirs, and hope that Middlesex could do them a huge favour.

In the first game Kent comfortably dispatched Middlesex, chasing down 111/6 with just three wickets down and nine balls to spare. Suzie Bates took 3/18 and made 28, but top batsman was Alice Davidson-Richards (30).

Next up it was Warwickshire's chance to seal their first T20 title as they took on Middlesex, but it was not to be. Warwickshire posted a decent 137/8 based around openers Gerogia Hennessy (36) and Amy Jones (29), but an unbeaten third wicket partnership of 98 between Fran Wilson (61*) and Beth Morgan (43*) brought Middlesex home, again with nine balls to spare, as Warwickshire tried eight different bowlers.

It meant the last game was a showdown between Kent and Warwickshire - winner take all. Kent decided to chase, and another decent opening stand of 71 - Jones 40, Hennessy 37, put Warwickshire in a decent position, but they could only manage to put 126/4 on the board at the end of their 20 overs. It didn't look enough until the last five overs or so. Kent had been cruising at 71 without loss, but then lost Bates (43), Edwards (4) and Beaumont (36) to be 88/3 with five overs to come. With 18 balls to come Kent still needed 30 to win with Davidson-Richards and Lydia Greenway at the crease. They took 23 from the 18th and 19th over to leave them needing just seven runs from the last, which they achieved off four balls, to claim their third T20 title.

Meanwhile last year's winners, Sussex, found themselves in unfamiliar territory trying to stave off relegation, as they hosted Notts and Berks. Sussex, without a win, first took on Notts, also struggling at the foot of the table. Notts were invited to bat and Sussex made the perfect start as Freya Davies
(1/6) and Ellen Burt (1/11) bowled three maidens in the powerplay and kept Notts down to 13/2 after six overs. Notts struggled on to make 94/9. In reply Georgia Adams (58) and Georgia Elwiss (15) put on 67 for the first wicket and Sussex cantered home two wickets down and with more than four overs to spare.

Sussex's Ellen Burt removes Notts' Abbey Hawkins
(c) Don Miles
It meant if Notts lost their next game to Berkshire then Sussex would be safe in Division 1 for another season. Berkshire batted first and made a horrible start and were soon 33/4, but importantly Heather Knight (60*) was still there. Had a simple chance at cover been taken early on, then things would have been far worse. Together with Carla Rudd (36*) she set about rebuilding the innings, and eventually took Berkshire to a creditable, if unspectacular, 122/4. It looked a tall order for a Notts side that has found runs hard to come by, and when they lost their anchor, Sonia Odedra, in the second over, Notts' goose looked cooked. But the Notts middle order had other ideas - Georgie Boyce (32), Abbey Hawkins (23), Jane Smit (35), and Kirstie Gordon (17) kept Notts in touch but they still needed 50 off the last six overs, which they reduced to 15 off the last 12 balls. 10 from the 19th over meant they needed just five runs from the last, but two wickets for Heather Knight from the first three balls meant it was four off three balls. With the fifth ball of the over they levelled the scores and then finally got over the line from the last ball of the game. It was a great effort.

And so relegation came down to the last game of the day. Elsewhere Yorkshire had taken themselves out of the equation by comfortably beaten Lancashire in a rain-affected game. If Sussex lost to Berkshire then they would be relegated.

Sussex won the toss and again inserted their opponents, who were 40/1 at the end of the powerplay. In the ninth over Tara Norris (2/12) accounted for the England skipper, but Kiwi Rachel Priest (60) was still there, and when Berkshire added 37 from the last four overs, they finished on 130/6 - the highest score of the day. Sussex made a sedate start in reply and were only 8/0 after three overs, but Georgia Adams (25) crashed 18 off Heather Knight's only over of the game, which seemed to settle the Sussex nerves. When Adams and Elwiss (30) perished Sussex were ahead of the rate and Danni Wyatt (44) and Sara McGlashan (26*) made sure things stayed that way as Sussex cruised up almost to parity. As a result Knight threw the ball to Kiwi keeper Priest (not keeping in this game) to bowl the 17th over with Sussex needing just five to win. Wyatt, keen to finish the game, swung hard, but edged through to keeper Rudd, much to the delight of all the Berkshire players, and the amusement of Wyatt's Sussex teammates. The game ended next over when McGlashan dabbed the winning run to third man, and Sussex sighed a collective sigh of relief.

In Division 2 Somerset could only win one of their last two games, beating Durham, but crashing to Worcestershire in their other. It was however enough to secure them top spot in the division, as Wales could also only win one of their two games. They beat Hampshire, but then lost to Staffs. It left the door open for Surrey, who barged their way through it due to the surprise appearance of Saffer Marizanne Kapp in a Surrey shirt. She took 2/16 and then made 64* as Surrey waltzed passed Essex's 117/4 with 22 balls to spare. It meant they snatched second spot from Wales.

Coming up from Division 3 will be undefeated Scotland, and Derbyshire, who defeated rivals Devon. It has been a good couple of weeks for Scotland, who recently beat Netherlands in the 50 over format to get through to the World Cup qualifiers early next year.

So County T20s done. Focus is now on the KSL before the County Championship returns at the end of August.


Monday, 18 July 2016

Two T20 wins put Warwickshire on the brink

Warwickshire, who last year were so nearly relegated from Division One of the County Championship and who were playing T20 cricket in Division Two, currently sit top of Division One of both the County Championship and of the T20 league. Whether they go on to win either competition will be decided in the next few weeks, but whatever happens they have shown what good coaching, good support from the men's set-up, good team spirit and a good attitude can do in cricket.

On Sunday in the T20 format they beat both Lancashire and Sussex, which means with just two games to play they lead Kent, Berkshire and Lancashire by five points. With four points for a win they need to beat either Kent or Middlesex next Sunday at Beckenham to be crowned T20 champions. And it would be thoroughly deserved for a team that is devoid of "megastars". True they have Amy Jones, Jenny Gunn and Becky Grundy in their midst, but only one other player will be appearing in this year's KSL - Georgia Hennessy. Only Notts in Div 1 of the T20 have less KSL players (3). It is a competition that Warwickshire would have liked to have had their own team in, but they lost out when the ECB handed out the franchises in January, presumably to Loughborough who were selected to represent the Midlands. Warwickshire seem to have set out to show what they are capable of, both on and off the field.

Sussex's Freya Davies (C) Don Miles 2016
At the other end of T20 Div 1, sit Sussex - last year's T20 champions. They are yet to win a game, although they have had two rained off. As well as losing to Warwickshire this weekend they failed to chase down Lancashire's below par 110/5 on a good batting track at the Edgbaston Foundation Ground. Their batting was woeful as they plunged to 58/8 in the 13th over, and only sensible batting from 9, 10 and 11- Tara Norris (6), Freya Davies (17), and Sally Clarke (10), saw the last two wickets add another 34 runs. Sussex have it all to do next week when they meet Notts and Berks at Hove. Two wins will mean that they leap-frog Notts and perhaps keep their place in Div 1 for another season. But they will need to bat and field a lot better than they did this weekend.

The only other game next Sunday is the Lancashire v Yorkshire clash at Leigh CC. If Yorkshire were to lose then they could find themselves bottom of the league, if results go Sussex and Notts' way. No doubt it will be a passionate game and one good performance could swing it either way.

In Div 2 Somerset picked up two important wins on Sunday against Staffs and Surrey, despite having no Anya Shrubsole in the team (still recovering from injury). It puts them two points ahead of Surrey and three points ahead of Wales (who demolished Worcestershire in their only game on Sunday) and Essex (who comfortably beat Durham in their only game). With Somerset due to take on Durham and Worcestershire in Durham on Sunday to conclude their season, they are in the box seat. One win will mean that they can only be overtaken by Wales, who travel to Totton to take on Hampshire and Staffs, while Surrey and Essex have just the one game against each other at Garon Park to wrap up their T20 season. It looks like Somerset will be making the jump back into Div 1 next year, but who will come with them? Wales have it within their own hands, but can they grasp the chance?


Friday, 15 July 2016

County T20 - Round 3

The third round of County T20 games are played this Sunday. Here is what you can see this weekend

Div 1
Notts, Yorkshire & Kent at Welbeck CC
Warwickshire, Lancs & Sussex at Edgbaston Foundation Ground (third game at Edgbaston CC)
Berkshire v Middlesex at Wokingham CC

Warwickshire are the only unbeaten side in the T20 competition this year having won two games and had one called off. They sit second behind Berkshire who have won three of their four games so far, but who lost to Warks in Round 2. Berkshire have just the one game this Sunday against Middlesex, but with both teams back to full strength Middlesex are probably just favourites.

Meanwhile Warks take on Sussex and Lancs. Sussex racked up 177/3 against Kent two weeks ago, but still lost. They also lost to Warks in their first County Championship game of the season on the same ground. With Amy Jones and Jenny Gunn back for Warks and Georgia Elwiss, Danni Wyatt and Georgia Adams back for Sussex, this could be an epic. Lancs already have two wins under their belts - over Middlesex and Kent, so are going to be no pushover. If any team can come away with two wins they will be doing well.

Up at Welbeck CC Notts host Yorkshire and Kent. Suzie Bates scored a hundred to beat Sussex at Arundel two weeks ago, Kent having lost their first two games to Berks and Lancs. They will be back to full strength this weekend with Tammy Beaumont at the top of the order. They will be difficult to stop. Yorkshire have lost both the games they have played this year but they will be strengthened by the return of Katherine Brunt, Lauren Winfield and Dani Hazell, plus Aussie opener and keeper Beth Mooney. They might just give Kent a run for their money and should probably prove too strong for Notts.

Div 2
Essex, Durham & Hampshire at Garon Park
Surrey, Somerset & Staffs at Banstead CC
Wales v Worcestershire at Aberdare CC

Surrey are the only unbeaten team in a very open Div 2 title race (five teams have won two games apiece). They take on Somerset and Staffs on home ground this Sunday. Both Surrey and Somerset welcome back a key England player in Nat Sciver and Anya Shrubsole respectively. Staffs have one win under their belts over Durham, but could come away with nothing from these two games.

Durham and Hampshire will be keen to try and get something out of their weekend, which they share with Essex. Durham are bottom having lost both the games they have played so far and Hampshire have lost three out of four, including the fixture against Essex, which was brought forward so that it could be played at the Ageas Bowl.

Wales and Worcestershire play a lone game at Aberdare CC, but it should be a good one. Worcestershire's Thea Brookes will be keen to show what she can do in T20 cricket ahead of her stint with Loughborough Lightning. She hit a fine 79 in a losing cause against Surrey in Round 2, and will hope for more of the same.


Saturday, 2 July 2016

More County T20 Action

Hopefully this Sunday's T20 fixtures will fair a little better weatherwise than last weekend's. Here is what you have to look forward to :-

Current table-toppers, Berkshire, have the long journey to Harrogate to take on Yorkshire and Warwickshire. All three games should be close, but Warwickshire may just come out on top and keep their good start to 2016 going.
Also heading north are Middlesex and Notts to take on Lancashire. It could be a tough day for Lancs, although they will take great heart from having beaten Kent last weekend.
With the withdrawal of Ireland from Div 1 Sussex & Kent go it alone at Arundel. Kent are 0/2 and will be keen to get some points on the board against a very young Sussex side, which will feature Kiwi Sara McGlashan for the first time.

Home advantage could prove to be the crucial factor for Somerset as they host Wales and Essex at Bath CC. Wales and Somerset come into the day unbeaten and if either of them can stay that way then they will be nicely placed for a move into Div 1 next year. Essex lost the only game they could play last week, in a rain-effected match, to table-toppers Worcs.
And Worcs host Surrey and Hants this week. They will be hoping to make it four wins out of four, but Surrey may have other ideas.

Derbyshire, Devon and Scotland have all won two from two in Div 3, which means the Derbyshire/Scotland clash at Marehay CC will have some added spice. Derbyshire have home advantage but Scotland have some international big game experience. It should be tight.
Devon travel to Northants with Cheshire and Devon will be expecting to take home 8 points.
And at Allbrighton CC Shropshire host Herts and Oxfordshire. Points are vital for all three teams as they try and get their T20 seasons underway.