Where are the Women?

The 2019 Official England Cricket calendar is on sale now and at first glance it appears to have the same layout as recent editions. There is one obvious omission though… women!

Surely it’s about time that the calendar featured England’s women cricketers. It’s arguable that they’re different teams and should have their own calendars and I can understand such a stance but… aren’t the men’s Test, ODI and T20I teams separate entities? Should we have separate calendars for each?

I think that it’d be great to see the captains on the front, Heather Knight centre stage flanked by messrs Root and Morgan.

There could be a move away from individual profile pages and more of a team presentation. There could for example be a wicketkeeper’s page featuring shots of Sarah Taylor, Ben Foakes, Amy Jones, Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow. Action shots would be good but admittedly the page is only so big. The five players could be lined up alongside each other with for example Foakes at the front and centre, the ladies either side and slightly behind him with Buttler and Bairstow further back forming a V formation.

There could be pages that feature only the men or women but again let’s move away from individual player images. Months could feature two batters at the crease or the team celebrating a wicket or series victory.

Possibly the best performances of the previous year, a player registering a double-hundred or nine-wicket haul or alternatively a breakthrough or retiring player could earn a solo page. Another nice addition might be a legends month where players from years gone by takes centre stage.

Ultimately, men or women, England’s cricketers are there to inspire all. This wouldn’t be a token move for the times but a change accurate with equality and sense. It would be right and should be perceived as normal not groundbreaking. The fact that I’m saying this and that it hasn’t happened means that it’s still not!

Edit (An Important one!): I’ve since opened the calendar (!) and five women’s players do feature alongside men in an ensemble page at the centre with male players who didn’t earn a month of their own. It’s not a month of the year page though, so you’d have to hang it up as a poster and wake up not knowing what month it is! Still, great to see the likes of Anya Shrubsole and Nat Sciver in there.

2018 Women’s World T20

In just under a week’s time on November 9th, the 2018 Women’s World T20 takes place in West Indies, the land of the defending champions.

Click on the link below for full details…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_ICC_Women%27s_World_Twenty20

The hosts will hope to defend the title in their own backyard via performances from players such as Cheandra Nation and the destructive Deandra Dottin. Current World ODI Champions England will also be confident however. Their squad includes inventive players such as Nat Sciver and Danielle Wyatt while Amy Jones (Pictured above) will wear the ‘keeping gloves in the absence of Sarah Taylor.

In captain Meg Lanning, Australia have the women’s game’s best player but in truth, T20 isn’t her strongest suit. Ashleigh Gardner could be key in this format. Neighbours New Zealand have talented individuals such as run-machine Amy Satterthwaite and spin sensation Amelia Kerr to keep them competitive.

India, with players such as Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana, will have high hopes for the tournament, though their neighbours, an out of form Pakistan, seem less likely contenders. They’ll rely heavily on the exploits of Diana Baig.

South Africa have some high quality cricketers, Laura Wolvaardt and Sune Luus amongst them but will need to discover consistency if they’re to challenge for this year’s crown. Chamari Atapattu will lead Sri Lanka’s charge.

It’ll be interesting to see how competitive the likes of Bangladesh and Ireland can be. Both teams had to make it through the qualifier to get this far. For Bangladesh, keep an eye out for eighteen-year-old spinner Nahida Akter. For Ireland, who took an almighty battering at the hands of New Zealand in ODIs not all that long ago, look out for talented all-round sportswoman Mary Waldron. Not content with representing her nation at cricket, she’s played football at international level as well as playing hockey to a high standard.

Here’s hoping for a great tournament to further develop and promote the women’s game.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. Scotland Women Test Match – Scotch Job!

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England Women succumbed to an unflattering defeat in a one-off Test encounter against northerly neighbours Scotland. England were dismissed for a paltry 91 barely halfway through the first day’s morning session. Nat Sciver’s 16 was as good as it got for any of the home side’s willow wielders!

The visitors would then go onto post 363-8 before taking pity on England and declaring. Pace bowler Katherine Brunt bowled particularly well early on. She claimed figures 2-41 from 19 overs with eight of her overs being maidens. Anya Shrubsole (2-66) also collected two victims.

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England made a better fist of things second time around. Stumper Sarah Taylor led the way with a breathtaking counter-attacking 85 from just 31 deliveries. She attempted one reverse sweep too many however and was dismissed LBW to spin. Lauren Winfield (57) also batted well for a much deserved half-century. Katherine Brunt’s whirlwind 44 from just 16 balls as well as Nat Sciver’s run-a-ball 22 helped England total an improved 230. It wasn’t enough to make Sctoland bat again though as England lost by an innings and 42 runs.

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Scotland ran out deserved winners and England’s batsmen will need to apply themselves better and their bowlers provide added penetration if they’re to become successful in future encounters.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): England Women vs. PNG Women ODI

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Following the trouncing at the hands of New Zealand, England’s Women hosted Papua New Guinea, in what turned out to be a thrilling encounter on the south coast.

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Lauren Winfield was tamely dismissed first ball but fellow opener Tammy Beaumont (67) and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor (37) set about rebuilding for the hosts. Taylor, who was dismissed for a golden duck against New Zealand, was controversially adjudged run out however captain Heather Knight (61) carried on the good work alongside Beaumont. Unfortunately for England, after their two half-centurions departed, there weren’t many more contributions. From 154-2, England subsided to an underwhelming 222 all out.

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Natalie Sciver, who made a scintillating 115 against New Zealand, was the victim of an appalling LBW decision when on 16. England had already wasted both of their reviews, much to the frustration of Surrey’s Sciver. From then on, nobody from numbers six to eleven managed to reach double figures.

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World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole was the pick of the home side’s bowlers. She claimed the first three PNG wickets and later added a superb caught and bowled (See image above) to finish with excellent figures of 4-51.

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Papua New Guinea recovered from 53-3 though and at 196-5 looked set for an easy victory. Spinner Sophie Ecclestone (2-41) was amongst the wickets though, as was Beth Langston (1-12) having been drafted into the side. With the visitors requiring just two runs for victory, there was a needless run out before spinner Danielle Wyatt claimed the 9th wicket courtesy of an excellent catch from skipper Heather Knight. Knight then tried to gee on the crowd (See image above) but PNG snuck home by the skin of their shiny white teeth!

This was a much improved performance from England and they displayed real character to take the match to the wire. They were certainly the victim of a couple of rough decisions but will be disappointed with their middle order’s inability to build on the foundations laid by the likes of Beaumont, Taylor and Knight.

Ashes Cricket (PS4): Scintillating Sciver Can’t Save England!

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England Women succumbed to a chastening 302-run defeat against New Zealand at Headingley in a one-off ODI earlier today.

New Zealand’s opening batsmen were utterly dominant on a gorgeous day in Leeds. Susie Bates (212) and Sophie Devine (144) put on 283 for the visitor’s first wicket. Amy Satterthwaite added 129 not out from just 49 deliveries as the home side claimed only two wickets in 50 overs. New Zealand’s total of 493-2 was a new world record in Women’s ODI cricket, passing the previous high of 455-2 also set by the White Ferns.

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Two dropped catches by stumper Sarah Taylor (Who was also dismissed first ball!) didn’t help England’s cause, although in truth a lot of the damage had already been done. England also missed an easy run out opportunity when the ball was inexplicably thrown to the wrong end!

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All-rounder Natalie Sciver, who despite bowling two maidens finished with record breakingly bad figures of 0-111 from her full allocation, finished the day four runs to the good after spanking a marvellous 115. Her 67-ball affair contained 13 sixes, most of which were reverse sweeps. In current cricket terminology, Sciver is probably England’s ‘Point of Difference’! Only Katherine Brunt (21) and captain Heather Knight (17) were able to provide any kind of support for Surrey’s scintillating Sciver.

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Sciver’s batting exploits did at least save England from complete ignominy and the side will look to bounce back next time they take to the field of play.

Disclaimer: I should probably point out that I was playing as England. In my defence, I’m now tackling veteran level (ie: Level 4/5)!