Monday, 16 September 2013

Reflections on the 2013 County Championship

This was our* first year intensively following domestic (women's) cricket in England. We'd been to the odd game in previous seasons, usually when there was the promise of seeing an England player in action; but this time, encouraged by the enthusiasm of Martin Davies at womens-cricket.blogspot.co.uk, we resolved to go more often, and to try to post some photos and match reports.

In the end we saw all of Berkshire's home County Championship games, plus the T20 Finals Day - catching Berkshire, Kent, Sussex, Essex, Notts and Yorkshire along the way.

We watched Heather Knight drag Berkshire single-handed to a respectable mid-table finish. (Having watched her four times before The Ashes, it was no surprise to us that she finished the summer as a bit of a superstar!)

Knight was also involved in our personal 'Champagne Moment' of the season - though this time on the receiving end!

Notts' Sonia Odedra had Knight caught at square leg, but the Notts celebrations were cut short as they realised a No Ball had been called.

Notts looked deflated, but Odedra - who has played Academy cricket, but who has surprisingly never been called-up for a full England cap - was having none of it. Fired-up, her next ball had everything - pace, venom and accuracy - and Heather's middle stump took the full force!

I think it is only fair to admit, however, that we've seen bad as well as good. Our gut feeling is that most of the sides in this championship (Sussex and Kent excepted) are carrying at least two players - literally in a handful of cases, with the player in question neither batting nor bowling much, but apparently being picked as a specialist deep fine leg.

It is no secret that I think the county system is a deeply flawed way of running domestic women's cricket in this country; but still overall I'd have to conclude: I can't wait for next year!

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* All but one of the domestic games I attended with my 10-year-old son, acting in his capacity as official photographer!

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