Sunday, 25 January 2015

2015 Champions League Final - Match Report

(Warning - the following may be a figment of my sleep-deprived imagination!)

Australia's New South Wales Breakers have won the inaugural 2015 Women's Champions' League in style, after convincingly beating England's Kent in the final at Lords.

As we know, the Breakers cruised into this final, thrashing New Zealand's Auckland Hearts by 9 wickets; while Kent scraped through against India's Railways, winning a rain-affected match by 3 runs on Duckworth Lewis.

Having won the toss, Kent captain Charlotte Edwards chose to bat, and her and Tammy Beaumont made a solid defensive start, reaching the 10-over mark without loss, but with just 17 runs on the board. When Beaumont eventually fell in the 16th over, LBW to Sarah Jane Coyte for a painstaking 7, it brought Lydia Greenway to the crease. Greenway upped the rate a bit, putting up a stand of 93 with Edwards; but it was the returning Elyse Perry who eventually made the breakthrough, with Greenway caught at deep fine leg, getting a top edge attempting to sweep the Aussie quick one too many times. Edwards reached her hundred in the 39th over, but was run-out shortly afterwards attempting to up the rate; and Kent eventually closed on 203/9, with Perry the pick of the bowlers, ending with 4 wickets for 19.

Chasing 204 to win, the Breakers got off to a flyer, with Haynes and Healy both racing to quick-fire half-centuries within 15 overs. When Healy finally holed-out on the long-on boundary for 64, it brought captain Alex Blackwell to the crease. With no scoreboard pressure, Blackwell and Haynes could sit back and pick off the not-infrequent bad balls, and by the time Haynes was unluckily given out for 89 - LBW to fellow leftie Tash Farrant - a delivery which replays clearly showed was missing by a mile - the Breakers needed just 22 more; and fittingly it was Man-of-the-Match Elyse Perry who hit the winning runs; as the Breakers brought it home with 14 overs to spare,

It was a sobering lesson for English cricket fans, who were forced to accept that they just can't compete with Australia for the quality of their domestic game. With the best English players spread out across twenty-odd counties in the two top divisions, the talent is just too thinly distributed; and unless things radically change, this wonderful new "Connor-Clarke" trophy is destined to remain elsewhere for the foreseeable future.

2 comments:

  1. Clever - nice article.

    Your underlying point is well made. Minor chink in your argument is that fact that 18 of the 22 members of Senior Winter Performance Squad did play in Div 1 last year. Only Cross, Shrubsole, Wilson and Dibble did not. In the Academy Winter Performance Squad there were 7 out of 12 playing in Div 1 so that makes 25 of the 34 best players were playing in Div 1 last season. Those 34 are spread across 14 not 20 counties. Granted 14 is almost or is twice the number of state sides.

    I thought England were a rather aging side with little new blood coming through but 6 players made their senior England debut in 2013 and a further 3 in 2014. However, only Sciver of those 9 is getting regularly picked. The others (Jones, Winfield, Farrant, Langston, Cross, Grundy, Dibble and Odedra) are not although Grundy has never been dropped (absent due to injury this summer). It feels like Sciver replaced the retired Brindle otherwise dislodging existing players is clearly pretty difficult.

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  2. Do we need this major shake up of the women's domestic game some are shouting for? England men do ok with 18 first class counties and 20 minor counties. Also, most of the England Women squad have been in ECB development programmes since their teenage years and this is where their real development takes place. Also seems those most keen to ring fence the top division are those who happen to be in it at the moment!

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