Having endured a somewhat chastening season in 2015 after their last promotion to Division 1 of the Royal London Women’s County Championship, Lancashire Women were determined to put the record straight as they started the new season with a tricky looking game v Middlesex at St Annes.
With England players Cross, Hartley, Lamb and Jones unavailable, Lancashire gave debuts to youngsters Rebecca Duckworth, and also Lancashire Thunder captain Amy Satterthwaite, who was making her championship debut.
Middlesex won the toss and decided to bowl first, a move that looked justified with the Red Rose on 41-3. Shachi Pai then came in to join Satterthwaite who was looking in sublime touch to take the score up to 82, and then 10 runs later the Kiwi was bowled for a superb 49.
The rest of the innings was dominated by Sophie Ecclestone who went on to make an invaluable career best 64 in just 71 balls. Sophie had great support from skipper Meg Fairclough who helped add 48 for the 7th wicket and then Rachel Dickinson (24) in stand of 59 for the 9th to steer Lancashire to 221 all out.
Middlesex were soon under pressure as Dickinson grabbed 3 quick wickets to have them struggling on 42-3. Natasha Miles – a Lancashire Thunder player last year – stood firm with a determined 44 but wickets continued to fall at regular intervals. Ecclestone finished off a great personal day with figures of 4/32 and Patel and Brown mopped up the tail to leave Middlesex 133 all out and Lancashire winners by 88 runs and a maximum 18 points secured.
This was Lancashire’s first win in the top since 2006 and a great confidence booster for the season ahead.
Highlights : Sophie Ecclestone 64 & 4/32. Amy Satterthwaite 49. Rachel Dickinson 24 & 3/14 Natasha Miles 44. Gayatri Gole 3/49
Lancashire women: 221 all out (48.2 overs)
Middlesex Women: 133 all out (39.2 overs)
Lancashire Women – Won by 88 runs
Lancashire Women v Berkshire Women
Buoyed by the previous day’s win the Lancashire Women 1st XI returned to action on Bank Holiday Monday as they entertained Berkshire at Urmston CC. The Red Rose girls made two changes to the team with Emma Lamb returning to the side, and new signing Evelyn Jones making her debut after her close season move from Staffordshire.
Berkshire won the toss and perhaps surprisingly under cloudy skies opted to bat first. New Zealand star Rachel Priest looked in ominous form striking 5 quick boundaries but after Ella Telford had removed her partner Flack, Priest was dismissed by a brilliant catch from Jones off Dickinson to leave them 26-2. Rudd and Gumbs steadied the innings with a stand of 48 before the former was deceived by Ecclestone and bowled for 21. Gumbs went on to make the most of being dropped from a straightforward chance when on 18, batting aggressively and dominating the rest of the innings with a fine 65 before Brown bowled her. The Berkshire innings subsided after that with Ecclestone collecting 4/29 and Brown 2/14.
Lamb and Jones started the run chase confidently until the former mistimed a pull to mid wicket. This brought in Satterthwaite and she and Jones took the score up to 74 before the Kiwi was trapped lbw for 22. Another good stand of 42 followed between Jones and Brown before the opener was finally dismissed for 37. Brown made sure there were no real problems in gathering the remaining runs ending unbeaten on 37 as Lancashire eased home with 6 wickets and 20 overs to spare to once again secure maximum points.
Highlights : Natalie Brown 37* & 2/14; Evelyn Jones 37, Sophie Ecclestone 4/29 Sherisa Gumbs 65
Lancashire Women 148 for 4 (29.2 overs)
Berkshire Cricket Board 145 all out (42 overs)
Lancashire Women – Won by 6 wickets
The Red Rose girls will return to action on May 14th when they travel to Harrogate to take on Yorkshire who have also started the season with back to back wins.
Report courtesy of Lancashire CB