Lancashire are determined not to let crown slip

Jamie Ramage
New Update
Lancashire are determined not to let crown slip

Lancashire Women win their opening encounter. © Lancashire County

Lancashire it appears are reluctant to let their title slip from their grasp.

There would be a case for Lancashire to slip up against Middlesex at Mill Hill School today; after winning the County Championship last year and with a new captain Eve Jones in charge. There was no complacency in this performance as they beat Middlesex side by 10 wickets with 13 overs to spare.

Lancashire never let-up from the toss. Jones won and with a battery of England international bowlers at her disposal used them to good effect. They could even afford a wayward over from Rachel Dickinson that went for 23 runs. It included the first of two above waist height no balls.

The Middlesex openers looked comfortable going into the final over of the opening power-play. It was Sophie Ecclestone the left-arm spinner who replaced Dickinson and in the third over of her spell got one to turn enough to find the outside edge of Natasha Miles' bat and it took a fantastic low one-handed catch at slip by Jess Couser to see the end of the first wicket partnership.

Ecclestone was soon joined it the attack by Alex Hartley her fellow England left-arm spinner; together they kept a stranglehold on the run-rate. Today was Ecclestone’s 19th birthday and she soon got her second wicket of the day when going for the sweep Naomi Dattani top edged it to Nalisha Patel at square leg for 26.

Naomi Dattani finished as Middlesex’s highest scorer as wickets fell at regular wickets. 59 for 1 soon became 91 for 5. Lancashire were even fortunate not to let a dropped catch lessen their intensity. Hartley at square-leg had taken a catch to dismiss Sophia Dunkley but then dropped Hayleigh Brennan that looked the easier of the two catches to take.

The only other blip in the Lancashire performance was Dickinson's second spell where a second over waist height no-ball. It was an attempted slower ball that sailed well over the head of the batsman.

Shachi Pai bowled out the over, but she also bowled a no-ball that was over head-height. It was followed up with a full-toss that was a marginal call. Maia Bouchier hit straight to Cross. Bouchier may have felt unlucky but it was a day where everything went right for Lancashire.

It was soon the turn of the new captain Eve Jones to show that she can lead from the front and chanceless innings of 61 not out that knocked the stuffing out of Middlesex. Emma Lamb backed her up spectacularly with 45 not out. Lamb also bowled 8.4 overs to return figures of 2 for 27.

It was also a special day for Kate Cross who in taking 3 for 21 became Lancashire leading all-time wicket-taker in the County Championship.

This game failed to show that Middlesex are a good side with a lot to offer. The good thing for them is that they have another game tomorrow to put this game behind them, however, it is against another good side in Yorkshire.

Lancashire now travel to Beckenham where they play Kent tomorrow. They will be buoyed by this result and there is no reason why on today’s form they can’t make it two wins from two on their trip to the South-East.