Lancashire starts the defence of their Royal London Women’s One-day Cup away to Middlesex at Mill Hill School. With the County Championship officially starting in 1997 the two sides have met six times since then. With Lancashire winning five of those games. Only two of these games have happened in division one.
For Middlesex, it will be their first game since they beat an MCC side at Lord’s last month. It was their first game at the venue. That was a T20 game and with pre-season friendlies cancelled due to the rain, it will be their first 50 over game of the season.
Middlesex will be lead by Naomi Dattani and include in their squad two World Cup winners Fran Wilson, former England international Beth Morgan and players with Kia Super League experience Natasha Miles (who is also T20 captain), Sophia Dunkley.
They will also include overseas player Hayleigh Brennan the 19-year-old was part of the Melbourne Stars WBBL squad and whose stateside is Victoria.
Lancashire have a new captain in Eve Jones who takes over the reigns from Meg Fairclough, who has moved to Milan. The squad includes three England internationals World Cup winner Alex Hartley, fellow left-arm spinner Sophie Ecclestone and Kate Cross. Players with Kia Super League experience are Eve Jones, Emma Lamb, and Ellie Threlkeld.
It will be Middlesex’s third game at Mill Hill School. The highest score for any team in the Women's County Championship being 252 for 9 by Nottinghamshire last year.
The two sides have come a long way since then. Their first meeting in the County Championship was in Division Three back in 1999; Lancashire won that game by 7 runs with match-winning innings of 74 by Arran Brindle. It is also the highest score by an individual in the meetings.
The best bowling figures are 5 for 22 by Sune van Zyl the South African international in 2002. It is all set up to be an exciting opener to the 2018 Women’s County Championship and with good weather predicted there is no reason why a close finish should ensue.
Eve Jones (c), Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone, Alex Hartley, Emma Lamb, Ellie Threlkeld, Natalie Brown, Rachel Dickinson, Ella Telford, Jess Couser, Nalishah Patel, Shachi Pai and Laura Jackson.
Naomi Dattani (c), Emma Albery, Maia Bouchier, Hayleigh Brennan, Catherine Dalton, Sophia Dunkley, Bhavika Gajipra, Gayatri Gole, Iqraa Hussain, Natasha Miles, Beth Morgan, Emily Thorpe, Rebecca Tyson, Fran Wilson and Katie Wolfe.