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Scott with England Captain, Charlotte Edwards

Looking forward to the Ashes summer


Scott Rollings has been following the women's game for half-a-decade. Here he talks about his passion for the game and outlines why this Ashes summer is a big one. 

Enjoying the Ashes summer? I know I am! Whilst I’m sure you’ll all be supporting the men’s team throughout the series, let’s not forget that the England’s women are also competing with Australia for the urn as we speak.

England have come out on top in five of the last six meetings between the two teams in this prestigious series. This Ashes series is sure to be an absolute belter, with some serious talent filling both squads. The teams include the leading run scorer ever in the women’s game, Australia’s youngest ever centurion (male or female), the top three batters in the world rankings and one of the 2014 Wisden Cricketers of the Year, to name but a few. The next few months promise to be a superb showcase of the ever-improving women’s game, contributing to its burgeoning popularity, which is borne out by increased attendances and the backing of Sky TV, who are showing every ball of the Women’s Ashes live in high definition.

This year, like the previous two Women’s Ashes series will be points based. Unlike the men, the women play three ODIs, three T20 matches and a single Test. The points system is very simple; the Test match is worth four points and the ODIs/T20s are worth two points each. This format is ideal for the up-and-coming women’s game. It gives the players a chance to prove that their skills, commitment and dedication are just as high as the men’s across all formats of the game.  

The series plays out as follows:

21st July- ODI- Taunton

23rd July- ODI- Bristol

26th July- ODI- Worcester

11th-14th August- Test- Canterbury

26th August- T20- Chelmsford

28th August- T20- Brighton and Hove

31st August- T20- Cardiff

I have only been following the women’s game for five or six years, but it is clear to see how much the standards and the popularity have increased and continue to do so.

England’s women definitely made me sit up and pay attention from the first time I watched them. It was Beth Morgan and Lydia Greenway sweeping, reverse sweeping and ramping the Australian attack. I was fascinated by how well they could control the power and placement playing such a difficult shot.

Also, the guts on show; I’ll always remember Beth Morgan attempting a ramp shot and getting hit in the grill, but then, the very next ball, she went down on one knee and reverse swept the ball for four.

Watching England win that game immediately had me hooked. Seeing how much the win meant to the players and background staff and seeing the camaraderie amongst everyone was incredible. The more women’s cricket I’ve watched, the more obvious it’s become that there are no ‘politics’ involved, everyone is spurring on everyone else.

There are no prima donnas; it’s all about the team as a whole. After a short time of watching games (not just England), it was clear to me that there are some immensely talented cricketers playing the women’s game. I know there are a lot of people out there who say that the women’s game is boring and the standard isn’t as good, but I would argue with them until my last breath.

A great way to prove these people wrong is to just show them a few stats (stats don’t lie). Deandra Dotting of the West Indies scored an international 100 off only 38 balls. Now, what cricket fan could say that they wouldn’t want to watch that?

The Women’s Ashes come to the County Ground on 28th August. Buy your Ashes tickets now.

Swing when you’re winning: Jason Lewry

King of the seaside swingers

Throwback Thursday


Cricket and the seaside have always gone together. Sussex have played at festival grounds like Scarborough, Weston super Mare, Eastbourne, Southport and Hastings while at Swansea, Glamorgan’s old-timers used to reckon that when the tide was rolling in the ball would start to swing all over the place at the St Helen’s ground a six hit across the Mumbles Road from the beach.

No county headquarters is closer to the sea than Hove. From certain vantage points it is possible to see the English Channel, two or three six hits away admittedly. And while the condition of the pitch does not alter much when the tide comes in or out it can certainly do funny things when a sea mist or fret rolls up towards Eaton Road.

That was certainly the case on a Saturday morning in early July 2001. In fact there had been a muggy atmosphere on the first day, ideal for swing bowlers such as Jason Lewry. When his captain, Chris Adams, won the toss and put Hampshire in the left-armer took 6 for 37 as the visitors were hustled out for 81.

It was a magnificent performance but nothing compared to what happened 24 hours later.

Sussex, having shown more application against a ball which was still swinging around, led on first innings by 221 runs and when Adams threw Lewry the new ball with spectators on one side of the ground barely able to see across to the other he produced one of the most spectacular performances in Sussex’s history.

With his third, fourth and fifth balls of his first over Lewry performed the second hat-trick of his career as Derek Kenway was caught at slip and Will Kendall and Robin Smith fell leg before as Hampshire slumped to 1 for 3.

In the course of Hampshire’s two innings he had taken seven wickets in 13 balls, having mopped up their tail in the first innings. His feat had only been bettered once, ironically against Sussex, by Surrey spinner Pat Pocock at Eastbourne in 1972. What is it about seaside grounds that produces these remarkable cameos?

Hampshire recovered to 42 for 3 but then Lewry returned to have Dimitri Mascerenhas caught in the gully in his seventh over. In his next he picked off three more batsmen from the second, fourth and fifth balls. There was no double hat-trick as the next ball sailed down the leg side but Lewry finished with remarkable match figures of 13 for 79 as Sussex won in four sessions.

“That was the thing about Jason,” remembers Adams. “When conditions were right he could get the best batsmen in the world out. That day he was unplayable but it was quite weird playing in a mist like that. I’m sure the umpires, Pete Willey and Ray Julian, thought about coming off but they were enjoying watching Jason bowl too much.”

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