Middlesex endure tough Bank Holiday weekend losing to Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire

It was a tough weekend for Middlesex. They lost both matches, first by 45 runs against Nottinghamshire, and then by 204 against Warwickshire who remain unbeaten at the top of the ladder.

On Sunday at Mill Hill School, Nottinghamshire won the toss and asked Middlesex to field. Gayatri Gole and Catherine Dalton opened the bowling to Sonia Odedra and Georgie Boyce. After scoring just one off Gole’s first over the pair proceeded to add a further 22 runs in the next four overs. Both Odedra, the Notts skipper, and Boyce, an England Academy player, found the boundary with ease. The pair brought up their half-centuries in the over before drinks with Odedra’s coming off 54 deliveries and Boyce’s 50, putting Notts in a strong position at 113-0 after 17.

The break soon brought success for Middlesex as Beth Morgan had Boyce caught by Natasha Miles for 55 – 40 of which were fours as the impressive opening stand of 121 came to an end. The next over saw Isabelle Westbury bowl Megan Burton for a single as Nottinghamshire were reduced to 127-2 after 20 overs. Despite wickets falling at the other end, Odedra continued to find the boundary before departing for 86 – caught by Fran Wilson off seamer Hannah Wakeman with the score on 194-6.

Some strong lower-order batting from Nottinghamshire helped them to post a competitive 252-9. Again the home side struggled with their line, giving away 39 wides in a disappointing tally of 45 extras.

IMG_0962
Naomi Dattani and Natasha Miles opening the batting chasing 253 to win

With rain forecast, there was always a strong chance the match could be decided by run rate. Odedra opened to her opposite number Naomi Dattani alongside debutant Sophie Munro. Economical overs were rewarded with a wicket for Munro who had Miles trapped lbw for seven with Middlesex on 22. England’s Wilson joined her captain at the crease and the pair worked the ball around, putting on 38 before Dattani was caught by Lucy Higham off Gordon for 19. The wicket brought Maia Bouchier to the crease, playing in her first match at this level for the season. Wilson departed after the pair had added just four runs as she attempted a reverse hit and was well caught at point by Odedra for 25.

Bouchier and Morgan batted sensibly, rotating the strike, before rain put a halt to the game. The pair returned with a revised target of 197 which meant Middlesex required 111 off 18 overs. Morgan was dismissed soon after the resumption, caught by Higham for 16 off Gordon.

Catherine Dalton joined Bouchier, and the pair had clearly not given up hope of chasing the total. They added 33 runs before Dalton was bowled by young Munro with the score on 132. Bouchier soon followed in the same fashion for a fluent 33 as Middlesex began to collapse.

The Nottinghamshire bowlers quickly finished the match before rain could bring the players off for a second time, as Middlesex were dismissed for 151. The pick of the bowlers was Munro who claimed 5-24 from 7.2 overs as Nottinghamshire won by 45 runs.

 

Monday saw Middlesex host a powerful Warwickshire side at Bushy Park. Captain Dattani won the toss and elected to field first, naming the same eleven as Sunday.

International duo Amy Jones (England) and Kathryn Bryce (Scotland) opened the batting for the Bears, facing Gole and Dattani. Again the openers got off to a good start, scoring 55 runs from the first ten overs. It was a good run rate which accelerated even when Bryce and Jones departed. Milly Pope bowled Bryce for 22 with just her third delivery of the day, and Isabelle Westbury had the dangerous Jones caught by Wilson for 41 which left Warwickshire on 73-2 in the 15th over.

New Zealand international Sophie Devine was joined at the crease by England Academy player Georgia Hennessy and the pair found the boundary with ease. Devine is well known for her ability to clear the ropes and did not disappoint. She scored four sixes, three against off-spin and one against medium-pace as she gave the crowd a taste of what they can expect from the White Ferns in the World Cup. Devine’s fifty came off 36 balls and her century off just 65. It took some good bowling from Pope to end the masterclass as Devine faced two dot balls and was caught by Dattani next ball for a boundary-filled 122 – an impressive 15 fours and four sixes. By this stage Warwickshire were already on 278-6 which gave the lower-order a licence to play their shots.

Warwickshire finished on a formidable 329-7 – the highest Division One score of the season. The pick of the bowlers was Pope who claimed 2-61, including the prize scalp of Devine which she claimed in a wicket maiden.

In reply Middlesex opened with Dattani and Miles who had the challenge of facing the international bowling of Devine and Bryce. Few loose deliveries were given and with the required run rate climbing it was little surprise wickets soon fell. Dattani was caught by Rebecca Grundy off Bryce for four, soon followed by Wilson who was bowled for nought. This left Middlesex struggling at 7-2 after five overs. The in-form Bouchier joined vice-captain Miles at the crease and played some lovely shots finding the boundary on four occasions before being caught by captain Marie Kelly off left-arm orthodox Grundy for 19. Miles soon followed, caught by Jenny Gunn off Grundy for 14.

Dalton was bowled by spinner Georgia Davis and Middlesex were in danger of being bowled out for under one hundred as they were reduced to 42-5. Former England player and Middlesex stalwart Morgan was the only player to offer real resistance, scoring a fluent 40 before she was caught by Kelly off Davis with the score on 96-9. Wicketkeeper India Whitty and Gole were the last pair. Batting with nothing to lose, they shared a 29-run partnership – the second highest of the innings. Whitty finished unbeaten on 16 and Gole made 15. Middlesex were all out for 125 which gave Warwickshire an emphatic 204-run victory.

It was a strong all-round performance from a quality Warwickshire side. The pick of the Bears’ bowlers was Grundy who claimed 4-26.

IMG_0960
Warwickshire remain unbeaten after a comprehensive 204-run victory over Middlesex

Both venues were fantastic hosts and the players even enjoyed a guard of honour at Bushy Park.

Middlesex now switch to T20s and host Sussex and Yorkshire at Merchant Taylors’ School on Sunday 18th June.

Middlesex secured their first Championship win of the season with a dramatic one-run victory over Berkshire

At Mill Hill School, Naomi Dattani won the toss and elected to bat, with Middlesex posted 152-9 from their 50 overs – their highest total this season. The experienced New Zealand international Rachel Priest got Berkshire off to a flying start but her dismissal slowed the run rate, and Middlesex were able to capitalise by claiming key wickets which reduced Berkshire to 151-9. With two runs required for a Berkshire victory or one wicket for a Middlesex win, a full toss was skied and the catch taken.

 

Dattani opened with vice-captain Natasha Miles and though runs proved hard to come by, the pair took singles when they were on offer and successfully negotiated the first ten overs, with the score on 22.

Middlesex lost their first wicket with 31 on the board, as Dattani was trapped lbw by spinner Emma Walker for 19. Fran Wilson joined Miles in the middle and the pair added 15 before the vice-captain departed for 14 as Walker took a low caught and bowled opportunity. Two overs later Wilson was dismissed in the same manner for 11, leaving Middlesex on 54-3.

Catherine Dalton was joined by the ever-dependable Beth Morgan and the pair added 29 runs for the fourth wicket. Dalton scored a further 12 runs before she hit a Fritha Morris full toss to mid-wicket and was caught by Ashleigh Muttitt. Morgan continued to pick the gaps and ran well between the wickets, again playing the anchor role for before she was trapped lbw by Lauren Bell for 37 with the scoreboard reading 131-8. Other useful contributions came from Holly Huddleston (16) and India Whitty (11) as Middlesex made 152-9. Emma Walker was the standout bowler for Berkshire, finishing with career-best figures of 10-2-28-5.

Chasing a target of 153, Priest made an explosive start to the innings, scoring six fours and a six in a knock of 47 (37) – more boundaries than Middlesex mustered in their 50 overs. Priest was dismissed with the final delivery of the 10th over, having dispatched the first for six, as she was caught by Dalton off Dattani with the score on 58.

Dattani immediately introduced off-spinners Isabelle Westbury and Morgan into to the attack to dry up runs and apply pressure. They bowled well in tandem and Westbury soon claimed her first two wickets of the season – Sherisa Gumbs (9) brilliantly caught by Wilson on the deep-mid wicket boundary, and Annabelle Flack (9) caught and bowled. Varying her flight effectively, Westbury completed her allotted ten overs, claiming a further two wickets to finish with 10-2-35-4.

Huddleston replaced Westbury to deliver the 31st over, a maiden which saw Berkshire on 121-5, requiring just 32 for victory. The return of the New Zealand quick soon brought rewards as she proceeded to take a wicket in each of her final four overs, leaving the visitors in strife at 136-9. Huddleston finished with her best figures in Middlesex colours of 10-5-24-4.

The last pair – Muttitt and Guppy – looked set to be Berkshire’s unlikely heroes as they put on 17 hard-fought runs to come within two of victory.

Dattani had given herself the captain’s role – to bowl at the death. Her third legitimate delivery was skied to mid-off where three fielders circled under the ball until the experienced Westbury called for the catch, and took it safely, to the delight of her teammates. This gave Middlesex a one run victory in their first win of the 50 over competition this season.

Speaking about her first win as Middlesex captain, Naomi Dattani said, ‘It was a really, really good moment. Especially when Izzy [Westbury] got the last catch – everyone was jumping for joy. And it was a nice team feel, not just for me, but for the whole team to have a win.’

Middlesex are back in action on May 28th at Mill Hill School against Nottinghamshire and May 29th at Teddington Cricket Club when they host Warwickshire.

Middlesex retain the London Cup in a thrilling three-run victory over Surrey

The London Cup is a coveted trophy and one Middlesex were certainly not giving up without a fight, after losing the toss and being asked to bat they posted a competitive 150-6. If Surrey were concerned with the seemingly challenging task ahead, it did not show as the batsmen kept ahead of the required run rate and the game went into the final over.

Making her debut as captain, Natasha Miles, and Naomi Dattani headed to the middle to defend the Title. Dattani played out a maiden delivered by Priyanaz Chatterji and Miles got off the mark in the second over with a four. Middlesex lost their first wicket – Dattani – at the start of the third over as she was caught behind without scoring, bringing the experienced Beth Morgan to the crease. From here Middlesex piled on the runs with the two in-form batsmen regularly finding the boundary. After ten overs the home side were 77-1, Miles 26 and Morgan 31.

The introduction of Hannah Jones in the 12th over proved successful, as Morgan was caught by Sophie Pout off the sixth ball for a boundary-filled 40 off 34 with the scoreboard reading 94-2. Catherine Dalton joined her skipper and after one dot ball showed her positive intent, by hitting a boundary. Opening bowler Chatterji returned to bowl the 16th and had Dalton trapped lbw for an attacking 21 off 15 deliveries, which included four fours. Middlesex debutant Amara Carr briefly joined Miles, scoring fours runs before she was bowled by spinner Scutt.

Holly Huddleston came in at number six and took singles to keep the scoreboard moving and ran two when given the opportunity. Jones bowled the final over which proved the most successful for Surrey – Miles was stumped for 54 off the penultimate delivery and Milly Pope was stumped off the last ball of the innings. Middlesex posted 150-6, Miles top-scored with 54 and was well-supported by Morgan (40). The pick of the Surrey bowlers was Hannah Jones who claimed 3-30 from her four overs, while Chatterji produced an economical three overs, including a maiden, to finish with 2-8.

New Zealand quick Huddleston opened the Middlesex attack bowling to Sophie Pout and Pope opened from the other end to Bryony Smith. Dalton bowled the fifth over which proved expensive with four fours hit, but got the breakthrough Middlesex required with her last delivery as Smith was caught by Huddleston for 16. After five overs Surrey were 37-1, just three runs ahead of Middlesex’s total at the same stage.

Aylish Cranstone joined Pout in the middle and the pair batted well together, reaching 71 after ten overs. Though six runs behind Middlesex at the ten over-mark, it was always going to be successful partnerships that would be key to chasing a target of 151.

Middlesex claimed a much needed second wicket with the last delivery of the 11th over as Pout was caught on the boundary by Dattani off Morgan for 31. Surrey were 83-2 – equal in runs to Middlesex but had lost one more wicket.

The match looked to be swinging Surrey’s way as Pout and Jones worked the ball around for singles and put the poor deliveries away. The introduction of medium-pacer Hannah Wakeman proved a spirited bowling change as she took a good caught and bowled opportunity to dismiss Pout for 29. At the end of the 14th Surrey were 102-3, behind the required run rate but with wickets in hand.

The visitors continued to compile runs, with one hand remaining on the Cup, requiring 33 from the final four overs for victory. Ria Raval took a key wicket in the 17th as Pope held a great catch at short third man to dismiss Jones for 27 and Surrey were 125-4 at the end of the over. Huddleston produced Middlesex’s fifth wicket in the 18th, bowling Kira Chathli (6) as she attempted a ramp shot. Surrey then required 20 off two overs.

Huddleston was handed the ball for the final over with Surrey requiring 11 runs. The match went down to the final delivery with a dot, four, dot, single, a leg bye and a single accounting for the last over of the match as Surrey reached 147-5 as Middlesex won by three runs. Huddleston was the pick of Middlesex’s bowlers with economical figures of 1-14 from her four overs.

Natasha Miles was named man of the match for her captain’s knock of 54 and spoke about her first victory at the helm.

‘I think it’s just a fantastic feeling [to retain the Cup]. To come off Izzy’s [Isabelle Westbury – former captain] brilliant captaincy in this, it’s nice to follow in her footsteps and do the same thing. It’s the first time captaining the side and I love working with these girls they’re all really talented – it’s a lot of fun. It’s a little challenging, we’re quite young and inexperienced but I thought we held our nerve really well today.’

Commenting on her own form, Miles said, ’It was really nice to just get some runs under the belt. I’m feeling good, striking the ball well and it was good to bat with Beth [Morgan] and Cat [Dalton] who came out and smashed it. It was nice to build partnerships and find partnerships we can take into the 50 over game and keep gong with this positive form from everybody.’