A Look Back at 2015 - Part Two -
The Year's Honours
Firstly my congratulations to Australia, Yorkshire, Bath CC and, of course,
Sussex for carrying away the silverware (or its equivalent) this
I must state strongly here that I make my
choices in the following list ONLY from things I have witnessed myself,
which, I am fully aware, leaves
the vast majority of women and girls' matches out of the reckoning.
It thus becomes a kind of highlights package of my year and could well
(and probably would!) differ from yours, although I hope some of my
choices may resonate.
Bowler of the Summer
Anya Shrubsole : England's opening
bowling pair are
undoubtedly the best in the world, and that makes it more difficult for
me to pick one player over the other. For quite a while we (the England
supporters) had to wait for the sight of Katherine Brunt and Anya Shrubsole operating
together. It has always been a contention of mine
that in the men's game great fast bowlers usually come in pairs. There
are names you simply can't think of without thinking of the double act
of which they were a part; Trueman and Statham, Larwood and Voce,
Lindwall and Miller, Hall and Griffiths, Tate and Gilligan (a fine
Sussex and England pairing) - I think you get the idea. Here, in the
women's game we have the equivalent and in years to come, long after
they've retired, will it be Brunt and Shrubsole that are talked about in
the same breath? I wouldn't be surprised.
Anya (above) and Katherine Brunt in Action Against the White Ferns early
During the course of the New Zealand trip
Women's Cricket Blog
set a number of bloggers the task of choosing our England T20 team including the batting
order. I suggested Anya Shrubsole to open. This caused all sorts of
reactions from incredulity to, well. derision. Anyway I'm
sticking to my guns. Very aggressive with the bat and also inventive (as
the picture below shows) I feel a T20 innings needs a sharp start and in
my mind who better! Opening the bowling and the batting? I believe it's
not only Australia who has a player with that potential.
Anya plays the 'Dilshan'
Ball of the summer; Anya to Meg Lanning in
the final T20 at Cardiff, a ball that comprehensively beat the world's
finest batsman and would have taken any player's off stump.
Batsmen of the Summer
Amy Jones and Sophie Luff
: It's probably unusual to consider that the two finest knocks
that I have seen this summer in the plethora of international and county
cricket both occurred in non-international and non-county matches, although one against, some might say -
probably Australians - the world's best bowling attack. I already don't need to tell you which
I am referring to as I have written on this blog before with how
impressed I was with Amy Jones and her knock at Beckenham against
Australia and Sophie Luff's two innings for Bath CC. If you consult the
of the Australia warm-up game you will see that during her 155* Amy faced only Australia's usual bowlers. Not only did they not bowl any
non-regulars, but the normal line-up had the chance to trot off
the pitch, put their feet up, and come back and bowl at Amy again duly
refreshed! This is not a luxury the Aussie bowlers had in the Test
Match. I can only reiterate what I have said before - that this was the
most mature innings I have seen from any player in several years against
absolutely top opposition. If there is one player (and I would argue
there's more than one) that deserves a run of matches in an England
shirt to show what she can do, then it's Amy Jones.
Amy Jones Batting at Beckenham Against Australia
While, as some of my critics have pointed out to me, Sophie Luff made
her 152 against a rather weaker bowling attack, I had seen her a short
while before plunder a different bowling attack on her home ground making another century for Bath CC in the Club
Championship. I include her here on the strength of both of those knocks
and also because I have to admire a player who is so alive to the
situation while in the field and her handling as skipper of Somerset and the
England Academy which makes her a very complete player indeed.
Sophie Luff makes and celebrates 152* in the Club Championship Final
Captain of the Summer
Having commended Sophie Luff in this category, I nonetheless have to
give this 'award' to the world's number one bat,
Meg Lanning, for making the best of what is anyway a fine
Australian squad. She may be the youngest captain Australia has ever had
(or so I read somewhere) but she is far from being the weakest. Being a
captain is not an easy job but she gives every impression of falling
naturally into this slot. Australia are fortunate in never having to
even ask the question "Who should be skipper?" It seems to me
like a "duck to water" situation.
Meg Lanning in Aggressive Mood in the Ashes
Sophie Luff was certainly the most alert skipper in the domestic game I
have seen this summer and the care and attention she paid to not just
getting the field right but getting the right fielder in the right place
was spot on the money.
Catch of the Summer
Oddly, this occurred in only the second match of the season I was able
Lucy Uncles (Horsham) launched herself full length (and more) to
take a catch of a ball that looked four all the way. It had actually passed her by the time she laid a hand on
it. It is almost impossible to capture the moment of a catch like this.
The ball is moving like a rocket and your camera is probably pointed at
the batsman or bowler. By the time you've adjusted it's all over.
However, this picture of the aftermath may give you an idea of just how
special this catch was.
Team of the Year
And who could that possibly be except these girls? And that's not just
this year but every year!
Sussex Senior Team
They'll be quite a few changes next year with the departure of Holly
Colvin to Dubai after taking up a post with the ICC, and with the
longest standing player in Sussex's history, Alexia Walker, retiring.
Will Erin be returning? Will there be a different overseas player, or,
indeed, an overseas player at all? And who from the age-group sides will
get the call-up to the seniors? Many questions remain to be answered as
Sussex enters 2016.
It would be wrong of me to mention only the seniors. I have spent many
enjoyable hours on the boundary at Sussex Age-Group games, and expect to
in 2016, for while those players are the future of Sussex cricket, and
for that matter England cricket, their matches are worthwhile spectacles
in their own right and deserve eyes and cameras on the boundary rope. As
soon as those fixtures are available they'll be in my diary.
If you wish to comment on any of my choices, or anything on this blog
for that matter, then please email me...
Let's hope for plenty of sunshine in the summer of 2016 and meantime...
Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year
... and my thanks to everyone I have watched play
during this last twelve
For a rather more thorough look at the year try
Dr Raf Nicholson's review. (Yes - she is no longer a 'Ph D student'!)
2016 Starts Here