Middlesex begin their County Championship campaign with home matches against Lancashire (at Mill Hill School – their new base) and Yorkshire (at Teddington Cricket Club) on Sunday and Monday respectively. Following a nail-biting win over MCC at Lord’s the hosts will look to maintain their winning ways.
Middlesex’s squad will be boosted by the return of England Women’s Academy (EWA) allrounder Sophia Dunkley and middle-order bat Catherine Dalton. 19-year-old Dunkley enjoyed a successful tour to South Africa with the Academy, claiming best figures of 3-35 and a top score of 81* (44) in a T20 against a strong Australian U19 side.
Two other batters in good form are opener Natasha Miles (38 v MCC) and middle-order bat Maia Bouchier (39* v MCC). Middlesex’s line-up also boasts former England player and Middlesex stalwart Beth Morgan and current England batter Fran Wilson. Both can find the boundary with ease and rotate the strike well, which is important as Middlesex look to play out their overs and not lose wickets in clusters as has been the case in previous seasons.
With ball in hand the hosts will look to their new pairing of Hayleigh Brennan and Gayatri Gole to set the tone. They executed their plans well in their first spells against MCC with just 18 runs coming off the first four overs. In the spin department the attack will be led by leggies Dunkley and Emily Thorpe with support from part-time off-spinner Morgan.
2018 champions Lancashire have a strong squad and their XI will likely include former Middlesex left-arm orthodox bowler and England player Alex Hartley, fellow left-armer Sophie Ecclestone and right-arm quick Kate Cross. EWA players Emma Lamb, a top order batter, and wicketkeeper Ellie Threlkeld are also likely to feature. The Red Rose will be led by Evelyn Jones this season who enters the match off the back of a century in club cricket.
On Monday, Bushy Park will be the picturesque setting for the fixture against Yorkshire. The White Rose will look to skipper Lauren Winfield to lead from the front with the bat while their bowling attack will likely be led by Katherine Brunt (if available) or fellow England seamer Beth Langston. Yorkshire will also call on England off-spinner Dani Hazell for tight overs as well as leg-spinning duo Katie Levick and EWA player Hollie Armitage.
Emma Albery (Yorkshire only)
Gayatri Gole (Lancashire only)