A Thriller To Start The Women’s Ashes

An account of the opening salvos in the Women’s Ashes and some photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Unlike the original Ashes, which have been fought for since 1882, the Women’s Ashes is contested across multiple formats. The current scoring system awards two points for a win in a limited overs match, 1 for a no-result and 0 for a defeat, while the sole test match is worth four points. 

A Classic Match

The first of three ODIs that the women will be contesting took place at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane. Australia won the toss and put England in to bat. Several England players got starts but none managed to build a really substantial score, Lauren Winfield leading the way with 48. A total of 228 off 50 overs did not look like it was good enough, and in the end it wasn’t.

Eng;land bowled better than they had batted, and at 87-4 Australia were looking distinctly shaky. Alex Hartley failed to hold a return catch offered by veteran Alex Blackwell when the latter had 35 to her name, and Australia were behind the rate, Talia McGrath having occupied 26 balls for a score of 7. This missed chance and some aggression from Ash Gardner (27 off 18) made the difference, Australia getting home in the final over with Blackwell unbeaten on 67. 

A highlight of this match was the preponderance of quality spin bowling on show – in Gardner, Amanda-Jade Wellington and Jess Jonassen Australia had three high-class practitioners, while Hartley and the experienced Laura Marsh both bowled well for England.

More details and official reports here.

ON THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ‘WOMEN’S ASHES’ AND ‘ASHES’

This applies across the board, and not just to cricket between England and Australia, but this seems a suitable place to mention this. I see the distinction between these categories as that between a restricted (“Women’s”) and an open category – if a woman is able to play alongside the men she should have the right to do so – the existence of Women only teams is an acknowledgement that few women could because the men are generally larger and stronger. Similarly if a disabled athlete happens to be performing comparably to their able-bodied counterparts they should be able to compete alongside them. 

In terms of cricket I would expect that a woman who earned selection for ‘The Ashes’ as opposed ‘The Women’s Ashes’ would not be a specialist fast-bowler, but I could see spinners, wicket-keepers or batters earning selection.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some recent photographs…

FWContrasting ducksFarming implementMaids HeadMoorhens, Bawsey DrainMoorhen, Bawsey DrainGulls, Bawsey DrainMoorhen, The WalksSouth GateSouth Gate 2Swan, the NarSwans, The NarSwans, The Nar IIFlying birdsFlying birds IIShip and craneHH an RSCustom House

New flats
A new building among the old.

Thoresby CollegeMinsterTHTH2

Congratulations to England Women’s XI

INTRODUCTION

While Alastair Cook and his team are fighting hard in Visakhapatnam, the women have recorded a tremendous victory in Colombo.

A SPECTACULAR RECOVERY

You may recall that in my last post I detailed the recovery of the England Women’s innings from 58-6 20 241-9 in their 50 overs. Rain then intervened, so the players reconvened today for the Sri Lankan response. Natalie Sciver, whose 77 dug England out of trouble followed up by accounting for both Sri Lankan openers. Danielle Hazell and Laura Marsh who had continued to Sciver inspired batting recovery then cashed in on the early breakthroughs , Marsh taking 4-21 from her full ten overs and Hazell finishing with 3-21 from 8.1 overs.

While all three of the young women mentioned above performed outstandingly I would say that Sciver who played the major innings and then made the early breakthroughs that the other two capitalised on was the key to this astonishing turnaround. The cricinfo scorecard makes no mention of a Player of the Match award, but if there was one it should have gone to Sciver with honourable mentions for Hazell and Marsh.

THE SOLUTION TO THE MATHS TEASER

Below is the pair of simultaneous equations from my last post – the challenge was to pick and solve one of these pairs:

73X + 43y = 211                     685,463X + 314,537Y = 2,685,463
31x + 83y = 199                     314,537X + 685,463Y = 2,314,537

If you did the non-mathematicians thing of selecting the pair of equations featuring smaller numbers you get zero credit. If however you managed to avoid being scared by the large numbers in the second pair you might have noticed that the number of Xs in the first pair equals the number of Ys in the second and vice versa, or in other words, temporarily removing the numbers we have:

aX + bY = c
bX + aY = d

This gives us options for possibly simplifying the equations. First up let us look at adding the two initial equations together which gives us:

(a+b)X + (a+b)Y = c+d

Feeding the numbers back in, we get:

1,000,000X + 1,000,000Y = 5,000,000 which simplifies nicely to X + Y = 5

we can also subtract the bottom equation from the top one, giving us:

aX – bY = c-d

Feeding the numbers back in gives us 370,926X – 370,926Y = 370,926, which at first glance may not look terribly pleasant, but a second glance shows that the number of Xs and Ys are equal and that that number appears on the other side of the new equation, so in other words it simplifies to X – Y = 1.

Thus the solution to the original pair of equations with those huge numbers is the solution to this pair of equations:

X + Y = 5
X – Y = 1

Thus X = 3 and Y = 2.

SOME PICTURES TO FINISH

234-a
These images are all of lots in our December auction (takes place on the 14th), starting with some coins

234-b242-a242-b243-a243-b244-a244-b245-a245-b

556
Lot 556 (4 images)

556-a556-b556-c

557
Lot 557 (2 images)

557-a

593
Lot 593, four images. This is a particularly fine specimen of the Kukri or Khukuri, the knife carried by Gurkha warriors.

593-a593-b593-c

 

 

A New Venue With Old Connections

The start of my personal coverage of the second Test Match between India and England at Visakhapatnam, with a mention of some old connections of this new venue, also a mention of Sri Lanka Women v England Women in Colombo, and a little mathematical teaser.

INTRODUCTION

Just like the first match of the India v England series at Rajkot, this match is happening at a new Test Match venue, Visakhapatnam. This is the 111th test match venue overall and the 24th such in India (more than any other country).

OLD CONNECTIONS AT A NEW VENUE

One of the two ends at this ground is called the “Dr Vizzy End”. The Dr Vizzy of that designation was the Maharajkumar of Vizianagram, captain, administrator and briefly late in his life a Test Match Special summariser. He also ran a private team for which he got both Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe to play, which led to a bit of controversy over statistics.

WISDEN VERSUS THE
ASSOCIATION OF CRICKET STATISTICIANS

When Jack Hobbs retired at the end of the 1934 season his record stood at 61,237 first class runs with 197 centuries, although in some sources you will see him credited with 61,760 runs and 199 centuries. The Vizianagram XI matches and a desire to get Hobbs to 200 centuries are the reason for this. Hobbs himself was deeply opposed to any retrospective alteration of players records, and rightly so in my opinion. In 1925 Hobbs had had a nervous period when he had 125 centuries to his credit, with W G Grace according to his official record having 126 which at that time was the record. It was against Somerset at Taunton (a frequent combination for the setting of new batting records over the years) that Hobbs equalled the old record in the first innings and then beat it in the second. However, the revisionists in the ACS camp who have revised Hobbs’ record upwards, have revised W G Grace’s downwards, from 54,896 runs and 126 centuries to 54,211 runs and 124 centuries. This makes a mockery of the events of 1925 described above and the celebrations that accompanied the Taunton match.

My own view is this: Players records should be given as they were recognised at the time, but if you are so inclined certain records of those who played long ago can be footnoted to the effect that “if current definitions of first class status had prevailed when X played their record would have read Y”. This acknowledges the problems with some of the old records without changing them.

BACK TO THE PRESENT

India having won the toss and chosen to bat are 134-2 in the current game, with Jimmy Anderson in the England side after injury. For India Gambhir and Mishra have been dropped, replaced by Rahul and Jayant Yadav (there was already one Yadav, Umesh, in their squad). Meanwhile, in Colombo the England Women have staged a remarkable recovery in the final match of their ODI series against Sri Lanka from a low water mark of 58-6 to a current position of 218-8, Natalie Sciver making 77 off 74 balls and Danielle Hazell a career best 45 off 64 balls. Laura Marsh is on 29 and Beth Langston on 6.

A TEASER TO FINISH

I have recently acquired a mathematically minded follower of this blog, and being mathematically minded myself this seems a good moment to set a problem which consist of two parts:

I am going to set out two pairs of simultaneous equations, and your task is first to select one and then to solve it (nb, both parts of this teaser have clear cut right and wrong answers):

73X + 43y = 211                                                                 685,463X + 314,537Y = 2,685,463
31x + 83y = 199                                                                  314,537X + 685,463Y = 2,314,537

I will provide the answer in my next post.

The England Women have just finished their 50 overs in Colombo at 240-9, Laura Marsh ending on 36 not out, Beth Langston being run out for 21, and number 11 Alex Hartley being at the on-striker’s end for the last ball of the innings.