Dunkley, Gordon and Smith shine on England debuts

England Cricket are currently in the midst of the World Twenty20 tournament in the West Indies and starring for the first-time are current students Kirstie Gordon and Sophia Dunkley as well as alumna Linsey Smith.

Performing on the biggest stage, the trio are settled in with familiar faces from the Loughborough family as almost 75% of the squad have a Loughborough tie via our KSL Loughborough Lightning side or having studied at Loughborough, playing through the MCCU cricket pathway.

It’s so far so good for England, who have qualified for the semi-finals in second position after falling short against tournament hosts West Indies last night, so will face India in the last four on Thursday.

Reflecting on the first game, all three debutants starred against Bangladesh in a rain affected match that caused difficulty for both sides.

 Kirstie Gordon was awarded player of the match for her three wickets off four overs for 16 runs. Linsey Smith also joined the party, with one wicket off her four overs, again for just 17 runs. Whilst Sophia Dunkley wasn’t required in the middle, she fielded well and took a catch in the deep as England cruised across the line before the halfway mark to take their first win of the campaign.

The second match versus South Africa saw more of the same with Gordon consistent as ever, all three newbies in the thick of the action. Alumna Nat Sciver stole the show with exceptional figures of three wickets for just four runs off her four overs. Those destructive figures, paired with that of Shrubsole and Gordon, reduced South Africa to 85-9.  Alumna Tasmin Beaumont (24) opened the batting easing to a fifty partnership with Danielle Wyatt without loss. A blip in the middle allowed fellow Loughborough alum and Lightning stalwart Amy Jones (14*) into the mix whose unbeaten knock saw the side cross the line. This win guaranteed England a place in the semi-finals. In fact 90% of the wickets were taken by Loughborough linked players.

Last night’s match was the difference between a semi-final clash between India or Australia. In a close battle Gordon once more shone through, claiming the crucial wicket of home favourite Deandra Dottin just four runs off her half century. Another economical display from Gordon has hopefully cemented her status for the remainder of the tournament. Alumna Anya Shrubsole also impressed as she soared through the Windies openers claiming two wickets in her first over, finishing with fine figures of three wickets for just 10 runs. 

However, it was current student Sophia Dunkley whose performance ensured England put on a competitive total to defend. Coming in at number seven, the batting all-rounder comfortably attacked the ball unphased by both the world stage and her first time donning an England shirt in the middle. Top scoring with 35, Sophia has hopefully done enough to secure her place going forwards.

Of the trios efforts so far Lightning Head Coach Rob Taylor commented:

“All three debutants have grabbed the opportunities that have been put in front of them. Kirstie and Linsey have both bowled brilliantly and have proved that they belong on the international stage. I feel for Linsey being left out of the side for the West Indies game after she has performed so well.

“Sophia’s innings last night showed how destructive she can be, and England wouldn’t have come so close if she hadn’t played that innings alongside Anya. Amy Jones is one to watch and has continued her form from the KSL into this World Cup. The way she batted in the first game against Bangladesh showed how important she is in the England top order. Her glove work has also been excellent. I know she will be able to put last night’s game against the West Indies to bed and look forward to the semi-finals knowing she is in excellent form.”

In other news, Loughborough Lightning overseas players Elyse Villani and Rachel Haynes, who are representing Australia, will face West Indies after they also finished second in their group. Whereas, Lightning all-rounder Sophie Devine’s New Zealand side finished in third position in their group, just missing out on a semi-final berth.


Star Loughborough performances so far

England vs Bangladesh

  • Kirstie Gordon 4 overs 16 runs and 3 wickets.
  • Anya Shrubsole 4 overs 14 runs and 1 wicket.
  • Linsey Smith 4 overs 17 runs and 1 wicket.
  • Natalie Sciver 3 overs 7 runs and 1 wicket and 23 off 17 balls with the bat.
  • Amy Jones 28 Not Out, a catch and a run out.

England vs South Africa

  • Natalie Sciver 4 overs 4 runs and 3 wickets. An incredible economy of just 1 run per over.
  • Anya Shrubsole 3.3 overs 11 runs 3 wickets
  • Kirstie Gordon bowled well with 4 overs for 18 runs and 2 wickets.
  • Linsey Smith 4 overs for 26 runs with 1 wicket.
  • Tasmin Beaumont 24 runs
  • Amy Jones 14 not out and a caught behind.

England vs West Indies

  • Sophie Dunkley (35) and Anya Shrubsole (29) put on 58 for the seventh wicket partnership. A crucial innings that gave England a competitive total after a dismal start.
  • Anya Shrubsole 3 wickets off 3.3 overs for just 10 runs
  • Kirstie Gordon 4 overs 14 runs 1 wicket.



Follow us on social: @lborosport