MATCH REPORT: Brunt and Winfield end Middlesex’s winning streak

Georgia Isaac reports from Harrogate CC

Yorkshire’s tight bowling and aggressive batting at Harrogate CC put an end to Middlesex’s unbeaten run this season, as the Meatballs suffered a 9-wicket defeat.

Yorkshire won the toss and, in overcast conditions, it was a good one to win. There was rain around, but it was good to see no overs were lost.

Middlesex were once again without Cath Dalton, who remains injured after hurting her ankle on the eve of the T20s last weekend. Sophia Dunkley and Natasha Miles opened for the visitors, but there was no repeat of last week’s heroics. With Katherine Brunt and Laura Spragg opening the bowling, Spragg took the first wicket in the 4th over as Dunkley was bowled for 7, unable to add many to her unbeaten tally of 91 runs from the previous two games.

Spragg and Brunt bowled six and seven overs respectively in their opening spells, with Brunt’s penultimate over being a wicket-maiden which saw the end of Tash Miles for l4.

Fran Wilson, who was in good form following her 55 in the recent EWA game against Loughborough MCCU, played fluently, sharing a partnership of 29 with Beth Morgan. Morgan also shared a solid stand of 39 runs with Izzy Westbury (33).

But wickets fell regularly, with Katie Levick (3-21) and Brunt (3-23) finishing with three wickets apiece, and Middlesex were all out for 176 after 40 overs – 10 short of the allotted number. On a good deck, this was some way short of a competitive total.

If Middlesex were to even entertain an away win they had to take early wickets. Danni Warren and Ria Raval opened the attack against the threatening right-hand/left-hand combination of Winfield and wicketkeeper Beth Mooney. After 10 overs Yorkshire were a sound 46-0, and Westbury was ringing the bowling changes in an attempt to find that elusive wicket.

Yorkshire gave no chances as both Winfield and Mooney reached half-centuries. They found the boundary with ease, including one six from Mooney, and continued to attack the bowling as they closed in on their target of 177. This resulted in the one positive for Middlesex from the innings: Alex Hartley’s dismissal of Mooney for 69, as she tried to secure another boundary but was caught on the fence by Anna Nicholls.

Winfield continued her fine form as she finished on 99 not out, having been unable to hit the required six to reach her century. This saw Yorkshire to a convincing 9-wicket win after just 30.4 overs.

After the match, Winfield – who averages well over 50 this season – said that she felt her innings was significant in the lead-up to the Ashes next month. “Today was important for me to go on past fifty and spend as much time at the crease as I can, and turn those starts into big scores. It’s important building up to the Ashes that we’re feeling confident.”

However, she stressed that “winning games for Yorkshire is very much what is important for me right now”.

From Middlesex’s perspective, it was a disappointing loss, made worse by the fact that Ria Raval had to leave the field after tearing her hamstring as she leaped for the ball. She is expected to be out for several weeks.

Georgia blogs about cricket regularly at https://georgiacricket.wordpress.com.

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