A late-order seventh wicket partnership between Charlotte Pape (59*) and Phoebe Franklin (26*) saw Kent snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a low-scoring thriller against Surrey on Sunday.
Kent had been 49-6 and still 92 runs short of their target when Pape and Franklin came together, but the pair weathered the storm, initially with singles as they kept the run rate ticking over, then – after the 50 partnership was reached – utilising some more expansive strokes. The highlight was a glorious six from Pape as she pulled Cecily Scutt to the square leg boundary.
Pape reached her half-century in the 41st over with a boundary through midwicket, and hit the winning run to third man the following over.
Earlier, Kent had done well to bowl Surrey out for 140 on what looked to be a decent batting wicket. Surrey’s innings was anchored by opener Kirstie White (51), who reached her 50 in 77 balls and played some lovely shots around the wicket. But the introduction of Megan Belt to the attack brought an end to her innings as she was caught at mid-on by Molly Davis.
Two excellent run-outs by Alice Davidson-Richards followed, leaving Surrey 7 down in the space of 36 overs. Belt then helped finish off the tail as, in the same over, both Scutt and Sarah Clarke holed out to Davis at mid-on. Surrey were eventually all out in the 46th over, and Belt finished with figures of 4-24.
Kent’s reply began badly, as some tight bowling from Rachel Candy and Katherine Robson saw them score just 14 runs off the first 8 overs.
15-year-old Hannah Jones (2-34) then removed both openers, having both Davidson-Richards (7) and Lottie Bryan (9) caught by Robson at mid-off.
The wickets continued to tumble with 3 Kent players (Lynsey Askew, Kara Sutherland and Lauren Griffiths) falling for ducks – both Sutherland and Griffiths being trapped lbw by Scutt (2-34). At 49-6, it was left to Pape and Franklin to attempt to stick around.
Surrey had several chances to break the partnership – including a dropped catch at deep backward point when Franklin was on 17 – but failed to do so, and consequently had to watch the match gradually slip away.
After play, Kent captain Lauren Griffiths said it had been a “fantastic win” and praised the performances of her young team:
“We were missing 5 England players and a few others were injured as well, so we had quite a few U15 and U17s playing, and they did amazingly. It just shows that without those England girls the younger girls can step up.
“At 60-6 we were in a little bit of a mess, but we bat all the way down to number 11, and Phoebe and Charlotte looked really confident at the end.”
It was a match thoroughly enjoyed by a rather raucous crowd, at least 4 of whom were watching their first ever game of women’s cricket. A note to the Oval officials, though: is it really necessary to force spectators to move seats halfway through an innings, for so-called “security reasons” (the second set of seats were approximately 5 metres away from the first set)? Not only did it disrupt enjoyment of the game, it created a rather unwelcoming atmosphere – as did the total lack of food/drink facilities available on site. Sort it out please!