This article was amended after final publication of the official scorecards showing Sussex (not Yorkshire) had clinched the T20 Cup.
In the final round of the T20 season, CRICKETher was at East Grinstead to see Sussex pull-off the two wins they needed to finish level on points with Yorkshire and Kent at the top of the table, bringing it all down to Net Run Rate, with Sussex emerging victorious by the tightest of margins to take the title.
Sussex v Berkshire
In a low-scoring game first up, Berkshire fell just 4 short of their 96-run target, though in fact they were perhaps fortunate to get so close after a flurry of wickets left them well behind the rate from early on in their chase.
The initial damage was done by Freya Davies (4-18), who took wickets in each over of her opening spell, including the dangerous Lissy Macleod (6) as Alexia Walker took a good low catch at mid-on. Corinne Hall was also sent back early, caught behind on 0 wafting at a wide one outside off stump.
Alex Rogers (in form after half-centuries in each of the two previous rounds of T20s) looked dangerous until Holly Colvin took a great catch looking over her shoulder running back at point off the bowling of Ellen Burt and she was out for 20. Only Carla Rudd (23) offered greater resistance, until she was bowled swinging at a straight ball of Paige Scholfield’s (2-6 off her 2 overs).
Fi Morris and Daisy Gardner were left at the crease needing 13 off the last over, but their valiant efforts could not quite see Berkshire over the line.
Earlier, Sussex had struggled to post 100 as a fine fielding display by Berkshire, in particular 14-year-old Lauren Bell, helped restrict the run rate. The powerplay overs yielded just 22 runs, as well as the wickets of Walker (1) and Georgia Adams (12). Oddly, leading strike bowler Gardner did not feature until the 16th over, with her first over a double wicket maiden. Some good strokes from Abbey Freeborn (25*) though, helped pull it back for the Prawns towards the end of their innings.
Berkshire v Somerset
An assured 48 off 49 balls from Sophie Luff set up Somerset to wallop Berkshire by 47 runs in the day’s second game.
Somerset got off to something of a flier, hitting 42 off the first 6 overs with Luff, who came in at 3 after Georgina Adcock had been well-caught on the deep extra cover boundary by Fi Morris, knocking it all around the wicket.
Although Somerset were pegged-back slightly in the middle overs after the introduction of the always-threatening Daisy Gardner, they got their motors on again towards the end of the innings. Luff was eventually stumped by Carla Rudd in the penultimate over, but Moira Comfort’s last-ditch 9 off 6 balls drove them to a total of 127-4.
A hill quickly became a mountain for the Beavers as Comfort, opening the bowling, reduced them to 2-0 in the first over, with Harris and Macleod both departing Leg Before Wicket. Bowling her 4 overs on the bounce, Comfort then added the scalps of Corinne Hall and Alex Rogers before the 8th over, to leave Berkshire reeling at 26-4.
There was really no way back from there, and though Carla Rudd (22) again offered some resistance, once she was bowled by Nicole Richards, Berkshire collapsed to 80 all out, as young No. 11 Lauren Bell – a real prospect with the ball and in the field – lopped a simple return catch to Kate Randall to end the Beaver’s T20 season on a disappointing low.
Sussex v Somerset
In an exciting final game which was a must-win for Sussex in their T20 title challenge, they successfully chased down the 128-run target set for them by Somerset with 2 overs to spare.
Once again Somerset’s batsmen played with freedom, with openers Georgina Adcock and Gwenan Davies both tonking it around the park, including a huge six from Davies over deep midwicket – the only maximum of the day. By the time of the introduction of Colvin in the 8th over they were 56-0, though she helped to stem the flow of runs, conceding just 11 runs off her 4 overs and removing both openers – Adock bowled round her legs for 25, and Davies stumped for 38.
Colvin finished with figures of 4-11 after two further stumpings in a quadruple-wicket final over, which also included 2 run outs. Nonetheless, Somerset’s total looked a formidable one; and one that they must have been fairly confident of defending.
They had reckoned without Sussex opener Georgia Adams, who found her best form of the season at just the right moment to keep her side in the hunt for the T20 cup. She raced to 60 off 54 balls, including 9 fours, well-backed up by Paige Scholfield (31), before being caught by Nicole Richards at backward point in the 14th over.
It was left to Hannah Phelps to hit the winning boundary off the last ball of the 18th over, as Sussex celebrated their victory.
It was however another 24 hours before they could celebrate winning the T20 Cup, as final publication of the official scorecards showed they’d pipped Yorkshire on Net Run Rate by just two-hundredths of a run.
Meanwhile Somerset captain Sophie Luff reflected upon a tough season in Division 1, admitting that it is a big step up from Division 2:
“There is a difference, but the round-robin thing has been really good – we’ve had chances and chances to keep coming back.”
“We’ve had some disappointing results, but this was our most all-round performance of the season – to beat Berkshire and come up close against Sussex was just outstanding.”