Devon (265-5) bt. Essex (98-10) by 167 runs.
After being inserted on a green but hard pitch, openers Amara Carr and Aylish Cranstone played positively to build a solid foundation, before Carr was adjudged lbw for 38. Jodie Dibble started in a spritely fashion before being caught out by the lack of pace and gave a simple catch for Bird at mid wicket for 13.
Cranstone and Rosalie Fairbairn rebuilt and rotated the strike after an early flurry of boundaries, and the batting powerplay added some impetus, before Fairbairn was dismissed, caught for 29, a partnership of 99.
Cait O’Keefe was positive from the start with 26 off 21 balls, before being run out in an unlucky fashion when a dropped return catch was parried onto the stumps. Cranstone continued to hit the gaps and target a short boundary, bringing up her maiden county championship century, with 15 fours and one six in her 134 not out from 140 balls.
Essex’s reply showed intent from the start but they lost their first wicket in the second over, caught by Hazelle Garton at mid on off Sophie Mackenzie. A stunning catch from Alli Kelly at point accounted for England development player Cordelia Griffith, easing some concerns over her big hitting potential.
The building clouds were a concern, with the Met Office forecasting rain at 4pm, and Devon just completed the 20th over required to constitute a game just as the first drops of rain came down. Essex were still well behind the run rate, losing their sixth wicket in the 21st over, with the score on 75.
The light rain continued, but the pressure of the constantly increasing required run rate meant wickets fell at regular intervals. Pick of the bowlers were Hazelle Garton with 4-20 and Rebecca Donohue 3-23, Cait O’Keefe 2-20, as Devon wrapped up a convincing victory in the 30th over with maximum bonus points.
Players’ Player, sponsored by Wadey Polden LLP: Aylish Cranstone.