On a day in which “Sunshine Capital of England” Eastbourne distinctly failed to live up to its name, Sussex were left celebrating a 42-run win over old rivals Kent, after an entertaining cameo from their number 7 batsman Izzy Noakes allowed them to set a competitive total of 173.
The match – delayed by the kind of mizzly, freezing rain which is more generally found in the Highlands of Scotland – did not start until 2.10pm, with the overs reduced to 30 a side. With the sky overcast and the pitch damp, Kent chose to put Sussex in to bat. While they started well, with a stylish half-century from Georgia Adams helping them reach 99-3 at the halfway stage, a mini-collapse ensued, as Hannah Phelps (4), Izi Collis (14), Ellen Burt (7) and Abbie Freeborn (1) all fell cheaply.
Cue the entrance of Noakes, and an innings which combined scrappy inelegance with middle-of-the-bat power-hitting, including two spectacular sixes in the penultimate over, which sailed over a 10-foot fence into the next door football ground. Perhaps on another day, one with a sharper Kent fielding performance, it might not have come off – but come off it did, and it was met with delight by the watching crowd, which included England coach Mark Robinson.
Noakes’ dismissal in the 30th over, bowled by Charlotte Pape for 38, saw Sussex all out for 173. She had enabled her side to add 40 runs for the 9th and 10th wickets – ultimately the difference between the two sides.
Kent’s innings began with the cheap dismissal of Charlotte Edwards, bowled by Tara Norris for 1, but Tammy Beaumont (49) and Lydia Greenway (33) then shared an 82-run partnership. For Kent, however, with rain clouds hovering ominously overhead, the issue was always keeping up with the required run rate, which they rapidly fell behind. After the dismissal of Beaumont, caught by Sally Clarke off Burt in the 19th over, the pressure told; and a combined effort from the Sussex bowlers saw them bowled out for 131.
Sussex were visibly delighted with the result, in a match which clearly had added spice after last year’s encounter between the two sides, which controversially ended in a tie after Sussex snatched a run off the last ball. Captain Georgia Elwiss, speaking to CRICKETher after the game, said that she was happy about the way her team responded after their 6-wicket loss to Warwickshire on Sunday:
“We had to turn up today and completely write yesterday off, and draw a line under it and learn from it. I’m really proud of the way the girls played today. It was a real team effort to get us over the line.”
“We knew  would be a decent score. With the short boundary and the players that they’ve got it was never going to be plain sailing, but we kept it tight and kept the pressure on, and as soon as wickets started to fall that’s when we really got into the game.”
“It’s a massive fixture for us…it’s the best winning’s felt for a while!”