With Kent already this year’s County Champions, there was only glory to play for in their final game of the season at Beckenham; but that seemed to be enough of an incentive, as they bowled Berkshire out for 139 to secure victory by 26 runs.
Berkshire were chasing a low total – 166 – on a pitch which had little in it for the bowlers; it was a match situation that required little more than steady accumulation, but Berkshire’s batsmen played in a way that was as baffling as the Beckenham electronic scoreboard, which appeared to have a mind of its own, adding or subtracting runs from Berkshire’s total seemingly at will in a way that bore little resemblance to action on the field of play.
For Berkshire, the dismissals of Rachel Priest (6) – who holed out to Suzie Bates at mid-off – and Heather Knight (0) – who sent a leading edge to Grace Gibbs at extra cover – set the tone; Lissy Macleod, too, looked well on her way to leading Berkshire’s rebuild, but skied a ball she could easily have left alone to Tammy Beaumont at short third man when on 24.
Had everyone played like Sherisa Gumbs (33), who punished anything short or wide from the Kent bowlers, Berkshire would probably have won the match; instead they were bowled out for 139 in the 43rd over of their innings.
It was a disappointing follow-up to what had been a good performance by the Berkshire bowlers, after Lydia Greenway – captaining in place of Charlotte Edwards, who was sitting out today’s match injured – won the toss and elected to bat. Lauren Bell (3-40) caused Kent early problems with a rapid opening spell, continuing to cement her reputation for big-name scalps, this time trapping Tammy Beaumont lbw in the very first over of the day. Her next wicket was none other than Wisden’s 2016 Leading Female Cricketer in the World, Suzie Bates (22), who was caught by Knight at slip, chasing an away-swinger she really should have left alone.
It was left to Kent’s younger players to rebuild, which they did admirably, the highlight being a fluent 31 from Alice Davidson-Richards, who Edwards described as “one of Kent’s standout performers [of the season]”. Ultimately, too, the 33-run 9th-wicket partnership between 18-year-olds Emily Thompson (21*) and Phoebe Franklin (10) proved crucial.
After play, Charlotte Edwards reflected on Kent’s successful season, telling CRICKETher:
“It’s been a brilliant summer with a brilliant group of people, and the win today was a really pleasing way to finish the season.”
“It’s always a cliche, people say it’s been a team performance, but it really has been for Kent. We have got England players and we’ve got some of the best players in the world in our team, but everyone’s performed at different points throughout the season for our team.”
“I just love playing for Kent, I always have done. I’m looking forward to the winter and then coming back next season.”