Lancashire battled their way to the T20 title on a windy day at Banstead Cricket Club in leafy Surrey, with victories over Surrey and Yorkshire.
Surrey v Lancashire
After heavy overnight rain, the first match between Surrey and Lancashire was delayed by a damp outfield and eventually reduced to 9 overs per side. After winning the toss, Lancashire reached 66-6 – Emma Lamb starring with 37 off 26 balls, as she found the boundary on 6 occasions, whilst for Surrey Beth Kerrins took 3-12 in the two (reduced) overs she was allotted.
Needing above 7-an-over, Surrey started off well enough with 7 off the first over, but quickly fell away, losing wickets at regular intervals, including 3 run-outs as they drifted towards a final tally of 45-7, 21 runs short.
Lancashire v Yorkshire
In the day’s second match, Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat versus Lancashire; who already knew they were champions, after news of Warwickshire’s loss to Kent had come in via Twitter.
For Yorkshire, Jess Watson and Hannah Buck joint-top-scored with 20 each as the White Roses were bowled out for 87 in 17.2 overs. Natalie Brown and Rachel Dickinson took 2-apiece; but Sophie Ecclestone was really the pick of the bowling with 1 wicket for just 9 runs in her 4 overs.
It looked a massively under-par total compared with the previous game, with the ball flowing more feely over the outfield as it dried; but Lancashire actually made quite hard work of it – struggling to get the ball off the square as the Yorkshire bowlers pegged them back, led by leg-spinner Katie Levick who took 3-7 in her 4 overs. However, with Levick bowled out, Kate Cross (22*) and Sophie Ecclestone (14*) accelerated, taking Lancashire over the line eventually with 3 overs to spare, and time for the celebrations to begin.
Afterwards, victorious Lancashire captain Megan Fairclough told CRICKETher:
“We came here knowing we needed to win both games, depending on what happened elsewhere; but we took it a game at a time. The girls showed great character and worked well under pressure, especially towards the end of the last game. It feels fantastic.”\
Surrey v Yorkshire
The third match of the day was thus a dead rubber, but ended up a thriller, with Yorkshire needing 15 off the final over, and eventually falling just 4 runs short of their target.
Surrey originally looked to have set a formidable total, finishing on 138-8 having raced along at 7 an over for most of their innings to set up far and away the biggest run chase of the day. For Yorkshire, Katie Levick (3-21) once again starred with the ball, and at one point it looked like she had well and truly spoiled Surrey’s party, racking up 2 wickets in the space of 3 balls to leave her opponents 68-5 with 9 overs still left to face.
But a rallying effort from Surrey’s no. 8 and 10, Aylish Cranstone (29*) and Molly Sellars (20*), ensured a strong finish for the home side.
Yorkshire’s reply was held together by Maddie Walsh, as they pushed forward towards their target, keeping up with the rate but losing wickets steadily along the way. When Walsh was out for 25 in the 14th over, pushing the ball into the hands of Amy Gordon at midwicket, it looked as if her side might fall well short – 6 wickets down and still needing 50 runs – but some sloppy fielding from Surrey almost cost them dearly, with Yorkshire still in with a shout until the last ball of the match.
It was left down to captain Cecily Scutt to bowl the final over; and for a minute it looked as if Surrey might have thrown it all away, as her first two balls were dispatched to the boundary by Izzy Bunn. Bunn, though, was caught on the leg side trying to repeat the feat, and Scutt then kept her cool to ensure the last three balls each went for only a single – Surrey winning by 3 runs.
— Raf Nicholson