Seventeen-year-old Charlie Dean produced a masterclass of patience and composure, batting through 49 overs for 73 runs – all but 4 of them “run” – as Hampshire beat Kent at Andover.
With Hampshire chasing 148, Dean opened the batting and soon found herself speed-dating partners out in the middle, as Grace Gibbs removed Ariana Dowse and Ella Chandler cheaply, albeit the latter to an LBW decision that looked about as plumb as an orange.
Emily Windsor (15) kept Dean company for a while, and was the only other top-order batsman to make it to double figures as Hampshire wobbled to 92-6.
It is in situations like this when you might find yourself wishing that your No. 8 was one of the greatest batsmen ever to have played the game… so it was particularly fortunate for Hampshire that their No. 8 was one of the greatest batsmen ever to have played the game!
Charlotte Edwards’ knees might be suffering through every run, but she still knows how to hit a cricket ball, and she and Dean slowly edged their way towards the target, before Dean got a bit too excited on the final ball of the penultimate over, driving Alice Davidson-Richards to Grace Gibbs at cover, with just 4 more required.
The batsmen having crossed, this left Danielle Ransley facing the first ball of the final over – she prodded it straight to mid off, but ran anyway. A direct hit would have run her out, but the throw missed and Edwards swept the next delivery to the boundary to bring up Hampshire’s 4th straight win of 2018.
Earlier, Kent had got off to a good start, with Phoebe Franklin and Chelsey Rowson putting on fifty for the first wicket, with a helping hand from the extras column as a few leg side deliveries from the Hampshire quicks disappeared down the hill to the boundary.
But Kent never quite capitalised on the start they had made and were ultimately bowled out in the 48th over for 148, with Providence Cowdrill taking 3-13 for Hampshire; and Katie George also getting 2-in-2 in her second spell.
The result keeps Hampshire top of Div 1, but the real test comes next weekend when they visit Lancashire and Yorkshire, where the title may well be decided.