Even without their England players, Sussex proved too strong for Berkshire in a one-sided match at North Maidenhead, which confirmed Sussex’s promotion back to Div 1 of the Women’s County Championship.
With Sussex without Georgia Elwiss, Danni Wyatt and Sarah Taylor, Berkshire might have felt hopeful, even while missing their own England talisman, Heather Knight; but put into bat by Sussex, the Beavers were soon in desperate trouble.
Lissy Macleod was brilliantly caught by Abi Freeborn at second slip off Freya Davies with just 8 on the board, bringing Carla Rudd – suffering with a hand injury after a cycling accident in the week – to the crease. Rudd and Emily Cunningham took the score on to 20, before Cunningham skied a catch to Davies at mid on, precipitating a collapse which saw Rudd, Lauren Bell and Ashleigh Muttitt all sent back to the pavilion in quick succession, leaving Berkshire on the brink at 21-5.
A 54-run partnership between Annabel Flack (27) and Phoebe Graham (29) held back the Sussex tidal wave for a while; but both were dismissed by Chiara Green, who took 3-13, and no other Berkshire batsman made a single run – the Beavers finishing all out for a disappointing 94.
In the chase, Georgia Adams was dismissed early – LBW to Graham; but Chiara Green and youngster Ella McCaughan took Sussex past 50, before Green spooned Emma Walker to Lissy Macleod at mid on and McCaughan gave a regulation catch to Carla Rudd, fielding at cover due to her hand injury.
But the damage was already done and Abi Freeborn (27*) and Paige Scholfield (13*) steered Sussex home – Scholfield hitting the only 6 of the match to cow corner in the process.
The result confirmed Sussex as winners of Div 2, and they will be back where they belong, in Div 1 of the Women’s County Championship, next season.
Afterwards, Raf Nicholson spoke to a very happy Sussex skipper, Georgia Adams.