Under overcast skies at Billingshurst CC an uneventful day turned into a thriller in the third, rain-reduced match of the day as Sussex successfully chased down their DLS target of 92 in 11 overs.
It left honours even amongst the 3 teams – Kent, Surrey and Sussex – with a win apiece across the day.
Sussex v Kent
In a low-scoring match first up it was Kent who triumphed, Sussex falling 9 runs of their 70-run target despite an unbeaten 20 from Chiara Green.
Captain Georgia Adams was the first Sussex batsman to depart in the third over, caught at extra cover off the bowling of Arlene Kelly directly after hitting a fluent four straight down the ground.
It was to be Sussex’s only boundary of the innings as, despite Green’s best efforts at the other end, her partners came in and departed with regularity, none making it into double figures.
Green herself survived several chances as she attempted to push the score on, skying it several times and being put down by Kelly at mid-on, but she did at least manage to do what her teammates failed to and rotate the strike.
She ultimately ran out of partners as Sussex were all out for 61 in the 19th over.
Earlier Green had also chimed in with the ball, taking 2 wickets in 2 balls to put Kent at 29-5 and leaving poor Kirsty Dymond in the unenviable position of walking in to face a hat-trick ball in her first senior T20 match for Kent.
She successfully defended it, however, and hung around long enough to make 9 runs, providing good support to Izzy Cloke (21).
Cloke top-scored for the visitors, but was eventually out caught by Georgia Adams at long on as young 16-year-old Cassidy McCarthy chimed in with 3 wickets for 10 runs to finish off the Kent tail.
Surrey v Kent
Kent extended their winning streak to the toss in the second game, opting to bowl against Surrey.
Kirstie White was dropped first ball as a thick edge went through the hands of Jenny Jackson at backward point and down to the boundary for 4. Two singles and another 4 driven through mid on followed as Surrey took 10 from the opening over.
White and Alex Travers – who was also dropped by Jackson, albeit a much tougher chance – then took the score on to 28-0 after 5 overs, with some smart running between the wickets, something which had been conspicuously absent in the first match of the day.
The opening partnership was broken when White was out caught behind off a thin edge off Grace Gibbs for 23 in the 7th over, and Gibbs then comprehensively bowled Travers in her next over for 14.
Aylish Cranstone made 10 before she was bowled by Jackson with the score on 61 in the 12th over, as Kent began to take charge, with 3 run-outs contributing to Surrey finishing on a disappointing 91-9.
Chelsey Rowson and Phoebe Franklin got Kent off to a good start, taking 17 off the first 4 overs before Franklin was given out LBW trying to sweep Hannah Jones. Rowson followed soon after – brilliantly caught behind by Kirstie White diving low to her right, standing back to the pace of Molly Sellars.
Izzy Cloke made 10 but was bowled by young leg-spinner Danielle Gregory just as she looked like getting started; and Gregory then added the wicket of Lauren Griffiths, who returned to the pavilion shaking her head having been adjudged LBW to a ball which appeared to barely brush her pads. There was no doubt however about Gregory’s third – Grace Gibbs bowled for 11, leaving Kent 47-5 in the 12th over.
Jenny Jackson became Gregory’s 4th victim, another LBW; whilst at the other end Megan Belt was bowled middle stump by Mary Ali, attempting a premeditated ramp – a shot that looks great when it comes off, but leaves you looking like a bit of a chump when it doesn’t!
Debutant Kirsty Dymond was left fuming, having been run out after a mix up with fellow newbie Grace Scrivens, leaving Kent needing 16 off the last two overs with 2 wickets in hand.
7 off the penultimate over meant 9 off the last bowled by Eva Gray… or 8 if Kent could get them without losing a wicket. Scrivens and Arlene Kelly ran hard every ball; but they fell just one short in the end, finishing 90-8 as Surrey celebrated.
Sussex v Surrey
In the third and final game of the day, played in conditions so cold that Sussex captain Georgia Adams opted to field wearing a hoodie, Surrey won the toss but once again batted first.
Kirstie White again looked in fine touch across the powerplay overs, stroking Tara Norris’s first ball through backward point for a boundary, but was subsequently adjudged LBW to Chiara Green in the 7th over.
Green then chimed in with 2 more wickets including another LBW to remove Eva Gray, but by that point the rain was coming down and the umpires called a halt to proceedings with Surrey’s score 74-3 after 11 overs.
The covers were put on but the rain eventually eased enough to allow play to resume, the necessary DLS calculations indicating that Sussex needed to hit 92 off 11 overs to win the game.
It looked a ridiculous target – the DLS formula once again proving questionable as far as women’s county cricket goes – but Sussex somehow found the panache they had lacked earlier in the day and chased down the required runs to win by 7 wickets.