A big century from England captain Heather Knight drove Berkshire to the top of Div 2 on the opening weekend of the Women’s County Championship.
With Berkshire batting first against Worcestershire on Women’s County Cricket Day at North Maidenhead, Knight came in at 3 and hit 131 off 121 balls, in a double-century partnership with captain Lissy Macleod, who finished on 95 – bowled in the final over of the innings, going for her hundred with a big heave! Anya Shrubsole (3-8) and England Academy quick Lauren Bell (2-15) then smashed through the Worcestershire top order as the Rapids were bowled out for 77.
It had been a slightly different story the day before for Berkshire – having bowled Essex out cheaply for 100, with Shrubsole (2-9) and Bell (3-21) again doing most of the damage, their batting struggled without Knight, and although they eventually won by 5 wickets, thanks to 35* from veteran Amanda “Steamer” Potgieter, it was a lot squeakier than the margin of victory makes it sound!
In second place, Devon also took two-from-two over the Bank Holiday. Western Storm off-spinner Becca Silk took 4-6 as they bowled Durham out for 97; but they made it difficult for themselves, losing 7 wickets on their way to overhauling the total, with Ellie Mitchell finishing 42*. Silk was again in the wickets the next day, taking 3-31 as Devon’s match against Wales followed a very similar pattern – Wales bowled out for 132, with New Zealand superstar Rachel Priest bagging a golden duck the first ball of the innings, which Devon chased for the loss of 7 wickets in 41 overs.
Elsewhere, Middlesex’s Sophia Dunkley hit an even bigger hundred than Knight’s, with Worcestershire again the victims as she smashed 138 off 116 balls. Set a target of 271, Worcestershire were then rolled over for 103, Dunkley also chipping in with the ball with 2-11.
Wales also halved the weekend with a win at Somerset, thanks to half-centuries from Rachel Priest (63) and Lauren Parfitt (58) in a total of 232-9. Somerset went the distance, but ended up well short on 180-8, with only Sophie Luff (71) giving the scorers much to do.