Old habits reappeared for both Hampshire and Sussex at Totton & Eling, but it was Sussex that came out on top as England bowler Freya Davies showed her mettle with the bat to grind out a 1-wicket win. Coming in at 67-7 chasing 128, after Sussex’s top order had let them down for the second time in a week, Davies ground out an undefeated 29 to take her side to an unlikely victory.
Sussex had doubtless felt confident going into the innings break, after Hampshire’s batting had collapsed to 128 all out – 3 less than they had made at the same ground in last Monday’s loss to Yorkshire.
Sussex opened with pace at both ends from Freya Davies and Tara Norris, and soon got the breakthrough when Maia Bouchier was caught by wicket keeper Carla Rudd, getting an inside edge off Norris with just 10 on the board.
Hampshire plodded on to 29-1 at the 10 over mark, when Linsey Smith’s left arm spin was introduced at one end; but Sussex continued with pace at the other in the shape of Cassidy McCarthy who was rewarded with three quick wickets – Ella Chandler feathering a catch behind to Rudd for 5; Emily Windsor bowled playing outside a delivery that dipped late into her stumps; and last weekend’s top scorer Fi Morris also caught behind the stumps.
At the other end, Charlie Dean had plugged away to 27, but was caught at slip off Linsey Smith to leave Hampshire 66-5.
Lucia Kendall and Katie George started with a little more intent, trying to inject some pace – and some much needed runs – into the innings; but they too were soon bogged down by Smith in particular, who bowled 10 overs straight for just 13 runs.
Nonetheless, they took the score on to 90 before Kendall was run out after a mid-pitch mix-up; while George was given out tummy-before-wicket playing all around the returning Davies, who then bowled Alice Monaghan off a thin inside edge.
A 9th wicket partnership of 27 between Clover Crosse and Providence Cowdrill took Hampshire on past 100, but was broken when Crosse was run out by McCarthy going for a sharp single. The innings closed a few balls later on 128, with Cowdrill LBW to Paige Scholfield.
In reply, Georgia Adams and Ella McCaughan opened the batting for Sussex and played out an attritional powerplay against the pace of Katie George and Maia Bouchier, taking the score to 26-0. The opening partnership was broken in the 13th over, bowled by Charlie Dean, who had Georgia Adams well caught by a diving Lucia Kendall at extra cover. Izzy Collis soon followed, run out by a sharp throw from square leg from Alice Monaghan.
After a patient 24, McCaughan chipped a regulation catch to Katie George at midwicket off Fi Morris; and Morris then took a wonderful caught and bowled the very next ball to dismiss incoming Chiara Green for a golden duck and leave Sussex in deep water at 53-4.
After Paige Scholfield had lobbed a skier to Kendall at mid on, Morris – who finished with 4-24 – then added former Berkshire colleague Carla Rudd to her list, LBW for 9; and Morris was in the thick of the action again as Linsey Smith’s eyes lit up at a full toss from Providence Cowdrill, which she smacked hard… straight to Morris at midwicket!
With 62 still required by Sussex at that stage, Hampshire looked odds-on for their first win of the season, but Davies made sure it wasn’t to be as she played out 48 dot balls for her 29, in partnerships with Ella Wadey (7), Tara Norris (8) and Nancy Harman (9*).
Sussex therefore pulled off their second tight win in the first three rounds of the Championship, while Hampshire have probably thrown away their chance of retaining their title, with three straight defeats.