MATCH REPORT: Hursley Park Triumphant On Inaugural Kia Summer Smash Finals Day

On a sunny September afternoon at the Oval, the four winners of the regional Kia Summer Smash Festivals – Hursley Park (South), Sessay (North), Plympton (West) and Berkswell (Midlands) – gathered for the competition’s inaugural Finals Day.

In the first semi-final of the day, Plympton reached 83-2 in their 10 overs having won the toss and chosen to bat. Hursley Park looked to be easily on course, reaching 69 without loss, but eventually made it through with just 3 balls to spare – captain Emily Windsor finishing unbeaten on 43.

In the second semi-final, Sessay faced down Berkswell in the highest scoring encounter of the day, with Sessay accumulating 99 runs in their 10 overs thanks to an unbeaten half-century from Yorkshire’s Jess Watson. In reply, Berkswell could only reach 68, Bethan Ellis finishing not out on 39.

With the two losing semi-finalists now able to sit back and enjoy the copious Pimms on offer in the pavilion, it was time for the final – Hursley Park v Sessay.

Having won the toss, Hursley Park chose to field, and disaster struck early for Sessay as their star batsman Jess Watson was caught at point off the third ball of the innings, handing Hampshire’s Charlotte Taylor her first wicket of the match.

By the time Taylor struck again to have Jess Woolston bowled off the last ball of the 10 overs, Sessay were 6 down, with Hursley Park confident of being able to chase down the target of 83.

That confidence was dented somewhat after they lost 2 wickets in the very first over courtesy of Abi Glen. While Windsor and Taylor then came together for a 50 partnership, when Taylor was dismissed by Daisy Stokoe in the 7th over Hursley Park still required 29 from 18 balls. Stokoe struck again in her next over, meaning the equation was 11 runs off the final over with 6 wickets in hand.

However, a streaky edge through backward point from Rebecca Blake, some scrambled runs between Blake and Windsor and finally a fifth-ball wide eventually sealed the deal for Hursley Park with just 1 ball to spare – Windsor finishing on 42 not out.

Heather Knight was on hand to present the trophy to captain Emily Windsor, as “the carrots” celebrated their victory.

“It was a fantastic team performance all the way through the competition. We were Southern Premier League champions last week, and now to finish the season with the Kia Summer Smash title, it’s exactly what we came here for,” Windsor said afterwards.

She labelled the opportunity to play at the Oval as “incredible”: “I’d play here every week if I could! It’s not often you get to play on a track like this and an outfield like this. I wanted to spend as long as I could out there, and luckily I did that in both games.”

At a time when women’s club cricket is often said to be struggling, it was great to see Kia and The Cricketer lending their support to it – long may the competition continue!