With “real” county cricket in abeyance, we got together with @WomensCricDay, @WomensCricBlog and WomensCricket.net to run the CRICKETish Cup – a virtual women’s cricket competition played in cyberspace!
On a thrilling night at Lord’s, North East Warriors carried off the inaugural Cricketish Cup, defying the odds to defeat favourites Surrey by just two runs!
Division 1 newcomers Warriors had already taken the scalp of Sussex in the semi-final and repeated that underdog victory as Laura Ellison defended 7 off the last over in a nail-biting climax.
Surrey had looked in control as Sophia Dunkley (19) and Aylish Cranstone (18) took them within 25 runs of victory with more than four overs left, building on the foundation laid by Bryony Smith (29) and Nat Sciver (25), but both were dismissed in the space of five balls and the Surrey lower order couldn’t find a way over the line from there.
Skipper Hannah Jones took two off each of Ellison’s first two balls to leave her side needing four from four, but when she fell lbw two balls later it left Rhianna Southby to find a boundary off the final ball. She could only find Lizzie Scott at midwicket and the trophy was off to the North East amid huge celebrations.
Earlier, openers Laura Hockaday (21) and Layla Tipton (22) produced another solid opening partnership of 44, only to be dismissed off consecutive deliveries, and when Warriors subsided to 74 for 5 after the unfortunate run out of Ami Campbell for 13 they looked in danger of falling short of a challenging score.
However, youngster Ciara Boaden (30) more than made up for her part in Campbell’s departure as she marshalled the lower order expertly and helped set a target of 131 for Surrey to win.
Jones took three wickets for the Oval side, but the pick of the bowlers was undoubtedly Beth Kerins with 2 for 13 off four miserly overs.
Warriors backed up an excellent fielding display in the semi-final with similar vigour here as they threw themselves at everything to keep Smith and Sciver from cutting loose. There were two wickets each for skipper Helen Fenby, Bailey Wanless and Lizzie Scott who finished as leading wicket-taker for the competition with eight, whilst Tipton topped the run-scoring charts with 108 across the three games.
The Player of the Match Award, meanwhile, went to Boaden for her excellent innings and two fine catches to oust Sciver and Cranstone at critical moments.
So the Trophy travels up to the North East, and it may stay there permanently if rumoured plans to play real cricket again one day come to fruition…