Cassidy McCarthy took two crucial wickets at the death, as Sussex beat Hampshire by 1 run at the Aldridge Academy in Brighton.
Chasing 156, Hampshire reached 152-8, with 25 balls remaining and Charlotte Taylor set on 19 not out before McCarthy intervened, bowling both Taylor and then Providence Cowdrill to snatch victory by the closest of shaves.
On paper it was a match Sussex should have won easily, with all three of the Southern Vipers “pros” – Georgia Adams, Tara Norris and Paige Scholfield – wearing the blue of Sussex Sharks, against a young Hampshire side which included two debutantes – England Academy Training Squad fast bowler Alex Avoth, and Berkshire wicket keeper Mia Rodgers.
Opening the bowling to Adams and Ella McCaughan, Avoth was hit for 14 in her first over, but came back in her second to dismiss Adams (14), who was beaten for pace, looking to flick it over midwicket, and clean bowled. McCaughan (36) however ploughed on, putting on a fifty partnership with Izzy Collis (23) before adding another 30 with Rodgers predecessor at Berkshire, Carla Rudd, who did her case for a spot on the Vipers squad no harm at all with 22. From 114-3 though, Sussex collapsed somewhat, with no one else reaching double-figures as they were bowled out for 156 inside 40 overs, with Avoth finishing with 3-35.
Hampshire’s reply was very-much a collaborative affair, with no one apart from Ms Extras (27) making more than 23, though Maia Bouchier (21), Charlie Dean (22), Emily Windsor (23) and Alice Monaghan (22) all made it into the twenties; with Beth Harvey taking crucial wickets for Sussex in the middle overs to keep the Sharks on top.
With Hampshire stumbling at 123-7 it looked to be all over bar the shouting, but Taylor had other ideas as the Sussex attack fed her favoured cut shot with a string of half-volleys outside off stump. McCarthy however kept her nerve, bowling first Taylor for 19 and then, having conceded a wide to take Hampshire to within one run, doing the same to Cowdrill to bring home the win for Sussex.