In our vodcast today, we posed the question: how successful has the RHF Trophy been so far? “Very”, was our general conclusion, but there was one important aspect which we omitted to mention.
Sophie Luff summed it up in our post-match interview, after Storm – chasing 289 – ended up losing to Vipers by 32 runs.
“I love the fact that this is a 50-over competition because it genuinely shows people’s skills, and you have to do your skills over a long period of time,” the Storm captain said.
“With the bat, you have to take responsibility and you’re allowed to score big scores. The fact that Georgia Adams scored 150 today shows that – you wouldn’t get those scores in a T20.”
“It’s the right format, particularly given the opportunity for the young girls in the squad.”
It would have been easy for the ECB, given the constraints of this summer, to rejig the original plan and announce that the regions would actually play 20-over cricket this season.
It would have been cheaper, logistically easier and generally less of a strain on precious resources.
But ultimately it would have robbed us of one of the greatest domestic games we’ve ever seen live – when’s the last time a county side got within 30-odd of a 289-run target? – as well as one of the all-time great domestic innings – Georgia Adams finishing unbeaten on 154*.
It would have robbed us of seeing Nat Wraith, age 18, battling away to score 68 in 75 balls – the kind of innings that the England Training Squad player simply wouldn’t have the chance to accumulate in a 20-over match.
And it would have robbed us of seeing Sophie Luff playing her natural game, in her first ever season as a full professional. Luffy might be best known to most people as a key element of Western Storm’s double-win in the 20-over KSL, but she’s also been a prolific run-scorer for Somerset in the Women’s County Championship over the years; and if she had to pick a format, it’s pretty obvious which one she’s better suited to.* (Which explains why she’s currently second on the list of leading run-scorers in this competition, with 336, second only to [who else?] Georgia Adams, who has 379.)
Not making the KSL a 50-over competition, as was Clare Connor’s original intention back when it was launched in 2015, was a mistake – domestic players were never exposed to the high-profile of the KSL over the longer format, and our system fell further behind Australia’s in the meantime. So, credit to the ECB for not repeating that mistake this time around, and pushing ahead with their original plan for the regions to play in a 50-over competition this season, even in spite of COVID.
*Ed: She’d probably actually pick multi-day cricket, but let’s not try to run before we can walk.