Central Spark Milly Home was the star as Worcestershire beat Berkshire twice on the opening day of the county season at Falkland CC.
On a breezy day in West Berkshire, Home, whose ability to swing a stick has already earned her age group international honours with England on the lacrosse field, hit an aggregate 132 runs across two T20s, to lead the Rapids to a pear* of victories.
Speaking to CRICKETher afterwards, Home reflected:
“We got two wins, which is what we wanted. The first game we batted second, the second game we batted first, so it’s nice to know we can set and chase.”
“Because of COVID this winter we haven’t been able to train together, so we’ve had one-to-ones with the coaches. We’ve been working on hitting the ball straight with a lot of power – being forceful, using your feet, and backing yourself. I got lots of hitting in, so it was really nice to come to the middle and feel ready for the season.”
“I’m on loan from Warwickshire, so it was nice to open the batting – that gave me a bit of freedom to be able to bat for the 20 overs, and it was a good wicket, so it was nice to get a few runs.”
In the first match, Berkshire set off with some real intent, as Emily Cunningham – on her first day out of quarantine following her flight back from New Zealand – hit a quick 12 off 8 balls, using the pace of Emily Arlott to find the boundary twice in the first over. Mia Rogers (30 off 37) and Ash Muttitt (17 off 21) built on that start; but Berkshire were undone by a spell of 4-15 in just 3 overs from loopy offspinner Flora Bertwhistle, eventually limping to 102-7.
In reply, Milly Home (44) and Georgie Macey (nee Adcock) (33)** set off at a rate of knots, putting on 87 for the first wicket to take Worcestershire within touching distance; and although a mini-collapse followed, with Amanda ‘Steamer’ Potgieter taking 3-6 in two overs, the final result was never really in doubt by that stage.
Batting first in the second game, Worcestershire lost Macey for a first baller, LBW to Freya Johnson; but from then on it was all about Home, who carried her bat for a smashing 88* off 63 balls, supported at the other end by captain Chloe Hill (34). A slightly frantic run-a-ball 16 from Clare Boycott at the death helped set Berkshire an imposing 156 to chase.
Given the first result, it felt like a long shot; but perhaps freed by that knowledge, Ashley Muttitt and Amanda Potgieter, who came together in the 3rd over, kept up with the rate for the bulk of the innings, only falling behind when Worcestershire eventually brought on England Academy fast bowler Arlott towards the end. Muttitt and Potgieter both passed 50 – Muttitt making 51* (her highest ever score in a competitive county match) and Potgieter 61*, as Berkshire finished on 149-2 – just 7 runs short.
** At the time of writing, the scorecard on Play Cricket has Home and Macey the wrong way around in the first game.