RHF TROPHY: Stars v Vipers – Are Two Half-Centuries In The Hand Worth One Century In The Bush?

After South East Stars’ mammoth showing against Sunrisers on Saturday, their Bank Holiday outing against reigning champions Southern Vipers promised to be one of the matches of the tournament.

Instead, Stars found themselves 24-3 at the hands of Charlotte Taylor, whose arm balls still seem to have the knack of fooling some of the best players in England.

From there, they were able to set only a very modest target of 137, a target which Vipers overhauled with 20 overs to spare. After a slow start, in which she successfully “saw off” Stars strike bowlers Freya Davies and Tash Farrant, Danni Wyatt finished unbeaten on 64 from 88 balls, including nine boundaries.

It was her second half-century in as many matches, and from our perspective – having watched both innings live – this was the much less scratchy of the two, heavily featuring her favoured inside-out drive over cover. Interestingly, Wyatt herself disagreed with this assessment – showing the chasm that can exist at times between journalist perceptions and player realities!

“The [Beckenham] pitch was very very difficult to bat on,” Wyatt told us at the close. “It got slower and slower. I kept saying to myself, ‘don’t give it away’, but I had to work really hard to not get out!”

“We spoke about it, last night in the team meeting, that it’s really important that one of the top 4 gets a big score and sees us home and that’s what we did today.”

Wyatt was supported brilliantly by Georgia Elwiss (45 off 43), who only fell in the penultimate over because she was attempting to hit the six necessary to achieve her half-century, before they ran out of runs to play with.

The question on everyone’s minds this weekend, with the full contingent of England players participating in the opening two rounds of the RHF, is who might have advanced their case in Lisa Keightley’s eyes enough to win one of those precious spots in the Test squad against India (which is likely to be announced in the next week or so).

Of the England “definites” and “probables”, only one was consistently superb with the bat across both matches – Amy Jones, who hit 114 against Diamonds on Saturday, and followed it up by thumping 163 from 114 balls against Storm on Monday. If she isn’t now nailed on to open the batting in the Test, then I’ll be very surprised.

But that still leaves a spot or two in the middle order up for grabs. And with big-hitter Wyatt not necessarily an automatic pick for the Test, it also begs the intriguing question of whether two half-centuries in two matches (Wyatt) is equal to, better than, or not quite as good as, one century in one match and a single-figure score in the second (Lauren Winfield-Hill [110 + 2], Sophia Dunkley [104* + 0]) in the eyes of Lisa Keightley?

One thing that might go in Wyatt’s favour is her ability to turn her arm over. England may no longer see her as a serious bowling option – “I know I’m probably not going to bowl for England”, she said at the close – but if India bat for two days straight at Bristol, might it be an advantage for Heather Knight to have a few bonus overs of spin up her sleeve?

Wyatt says that she has been working hard on her bowling, with the likelihood of playing a key role with the ball in The Hundred at the back of her mind: “I’ve tried to change a few things in my action, tried to keep my hands close in, as I’ve been working on the last few months with England in the nets. I want to have the confidence to bowl well if Heather chucks me the ball. Whenever I get the chance to bowl I want to bowl really well and put my case forward.”

With Vipers missing key strike bowler Lauren Bell, who pulled up with a groin strain right before the start of play, as well as Paige Scholfield, who is still fighting her way back to full fitness after a back operation, Wyatt’s hard work in the nets came good. She was called on to bowl 7 overs by captain Georgia Adams against Stars, and she finished with figures of 3-19, including the crucial scalps of Grace Gibbs (29) and Aylish Cranstone (31), who looked to be beginning to claw Stars back into a competitive position.

All in all, it was a decent day’s work for Danni Wyatt. As to whether two half-centuries in the hand really are worth one century in the bush? We’ll have to wait for the announcement of the England squad to find out the answer to that one.

RHF TROPHY: Vipers v Lightning – Paige Scholfield… And How Blocking Out A Maiden Won The Game

It’s the 45th over of the Vipers’ innings, and they are 202-5 – needing just 13 runs to overhaul Lightning’s total of 214-9.

In perhaps a last throw of the dice, Lightning captain Kathryn Bryce takes the ball herself. It means she won’t bowl the final over; but unless she can produce a bit of magic, she knows the game won’t go that far anyway. And if anyone can produce that bit of something special, it’s her – last season’s top-ranked bowler in the competition.

At the other end of the pitch waits Vipers pro Paige Scholfield, playing her first List A match after having undergone back surgery over the winter. Scholfield is 32*, and although the Vipers’ claim to “bat all the way down” has a degree of plausibility, if you are the opposition, the next wicket gets you into the tail.

In her heart, Scholfield probably knows this too – though she won’t admit it to the likes of us! But it is very much on her – the Vipers have never lost in the RHF… and it is her responsibility to ensure that streak lives to die another day.

Kathryn Bryce has had a week she’d surely rather forget, with Scotland crushed 3-1 by Ireland in Belfast; but every over is a new over, and the first ball is a good one – a yorker on Scholfield’s toes, played to short mid on. No run. The second ball is similar – a low full toss. Again, no run. The third gives Scholfield an inch of width on the off side, but she can’t take advantage, and it’s another dot. The fourth is another good length delivery, which Scholfield can only play straight back to Bryce; while the fifth give Scholfield something to play at, but she hits it straight to the fielder at midwicket.

Five balls; five dots.

And now, the Sliding Doors moment…

In another world, very like the one we live in, Scholfield – who has had the reputation since breaking into the Sussex team as a teenager as a bit of a “See ball; hit ball” kind of player – looks up at the scoreboard, which hasn’t moved in 7 deliveries going back into the previous over, and starts to feel the pressure. She sees a gap in the field over mid on, and decides then and there, that’s where it’s going. As Bryce bowls, she takes a big step down the pitch, but Bryce sees her coming and holds it back just a bit – Scholfield’s huge swing of the bat takes a leading edge, and the ball balloons up into the air, with Bryce taking the catch herself – the first of 5 wickets to fall in the space of two overs, as Vipers collapse and Lightning go on to record what turns out to be only the third most unlikely victory of the day in the RHF.

But this is, of course, not that world. The Paige Scholfield of today is no longer that “See ball; hit ball” teenager – she does the maths, and calmly blocks Bryce’s final delivery. Bryce will have the maiden; but ultimately the Vipers will have the game, taking 9 off the following over to make Bryce’s next over a formality. And though the wicket of Emily Windsor gives a hint of what might have occurred, Vipers close out the win with 3 overs to spare.

Yesterday morning, Central Sparks Director of Cricket, Laura MacLeod expressed her hope on Twitter that this season we would “move the game forwards with skill & power with the bat, control and guise with the ball, agility and anticipation in the field”. Others saw those hopes played out in spades that afternoon, with remarkable come-back wins for Western Storm, and for MacLeod’s own Sparks. We weren’t at those games, but it didn’t mean we couldn’t witness, nevertheless, a little of that same skill, control, and guise… albeit carefully disguised as a determined block, in one ball faced by Paige Scholfield.

PREVIEW: Scotland Stars Return As WPL Continues

Jake Perry looks ahead to Week Two of the Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League

Week Two of the Cricket Scotland Women’s Premier League features the biggest match of the competition so far as two-in-a-row champions Stewart’s Melville travel to Grange Loan to face early pacesetters Carlton. Both will be looking for a strong performance after Carlton’s blistering start to the season last weekend.

A dominant innings with the bat backed up by some ruthless work with the ball saw Annette Aitken-Drummond’s side complete a mammoth 308-run victory over Watsonians/Grange at Myreside. The Carlton captain’s quickfire 65 set the tone as she put on 117 for the first wicket with Sarah Beith (37), but the standout performance of the day came from Charis Scott, whose unbeaten 97 included sixteen fours and a six. The young Scotland player then took 4 for 12 to complete an outstanding all-round display, and with Carlton likely to be strengthened further by their returning international contingent, Stewart’s Melville are sure to face a stern test as they play their first competitive match of the season.

The title holders have plenty of firepower of their own, of course, and will be focusing on their own strengths as they make the short journey across the capital.

“Carlton are a very strong team so it will be a tough game for us, but we’re definitely up for the challenge,” said SMCC captain Catherine Holland. “There’s a vibrant women and girl’s scene at SMCC thanks to David Gibson, Mark Burgess and others, and we’ve been able to train quite a lot over the last few weeks.”

“It’s really great to have the experience of players like Katie McGill at the club,” she went on, “but we’re also lucky to have a great group of younger players, including girls who are part of the Cricket Scotland player pathway. And then we’ve got Scotland star Katherine Fraser and ‘A’ cap Emma Walsingham in the side, who are also available for the weekend.”

“We’re looking forward to the game.”

Royal High Corstorphine will look to build on their winning start when they take on Watsonians/Grange at Barnton. A solid batting performance backed by some excellent bowling from Matilda Coke (3 for 18), Phoebe Beal (3 for 28) and skipper Megan Taylor (2 for 7) was enough to see off George Watson’s College at Craiglockhart, and with the fit-again Kitty Levenson back at the top of the order alongside Riti Patel, who scored 157 runs at 52.33 in the 2019 edition of the competition, RHC are again likely to be in contention come the end of the season. 

While thoughts of the title are probably a little premature for their opponents, there were at least some signs of encouragement that could be extracted from the performance of Watsonians/Grange last time out. The talented Catherine Edwards played well as she continued her return from injury, while Sarah Lowe followed her smart caught-and-bowled dismissal of Annette Aitken-Drummond with a couple of well-struck boundaries in her side’s eventful but ultimately short-lived run-chase. The future development of the division’s newest team is a long-term project for both clubs – the two are intending to play separately when the Beyond Boundaries Scottish Cup gets underway in August – but while last weekend’s result was a tough one to take, better days will surely come for both halves of the side which bears the names of two of Scotland’s foremost cricketing powers. 

The remaining match in the second round of fixtures, between George Watson’s College and McCrea West of Scotland, has been postponed due to the ongoing Level 3 restrictions in Glasgow. 

Women’s Premier League – 30 May 2021 

George Watson’s College v West of Scotland (at Craiglockhart) – Match Postponed 

Royal High Corstorphine v Watsonians/Grange (at Barnton) 

Carlton v Stewart’s Melville (at Grange Loan)


Jake Perry is the author of The Secret Game

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the women’s (and men’s) league action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.

2021 Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Preview

By Raf Nicholson & Syd Egan

The regional T20 competition is structured similarly, although it begins slightly later (in June), with the top 3 teams progressing to a Finals Day on 5 September. (The full regional fixture list can be downloaded here.)

The schedule means that each region’s England players are likely to only be available for the opening four rounds of the RHF, missing out on the later rounds and the grand final. They will also be absent for the entirety of the T20 competition.

That will add to both the opportunities and the pressures faced by the 41 new domestic professionals who were handed contracts last December. This Saturday, that group will be facing the exciting yet daunting prospect of their first competitive cricket as professional cricketers. Some will flourish in the new system… but some may find it a difficult adjustment to make, just as the England players did back in 2014.

It’s also worth remembering that for the T20 competition, the 8 teams have been divided into two groups: Group A, containing reigning champions Southern Vipers, as well as South East Stars, Central Sparks and Lightning; and Group B, which consists of last year’s runners-up Northern Diamonds, plus Western Storm, Sunrisers and Thunder. In theory the groups should be evenly matched – the allocations are based on seedings from performances in last year’s RHF Trophy – but things might go differently in practice.

(Scroll down to the bottom to see each team’s full squads for this season.)


Raf: Western Storm were unlucky to miss out on the final last year, falling foul of the North / South group system which meant that only one of the southern-based teams could progress. This time around, the seeding system means that they have every chance of getting there. I’d argue that with 6 professionals (instead of the 5 which all other regions have), they have a built-in advantage. I’m especially keen to see what a winter of proper training has done for all-rounder Georgia Hennessy, who when I spoke to her in March described the whole process as “mental but amazing”.

Syd: Southern Vipers’ 44-run warm-up victory last weekend against South East Stars shows why they will be the team to beat again this season. Despite losing openers Georgia Adams (retired hurt) and Danni Wyatt cheaply, they recovered to 231-7 off a reduced 45 overs, thanks to Maia Bouchier (79) and Georgia Elwiss (51) and then Emily Windsor closing out with a run-a-ball 31 having come in at 6. Of course they will lose Wyatt and Elwiss to England duty, but they’ve got the likes of Ella Chandler, who has shown some good early-season form for Hampshire, plus Paige Scholfield making her return from back surgery, to come in to the batting line-up. In the bowling department, they may miss Lauren Bell if she is selected for England, but they will still have Tara Norris, who has put on a yard of pace over the winter, and new mystery spinner Finty Trussler, alongside last year’s leading wicket-taker, Charlotte Taylor. No one could stop Vipers last year, and it will take a very good team to change that this year.


Syd: This is a tough call, because from what we’ve seen at county, everyone has improved over the winter – the players, even the “non-pros”, are fitter than they’ve ever been, and they are savvier too. They are hitting the ball harder, and they are hitting the ball smarter; and I think we’ll see this in the results, so the table at the end of the season will look a bit more like last year’s North Group, where top and bottom were separated by just 15 points, than the South Group, where the equivalent gap was a whopping 27 points. If I have to chose one, I’ll plump for Thunder to take home the wooden spoon, but I think it will be much closer at the bottom than it will be at the top.

Raf: I reckon that Trevor Griffin has got his work cut out with Sunrisers. He may be the man who coached Western Storm to two KSL titles in four years, but his side looked to be the weakest of the bunch last year. Essex have again struggled in this season’s county matches, finishing bottom of the South East Group in the County T20s (admittedly it was a tough group to be drawn in). It’ll be interesting to see whether his young side can rise to the challenge this time around.


Raf: With no England players available for the T20s, and the possibility of some younger players also being included in this summer’s England squad, there’s a real chance for Northern Diamonds to take advantage. More than any other side, it feels like they have a core of experienced players who know how to go about their business in domestic cricket (waves at Katie Levick). Plus, if this season really is to be Jenny Gunn’s last hurrah (we wouldn’t want to speculate about that…) she’ll be keen for it to be a good one.

Syd: I think the South East Stars could come good in the T20s. With big hitters like Bryony Smith, Alice Capsey and Susie Rowe in the line-up there will be runs aplenty; plus look out for newcomer Emma Jones adding to the young talent in their bowling attack – a product of Felsted School (where Vipers wicket keeper Carla Rudd is Head of Girls’ Cricket), she is currently studying to be a vet at Cambridge University.


Syd: For years, England have been looking for a hard-hitting left-handed batter – could Sunrisers’ 17-year-old Grace Scrivens be the answer to their prayers? Having announced herself with a run-a-ball 72 against Western Storm last year, she comes into this season as Kent’s leading run-scorer in the County T20s, with 227 runs including 94 off 62 balls against Surrey. If she hasn’t played for England by the end of 2021, it might only be because exciting young batters seem to be like London buses right now – you wait ages for one, and then two come along at once…

Raf: The live streams in the inaugural RHF Trophy meant that Alice Capsey’s name suddenly became more widely known, and for good reason too. Maybe it’s because she’s only 16, but there is a fearlessness about her batting that I can’t help but admire. This year, she’s already finished the County T20 competition as Surrey’s leading run-scorer (134 runs) AND leading wicket-taker (8 wickets in total), plus scored 74 in the Stars’ warm-up against Vipers. I raved about her last year and I’ll likely be doing the exact same thing this season!


Raf: Ex-England batter Susie Rowe seemed doubtful that she would even be selected by Stars a few weeks ago, but maybe she was just being modest. As we discussed in our Vodcast after seeing her top-score on a tricky pitch for Kent against Essex in the London Championship, her natural talent means she is still oodles above most other county players, despite a five-year absence from top-level cricket to focus on hockey. I love the fact that regionals (and The Hundred) are giving us an opportunity to see her bossing the middle order once again.

Syd: Is Sophie Luff a “Golden Oldie”? She is only 27; but having started young, making her Somerset debut at 15, she is very much a survivor from the amateur era. The best player of her generation (possibly ever?) never to have played for England, Luff has been one of the most consistent batters in the county game for the past decade; and although she was forced to play a supporting role to the Western Storm’s international stars during the KSL, she rarely disappointed when she did get her chance – most significantly holding her nerve in the 2017 final, making 30 not out off 24 balls to help the Storm over the line. In short, she always comes to the party – usually bringing a nice bottle of something too – and there’s no reason to think 2021 will be any exception. 


Syd: For me, there is only one candidate: Lightning and Scotland’s Ms Bryce. After her performances last year, which saw her top our player rankings, Bryce has spent her first winter as a professional cricketer training at Loughborough, and although she will miss some of the domestic season due to her international commitments, she looks set to be a dominant force again for Lightning again this summer. [Don’t think I don’t know what you’ve done here! Ed.]

Raf: Of course the England players will be the stars of the first few rounds, but an MVP is someone who won’t disappear mid-season, yet still has experience of high-pressure cricket. It’s a bit left field but I’m going to go for Thunder captain Alex Hartley – she’s been there and got the England t-shirt, and now she has the chance to share some of her acquired wisdom with a young Thunder team which will heavily rely on her to show them the ropes. She’ll certainly be Thunder’s MVP!


Southern Vipers: Georgia Adams (captain), Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Ella Chandler, Charlie Dean, Ariana Dowse, Georgia Elwiss, Gemma Lane, Cassidy McCarthy, Ella McCaughan, Alice Monaghan, Tara Norris, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Charlotte Taylor, Finty Trussler, Emily Windsor, Danni Wyatt.

South East Stars: Tash Farrant (captain), Bryony Smith (vice-captain), Chloe Brewer, Alice Capsey, Kira Chathli, Aylish Cranstone, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Eva Gray, Dani Gregory, Grace Gibbs, Emma Jones, Hannah Jones, Phoebe Franklin, Kalea Moore, Rhianna Southby, Susie Rowe, Kirstie White.

Western Storm: Sophie Luff (captain), Fi Morris, Georgia Hennessy, Danielle Gibson, Nat Wraith, Alex Griffiths, Heather Knight, Anya Shrubsole, Katie George, Nicole Harvey, Lauren Parfitt, Lauren Filer, Mollie Robbins, Emma Corney, Steph Hutchins, Emily Edgcombe, Niamh Holland, Bethan Gammon.

Thunder: Alex Hartley (captain), Georgie Boyce, Nat Brown, Alice Clarke, Piepa Cleary, Danielle Collins, Kate Cross, Rebecca Duckworth, Alice Dyson, Sophie Ecclestone, Liberty Heap, Laura Jackson, Hannah Jones, Emma Lamb, Laura Marshall, Daisy Mullan, Ellie Threlkeld, Sophia Turner.

Lightning: Kathryn Bryce (captain), Sarah Bryce, Lucy Higham, Bethan Ellis, Abigail Freeborn, Leah Kellogg, Grace Ballinger, Alicia Presland, Nancy Harman, Shachi Pai, Sophie Munro, Teresa Graves, Kirstie Gordon, Tammy Beaumont, Yvonne Graves, Sonia Odedra, Michaela Kirk, Beth Harmer.

Northern Diamonds: Hollie Armitage, Katherine Brunt, Ami Campbell, Leah Dobson, Helen Fenby, Phoebe Graham, Jenny Gunn, Bess Heath, Rachel Hopkins, Sterre Kalis, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Alex Macdonald, Natalie Sciver, Rachel Slater, Linsey Smith, Ella Telford, Lauren Winfield-Hill.

Sunrisers: Amara Carr (captain), Naomi Dattani (vice-captain), Kelly Castle, Kate Coppack, Jo Gardner, Gayatri Gole, Cordelia Griffith, Lissy Macleod, Katie Midwood, Sonali Patel, Mia Rogers, Grace Scrivens, Katherine Speed, Emily Thorpe, Mady Villiers, Katie Wolfe, Emily Woodhouse, Fran Wilson.

Central Sparks: Eve Jones (captain), Amy Jones, Sarah Glenn, Emily Arlott, Issy Wong, Marie Kelly, Gwenan Davies, Anisha Patel, Poppy Davies, Chloe Hill, Calre Boycott, Liz Russell, Thea Brookes, Georgia Davis, Milly Home, Hannah Baker, Grace Potts, Steph Butler, Ria Fackrell.

PREVIEW: Carlton Plan For A Strong Start As Women’s Premier League Begins

Jake Perry looks ahead to the first round of matches in the Women’s Premier League this weekend. 

As Scotland take to the field for the first of their T20Is against Ireland today, the opening round of the Women’s Premier League will be getting underway back in Edinburgh. Ongoing Level 3 restrictions in Glasgow have forced the postponement of McCrea West of Scotland’s match with Dumfries and Galloway, but the two remaining fixtures are sure to provide an exciting start to the season nonetheless.

At Craiglockhart, Emily Tucker will be looking to continue the prolific form she has shown for the Eastern Knights Under-18s when George Watson’s College take on Royal High Corstorphine. After an innings of 34 against the Western Warriors a fortnight ago, the GWC opener scored a 67-ball 61 in the Knights’ victory over the Caledonian Highlanders last weekend, and her contribution will again be central as both teams look to end the season a place higher than the runners-up spot they shared with Carlton and WoS last time out.

Another player to enjoy a successful Sunday was Hannah Rainey, who continued her comeback from a patella injury with a hat-trick in Carlton’s pre-season win over Edinburgh University. It’s been a difficult few months for the Scotland seamer, but after a long winter of rehabilitation she is delighted to be finally moving in the right direction.

“I’ve been on and off injured for two years, which has been really frustrating, but I started on a new programme of tendon rehab with Sport Scotland about three months ago, and as I’ve been going through that I’ve been increasing what I’ve been doing and it’s been going all right,” she said. “About eight weeks ago I started running again, and over the last four or five weeks I’ve started to bowl, beginning with walk-throughs, then jump-throughs and then eventually on to jog-throughs. I’m now bowling at about seventy percent, I would say.”

“The hat-trick came in my first game back bowling,” she smiled. “I hadn’t bowled in a match for so long and I felt like I didn’t yet have enough overs under my belt, but it came out well and it was nice to be back in rhythm. It was a confidence boost that showed me I’m maybe not as far behind as I thought.”

Hannah’s Carlton team-mates travel to Myreside to face a newly-combined Watsonians/Grange eleven which will be keen to make an early statement against one of the more established names in the women’s game. But the Scottish Cup holders have ambitions of their own to fulfil, as skipper Annette Aitken-Drummond makes clear.

“We want to win the league this season,” she said. “We haven’t won it since [the year of its inception as a four-team competition in 2017], so that is our aim, definitely. We’ve been training pretty hard for it, and we can see the improvement in the squad already. [Scotland Assistant Coach] Peter Ross has joined us as Head Coach this year, and having his experience and that level of coaching has really helped us.”

Central to Carlton’s plans is a core of cricketers which blends both youth and experience.

“You could say that we’ve got three sets of players,” said Annette. “There are some really good youngsters like Maisie Maceira and Zaara Dancu, who are in the regional set-up as well. We also have some Wildcats, who we are hoping can play the majority of games this season – Abbi [Aitken-Drummond], Sammy [Haggo], Hannah and Charis [Scott] – which brings some really good experience to the squad.

“Some of the other players have mentioned how much having them around helps them, to see the level they’re at and the things they do that they’d maybe not thought about before.

“And watch out for a couple of the ‘old bats’, as they affectionately call themselves – Sarah Beith and Leanne Farmer, and also Amelia Beattie, who’s been a stalwart of the Carlton side for many years. So we’ve got the young, the old and the Wildcats!” she laughed. “It’s a good mix, and it’s been really good fun at training.”

“We’ve played a few friendly and intra-club matches and then we have another game against Edinburgh Uni this Friday, so we’ll have had a few games to get to know the new players and see what they can do.”

“We’re just excited to finally be able to play our first game of the season.”

Women’s Premier League – 25 May 2021:

West of Scotland v Dumfries and Galloway (at Hamilton Crescent) – Match Postponed 

Watsonians/Grange v Carlton (at Myreside)

George Watson’s College v Royal High Corstorphine (at Craiglockhart)


Jake Perry is the author of The Secret Game

Twitter: @jperry_cricket / Facebook: Jake Perry Cricket

The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the women’s (and men’s) league action from across the country every Tuesday, with player interviews from featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.

MATCH REPORT: Surrey & Hampshire Share A Pair

The points were shared between Surrey and Hampshire in the latest round of T20 Cup action at Totton & Eling CC in Southampton, with Surrey winning the first match by 4 runs, and Hampshire the second by a DLS adjusted 11 runs.

On a day that was warmer than recent weekends, but which still couldn’t truthfully be described as “warm”, Surrey got off to a racing start batting first in the opening game. Thanks to Alice Capsey (17 off 17) and Amy Gordon (33 off 32) they pillaged 44 runs from the first 5 overs; but the loss of Capsey – caught behind, hanging her bat out to a ball from Gemma Lane which lifted outside off stump – was the beginning of a very long end for Surrey. Having gone at a run rate of nearly 9 in the first 5, they managed considerably less than half that thereafter, finishing on 104 all out off the final ball, with Hampshire’s new secret weapon – mystery spinner Finty Trussler – taking 3 wickets in the last over to top the bowling figures with 3-15.

It was a total which was going to take a fine performance in the field from Surrey to defend; but that’s exactly what they produced – typified by Amy Gordon who took 3 catches in the outfield, including a stunning one-hander over her left shoulder to dismiss Abbie Whybrow in the penultimate over. Despite an innings of 46 not out from Charlie Dean, and a last-ball maximum from Sophie Mitchelmore, Hampshire finished 4 short for the loss of 7 wickets.

With Hampshire batting first in the second game, they chose to bump Mitchelmore up the order, and she didn’t disappoint, making 43* off 42 balls, as Hampshire posted 120-5.

Surrey’s reply was interrupted by rain, eventually leaving them with the task of reaching a DLS adjusted 102 from 16 overs. But with Trussler again in the wickets, taking 3-16, they fell well short, finishing on 90-9 to leave honours even on the day.