Martin Saxon reports
Nantwich 2nd XI 85-3 (20; Ashlee Prince 25 retired)
Hayfield 43 (20; Imogen Collinson 10, Prince 2-1, K Conroy 2-10)
Nantwich 2nd XI were the first winners on Finals Day as they comfortably won the final of the knockout competition for division three and four clubs, in what was a clash of two teams in their first year of competitive cricket – both have much to be proud of this year. After an accurate opening spell from Hayfield’s Lily Dalkin-Strube, Nantwich accelerated well in the second half of the innings, with Ashlee Prince to the fore. Prince also took the final two wickets with the ball to apply the icing on the cake to this win, although all of the Nantwich attack bowled well to take a clutch of early Hayfield wickets – Charlotte Neal finishing with one for six with two maidens from her four overs.
Didsbury Swordettes 87 (19.2; Mishel Jeena 24, Roshini Prince-Navaratnam 20, Abbey Gore 3-16, Georgia Heath 2-8, Olivia Horsfield 2-14)
Appleton Tigers 83-9 (20; Emma Barlow 30*, Hannah Marshall 3-7, Rosy Wilson 3-19)
The most tense finish of the day’s three matches came here, as Didsbury pulled off something of a Great Escape to win this competition for the first time since 2016. Appleton required just seven from 17 deliveries but, in an extraordinary finale, they mustered just two more in the face of some impeccable bowling from Hannah Marshall and Roshini Prince-Navaratnam. Even the return to the crease of Emma Barlow, at the fall of the ninth wicket, wasn’t enough to get the Tigers over the line, even though she had earlier scored at a run per ball in reaching the retirement score of 30. Although there may have been spells to rival it over the years, Marshall’s contribution of three wickets for seven runs in three overs, with a wicket maiden in the 20th over, must go down as one of the very best death bowling performances in the history of the league’s cup finals.
Few observers could argue that Appleton lost this match through having both a poor beginning and a poor end to their reply – Rosy Wilson’s three early strikes reduced them to 16-3.
Didsbury themselves scored 49 from the first eight overs, with their reliable opening pair of Prince-Navaratnam and Mishel Jeena putting on 33 inside six overs. Abbey Gore, Georgia Heath and Olivia Horsfield all bowled well to peg back the Swordettes, but their final total of 87 proved to be a winning one.
T20 Divisional Competition:
Oakmere Kats 85-6 (20; Natalie Lyons 24*, Nicola Deane 24, Rosy Wilson 2-20)
Didsbury Swordettes 77-7 (20; Rosie Davis 23)
Didsbury, champions of the T20 Eastern Division this year, failed to make it a double as Western Division winners Oakmere won this trophy for the first time. Oakmere slumped to 16-3 early on and, for much of the innings, struggled to accelerate. However, things all changed suddenly when 22 were added in the final two overs, transforming what looked like being a below par total into a target that looked more than defendable, when considering the strength of the Oakmere attack.
Natalie Lyons was instrumental in Oakmere’s late charge with the bat, and she was in the act again with three economical overs at the start of the reply. Rachel Tidd then conceded just eight from four overs in the middle part of the second innings as the required rate climbed. Although 13 came from the penultimate over, with two boundaries for Lucy Smith, it proved too little, too late for Didsbury.
The league thanks hosts Upton CC for taking on the significant task of staging this triple-header Finals Day. Thanks also go to the umpires and scorers and to the spectators from Stockport Trinity CC who provided the music and the PA during the afternoon matches.
Martin Saxon is the Vice Chair and Press Officer of the Cheshire Women’s Cricket League.