A swashbuckling 88 off 62 balls from captain Grace Scrivens was not enough to prevent Kent going down to the second of two defeats in the T20 Cup versus Sussex at BACA in Brighton – Kent’s first reversals in the format since before the pandemic.
Opening the batting in the second match of this double-header, 18-year-old Scrivens treated the Sussex attack with growing contempt, building to a crescendo in the 17th over when she walloped fellow teenager Mary Taylor for 15 runs including her only 6.
Dominating both sides of the wicket, Scrivens was assisted by some woefully poor fielding, perhaps reflecting that the County T20 Cup is now essentially an amateur competition. In those circumstances, you’d expect a full-time professional to be a class above, as indeed Scrivens was. With Charlotte Edwards taking notes from the boundary, it wasn’t hard to wonder if we might be witnessing a future England coach get an early glimpse of her future England captain?
Ultimately Scrivens fell in the final over – stumped coming down the track to Chiara Green – but the 145-7 on which Kent finished looked like a good total on a chilly, overcast day, with some big boundaries that held the ball up in its tracks, with fielders more than a few times able to retrieve it having come to a standstill a few feet short of the rope.
In reply, Sussex lost Mary Taylor early, bringing Georgia Elwiss to the crease. Elwiss was initially happy to play second-fiddle to Ella McCaughan, on her way to 32 off 35, but upon McCaughan’s dismissal picked up the pace in a partnership of 79 with Paige Scholfield. Scholfield’s 47 off 27 broke the back of the chase, and although she was comically run out, ending up at the same end as Elwiss who had shown absolutely no interest in a second run following a quick single off Ryana Macdonald-Gay, the stage was set for Nancy Harman to help finish things off with a quick-fire 15 off 8 balls – her and Elwiss getting Sussex home with 6 balls to spare.
It gave Sussex their second victory of the day, after a somewhat less exciting match earlier had seen them win by 8 wickets, having restricted Kent to 90-7 off their 20 overs, with Scholfield taking 3-14, bowling with visibly more zip than last season, having apparently fully recovered following a back operation last spring.
A run-a-ball half-century from McCaughan did the business for Sussex in the chase, with a little help from Scholfield (27 off 17) to get the job done with 6 overs to spare. Sydney Gorham was the only Kent bowler to take a wicket, snagging the scalp of Elwiss caught behind; though 17-year-old Alexa Stonehouse (0-10 off 3), who is heading to Trent Rockets in The Hundred this year, also looks like she may be one to keep a close eye on over the next couple of seasons.