MATCH REPORT: Vipers Bite Back Against Stars At Beckenham

Southern Vipers bounced back in style after their humiliation at the hands of Sunrisers last week, with an emphatic 158-run win against South East Stars at Beckenham.

On what felt like the first sunny day of the year, Georgia Adams chose to bat first; and Vipers vindicated that decision by putting 287 on the board.

After Maia Bouchier and Ella McCaughan shared a century opening stand, a run-a-ball half-century from Georgia Elwiss at no.4 helped them finish well.

However, Beckenham is renowned for being a decent batting wicket, and the boundary rope was (inexplicably) 10 yards shorter than usual for this game. Stars therefore emerged after the innings break audibly confident about their chances.

Nobody was more confident than Capsey, who looked (as ever) a cut above the rest. She helped Stars to 25 for 0 in the first four overs, and played the shot of the day – a beautiful cover drive.

But the next two overs from Lauren Bell decimated the Stars. Firstly, and most crucially, she bowled Capsey with one which nipped back in to take out her off stump. The next ball, Ryana MacDonald-Gay was adjudged LBW.

Bryony Smith saw off the first hat-trick ball; but then created a chance for a second, as Bell took another two-in-two in her following over. Smith fell to an excellent low catch by Charlie Dean at cover, before Alice Davidson-Richards wafted at one outside off stump and Bouchier snaffled it at slip.

Fresh from scoring her first century in a decade against Thunder last weekend, Paige Scholfield again looked the most assured of the Stars batters, striking the ball cleanly on the way to 31 off 63 balls.

But she was bowled going down on one knee trying to slog Adams in the 27th, and Stars gradually succumbed to their fate – all out for 129 in the 37th over.

Oddly, Stars had earlier chosen not to open the bowling with England’s Freya Davies, instead opting for the combination of Tash Farrant and Phoebe Franklin.

That allowed Bouchier and McCaughan to find their feet and build a platform, which Elwiss and Adams (31) built on with a 76-run partnership for the 4th wicket.

Stars ultimately used a mammoth 9 bowlers, mostly in vain, as Vipers enjoyed a day of regaining their mojo.