MATCH REPORT: Thunder v Vipers – Dean Bowls Vipers Directly To Charlotte Edwards Cup Final

Katya Witney at Old Trafford

The Southern Vipers charged into the final of the Charlotte Edwards Cup after thrashing the Thunder by six wickets at Old Trafford on Friday night.

With a few drops of rain in the air, Ellie Threlkeld won yet another toss and elected to bat. Despite the Vipers being the favourites having won four from four in the tournament, the return of Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone to the side bolstered the home side’s chances.

But the Thunder’s innings failed to ever really get going thanks to some tight bowling from the Viper’s bowling attack. Emma Lamb was dismissed by Freya Kemp in her second over, caught by Georgia Adams at mid-on. The wicket brought Cross to the crease for a short cameo where she hit a four off her third delivery and went on to score 18 before she was dismissed by Charlie Dean.

Ecclestone replaced her England teammate at the crease and crashed a six off her second ball before Georgie Boyce was bowled at the other end by Kemp for just 9 off 23 deliveries. The Thunder were left struggling at 44 for 3 at the halfway stage.

Danielle Collins’ stay at the crease was also short, she was LBW to Dean in the 13th over.

Ecclestone and Threlkeld built a small partnership in the following overs, knocking the singles to take the home side to 82 for 5 in the 17th before Threlkeld was dismissed by Dean, the right-arm off-spinner taking a smart catch off her own bowling.

Laura Marshall then lasted two deliveries before she got a big top edge on a ball from Tara Norris which popped up in the air nicely for Maia Bouchier to take a simple catch.

At the end of their innings, the Thunder had only managed 94 for 6, Ecclestone top-scoring with 28 off 32 balls. Dean starred with the ball, taking 3 for 16 off her four overs. It looked like a near-impossible task for the Thunder to defend their total and the real question was whether the Vipers could chase the total in under 16.4 overs to gain a bonus point victory and automatic qualification for the final.

Wyatt and Adams made a solid start for the Vipers, Wyatt hitting a six off Ecclestone in the third over, slog-sweeping the ball over deep mid-wicket to take her side to 22 for no-wicket.

She was dismissed by Alex Hartley in the fifth over, advancing down the wicket looking to swing into the leg side, but missed the ball completely and was stumped by Threlkeld.

Adams followed two balls later, Laura Jackson taking a smart catch inside the ring to give Cross a wicket, leaving the Vipers at 34 for 2 in the sixth over.

With both openers back in the dugout, Bouchier and Elwiss set about consolidating for the Vipers, working the singles to take their side to 52 for 2 at the halfway stage.

Bouchier was dismissed in the following over by Ecclestone, taking a good catch above her head to complete the caught and bowled. Kemp followed at the end of the 13th over, bowled by Jackson, but at this point, the Vipers were in cruise mode needing just 20 to win.

The victory, bonus point and qualification were wrapped up in the 16th over off the bat of Elwiss who finished with an unbeaten 38.

The Vipers once again didn’t put a foot wrong and deservedly qualify as the best group stage team. They will be back in action on Saturday against the Diamonds, whilst the Thunder will be back at Old Trafford on Friday to face the Lightning.

Follow @KatyaWitney on Twitter

MATCH REPORT: Diamonds v Thunder – Diamonds Heist at Headingley

Katya Witney at Headingley

The Northern Diamonds fought back to pull off an important victory against the Thunder at Headingley on Sunday and keep their finals day hopes alive.

Both sides went into the match on level points, well behind the Southern Vipers in group one and looking to bounce back after suffering defeats in the previous round of fixtures.

After electing to bat, Beth Heath and Sterre Kalis made a steady start for the Diamonds before Heath was dismissed for 13 by Emma Lamb in the fourth over.

Kalis looked and kept advancing down the pitch to advance the scoring rate but was unable to get the big shot away. At the halfway stage the Diamonds were 58-1.

Alex Hartley found the breakthrough in the 11th over, dismissing Kalis for 28 and Holly Armitage was clean bowled by Lamb after missing a sweep shot in the following over.

Phoebe Turner took centre stage in the 15th over to dismiss Leah Dobson and Leigh Kasperek in consecutive deliveries. The hattrick ball went straight through Abi Glen, missing the stumps and the keeper to run away to the boundary leaving the Diamonds 85-5 going into the final five.

Hannah Jones executed a smart throw from the boundary to run out Glen in the next over and after hitting three consecutive fours Lindsay Smith was dismissed by Hartley in the 17th.

The last over completed the collapse for the Diamonds, Jones taking the wickets of Turner, Marlow and Levick – all bowled – off the final four balls of the innings. From 78-3 in the 15th over, the Diamonds had collapsed to 124 all out, the Thunder spinners taking seven wickets between them and Lamb as ever bowling with control and picking up a couple of wickets.

Lamb and Boyce began the chase for the Thunder, and both looked in good touch as ever. By the fourth over they had reached 31-0 before, completely against the run of play, Boyce chipped a ball to Smith at cover and had to depart for 16.

Disaster struck for the Thunder in the seventh over as Lamb was run out for 15 thanks to a great throw from Dobson at deep midwicket and after looking untroubled in their respective innings both of the Thunder’s openers were back in the hutch.

Threlkeld was bowled by Katie Levick in the ninth over and was quickly followed by Shachi Pai, also dismissed by Levick for a two-ball duck prompting jubilant celebrations from the Diamond fielders. The home-side looked boosted by the breakthroughs and determined to capitalise.

Kasperek gave her team more reason to believe in the following over, dismissing Laura Jackson for a duck and reducing the Thunder to 52-5 still needing 73 to win at the halfway stage of the innings.

Collins and Marshall looked to rebuild during the middle overs, steadily consolidating a partnership of 25 by the end of the 14th over to give Thunder some hope.

Kasperek dismissed Collins in a bizarre manner in the following over. An edge popped straight up gently off the bat and keeper Heath dove forwards to catch the ball right at Collins’ feat, leaving her standing at the crease questioning whether the ball had been caught while her opponents celebrated around her.

Marshall was run out shortly after for 11 and Graham was bowled by Marlow in the following over. The wheels were well and truly off for the Thunder at 82-8.

Graham was bowled for 20 by Levick in the 19th over and Jones was run out the following ball to round-up proceedings and with the Thunder 99 all-out.

Speaking after the match Lee Kasperek said:

“Whatever runs you get you have to think that it’s good enough. Dani gave us a good pep talk at the interval, as well as Holly and just kind of, you know, tried to fire us up a little bit.”

“Usually coming in bowling in England’s not necessarily that much fun, so today was an absolute treat on a slightly slower pitch.”

“It’s awesome to have experience in the camp and we love playing at Headingley, there are pretty amazing facilities and stuff so it’s been awesome, and we got to train here yesterday.”

“We’ve got the day off tomorrow and then we’ll head up to Durham for the Lightning match and it’s a do or die situation, we’ve got to bring our best performance. I think we’ve just got to take it one game at a time and just look to Durham. We don’t want to look too far ahead and yeah, just give it our all.”

Follow @KatyaWitney on Twitter

PREVIEW: Dumfries and Galloway Looking to Build on Strong Start in Scotland’s WPL

By Jake Perry

After an opening weekend which underlined just how competitive the season is likely to be, round two of the Women’s Premier League pits two of the early pace-setters against each other at Hamilton Crescent. West of Scotland go into their game against Dumfries and Galloway on the back of a stunning result at Grange Loan, where despite Abbi Aitken-Drummond’s run-a-ball 70, an opening partnership of 126 between Ellen Watson (81) and Nayma Shaikh (44) and two wickets apiece for Anne Sturgess, Nadia Tolliday and Nayma Shaikh set up a two-run win over reigning champions Carlton. 

Their upcoming opponents, however, were just as impressive in sweeping aside RH Corstorphine by nine wickets at Nunholm. Spinning all-rounder Roshini Prince-Navaratnam took 4 for 26 then scored an unbeaten half-century as the home side chased down its target of 96 with more than thirteen overs to spare: for opening bowler Orla Montgomery, it should be a hotly-contested battle in Partick.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough one, especially as we have a few changes to our team,” she said. “We don’t have Hannah Rainey, Hannah Marshall or Roshini available, although we do have Lorna Jack to come back in.”

“So it’ll be a challenge for sure, but we’re hoping to get some early wickets and see where we go from there.”

The addition of Scotland pacer Rainey, now qualified as a vet and working in Cumbria, has made the Dumfries and Galloway attack a particularly potent one. Alongside Prince-Navaratnam, Hannah Marshall took 3 for 11 – all bowled – in her six overs: with fellow seamers Rosy Ryan and Niamh Muir playing important roles, too, Orla is pleased with the balance of the team.    

“Rosh and Hannah have just moved into the area from England,” she said, “and it was an excellent debut for both of them. It’s great to have Hannah Rainey with us, too, to be able to open up with pace from both ends then slow things down with a bit of spin from Rosh: it worked really well.”

“It was a great performance to get us started. We had a strong team, and it was good to get our season going with a win.”

Seventeen-year-old Orla is looking to impress as part of the Scotland set-up, too, having been named as a non-travelling reserve for national side’s recent trip to Malaysia for the Commonwealth Games qualifier. With the Global Qualifier for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup coming up at the end of the year, the fast bowler is keen to do all she can to keep her name in the frame. 

“We have training on Saturdays up in Dollar at the moment, and then I’m doing gym sessions down here as well as lots of bowling out in the middle, trying to get as much in as possible,” she said. “I’m definitely hoping to get into the travelling squad this time: I’m not really wanting to be a non-travelling reserve again, although that was a real honour being selected for it last time.”

“But my aim is to try and get into the main squad itself if I possibly can.”

Elsewhere on Sunday, Northern Lights play their first home fixture at Mannofield, a week after hundreds from Becky Glen and Megan McColl and an unbeaten 65 from Emma Halliwell took them to a record 334/3 at The Grange. The other victors of last weekend, Stewart’s Melville, travel to RHC after a dominant display with the ball, Iris Conlin taking 3 for 7, Izzy Armstrong 2 for 4 and Erin Bridle 2 for 15 in their seven-wicket victory over Watsonians. With four statement wins last weekend – and a wounded Carlton that will be determined to get their title challenge straight back on course – it promises to be a fascinating round of matches once again.

Women’s Premier League – 29 May 2022

McCrea FS West of Scotland v Dumfries CC/Galloway CC (at Hamilton Crescent)

RH Corstorphine v Stewart’s Melville (at Royal High School)

Carlton v Grange (at Grange Loan)

Northern Lights v Watsonians (at Mannofield)

Follow Jake Perry on Twitter

PREVIEW: Northern Lights Ready To Shine As Scotland’s Women’s Premier League Begins

By Jake Perry

There is a new force to reckon with in the Women’s Premier League this year, with the Aberdeen-based Northern Lights making their debut in what promises to be the most hotly contested competition to date. With Watsonians and Grange now playing as separate entities and plenty of input from national and regional players, the eight-team division marks another important point in the upward trajectory of the domestic women’s game in Scotland.

Northern Lights skipper Megan McColl is in no doubt as to the significance of the moment.

“We’re really excited about having a team representing the clubs from the north,” she said. “It’s a big step forward and we’re going to enjoy playing our first game on Sunday.”

“Having the teams from Edinburgh and Glasgow come up to play cricket here is really important for the women and girls’ game in Scotland. Hopefully the Northern Lights will be the first of many more sides in the future.”

Last year saw virtually all of Scotland’s national players aligned with a WPL club – the only exceptions being Lightning’s Bryce sisters – but the addition of the Lights will make life considerably easier for those based north of the central belt.

“It was good to get involved in women’s cricket first and foremost, having only played men’s club cricket for Arbroath before,” said Megan, who scored 115 runs and took seven wickets in her three games for Watsonians/Grange. “It was great to play and see the different standards of the teams, but to have something in the north now is really good.”

“Along with myself we have Becky Glen, Abbie Hogg and Ailsa Lister [from the national set-up], as well as my sister Kirsty McColl and [Falkland’s] Emma Halliwell who are both part of the Scotland Under-19s. There’s also Zoe Baillie from Forfarshire, who is part of the emerging [group]. So we’ve got a good few Scotland players and up and coming Scotland players which will hopefully be good for our chances.”

While Carlton is again likely to be the team to beat – the depth and bedded-in structure of last season’s double-winners has enabled them to put out a women’s second XI this year – 2018 and ’19 champions Stewart’s Melville will also be amongst the favourites for both league and cup. West of Scotland, Dumfries & Galloway and RH Corstorphine also produced some excellent cricket over the course of the last campaign, as did Watsonians/Grange, who finished third in the final table. Watsonians will be the first to visit Mannofield next Sunday: before then, however, the league’s newest side is looking forward to a trip to a similarly iconic venue.

“It’ll be great to start our season at The Grange this weekend,” said Megan. “It’ll be the first time I’ve actually played there.”

“Hopefully we can make a good start, and come away with a win.”

Women’s Premier League – 22 May 2022

Grange v Northern Lights (at Portgower Place)

Carlton v McCrea FS West of Scotland (at Grange Loan)

Stewart’s Melville v Watsonians (at Inverleith)

Dumfries CC/Galloway CC v RH Corstorphine (at Nunholm)

Follow Jake Perry on Twitter

MATCH REPORT: Diamonds v Lightning – Winfield-Hill Wins It For Diamonds

Katya Witney at Loughborough

Haslegrave felt more like the Caribbean on Saturday as the North Group of the Charlotte Edwards Cup kicked off in stunning style with the star-studded Lightning and Northern Diamonds teams going head to head.

After the Northern Diamonds won the toss and elected to bat, spectators were treated to a destructive display from Lauren Winfield-Hill first up. She got off the mark straight away with an elegant flick off her pads into the leg-side and followed up with a boundary in the next over. Abigail Glen ably abetted her partner and the fifty came up for the Diamonds before the end of the fifth over.

Glen then departed for 25, looping a catch to Teresa Graves at backward point, leaving Winfield-Hill to take centre stage. The England opener took Kirstie Gordon for consecutive fours before advancing down the wicket to smash the first six of the match. She brought up her fifty off 24 balls and took her side into three figures off the first ball of the 11th over.

As the run rate slowed slightly in the middle overs, Winfield-Hill stepped up a gear, whacking three consecutive maximums in the 14th over to take her into the nineties.

It wasn’t to be a comeback hundred for the opener, however, as she was caught off a top edge on 96 looking to bring up her century in style. She left the field to a standing ovation from the away crowd.

With five overs left in their innings, the Diamonds were 145 for 2 and a big total was on the cards. However a flurry of wickets followed. Lee Kasperek’s debut for the Diamonds with the bat was short-lived as she departed for seven, followed by Rachel Hopkins for a duck in the next over and Beth Langston four balls later.

Armitage batted well to anchor the innings and a four off the final ball brought the total to 177, a tough ask for Lightning but not as tough as it could’ve been when Winfield Hill was in full flow.

Emma Marlow opened the bowling for the Diamonds and immediately made it tough for both openers to score, Tammy Beaumont Beaumont and Marie Kelly only managing a single each off the first over. 

The power-play was sedate by the standards set in the first innings but the Lightning were soon able to settle into the pitch, Rachel Slater conceding three fours down the ground in the fifth over.

By the halfway point, things were looking fairly positive for the Lightning with the openers building a solid platform and the required run-rate hovering at around ten an over. Just as there may have been some slight concern building for the Diamonds, Langston made the breakthrough, bowling Kelly for 46.

Katherine Bryce came to the crease but struggled to get going, only managing four off six before she was clean bowled by Marlow.

Beaumont was the crucial wicket and as the required run rate began to climb, she teed off. She hit Langston for three fours in an over and followed up with a powerful shot over the extra-cover boundary off Kasperek to bring up her fifty.

However, Marlow took the crucial wicket for her side in the 17th over, bowling Beaumont for 59. In a superb display from the young off-spinner, she finished with figures of 2-12 off her four overs.

With Beaumont back in the dug-out, the result was pretty much decided. Munro was out in the next over and Linsey Smith took two wickets in the final over to leave Lightening well short on 138 for 7.

The day belonged to Winfield-Hill who looked a class above anyone else and will be pleased with her comeback after a difficult winter.

Both sides will be back in action on Wednesday in the next round of fixtures.

Follow @KatyaWitney on Twitter

2022 Charlotte Edwards Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Preview

The structure of the domestic season is still in flux after a) a global pandemic and b) the move from county to regional teams, but this year may be the first time we see the beginnings of a formula which future seasons will follow.

The season will begin with the T20 Charlotte Edwards Cup, starting this Saturday 14 May and culminating in a three-team Finals Day at Northampton on Saturday 11 June.

There will be two groups – Vipers, Thunder, Lightning, and Diamonds in one group; and Sparks, Storm, Sunrisers, and Stars in the other.

For the first time, the CE Cup will include a number of double-headers with the men’s Vitality Blast, and we have been promised that one of these will be televised (although there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation about which one it is – let us know if we’ve missed something!)

Then, from 2 July, teams will embark on their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaigns (with a break in the middle for The Hundred), culminating in a Grand Final at Lord’s on Sunday 25 September.

In a reversal of last season, it’s likely that England players will be available for much of the CE Cup, but will miss the RHF Trophy in its entirety, requiring younger players to step up in the 50-over competition.

Which team will come out on top? Who will shine? Read on for our thoughts…

(NB: A full list of regional fixtures can be found here.)

WHO’S GOING TO WIN IT?

Southern Vipers have dominated regionals since their inception in 2020, winning two RHF Trophies along the way, but they will this be the year that they become a victim of their own success? There’s a good chance they will lose four key players (Bell, Bouchier, Dean and Wyatt) to England for much of the season, and this could open the way for others to challenge them in both formats. Diamonds (or Yorkshire, as they were) have finished 50-over runners-up in for the past 5 seasons, and were also the beaten finalists in last season’s Charlotte Edwards Cup, so we’re tipping them to share the silverware with Vipers this season.

WHO WILL GET THE WOODEN SPOON?

Sunrisers took home that dubious honour last season, and have recently lost a big asset in coach Trevor Griffin. He stepped down suddenly last month, leaving Sunrisers to draft in a replacement at the last minute – Laura Marsh. It remains to be seen how well Marsh will perform in her first Head Coach role, but she’s certainly got her work cut out for her – we think it could be another tricky season for the London-based side, whose squad is not much changed from 2021.

BREAKTHROUGH KID?

Our pick last season – Grace Scrivens – ended up not quite getting the opportunities she deserved, and being ultimately overshadowed by Alice Capsey; but she’s come into this season looking like she means business, with a string of captain’s knocks for Kent, so we almost went for her again. However, it’s actually another Kent player – Alexa Stonehouse – who we’ve got our eye on for this summer. The 17-year-old left-handed allrounder doesn’t bowl with lightning pace (yet!) but she looks to have good control (a-la Freya Davies) and she’s also been smashing it with the bat at Academy level. She’ll be playing for South East Stars in regionals, but has also been snapped up by Trent Rockets for The Hundred.

GOLDEN OLDIE?

We hope Marie Kelly won’t be too offended to be labelled a “golden oldie”, but to be fair, she has been playing senior domestic cricket since 2011! The 26-year-old made a big call at the end of the 2021 season, choosing to leave Central Sparks for Lightning, presumably in the hope of more opportunities with the bat. So far at least it looks to have been a smart move – she’s already smashed 69 from 29 balls in a warm-up against Sunrisers, and is likely to be opening the batting for Lightning come Saturday. If she can carry her pre-season form into the Lottie Cup, it could be a fun few weeks!

OVERALL MVP?

Syd: It must be more than 10 years ago now that Don Miles (of womenscricket.net fame) first told me about a kid who’d been setting fire to the County Age Group record books down in Sussex – that kid was Paige Scholfield, now coming into her prime aged 26. After a quiet season in 2021, following a back operation that spring, Scholfield looks ready to take on 2022 fitter and stronger than ever – there’s extra zip to her bowling, and more power in her hitting. With so many Vipers players likely to be called up for England duty, this is Scholfield’s chance to shine, and she looks in form to grab the opportunity with both hands.

Raf: Assuming Emma Lamb gets to play a decent amount of cricket for Thunder this season, she is going to be vital to both their campaigns, sitting atop the order and bowling her usual reliable off-spin. She’s just recorded Lancashire’s best ever T20 bowling figures, taking 5 for 5 in the T20 Cup Group 1 Final against Yorkshire as her side lifted the trophy, after earlier hitting 62* from 34 balls in the semi v Notts. The only snag will be if she gets another England call-up (but she probably won’t mind that too much as and when it happens!)

FULL SQUADS:

(NB: Some squads had not been fully confirmed at the time of writing.)

Central Sparks: Eve Jones (captain), Emily Arlott, Hannah Baker, Clare Boycott, Thea Brookes, Steph Butler, Ami Campbell, Georgia Davis, Gwenan Davies, Poppy Davies, Ria Fackrell, Abbey Freeborn, Sarah Glenn, Milly Home, Amy Jones, Anisha Patel, Davina Perrin, Grace Potts, Liz Russell, Issy Wong

Lightning: Kathryn Bryce (captain), Grace Ballinger, Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Bryce, Ella Claridge, Piepa Cleary, Bethan Ellis, Kirstie Gordon, Josie Groves, Teresa Graves, Beth Harmer, Lucy Higham, Marie Kelly, Michaela Kirk, Sophie Munro, Katie Midwood, Alicia Presland, Lenny Sims

Northern Diamonds: Hollie Armitage (captain), Katherine Brunt, Leah Dobson, Yvonne Graves, Jenny Gunn, Bess Heath, Rachel Hopkins, Sterre Kalis, Leigh Kasperek, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Emma Marlow, Nat Sciver, Rachel Slater, Linsey Smith, Phoebe Turner, Lauren Winfield-Hill

South East Stars: Bryony Smith (captain), Chloe Brewer, Alice Capsey, Kira Chathli, Claudie Cooper, Aylish Cranstone, Alice Davidson-Richards, Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley, Tash Farrant, Phoebe Franklin, Grace Gibbs, Eva Gray, Dani Gregory, Emma Jones, Ryana Macdonald-Gay, Kalea Moore, Rhianna Southby, Alexa Stonehouse, Kirstie White

Southern Vipers: Georgia Adams (captain), Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Georgia Elwiss, Nancy Harman, Chloe Hill, Freya Kemp, Ella McCaughan, Alice Monaghan, Tara Norris, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield, Anya Shrubsole, Charlotte Taylor, Emily Windsor, Danni Wyatt

Sunrisers: Kelly Castle (captain), Amara Carr, Kate Coppack, Naomi Dattani, Jo Gardner, Gaya Gole, Cordelia Griffith, Lissy Macleod, Abtaha Maqsood, Sonali Patel, Mia Rogers, Grace Scrivens, Katherine Speed, Mady Villiers

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

Western Storm: Sophie Luff (captain), Emma Corney, Emily Edgcombe, Lauren Filer, Katie George, Danielle Gibson, Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Niamh Holland, Steph Hutchins, Heather Knight, Fi Morris, Claire Nicholas, Lauren Parfitt, Nat Wraith

MATCH REPORT: Yorkshire v Lancashire – Jobs For The Boyce

Katya Witney at Weetwood 

Winning her second toss of the day, Langston again elected to bat in the much-anticipated roses match.

Elise Good showed her intent immediately opening the batting, hitting Nat Brown over her head to get the scoreboard ticking in the first over. Hannah Buck scored the first boundary of the innings, tickling Brown off her hip and down to the fine-leg boundary.

However, Phoebe Graham halted the opener’s advances, sending the ball crashing into Buck’s stumps as the right-hander looked for an expansive drive.

After being dismissed off the third ball she faced in the morning game, Armitage looked in the mood to score, driving her first ball aerially down to the boundary.

Good departed in Alex Hartley’s first over, chipping a catch to Sophia Turner at short mid-wicket who took it well jumping to her left. Yorkshire ended the powerplay at 20 for 2.

Armitage continued to advance the run rate, scoring a boundary down to long-on off Emma Lamb’s first delivery. Phoebe Turner matched her energy, lofting Hartley over her head in the 7th over for another boundary but was out caught attempting to cut the ball to the rope off the last delivery of the over.

Yorkshire reached the halfway stage of the innings on 48 for 3, with a fair platform to build on. However, they had a stroke of luck minutes later as Armitage was dropped on the long-on boundary off a difficult chance.

Langston and Armitage upped the ante in the middle overs, taking their side to 74 for 3 by the end of the 13th, but Armitage was bowled off Hartley’s last delivery, the ball clipping the top of the bails leaving the white roses 88 for 4 going into the final five.

Langston fell shortly afterwards, and Yorkshire were in danger of squandering the platform they had built. Rachel Slater went next, coming down the wicket to Lamb and getting herself in a tangle, Jess Woolston followed her back to the dug-out in the next over.

Yorkshire limped to 109 for 8 at the end of their innings and, considering Lancashire’s total of 174 for 3 on the same pitch that morning, they looked well short.

Indeed, with Georgie Boyce scoring consecutive boundaries off the second and third ball of the innings, fears that Yorkshire did not have enough on the board were well-founded.

A six from Lamb put Lancashire a third of the way to their target by the end of just the third over.

Yorkshire didn’t take their chances either as Boyce was badly dropped at mid-on off the last ball of the fourth over and dropped again shortly after. Boyce then went on to bring up Lancashire’s fifty in the sixth over with back-to-back fours off Rachel Slater.

The white roses dropped Boyce yet again in the seventh over, this time compounded by the fielder tipping the ball over the boundary for six. Boyce brought up her half-century with the following ball.

With her team needing just seven to win in the twelfth over, Lamb chipped the ball in the air, and finally Yorkshire took a catch, an easy chance falling to Woolston. However, the result was now a formality.

Boyce wrapped it up in the following over, sealing the deal somewhat anti-climatically with a leg-by.

It was a statement from Lancashire. Despite riding their luck slightly, they looked the far better side, taking advantage of their regional and international players. They will take some beating on finals day next weekend.

Follow @KatyaWitney on Twitter

MATCH REPORT: Yorkshire v Northern Rep – Slow Start Costs Reps

Katya Witney at Weetwood 

On an overcast day at Weetwood CC, far from the glorious sunshine of the week before, Yorkshire held out against the Northern Representatives to claim a thrilling victory.

Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bat but were soon in trouble after Summer Carrington took the wickets of Buck and Armitage in her second over.

At 19 for 2, edges continued to fly. Phoebe Turner got a thick edge on a ball from Abigail Glen which flew through the vacant slip region and hit another up in the air a few balls later, narrowly avoiding the hands of two chasing fielders.

Turner rode her luck, giving a couple of half-chances to the Rep fielders but she was finally bowled by Emily Sutton in the eighth over, leaving Yorkshire 39 for 3.

Bath Langstone showed positive intent from the off as she came to the crease, flicking her first delivery from Sutton elegantly down to the leg-side boundary. Elise Good followed up in Sutton’s next over, skipping down the wicket and belting her down the ground for four.

However, just as Langston and Good were looking productive for the White Roses, Good mistimed an aggressive shot off Sachi Pai, getting a leading edge straight to Alice Clarke at mid-off.

Emma Marlow now joined Langston at the crease and after hitting Pai for a powerful four down the ground she was almost caught at square-leg, the ball falling just short of the fielder.

Marlow was out the following over, swiping at a ball from Ray and only succeeding in edging through to the keeper leaving Yorkshire 84 for 5 going into the final five.

Despite the steady flow of wickets, Yorkshire managed to keep the runs ticking over. Rachel Slater was caught off a no-ball from Ray in the 16th and dropped twice in consecutive balls in the 18th before she was bowled by Glen.

After an entertaining finish from the tailenders, Yorkshire set a target of 118.

Rebecca Duckworth and Abigail Glen made a slow start for the Northern Reps, unable to score fluently off some tight bowling from Beth and Rachel Slater.

However, after the first boundary came in the seventh over the Reps were able to gain some momentum with Glen taking Grace Hall for 11 off her first over.

By the halfway stage, Yorkshire were still searching for the breakthrough with the Reps’ openers having scored 47, just shy of where Yorkshire were at the same stage but without the loss of wickets.

It was beginning to look ominous for Yorkshire until Armitage found an opportunity in the 13th over, taking the crucial wicket of Glen, bowled off a full delivery.

The Rep’s slow scoring rate in the first few overs began to hurt them as they struggled to up the pace. Despite Duckworth’s best efforts playing a couple of beautiful cover drives off Armitage, the Reps found themselves needing 44 off the final five. Not impossible, but tough.

Hall’s well bowled slower ball gave Yorkshire the wicket they were searching for in the 18th, Duckworth departing for 38 and bringing Alice Clarke to the crease.

The Reps were scoring at the required ten an over, however, helped by an unfortunate misfield from Rachel Slater who tipped a catch over the boundary for six and needed 16 from the final over to claim victory; but Hall held her nerve well after bowling a full toss, limiting the Reps to nine off the over and seeing her side home in thrilling fashion.

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MATCH REPORT: Sussex v Kent – Sussex Hand Kent First T20 Losses In 2 Years

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.