England v West Indies 2nd T20 – Dott-in… Dott-out

England inflicted another heavy defeat on the West Indies in Derby, with a 47 run win – Sarah Glenn top-scoring with 26 off 19 balls, and then picking up 2-24 with the ball, to take home the Player of the Match champagne.

Having won the toss, Stafanie Taylor chose to put England in to bat and then chase – an “interesting” decision, after what happened last time out! Was it confidence? Or hubris? She’d say the former, of course, but the gods had other ideas!

To be fair, England didn’t get things entirely their own way with the bat – they lost 8 wickets (again!) and looked on course to make only around 130, until Glenn and Katherine Brunt pumped up the volume to give them a big fillip at the end.

Every team says they “bat long” – it’s a cliché well on the way to losing all meaning! But England definitely batted long today, with numbers 7, 8 and 9 combining for 53 off 37 balls at a Strike Rate of 143, that saw England finish on 151 – 20 runs ahead of where they’d looked like being.

Dottin was always going to be the key to the West Indies chase, and while she was Dott-in they stayed in with a shout.

As the worms show, they were slightly off the pace in the powerplay, but they built a platform that saw them come within touching-distance of England at the half-way mark, with only 1 wicket down, and both Dottin and Taylor set and going at a run a ball. They were still going to need a couple of big overs from somewhere, but that’s something we know both of those players are more than capable of.

However, it wasn’t to be – as soon as Dott-in became Dott-out, the strike rate fell away almost instantly, and a slow march of death ensued, as the game slumped towards its then inevitable conclusion.

Heather Knight finally gave Mady Villiers the chance to send down a couple of overs, and she didn’t disappoint, taking 2-10.

Meanwhile Sophie Ecclestone returned 2-19, though such are the standards that she sets herself these days, that she didn’t look at all happy with it, interestingly, which is probably the mark of a truly great player in the making – never quite satisfied and constantly striving to be better. (If you’re a young left-arm orthodox spinner, with ambitions to play for England in the next 10 years… have you considered hockey or netball? Because you’re not going to displace Ecclestone from this team in a hurry!)

So, on to The Big One on Saturday – the Free To Air showcase, live on the BBC, which the England players are obviously pretty hyped for, with the Beeb having done their best to turn it into an “Event” with a capital “E”.

But a good game of cricket really needs both sides to turn up. We know this West Indies side can turn up – we saw it on a hot night in front of a raucous crowd in St Lucia at the World Cup in 2018.

Now we just need them to do it behind closed doors on a cold day in Derby in 2020.

No? Me neither! But we live in hope!

RHF TROPHY STATS: Bowling Rankings

2020 was a good year to be a Bryce in English domestic cricket, with Sarah placing second in the Batting Rankings and sister Kathryn going one better, finishing as the number one bowler, and the leading wicket-taker in the group stages of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. As with Sarah, an England future is definitely a possibility for Kathryn, though the cupboard at Loughborough marked “Young Bowlers” is currently significantly better stocked than the one marked “Young Batters” so it may be a longer shot, assuming of course that is actually what she even wants, which it may well not be.

Thunder captain Alex Hartley is ranked second, and returned the best Economy Rate of those who bowled in every game, at 3.14. An honourable mention should go to her teammate Hannah Jones, who also bowled in every match and was only just behind Hartley, with an Economy Rate of 3.16, but ranked outside the top 20 because she didn’t take many wickets.

(We’ve previously discussed tweaking the calculation to give more weight to economy – a formula of Economy-2 * Wickets would have (just) pushed Jones and Danielle Gregory into the top 20 – ironically at the expense of the other Hannah Jones (Stars) and Charlie Dean – but the differences overall are marginal, so we’ve decided to stick with the traditional calculation for the time being.)

This season’s highest new entry, at number 5, is Vipers’ Charlotte Taylor, who didn’t even expect to be playing in the RHF and had lined up a commentary gig with BBC Radio Solent for the game against the Stars at Hove, which she had to pull out of when she was selected to play in the match! After taking 2-13 that day, she kept her spot and justified Charlotte Edwards’ faith in her by taking a 4fer versus the Storm at The Ageas Bowl, finishing the group stages with 9 wickets at 3.47.

Taylor’s emergence is reminiscent of another spinner – Linsey Smith – who wasn’t even a squad selection for the Vipers in KSL01, but came in as an injury replacement, did well, and has since gone on to win several England caps.

Player Played Wickets Economy Rate
1. Kathryn Bryce (Lightning) 6 14 3.88
2. Alex Hartley (Thunder) 6 11 3.14
3. Fi Morris (Storm) 6 11 4.06
4. Tash Farrant (Stars) 6 9 3.40
5. Charlotte Taylor (Vipers) 4 9 3.47
6. Beth Langston (Diamonds) 6 11 4.28
7. Tara Norris (Vipers) 6 12 4.72
8. Georgia Hennessy (Storm) 6 11 4.83
9. Paige Scholfield (Vipers) 6 9 3.96
10. Katie Levick (Diamonds) 6 8 3.75
11. Katherine Brunt (Diamonds) 2 6 2.94
12. Clare Boycott (Sparks) 5 8 4.32
13. Lucy Higham (Lightning) 6 8 4.43
14. Lauren Bell (Vipers) 3 7 4.00
15. Anisha Patel (Sparks) 5 8 4.59
16. Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder) 2 4 2.35
17. Jenny Gunn (Diamonds) 6 7 4.18
18. Charlie Dean (Vipers) 6 8 4.87
19. Hannah Jones (Stars) 6 7 4.39
20. Georgia Adams (Vipers) 6 6 3.99

Bowling Ranking = Wickets / Economy

England v West Indies 1st T20 – A Game Of Two Halves

The T20 series between England and the West Indies at Derby kicked off with a 47 run victory for England; and for once “kicked off” feels like the right phrase, because like a football match, this was a game of two halves – the first “half”, a half century from Tammy Beaumont; the second, a half-ars*d batting performance from the Windies.

Back at the top of the order, Beaumont underlined her status as England’s premier batsman. The numbers in T20 don’t quite back up this claim – Danni Wyatt and Nat Sciver have both scored a few more runs. However, that was partly because Beaumont spent most of last winter coming in down the order, not because anyone really thought it was the best place for her to be batting, but in order to try to find a position for Amy Jones where Jones might score more consistent runs.

Having ditched that experiment in what turned out to be the last game of the World Cup in Australia, England seem to have accepted now that those consistent runs probably aren’t going to come from Jones, so allowing TB to return to the opening role she clearly prefers.

It wasn’t quite a text-book performance from Beaumont – she played and missed a few times early on, and was dropped in single-figures – but she took her breaks where they came, and made it count on the scorecard, with 62 off 49 balls.

The positive for the West Indies going forwards was that they did take 8 wickets – no other England batter made more than Heather Knight’s 25, and if Beaumont’s early luck had gone the Windies’ way instead, it could have been a very different story.

As it was, we quickly saw the now-familiar sight of a West Indies team which clearly didn’t believe they could chase 163. They really are The Little Engine That Couldn’t at times like these, repeating over and over the traditional mantra: “I think I can’t; I think I can’t!”

England’s fielding was very good, and Amy Jones was excellent behind the stumps. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Player of the Match given to a wicket keeper just for their keeping, but there was a case for it in this match, exemplified by her spin on ice-skates to execute the run out of Lee-Ann Kirby. Kirby’s wicket has gone down in the scorebook as “Run Out (Knight)” but it was a hospital pass of a throw from the England captain, with Jones doing all the work to make it count!

Mady Villiers was also brilliant in the outfield – we thought Wyatt was good out there, but Villiers really has taken it to a new level… and a good job too because she wasn’t given any other opportunity to contribute – coming in to bat at 10, and then not bowling. England seem to have always been confused about her role – Mark Robinson talked about her batting, but played her as a bowler; and now Lisa Keightley seems to be playing her as a specialist deep extra cover?

The big question now is whether the West Indies can turn things around. Dottin’s innings should give them some confidence that this series isn’t a lost cause yet, although if you’re being glass-half-empty you might observe that she didn’t actually really get going until the game was already gone – at the half way mark she was 22 off 26 balls, with them needing an improbable 12 an over through the last 10. For the sake of the game of cricket, you’d hope they can step things up on Wednesday and keep the series interesting; but you wouldn’t put money on it.

As for England, I’d be very surprised if they made any changes for Wednesday – as much as I’d like to see Sophia Dunkley and Freya Davies getting a proper run in the team, I don’t think we’ll see them now until at least the 4th match; so it will be more of the same… probably with the same result.

RHF TROPHY STATS: Batting Rankings

The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy has provided an unprecedented opportunity for the non-England players to showcase their skills on decent pitches; and playing at First Class grounds really has been a sea change, as Emily Windsor told us after making 47* for the Vipers at The Oval:

“Playing on First Class pitches makes a massive difference. You can trust your shots more and you can play more creative shots, because you know the ball’s going to come onto your bat nicely. And then obviously the outfield – you know as soon as it beats that inner ring that it’s going for four. It’s different and that’s why you’re seeing some fantastic scores, like at the Ageas Bowl last week that innings by Georgia Adams – she’s a quality player and she was able to really show what she can do and what people can do in the women’s game.”

Hence we’ve seen 6 hundreds this year – many more than you’d have expected in the old County Championship, which was played mostly on club grounds, and where only 10 centuries were scored in Div 1 in the past 5 seasons.

Georgia Adams’ 154* for the Vipers versus the Storm was the highest score ever made by an uncapped player in top-level domestic cricket in England, and Adams tops the overall rankings with 420 runs in the competition, and the potential to add further to that in Sunday’s final.

Lightning (and Scotland’s) Sarah Bryce was only just behind Adams in the end, after scoring a big hundred of her own – 136* in Lightning’s final game against the Sparks. Aged only 20, she has set the foundations this season to push for an England career in the future if that’s what she wants, especially as she also comes with a pair of wicket-keeper’s gloves, bearing in mind that England’s only current backup option for Amy Jones is to press gang Tammy Beaumont into the role – something that she’d obviously do, but isn’t really her preference.

Looking at Strike Rates, the standout performance was from the Storm’s Alex Griffiths (ranked 6th), who was the only player in the top 50 run-scorers to record an overall Strike Rate of more than 100 – an impressive return which should surely see her bumped up from the Training Squad to the full England Academy over the winter.

Player Played Runs Strike Rate
1. Georgia Adams (Vipers) 6 420 82
2. Sarah Bryce (Lightning) 6 395 79
3. Sophie Luff (Storm) 6 339 76
4. Eve Jones (Sparks) 6 334 74
5. Georgia Hennessy (Storm) 6 209 80
6. Alex Griffiths (Storm) 6 141 118
7. Heather Knight (Storm) 2 158 88
8. Marie Kelly (Sparks) 6 223 62
9. Jo Gardner (Sunrisers) 6 193 69
10. Charlie Dean (Vipers) 6 178 74
11. Maia Bouchier (Vipers) 6 155 84
12. Nat Brown (Thunder) 6 189 69
13. Abby Freeborn (Lightning) 5 167 69
14. Gwenan Davies (Sparks) 6 169 68
15. Sterre Kalis (Diamonds) 6 142 75
16. Danni Wyatt (Vipers) 2 119 89
17. Teresa Graves (Lightning) 6 114 89
18. Nat Sciver (Diamonds) 2 108 92
19. Holly Armitage (Diamonds) 6 150 63
20. Kathryn Bryce (Lightning) 6 141 65

Batting Ranking = Runs * Strike Rate

Q&A: Jonathan Finch – The RHF Trophy Is “On A Par” With The Hundred

With the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy now well underway, we spoke to ECB Director of Women’s Cricket Jonathan Finch about regional selection policies, the relationship between the ECB and the 8 regions, how the regions fit in with The Hundred (Women’s Competition) when it launches next season, and lots more besides. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: From the ECB’s perspective, what is the purpose and the role of the new regional teams?

A: We look at it from a number of different angles. From a competition perspective, the purpose is to try and get the best players playing against each other at the best possible grounds, on the best possible pitches, with the best possible coaches with the infrastructure to support that. So you’re exposing players to good, hard, competitive cricket. That is one element – exposing players to the various scenarios that they might later come up against in international cricket.

And then obviously, there is a big push to try and increase the number of players that can make a living out of the game, and we hope the number of professional players and the amount they earn continues to increase as we move forward. But if we can start to increase the number of players that are professional and get to focus on their cricket 12 months a year – that’s the most exciting bit for me: getting players exposed to good quality coaching from full time head coaches, over a prolonged period of time.

Q: Would you describe the RHF Trophy and whatever replaces it as a “development competition”?

A: Certainly not. It is our top end domestic competition, that will hopefully be played across 50 and 20 over formats moving forward.

Q: If we were looking at it as a hierarchy, do you see it as sitting on a par with The Hundred?

A: What you get with The Hundred is three overseas players. You get an opportunity then for our current international players and our future international players to learn pro ways and understand how to compete with those players. There is no doubt that in the period of time that The Hundred is taking place, that that would be our premier competition. There is a difference in that the regional structure is in place to support players 12 months of the year whereas The Hundred has a short sharp focus of attention during the season.

But from my position I see them as on a par. They’re both helping us develop cricketers to play for England, and helping us develop a plausible way to increase the number of females that make a living out of playing the game, but also developing the number of roles, coaches and support staff that are involved in the women’s game to help drive what we do forward.

Q: Will there be overseas players in next year’s regional teams?

A: Each region has the opportunity to bring one non-England qualified player in to play, whether that be for the 50-over or the T20 competition. That is very much up to the eight regions – is it going to add value for them? Is it going to add value to their environment and what they do?

Q: If the regions are intended to develop England players, was it a surprise that two Scotland players got regional retainers?

A: That’s a regional decision to make. We do have discussions, and there is that veto from the ECB if we needed to do that. However, one of the key things that we’ve got to develop is a level of collaboration and trust. And trust in those regions that they are making decisions a) based on what we as the ECB want to achieve from the competition, but also b) based on setting up a team in the way they want to set it up, based on seeing something in certain individuals. Some teams may identify key characteristics within individual players that will help develop others within the squad and therefore that player is deemed the right fit for that team.

We don’t want it to be ECB versus the eight regions – it’s about us working together as a team of nine to do what’s better for us. If we start going in and dictating decisions, based around those kinds of regulations, it becomes a bit Big Brother, and we don’t want to do that. We trust Lightning to make that decision for the betterment of English cricket, because that’s what they’ve signed up to do as being one of the regions.

There is no doubt that Kathryn and Sarah Bryce have added a lot to Lightning and the competition as a whole, and that in itself helps develop both their teammates and the opposition who come up against them.

Q: What were the selection criteria given from the ECB to regional directors, when choosing their squads?

A: There were three “steers”:

1. Is this player identified as high potential to go on and play for England?

2. Is there the perception that if this player is exposed to development for 12 months of the year, then they’ve got high potential to go on and play for England?

3. Is this individual going to add real value to the competition? Are they going to perform to a certain level that raises the standard of not only their peers, but the opposition that they play against?

We didn’t put a hierarchy on those three. We asked the regional teams to consider them in their selection.

Q: So there was no age criteria?

A: No, there was no age criteria.

Q: Were those selection criteria perhaps inconsistently applied, given that some players were explicitly not selected based on being “too old”?

A: Each region will have their principles of selection and what they’re trying to do, whether that be put a squad together for the here and now to try and win the competition in the next couple of years, because they think that gives them profile in the local area and then helps them build a brand or connection to that region – or whether someone’s taken a longer term view of, actually we’ll select a team that we think is going to be successful in four or five years.

That decision has to be led by the regions.

Q: What would your advice be to the players who were not selected based on being “too old”?

A: This is high level, high performance sport, and not everyone agrees all the time. After the first year of the competition, Regional Directors and Head Coaches will start looking at different options that are available out there on the market, and you are likely to see a migration of players from different parts of the country into different teams. 

That is exciting – we’ve now got an opportunity where there are retainer contracts and pay-as-you-play contracts, at eight different regions. So my direct advice is, try and continue in county cricket – performances are the currency of selection – and if for whatever reason that isn’t the right region for that individual then there are always seven others.

Q: Will women’s county cricket continue in 2021 and beyond? Will there be a T20 Cup for example?

A: That decision is yet to be made. There’s arguments for and against. Those discussions will be part of a wider end of season review. We will get feedback from the Regional Directors, from the Head Coaches and from the players about the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Competition this year. And that feedback inevitably will involve the role of [senior] county cricket and what that means for the set-up as a whole.

Q: Is it still the plan that the remaining 40 pro domestic contracts will be awarded in October, and if so, how much say does the ECB get in who gets those?

A: Yes, our intention is to do that.

The process will be similar to the process for awarding the current regional retainer contracts. The regions spoke to us about certain players, in order to gain insight into those that are on our pathway or from our scouting in the past. It wasn’t “have a think about this player”, it was, how do we help you create a better picture of that player because you’re going to invest in this player for the next 12 months. It was a general discussion, to help out some of those regional directors that have come from either outside the game or come from different parts of the game.

Q: The amount that players are paid has been set centrally by the ECB. Let’s say the Vipers win the RHF Trophy and they want to give their players a bonus, or pay them more next year, would they be allowed to do that?

A: That will be part of the review. One of the reasons to try and get a uniform approach initially, certainly with a young startup competition, is that you don’t want too many things complicating things early doors. So at least you know that if a player is involved in this, they’re going to get recompense, they’re going to get their expenses, and that’s a good step.

It would be a good step if the regions are able to offer different things that gives that region competitive advantages over others, whether that be salary or something else. What you want is people to start to come up with new ideas, and be quite enterprising in and around that.

Q: Has the RHF got more exposure because of The Hundred not happening, and will there be as much exposure next season? Will we still see live streams next year?

A: It’s a great question that we’ll never know the answer to!

To be able to watch the live streams is amazing. If we can continue to hold the matches at those types of venues, the capability to stream is quite easy because the infrastructure is there. I would love it that we continue to be able to provide that as a service, not only for people following the game, but the intricacies it brings to us as a coaching team centrally, being able to watch the game live and have live conversations about it.

There’s no doubt that if we don’t continue with what we’ve done, it would be a backward step. The coverage on the first weekend, we had the ECB Reporters Network out there reporting on it, we had really good paper coverage and online coverage. And that in itself is a really positive thing for the players playing the game. So it’s important that we try and continue to do that.

Obviously we’ve got The Hundred coming on board next year, but they’re not mutually exclusive in the fact that a thriving domestic competition is going to help The Hundred, and a thriving Hundred is going to help the regional set-up. So I think working hand in hand around that type of stuff is important.

Q: Does the move away from the traditional county identities to new regional brands concern you, in that it makes building a fanbase harder?

A: You’re always going to have a battle between protecting a current brand and trying to build something new. But there’s a very strong argument, performance wise, as to why we’ve gone to eight regions. I think what it does do is bring counties together in that region, to make decisions that are for the betterment of women’s cricket, and the players within the pathway. And you’re pooling resources, insight, knowledge and understanding of the women’s game. That’s a real positive.

RHF TROPHY: Emily Turns The Oval Into Windsor’s Castle

In September 2019, The Oval hosted the finals of the Kia Summer Smash – a national women’s club competition sponsored by Kia and The Cricketer magazine.

It was a fun day out for four amateur clubs from the four corners of the land. Everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously, and England captain Heather Knight popped across the river from her home in north London to present the trophy to the winning captain of Hursley Park from Hampshire – Emily Windsor, who had led the way to victory with unbeaten innings of 43* in the semi-final and 42* in the final.

One year later, all-but to the day, Emily Windsor returned to The Oval, but this time as a paid professional, representing the Southern Vipers in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy against the South East Stars. The Vipers appeared to be cruising to victory at 139-3, but two quick wickets brought Windsor and keeper Carla Rudd together on 141-5, with 87 still required from 19 overs.

For Vipers fans watching around the world on the live-stream… not to mention one Vipers fan in the ground*… these were nervous moments; but they needn’t have been – an hour or so later, Windsor walked off the pitch with 47* to her name, having hit the winning runs off Tash Farrant with 9 balls to spare. With another 40-something not out in the book, it seems The Oval really is Windsor’s Forty-fied Castle!

“When we arrived today, [fellow Hursley Park player] Charlotte Taylor and me sent a little video to the Hursley girls saying: It’s good to be back!” Windsor told us after the game. “Now I’ve got a few messages saying that I need to move to The Oval permanently because I’m still not out here!”

In the year between the Summer Smash and the RHF Trophy, Windsor has had time to work on her game and her outlook.

“I spent the winter at The Ageas working hard with Charlotte Edwards and some of the other coaches. I really simplified my game down – we talked about the tactical side and not overthinking it, because I’m quite an overthinker.”

“I also had a bit of an injury, and I think sometimes that actually helps because you have a little bit of a break away from the game.”

“I think quite a lot for me has been mindset – I know I can do it! And the games at The Oval last year really did spur me on to know that I can play at a higher level.”

Although Windsor was around the Vipers setup during the KSL, the RHF has been her first season as a regular member of a professional team.

“It was a bit daunting at first – I didn’t know these girls, or I only knew them from playing against them. But now we’re all teammates, and I just try and learn as much as I can from some great players – if I keep doing that then I’ll just keep getting better and better.”

With the Vipers top order in such fine nick, it has been hard though for the middle-order to get a look-in sometimes.

“I’ve been thinking throughout the competition that I haven’t had much opportunity, because our top order’s been absolutely fantastic, so I really wanted to take the opportunity today to prove to myself and my teammates that I deserve a place in this team; so I just went out there and played simply – watched the ball, and it came off.”

With her match-winning performance having presumably cemented that place for the final of the RHF, Windsor can now relax and relish the opportunity of getting her hands on another trophy at Edgbaston next weekend.

“I’m really really excited! We’ve gone 6 from 6 in the group stages and we’re feeling really good – hopefully we can go 7 from 7!”


* Ok… yes… it was me!

NEWS: Dunkley & George Recalled To England Squad For West Indies T20s

England have recalled batting allrounder Sophia Dunkley and fast bowler Katie George, as part of a squad of 16 to face West Indies in 5 T20 internationals later this month. Dunkley is selected off the back of an innings of 97 for the South East Stars, which was watched in person by England coach Lisa Keightley; whilst George has impressed in the intra-squad warm-up fixtures at Derby and Loughborough.

Apart from Georgia Elwiss, who is out with a back injury, the squad is otherwise unchanged from the one which contested the T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.

The other members of the training squad will return to their regions for the last round and the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, though Bryony Smith and Linsey Smith have both been placed on “standby” to re-join the England squad, should they be required.

Announcing the squad, Lisa Keightley said:

“We’re in a great place going in to the Vitality IT20s against West Indies. It’s been a challenging summer for everyone and we are privileged to be in a position to play an international series, and to get the chance to showcase the women’s game.”

Full Squad

  • Heather Knight (Western Storm)
  • Tammy Beaumont (Lightning)
  • Katherine Brunt (Northern Diamonds)
  • Kate Cross (Thunder)
  • Freya Davies (South East Stars)
  • Sophia Dunkley (South East Stars)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Thunder)
  • Katie George (Western Storm)
  • Sarah Glenn (Central Sparks)
  • Amy Jones (Central Sparks)
  • Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
  • Anya Shrubsole (Western Storm)
  • Mady Villiers (Sunrisers)
  • Fran Wilson (Sunrisers)
  • Lauren Winfield-Hill (Northern Diamonds)
  • Danni Wyatt (Southern Vipers)

NEWS: Player Pay & Contracts To Roll-Over For Women’s Hundred

The ECB have today confirmed that all players offered contracts to play in The Hundred (Women’s Competition) in 2020 can renew their deal on the same terms for next year – same team, same pay.

The decision has been made “to offer maximum security to the players who were denied the opportunity to play in The Hundred this year, after the competition was postponed due to COVID-19”.

Anya Shrubsole has already re-signed for Southern Brave, and many of the other contracted players for 2020 are expected to follow suit over the next few weeks. As of October, teams can begin to replace any players who choose not to roll-over their contracts.

The news is especially welcome given that the ECB announced in June that the salaries in the Men’s Hundred are being cut for 2021 by 20%. With the women’s salaries substantially less than the men’s to begin with, there were concerns that any cuts would have hit the women’s competition particularly hard – but the ECB have clearly recognised that, and have chosen (rightly) to protect the women players.

RHF TROPHY: Gads-zooks! Adams On The Path To Domestic Greatness

Georgia “Gads” Adams’ 154 not out for the Vipers yesterday against the Storm, was one of the great innings in the history of domestic women’s cricket. It was the highest score ever made in top-level domestic cricket in England by an uncapped player, and although it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Gads will go on to play for England, she’ll be 27 next month, so it does look as though her appearances for England Academy will be as close as she’ll come to wearing an England shirt.

Gads’ father – Chris – did have an international career, but it was a brief and not particularly successful one: he played 5 tests and 5 ODIs between 1998-2000, averaging 15. Nonetheless, he could have left it there – many have dined-out for the rest of their lives on less! But he went on to become something perhaps even rarer than a great international player – a great domestic player, captaining Sussex to the Men’s County Championship 3 times in the 2000s, finally retiring in 2008 with 69 First Class and List A centuries to his name.

Now, thanks to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and the growing professionalisation of domestic women’s cricket, there is the chance for his daughter to follow the same road to becoming a domestic “great”.

Adams Jnr. always “looked” like a good cricketer – playing her strokes with a flourish – but for a long time her numbers never quite backed that up. She became a Sussex regular in 2012, and scored her first hundred in 2014, but didn’t make another one until 2018, which starts to look like a pivotal year, as it was also the year she moved KSL teams – ironically from Vipers, where she had averaged just 11 in 2016-17, to Loughborough Lightning where she doubled that average to 24 in 2018-19.

Vipers coach Charlotte Edwards obviously agrees that something has changed, because not only did she bring her back to the Ageas Bowl this year as one of her 3 initial “pros” – she made her captain! And it has proved to be an astute appointment – Gads has led from the front, with not only yesterday’s 154* but two other half-centuries, averaging over 90 at a Strike Rate of 84. She has been the pivotal player as the Vipers have won 5 from 5, and qualified for the final at Edgbaston with a round to spare.

Of course, the real test is yet to come – there are no prizes in the RHF for winning your first 5 matches – only for winning the last one! But if Gads does go on to lead the Vipers to victory in the final, and if she continues to pursue the ethos of hard work and graft for which her father became legendary, then she too will genuinely have set herself on the path to emulate him as one of domestic cricket’s greats.