Successful Start to Women’s T20 Campaign
Having finished an impressive 50-over season with a 3rd place finish, just missing out on promotion, Wales Women were confident and excited to kick start the T20 campaign which began with a long drive up to Cheshire. With 4 rounds of T20, consisting of two matches each per round, the format is rather brutal with 2 teams being promoted and 3 teams being relegated – out of just 8 sides! Wales therefore knew that they had to make each game count, and returning from their first weekend with 2 wins would be a perfect start.
Wales began their first game against Durham, whose captain won the toss and elected to bat first on a hot and humid day. Claire Nicholas (1-14) and Ffion Wynne (2-26) opened up for Wales, and following a maiden from Wynne in the second over, Nicholas struck in her next, trapping the opener lbw for an ideal start. Rachel Hopkins added some impetus to the Durham innings with 24, and captain Becky Glen hit a counter-attacking 26*, but Wales’ bowlers applied pressure throughout and with some smart fielding managed to reduce Durham to just 86 off their 20 overs. Ffion Cartwright finished with 2-18 and Gabby Basketter conceded just 7 runs off her 4 overs and also bagged a wicket.
It could not have been a better chase for Wales – on a slow, low wicket where scoring had proved difficult in the first innings, Rachel Priest struck 2 boundaries off the first 2 deliveries, a sign of what was to follow in her commanding 58* off 34 balls. At the other end, Basketter finished 21* and Wales wrapped up an emphatic 10-wicket win in just 10.4 overs!
It was straight back onto the field for Wales next, with hosts Cheshire the opposition, who also elected to bat first. Wynne and Nicholas again began well, creating pressure for Dani Gibson, who surprised the opener with pace, struck lbw with her first ball. Ellie Mason (23) and Dawn Prestidge (19) took advantage of some loose bowling and tired fielders in order to push the score onto 58-1. Cartwright made the breakthrough with a run out, and more tight bowling from Basketter (4 overs for 9 runs) and Charlotte Scarborough (1-16) helped peg the hosts back to 106-7.
Priest and Basketter again began strongly, putting on 35 for the first wicket when Priest was dismissed for 22. The latter went on to make 24, but following her dismissal and Lauren Parfitt’s soon after for 5, Wales needed to steady the ship to get over the line. Claire Nicholas did just that, scoring 23, and with Lydia Clements scoring 11* calmly at the end of the innings, Wales were able to win by 5 wickets.
Following this ideal start, Wales move slightly closer to home next week to play Gloucestershire and Berkshire, where they will be aiming to continue the winning streak.