Hastings v Hursley Park 1st XI
Played at Morntyde Park, Hastings
Southern League Championship
Won by 82 runs
The first eleven had enjoyed a successful 2012 and had won every league game before travelling to Hastings for the last game of the season. Despite the good run, we still needed to win in Sussex to prevent Shepperton pipping us to the title and promotion.
Hastings provided strong opposition, including two players that have since gone on to play in the Women’s Super League.
We won the toss and batted, our usual preference, but slipped to 29-2. Young Charlotte Taylor was batting fluently, hitting six fours in reaching 30 before she began to feel unwell, and was forced to retire. When Emma Bane was caught at square-leg we were 57-3. Dani Ransley started confidently, but after Jem Green was caught behind we were 90-4 at the 25 over halfway stage. Vicky Childs joined Dani and the two youngsters showed great maturity in putting together a partnership of 72 in 15 overs. Dani reached a maiden half-century for the club before being dismissed for 59 and when Vicky followed soon after we were 160-6 with ten overs remaining.
Tayz now returned to the crease, although still not fully recovered – and proceeded to take the attack to the home side. Eleanor Ingram joined in, batting in her usual aggressive manner, and in a scintillating partnership 71 runs were piled on in just seven overs. Eleanor’s 35 came from just 21 balls and included six fours, but her dismissal did not deter Tayz, as she took 17 from the 48th over and led us to a final score of 260, with exactly 100 coming from the last ten overs. She finished unbeaten on 91 from 61 balls, including 16 boundaries – and all this while dosed up on medication.
Luckily we had a twelfth man (Vans) with us and she was able to field in place of Tayz. Our total appeared to be a winning one, but the home openers were undaunted and put on 51 for the first wicket before a smart stumping by Eleanor Ingram off Amy Mistry accounted for the first wicket. Rach Carrick immediately removed the other opener, but Hastings' two key batters, Abi Freeborn and Paige Scholfield joined together to put their side on track to pull off a run-chase that would end our promotion hopes. They looked relatively untroubled despite Jem ringing the bowling changes, and at the 30 over mark had taken the score to 143-2, seemingly in control. Jem had started an accurate spell and trapped Scholfield LBW as she played across the line, and one end was ‘open’. It soon became apparent that the remainder of the home batting was not up to the quality of the top four – and the tactic became one of keeping Freeborn off strike. The skipper marshalled her troops and they switched constantly depending on who was on strike. And the tactic worked spectacularly. Five batsmen fell for ducks as Jem (4-22) and Dani (2-28) turned the screw and Abi Freeborn ran out of partners.
In the end it was not a close finish as the last 8 wickets fell for just 33, but the significance of the result was evident in the player’s celebrations. We had reached the Premier League for the first time!