Finchley 1st XI v Hursley Park 1st XI
Played at Finchley
Southern Premier League
Won by 1 wicket
July 14th 2019 will long be remembered by cricket fans for England winning the men’s World Cup for the first time. In Hursley Park annals it will also be remembered as the day of a remarkable Southern League victory at Finchley.
We had made a very good start to our Premier League campaign, winning all of our matches in the T20 format, but were well aware that the 50 over format provided more testing challenges, and none more so than a visit to the defending champions.
The home team won the toss and chose to bat – and were given a flying start by Cordelia Griffith. Hitting strongly down the ground and over the leg-side the KSL star threatened to bat us out of the game. Skipper Emily Windsor constantly changed the bowlers to try and disrupt the flow of runs, and it was the eighth bowler employed, Mel Story, who pierced Griffith’s defence to bowl her for 94 (14 fours and one six). A typically tight spell by Anesu Mushangwe (3-35 from 10 overs) and a crucial spell by Harriet Batchelor (9 overs for 30) kept the rest of the home side’s innings in check. A final total of 225 was an acceptable target given the early part of the innings, and represented a strong fight back from our bowlers.
Eight overs in to the second innings however and the target looked a long way off, as we had slumped to 10-4. As so often in recent years Finchley’s Ria Raval made inroads into our top order, and had figures of 3-7 at that point. The skipper was joined at the crease by Sian Edwards, and they began to steadily rebuild. 58 were added in 13 overs, but when Sian was dismissed we were still 158 short of the target with half our wickets gone. ‘Kiddo’ found another capable partner in Anesu, and they had put together another 42 runs before an unfortunate mix-up led to our overseas star being run out. So we were 110-6 with 19 overs remaining, with Windsor batting well – but the game seemingly slipping away.
We do pride ourselves on batting deep and Mel Story proved a very capable number 8, as in unison with Windsor another crucial partnership ensued, pacing the run-chase perfectly. The seventh wicket pair raised the total by 54 until Mel holed out in the deep. Eleanor Ingram hit one forceful boundary, but departed the following ball – and all the while Windsor kept going. With the arrival of number 10 Courtney Lowman (44 still required from 8 overs) the home side adopted the understandable tactic of setting the field back for Kiddo to offer the single and come in tight to squeeze Courtney. This tactic was countered by our skipper’s suggestion to her partner that she ‘takes it on’ – and Courtney followed the instruction as she showed great nerve in three times hitting over the top to find the fence. Windsor reached an exceptional and chanceless hundred, but the job was not done yet. The target was down to 18 when the excellent Raval returned to dismiss Courtney. Enter Anisa Ansar, who has proved a very capable batter for us in junior matches over the years, but at that point had not batted all season, and had certainly never batted in a pressure situation such as this. Those watching would never have guessed however as the last pair calmly accumulated singles, bringing the scores level at the end of the 49th over. Two dots followed but fittingly it was Emily Windsor who pushed the winning single through midwicket.
Everyone was soon in the Finchley clubhouse watching Jos Buttler pull off the run out that clinched the second most memorable game of that day.
Emily Windsor’s performance will remain in the memory for a long time. The combination of pacing the run chase, keeping calm, guiding and trusting various partners and an excellent technique make this probably the finest HP innings ever. Finchley’s Beth Morgan, with over 50 England caps and a wealth of experience, rated it as good an innings as she has ever seen in women’s cricket.
Of course, we went on to win the Southern League title in 2019, and the performance on July 14th played a huge part in that achievement.