There are many oddities about the Hundred, and today at Trent Bridge was no exception where the Northern Superchargers came out victors with a win by 9 runs.
Trent Bridge, the home of the regional team, The Blaze, saw teammates pitted against teammates. Northern Superchargers, the away team, had three more Blaze players in their starting line-up than the home team Trent Rockets. Of the early Blaze confrontations, Kirsty Gordon of Rockets had Marie Kelly caught at third by Fran Wilson for five. Lucy Higham was to return the favour in the second innings as she bowled Nat Sciver-Brunt.
Phoebe Litchfield has been one of the real highlights of the English summer with superb knocks in all formats. She joined Jemimah Rodrigues and helped build a platform of which the Superchargers should have taken better advantage.
Rodrigues loves Yorkshire and playing for the Northern Superchargers so much that it wouldn’t feel out of place to see her stroll into the ground with a flat cap and whippet-in-tow dressed as one of the Brontes. Seeing her as a late replacement for the injured Alyssa Healey wasn’t surprising.
A second-wicket partnership of 53 from 37 balls saw the Superchargers start to take charge of the game, albeit only slightly; they needed one of Litchfield or Rodrigues to kick on and score big, although both fell for scores in their 30s.
Rodrigues had two let-offs; she was dropped twice, one a difficult chance from a full toss by Naomi Dattani that sliced off her bat into Lizelle Lee’s knee when she was on 17 and the second an uppish drive that the usually reliable Fran Wilson shelled with Rodrigues on 20.
It wasn’t too costly as Alexa Stonehouse took her first wicket for the Rockets, bowling Rodrigues as she moved too far across her stumps and left a pleasing sight for any bowler. The stumps were rearranged to look like some ancient wooden monument.
Litchfield top-scored for the Superchargers with a 27-ball 38. It was an innings that gave glimpses of everything the young Australian international is about. Classy drives and innovative scoops proved she can hit the ball all around the ground.
A late flurry of runs from the bat of young wicketkeeper Bess Heath helped to propel Superchargers to 134 for four from their allotted deliveries. Heath, who is earmarked for big things in the future, smashed 23 from ten balls. The total didn’t seem enough, especially if any of the Rockets’ top order got firing.
An opening partnership of 61 from the first 44 balls should have been the springboard that would launch the Rockets to a comfortable win in front of their home fans, who filled the ground nice and early.
Bryony Smith, with a 44 ball 70, looked to have put the Rockets in pole position. Her wicket with the score on 92 sparked a collapse as the middle and lower middle order were blitzed for 15 runs. Linsey Smith and Higham shared the wickets all bowled; only the openers escaped that fate, with Georgia Wareham accounting for the top guns. Higham took both those catches and finished with figures of three for 29.
As for the Superchargers, they look like a well-balanced side that can challenge the more established teams if they can put a string of performances together.