Season Preview – South East Stars

Season Preview – South East Stars

South East Stars came up just short in the semi-final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy for the second season in a row, rain coming at the wrong time at Beckenham; handing their opponents The Blaze, the advantage in the run-chase. Winning the Charlotte Edwards Cup in the first season of the T20 format has been their only success so far, and that isn’t because of a lack of talent. This of course brings its own challenges due to England call-ups. There were times that the Stars were missing players such as Alice Capsey,  Freya Davies, Sophia Dunkley and Alice Davidson-Richards because of international duty.  

The signing of Paige Scholfield was inspired; a player who seemed to excel in her role as one of the senior players in the side following her move from Southern Vipers and marked her arrival with two hundreds in her first three games, 111 not out against the Thunder, followed by 134 not out against Western Storm. 439 RHF Trophy runs at an average of 39.90 was just a reward and Scholfield also had a knack of taking partnership-breaking wickets. 

Another signing that made an impact, even if for a short time, was Tamzin Brit, the South African international, scoring 112 not out against Sunrisers at Beckenham and then a match-winning 85 on a Welbeck pitch that wasn’t easy to score on. Stars were eager to bring Brits back, but an injury on international duty means that she is unlikely return this season.  

Even without their England players and Brits, there is still enough about the Stars to win matches, and some of the younger players will feel capable of stepping up this season. Kalea Moore, an off-spinner, may not have taken a wicket in the RHF Trophy, but is a bowler of promise also capable of scoring runs and was part of the Southern Brave side that won the Hundred. 

Alexa Stonehouse, Ryana MacDonald-Gay and Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones are also looking to make a mark. MacDonald-Gay and Stonehouse have been part of the impressive England under19 setup and will look to continue their partnership as the Stars’ opening bowlers. Blinkhorn-Jones should add to a 2023 season that started promisingly and a solid average of 28.25 shows that better things are to come. Jemima Spence, while only 17, is another young batter who could find a real opportunity to excel; an unbeaten 45 not out against Southern Vipers in 2022 hints that she has the mentality to build innings. 

The Stars will be hoping that Phoebe Frankin and Kira Chathli will put in more solid performances, and if they can have a fully fit Tash Farrant, it will take some pressure off the younger bowlers. 

It will significantly benefit them if Bryony Smith and Davidson-Richards are available for all or most of the season. Both are excellent all-rounders at the regional level, but England has trouble finding a place for them in their setup, even when Davidson-Richards has a test hundred to her name. 

Key Player 

There was a bizarre moment during last year’s Charlotte Edwards Cup when Bryony Smith donned the wicketkeeper gloves and took to it like a natural. There is nothing the all-rounder can’t do. She is a runscorer who likes to score quickly and put games beyond her opponents. An average of 22.38 last season may have been disappointing, but she remains one of the most destructive batters on the circuit, and her off-spin picks up plenty of wickets. 

Player to watch  

A few young players in the Stars ranks could make their mark in the new season and it should be Alexa Stonehouse who really kicks on. She has been around for a while, even though she is still only 19. A left-arm seamer always gives an attack a different dimension and a player that could soon add more runs to her game means she will be the Stars player to look out for. 

How will they fare 

With four places up for grabs in both semi-finals, the Stars will be looking to be in the mix come the business end of both competitions. If they get Alice Capsey or Sophia Dunkley for any period of time, they will put pressure on the top end of the tables. The Stars will be one of the teams that feel they have a real chance of walking away with some silverware this year, and there is every chance they can do just that. 

Opening fixture: Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: 20 April 2024 v Southern Vipers, Beckenham 


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.