Charlotte Edwards Cup Match Report: Southern Vipers v The Blaze

Charlotte Edwards Cup Match Report: Southern Vipers v The Blaze

Kirstie Gordon gets The Blaze over the line against the Vipers

When The Blaze had slipped dejectedly to 48 for eight, not even the most ardent of fans of the East Midlands side would have held any hope of their team making a game of it at the Utilita Bowl against a Southern Vipers the team that won the previous encounter in the Charlotte Edwards Cup at Worcester last season. However, somehow they pulled off a miraculous three-run victory in the final over. 

The Vipers weren’t keen to let their visitors know that they had choked in last year’s finals as they proudly displayed their silverware in front of the Blaze players warming up on the outfield. 

The Blaze had got into all sorts of trouble after losing the toss and being asked to bat. Something hasn’t quite ticked in that department this season, and today, it seemed more disastrous than in previous efforts. 

With Hampshire missing a host of players through International duty and inspirational captain Georgia Adams also unavailable due to injury, the South Coast side was for the taking. However they were soon on top as their attack had The Blaze five down in the power-play. The prevailing wisdom is that your odds of losing significantly increase if you are three wickets or more down during the first six overs. Usually, five down and there is no chance of a reprieve. 

The batters had got themselves stuck on the crease too many times, and six players, Tammy Beaumont (10), Kathryn Bryce (4), Sarah Bryce (1), Teresa Graves (4), Ella Claridge (14) and Kirstie Gordon (29) were all bowled. Gordon is the only one who could be excused, as with Lucy Higham (36*), she rebuilt the innings with a ninth-wicket partnership of 62 and in a desperate attempt to take the score in the region of 120, she perished in the final over. Gordon and Higham have played a lot of cricket together, having first played for Nottinghamshire, where they won many games with their economical bowling. The important thing was not to panic as there were plenty of overs to go, and with the Vipers’ strength in depth shallower than usual, it was all about biding their time. 

Mary Taylor, who has played cricket for Blaze coach Christ Guest, was the pick of the bowlers with two for 12, Freya Davies two for 23, and Alice Monaghan with two for 18. Southern Vipers were still out and out favourites to win. 

On a pitch that looked like it wasn’t easy to score on, the Blaze needed to bowl good lines, hoping the pressure would be put back on the home side. That is precisely what The Blaze did and Ella MacCaughan (19), in particular, struggled to get going, using up 31. The pressure started to tell, and two avoidable runouts didn’t help.  

Gordon, a feisty character on the field, would have urged her side not to give up, and she finished with two for 13, bowling tight and giving the Vipers batters little to hit. 

Freya Kemp, who usually bats aggressively and has at times got her side out of trouble with the bat as often as the ball, couldn’t find that freedom today and Gordon took the catch off Kathryn Bryce, who made her first Blaze appearance of the season having returned from international duty with Scotland. 

With 23 runs to win, 18 balls remaining, and five wickets in hand, the Vipers still had every chance of walking away with the win. Harman was run out off the first of the over, and two balls later, Gordon bowled Monahan for a golden duck. With the experienced pair of Rhianna Southby and Emily Windsor, the Vipers were still favourites going into the final over needing ten runs. However, the South African international Nadine de Klerk bowled Southby with the first ball of the final over and when Windsor was caught by Gordon two balls later the Vipers’ dreams of a win had all but evaporated. Ava Lee, the youngster, threw the bat at her second ball to find the boundary but with five needed from the final ball the Vipers could only scamper a single.  

Both teams will have much to discuss before their next games, but for now The Blaze will be grateful that they squeezed home again in another close finish for them this season. The Vipers won’t worry too much as they have the sort of players who can turn things around, and don’t bet against them being in another Charlotte Edwards Cup final. 


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