Kent came to the lovely Mill Hill School Ground on 13 May hoping to continue their fine start to the season against a Middlesex side determined to put a 10-wicket defeat by Lancashire firmly behind them. Since Kent had beaten the Red Roses by 9 wickets the next day, everyone knew what the outcome would be this time round. Or did they?
Cricket betrayed its infinite charm and unpredictability by overturning a whole apple-cart of expectations. Kent suffered a blow pre-match by losing Tammy Beaumont to injury. Alice Davidson-Richards took over the duties and continued her team’s policy of winning the toss and fielding first.
Middlesex made a successful start, easing the score along while taking few chances. The tactics paid huge dividends. The first six batters all made double figures and five of them passed 20 serenely. Kent could hope that their control would pay off eventually, but wickets were unwilling to fall.
Natasha Miles made an important 42 at the top of the order, and the seasoned Beth Morgan and the teenage Maia Bouchier exploited the fine start by adding a powerful 60 for the 5th wicket. It was perhaps an error to bring Kent’s two off-spinners, Marsh and Belt on so late. Marsh immediately took a wicket, then added two more. But the good pitch and fine batting saw Middlesex to a daunting 203-5.
Phoebe Franklin took Beaumont’s place as opening bat and made an encouraging 19. But wickets fell with dispiriting regularity. Davidson-Richards found run-scoring much harder than the previous week and only three of the top six managed double figures. Tash Farrant enjoyed herself with a hard-hitting 27; tail-enders Megan Belt and Chelsey Rowson helped her improve a hang-dog 88-6 to 155, but the writing was on the wall (scoreboard-shaped) from an early stage. To add to the embarrassment, top scorer was Extras, by 6 runs.
This was a thoroughly deserved win for a young Middlesex side, boosted by the experience of their two England stalwarts, Beth Morgan and Fran Wilson. It was good to see England’s captain, Heather Knight, show up late on, after her own game fell foul of the weather.
Naomi Dattani (c)
Iqraa Hussain (wk)
Alice Davidson-Richards (c)
Lauren Griffiths (wk)
Lead photo shows Laura Marsh playing for England