The Royal London One-Day Cup, Round 6
With only one round left to play, the top three positions remain as before: Hampshire 1st, Yorkshire 2nd, Kent 3rd. When Hampshire lost by 5 runs to Yorkshire last week, none of the eight sides were left unbeaten. With dramatic floods hitting certain parts of the kingdom this week, we must hope that the final outcome doesn’t depend on a lucky draw in the weather raffle.
Warwickshire and Middlesex were unfortunate to be hit by a flash flood that left the Edgbaston Foundation ground under water on Sunday 27 May. Yet the following day the groundsmen had worked miracles to allow the Warwickshire-Kent game to get under way only four hours late at 3 o’clock. A 30-over contest was decreed.
Marie Kelly, the home captain, wisely opted to field first, but her bowlers had to face Tammy Beaumont at her regal best. The Kiwi, Sophie Devine, dismissed both Kent openers, but 119 runs were scored in the gap between these successes. Beaumont treated the crowd to the full range of her stroke-play, from paddles round the corner to Force 10 blows to distant boundaries. It took a magnificent yorker from Devine to dislodge her, just two short of a deserved century. This brought her season’s average tumbling to 130.
Beaumont was well supported all down the order, especially by Alice Davidson-Richards,(40). Rebecca Grundy bowled some searching overs of left-arm spin, but by the break – only 10 minutes, poor umpires! – Warwickshire knew they would have to pull out all the stops to pass a total of 202.
They very nearly did. Amy Jones batted admirably at the top of the order (49), enjoying partnerships in the middle stages with Kelly, Thea Brookes and Amelia Kite. The asking rate of 6.7 was overtaken for a spell, but Grace Gibbs came on to remove Jones and two more batters, helping to tip the balance towards the visitors again.
A score of 175-8 suddenly became 181-8 as Kent were penalised for slow play. Nerves jangled, but the Bears’ tail failed to wag, and Kent won through by 18 runs.
There was fine outfielding by both sides in difficult underfoot conditions.
Hampshire’s defeat of Kent with four balls to spare last week may prove to be the decisive result of the tournament. Suzie Bates’ contribution to their success stands out – two centuries and a fifty, plus nine wickets at trivial cost.
by Bruce Perkins
Lead photo shows Tammy Beaumont playing for England against India at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai, India on the 25th March 2018