Source: Bruce Perkins

An Excellent Start to the Ashes Campaign

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England A v Australia A – T20

The England A squad gave the test team just the send-off they needed by thrashing their Australian counterparts at the Haslegrave ground, Loughborough, by 74 runs.

It wasn’t all plain sailing, but once Charlie Dean bowled Heather Graham for a threatening 50, the Aussies proved not to have the depth of batting power the English had shown earlier on a hot afternoon.

Although the hosts had the misfortune to lose Bryony Smith (9) hitting across the line to Tayla Vlaeminck, they advanced at a great pace. Maia Bouchier showed elegance as well as power to top-score with 74 off 48 (12 fours), while Alice Capsey went even faster (30/16) including the first of four sixes the team racked up. (The boundary rope was set well back. Good!)

74 in the powerplay, 101 in ten, and the slaughter continued.

Once those leading batters were dismissed, the rest of the team kept up the rhythm. In the end, out of nine at the crease only Smith failed to reach a run-rate of a 100. (Capsey 187, Dean 175). And Smith managed 90.

It’s not often you can sit back and say ‘my team is definitely going to top 200, and nobody’s going to stop them’. But that’s what happened, Freya Kemp showing her all-round skills by hitting a huge six in the closing stages.

In reply, the visitors showed they meant business.

Capsey and the new recruit, Mahika Gaur, were invited to open proceedings and both suffered severe punishment. Capsey bowled overs 1 and 4, Gaur was given two straight off to see if she could get over understandable nerves. At least she went for fewer runs than her off-spin partner. (2-0-21-0, as against 2-0-27-1. But it was the Surrey starlet who made an important breakthrough, getting Tahlia Wilson caught by her captain.

Heather Graham (50/36) looked totally in control and received positive support from Courtney Webb (33/37). Lauren Winfield had to think hard about field settings, and the target seemed perfectly within reach.

But just as promptly it slid away. The bowling figures tell us all we need to know. In turn Freya Davies (3-17), Sarah Glenn and Dean bowled artfully to limit the fours to a minimum. The outfielding maintained the high standards the Aussies had reached, then surpassed them. Suddenly the asking-rate shifted from gettable to impossible.

Was it pure coincidence that, as the Aussies’ chances receded, lowering storm clouds approached from the north-west? Fortunately they didn’t materialise, and the hosts were able to complete a victory under the intense gaze of Jon Lewis, who, having completed his ‘Once more unto the breach..’ speech at Trent Bridge, came down the M1 to see how his other flock was faring.

Some had given notice that they were more than ready for call-ups to higher things.


England A :Lauren Winfield (captain), Bryony Smith, Alice Capsey, Maia Bouchier, Alice Davidson- Richards, Sarah Glenn, Bess Heath (wk), Freya Kemp, Charlie Dean, Freya Davies, Linsey Smith, Mahika Gaur

Australia A: Nicole Faltum (captain, wk), Heather Graham, Maddi Darke, Charli Knott, Tahlia Wilson, Courtney Webb, Courtney Sippel, Tayla Vlaeminck, Maitlan Brown, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Kate Peterson

England A 207-7 Australia A 133-6 England win by 74 runs