Source: Julian Thompson

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2023 – match 30 – Vipers vs Blaze

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Southern Vipers vs The Blaze at Newport (Newclose County Cricket Ground) Isle of Wight, on 11 July at 10h30  

Both teams were equally ‘missing a few players’ from England’s ‘Ashes’ call-up. Speaking post-match, Vipers’ skipper Georgia Adams (who skippered Vipers to win this season’s 20 overs’ cup): conceded that unbeaten Blaze were the ‘best team in the league’ (RHF 50 overs); having just seen the match ‘go down to the wire.’ Two Blaze’s batters scored ‘fifties.’ Top-scorer Marie Kelly (pictured, seen raising her bat upon scoring ‘fifty‘) hit 61 runs (from 81 balls.) Fellow-opener Scotland’s Sarah Bryce 52(62) made her second ‘fifty,’ scored during the same week (previously, scored versus Diamonds.) Together the opening-pair banked 115 runs for Blaze’s first wicket. Although weather was forecast to play a significant role, organisers reported to the writer that ground-staff did their best ‘to ensure a complete day’s play.’ Weather at Newclose was overcast, light breeze and damp with occasional spots of rain during early-afternoon; 15C.

Vipers innings *Skipper Georgia Adams *[Sarah Bryce keeping wicket for Blaze] *With England’s Maia Bouchier *[Without Lauren Bell, Charlie Dean, Danni Wyatt; or Nicole Faltum (Aus)] *International player Maitlan Brown (Australia WBBL) *With the possibility of overs being lost to inclement weather expected mid-afternoon, seamers Grace Ballinger paired with Nadine deKlerk restricted Vipers’ Power-play score to 28/0. *Bowling changes rotated spinners Kirstie Gordon & Lucy Higham (off-break) paired with medium-pace seamers Kathryn Bryce & Sophie Munro. *Vipers’ opening pair both fell to Kirstie Gordon. *Ella McCaughan 20(33) went plumb ‘leg before;’ followed by Maia Bouchier 40(52) who was caught ‘in the deep’ by Sophie Munro, some 4 overs later. *At mid-way, Vipers were 106/2. *During the 30th over, Emily Windsor 26(43) was caught by Grace Ballinger from Kirstie Gordon. *10 overs later, seamer Nadine deKlerk (medium pace) returned to take 2 wickets with 4 balls. *Firstly, Georgia Elwiss 23(33) was caught by Marie Kelly. *Secondly, Freya Kemp 1(2) was caught by Michaela Kirk. *3 overs later, Maitlan Brown 9(15) was caught by Sarah Bryce from Kathryn Bryce (1/33.) *During Vipers’ penultimate over, Linsey Smith 15(17) was caught by Kathryn Bryce from Nadine deKlerk.*Georgia Adams 94*not out (104) made (an overdue) top-score, having played a ‘skipper’s innings.’ *Best Blaze bowlers were Kirstie Gordon 3/48 and Nadine de Klerk 3/54. *Speaking afterwards on-screen, skipper Georgia Adams had earlier expected that 260 was a ‘winning total.’@URL:

Blaze innings *Skipper Kirstie Gordon *[Rhianna Southby keeping wicket for Vipers] *International players Nadine deKlerk & Michaela Smith (Republic of South Africa.)*[Without Tammy Beaumont, Sarah Glenn or Natalie ‘Nat’ Sciver-Brunt]  *Covers were removed after an extended lunch, play resuming with spots of rain expected a little later (around 3pm.) *Seamers Mary Taylor (medium) & Maitlan Brown (fast); paired with slow-bowlers Linsey Smith and Ava Lee. *After 10 overs Power-play Blaze were 62/0 (vs 28/0.) *Openers Marie Kelly (61) and Sarah Bryce (52) both hit half-centuries, and made a 115-run first-wicket stand.*Bowling-change saw Sarah Bryce 52(62) snick-an-edge to keeper Rhianna Southby, from Georgia Adams’ 8th ball. *By mid-way, Blaze’s were 132/1 (vs 106/2.) *By comparison, Vipers’ bowlers took more wickets beyond mid-way. *Next over, Marie Kelly 61(81) was caught by Maitlan Brown between ‘mid-on’ and ‘deep-mid-wicket’, from Ava Lee (1/64.) *Kathryn Bryce 25(21) was caught by Ella McCaughan from Mary Taylor (1/54). *4th wicket fell when Georgie Boyce 36(49) was caught by at ‘square’ by Linsey Smith from Maitlan Brown. *Sophie Munro survived Linsey Smith’s (2/37) ‘hat-trick’ ball when two wickets fell with 2 balls to keep Vipers in the game. *Firstly Teresa Graves went ‘leg before’ for a ‘golden duck.’ *Next ball, Michaela Kirk 34(39) missed her ‘square cut’ as Linsey Smith changed angles, coming around-the-wicket to the right-hander. *Match went ‘down-to-the-wire,’ leaving Sophie Munro 22*not out(24) & Nadine deKlerk 11*not out(13.) *Best Vipers bowler was Linsey Smith (2/37.) *Blaze’ Marie Kelly made top score 60(81.) *Separately, Viper newbie Ava Lee’s first 3 matches have bagged her a total of 5 wickets.

Match summary With the possibility of overs being lost to inclement weather expected mid-afternoon, Blaze bowlers restricted Vipers’ to a slow start. Batters staged two 50-run partnerships: firstly (between Ella McCaughan and Maia Bouchier) banking 51 runs for Vipers’ 1st wicket. Secondly, (Georgia Adams with Emily Windsor) added 58 runs for the 3rd wicket. Thirdly, (Georgia Adams with Georgia Elwiss) added 52 runs for Vipers’ 4th wicket. Play resumed after an extended lunch, without any overs lost to weather. During their Power-play, Blaze scored at a faster-rate, their 1st-wicket century partnership (between Marie Kelly and Sarah Bryce) added 115 runs. That made light work of Blaze’s reply. Vipers’ bowlers did well to stay in-the-game as the match progressed ‘down-to-the-wire.’ Any result seemed quite remarkable, considering the constant ball-towelling and damp weather conditions that signalled the possibility of heavy-rain. After after 8 rounds played-to-date, Blaze (32 points) stay top-of-table. Vipers (18 points) placed joint-5th.

Match result: The Blaze Women 260/6 beat Southern Vipers 259/7, by 4 wickets (with 10 balls remaining)

*Vipers batting: 259/7 (50/50 overs @5.1 runs-per-over); Georgia Adams 94*not out(104), Maia Bouchier 40(52), Emily Windsor 26(43), Georgia Elwiss 23(33), Ella McCaughan 20(33), Linsey Smith 15(17); *Blaze bowling: Nadine deKlerk 3/48, Kirstie Gordon 3/54, Kathryn Bryce 1/33; Fow 1-51, 2-77, 3-135, 4-187, 5-191, 6-215, 7-247.

*Blaze batting: 260/6 (from 48.2/50 overs@5.3 runs-per-over – target 260 from 50 overs); Marie Kelly 60(81), Sarah Bryce 52(62), Michaela Kirk 34(39), Georgie Boyce 36(49), Kathryn Bryce 25(21), Sophie Munro 22*not out(24), Nadine deKlerk 11*not out(13); *Vipers bowling: Linsey Smith 2/37, Georgia Adams 1/21, Mary Taylor 1/54, Maitlan Brown 1/61, Ava Lee 1/64; Fow 1-115, 2-132, 3-171, 4-213, 5-229, 6-229.

*Scorecard with video highlights, courtesy of ECB (via NV Play) @URL: & BBC Sport @URL:

*Edited highlights, courtesy of Hampshire Cricket (for Southern Vipers) via NV-Play on YouTube (39m54s) @URL