Source: Dave Vokes

RHF Trophy – A Glance around

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Four games took place around the country. They leave one round still to play.

The Blaze v Sunrisers (Loughborough)

Sunrisers continued their vigorous form by compiling a mammoth 295-5 against the table- toppers.
They were given the perfect start by new skipper, Grace Scrivens, and new girl, Ariana Dowse (ex- Vipers), with a stand of 200. Both went on to complete hundreds, 107 and 105 respectively. Amara Carr and`Flo Miller kept up the pressure at the end, adding 38 runs in the last 3.4 overs. Suddenly Sunrisers are experiencing a golden age with the bat.

They had to work hard to finish the job; that is typical of current standards. Lizelle Lee started the reply by hefting two 4s, but Eva Gray undid her, winning an lbw appeal as Lee played across the line.
Georgie Boyce held the visitors up, scoring her own hundred (104). She was halted only by a run- out by Mady Villiers, whose throwing arm stood out for its excellence all day. Boyce and Kathryn Bryce added 113 for the fourth wicket, to keep Sunrisers on edge. They are still unused to convoys of wins, but, helped once more by Eva Gray (4-31), they achieved their objective with eleven balls to spare.
Everyone, especially the players who have been with them from the start, deserve congratulation. They have been through tough times.

Sunrisers 295-5 The Blaze 265 (48.1 overs)
Sunrisers win by 30 runs

Vipers v South-East Stars (Southampton)

SES made a fine start in the field, the young Kent opening pair, Ryana Macdonald-Gay and Alexa Stonehouse, keeping a tight lid on affairs. But Vipers’ batting line-up is formidable, with Georgia Adams scoring big runs every time she appears. She is one of several people who in another age might have been certain call-ups to England colours.

It was left to the two spinners, Bethan Miles (not as accurate as at Beckenham) and Dani Gregory (today’s pick with 4-49) to prevent Adams and Ella McCaughan from completing 50s (49 and 44).

A fine throw from Jemima Spence did for Georgia Elwiss, as she hesitated over a run, and Gregory snaffled Emily Windsor, just as Kevan James was lining up his latest eulogies of his fellow-commentator.

But Charlotte Edwards picks her squads carefully. Linsey Smith proved to be the surprising top- scorer with 51, and Freya Kemp flayed the bowling with 39 off 33. Once again the opposition had to be at its best to overtake their total.

In reply, Bryony Smith infuriated herself by heaving an early catch to Alice Monaghan on the mid- wicket fence. Her pad has taken a few painful whacks this season as she gets herself out through ill-judged shots.

This put the next pair, Spence and Kira Chathli under pressure. Result: a run-rate of 1.50, then Chathli lofted a catch to mid-off.

Spence and Cranstone shared a 50 partnership in 56 deliveries (63-2) to help recovery from a perilous start.

With Alice Davidson-Richards now away with England, more repsonsibility lay on senior shoulders, but after Smith’s demise Paige Scholfield couldn’t repeat her recent successes.

Once more Linsey Smith was the pick of the bowlers, taking 3-34 in her 10 overs. Stars’ batting ebbed away, all except for Aylish Cranstone, who, in need of big runs, performed heroically to reach 69 off 64.

The story of the innings is told in the figures of the four other batters to reach 20, three came in at 8, 10 and 11, and none bettered Smith’s young opening partner Spence (28).

Vipers 254 Stars 196
Vipers win by 58 runs

Western Storm v Central Sparks (Taunton)

Storm find themselves stuck at the bottom of the table. Today they mounted the perfectly decent total of 241-8, but crucially (and remarkably) not one player reached 40. Five got into the thirties, but history – and today’s other scores – tell you that one or two big partnerships are the path to success.

Sparks, who have been having a lean time too, deserve praise for reaching their target with the loss of only three wickets. Once again the lynchpin was Eve Jones (84*/113), while 158 were scored at the other end. Two big stands marked their progress: first Jones with Abbey Freeborn (44), then 106 with Maddy Green (64), the experienced New Zealander signed up for the last four RHF games.

Western Storm 241-6; Central Sparks 243-3
Central Sparks win by seven wickets

Thunder v Northern Diamonds (Sale)

In the nearest 21st century cricket can get to a proper Roses match, Northern Diamonds beat
Thunder in Cheshire.

This was the only game not to feature a total of 200+.That is a sign of how batting standards are rising, and ND failed by only 4 runs. There were many unfamilar names aboard, and it’s unsurprising that the one celebrity provided us with the biggest score of the match: Lauren Winfield-Hill made 89.

Thunder didn’t have sufficient depth of talent to challenge what should have been a gettable target. Five top scores between 14 and 33 aren’t going to win you any prizes. Today it was up to Fi Morris, Naomi Dattani and the new signing Lauren Delany to provide the examples, and they couldn’t survive long enough.

Katie Levick surprised nobody by providing the outstanding bowling perfoermance of the day, 4-28.

Northern Diamonds 196 Thunder 148.
ND win by 48 runs.

It’s tight at the Top

Blaze retain their pole position despite losing their two latest games by a margin.
All eight sides have now played 13 games. It’s a sign of the times that Stars in third place have lost as many as they’ve won. But the auld enemy, rain, has played its favourite role.

                         W     L      Pts
Blaze               7      3        38
Vipers             6      4        33
Stars                6      6        31
Sparks             6      4        31
Diamonds       6      6       30

Hostilities resume on Saturday.