Source: Julian Thompson

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2023 – match 58 – Final Vipers vs Blaze

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Southern Vipers vs The Blaze at ‘The County Ground’ Northampton, on September 24

‘Vipers’ won their third RHFT crown (2020, 2021 & 2023); becoming the first team to become ‘double champions:’ holding both the 20 overs and 50 overs titles during the same season. Also, ‘Vipers’ bagged their fifth trophy in four seasons. Before the match, head coaches Charlotte Edwards (‘Vipers’) and Chris Guest (‘The Blaze’) were optimistic to win the ‘silverware,’ but neither coach was forthcoming about ‘last-minute-advice.’ Setting-the-scene, commentators mentioned that ‘Blaze’ were the ‘dominant team,’ starting the seasons with a string of back-to-back wins. South Africa’s Nadine deKlerk was said to have been a major contributor with bat-and-ball. On the day, ‘Blaze’s’ Tammy Beaumont made top-score [76 runs (from 104 balls)] from an ‘under-cooked’ total of 200. ‘Vipers’ replied with two batters scoring ‘fifty’ [Georgia Elwiss (50) & Emily Windsor (57*not out).] Commentators curse struck when Georgia Elwiss was said to “have scored back-to-back ‘fifties’ against ‘Blaze’;”and was promptly out, next ball. Two 90-run match-winning partnerships (the second between Emily Windsor and England’s Freya Kemp adding 94 runs) took Vipers to victory. Commentators for ECB TV were Michael McCann (Sports journalist) with Jamie Reid (unannounced, but from BBC Solent radio), with guests Charlotte Taylor (‘Vipers’), Fran Wilson (Ex-England & ‘Storm’) and Jo Gardner (‘Sunrisers.’) Also via BBC Sound [5 Live Sports-Xtra radio], with Kevan ’Kev’ James (BBC Solent radio), Melinda ‘Mel’ Farrell (former Australia women), Rita Green (Sports Journalist) & Jemma Green (Hursley Park women): the ‘Greens’ said to be ‘unrelated.’ Video highlights courtesy of ECB (NV Play) & Southern Vipers (please see below.)  Played in ‘windy’ weather, with floodlights switched-on from the start. Floodlights were later switched-off as weather improved toward the close. Toss was delayed at 10h00; 10:30h; taken at 11h20: when it was decided that the match was reduced to 48-overs per innings.

Blaze’s Innings Skipper Kirstie Gordon [Rhianna Southby keeping wicket for ‘Vipers’] *With Tammy Beaumont (‘replacing Ella Claridge’) & Kathryn & Sarah Bryce (Scotland) & Sophie Munro. *Also with International player Lizelle Lee but without Nadine deKlerk (Republic of South Africa); *Without Natalie Sciver-Brunt, Sarah Glenn, Teresa Graves or Michaela Kirk. *Lizelle Lee 3(5) went ‘leg-before’ to Linsey Smith; *Mis-timing straight to ‘extra cover,’ five balls later, Marie Kelly 0(1) was caught by Charlie Dean, from Linsey Smith for a ‘golden duck;’ *During the 12th over, Sarah Bryce 15(35) played-on from a ‘bottom-edge,’ from Charlie Dean; said to be ‘a big loss;’ *Before mid-way, Georgie Boyce 12(16) went  ‘leg-before’ to Georgia Adams; *By mid-way when drinks were taken, ‘Blaze’ were 96/4; *After mid-way, Kathryn Bryce 12(23) snicked an ‘outside edge’ to keeper Rhianna Southby, from Mary Taylor (1/39); *Said to have played for Blaze for this season only at 50 overs, Tammy Beaumont 76(104) was caught at ‘mid-off,’ by Georgia Adams, from Charlie Dean; *Lucy Higham 2(8) was short-lived, bowled by Linsey Smith; *Reportedly ’holding things together,’ Sophie Munro 33(66) went ‘leg-before’ to Georgia Adams; *Georgia Adams (2/43); separately Georgia Adams’ reportedly chalking-up 50 career wickets bagged with her ‘off-breaks’ at 50 overs (46.1-48.8mph.) *Hitting a defiant ‘six’ from ‘Blaze’s’ penultimate ball, followed by 2 to bring-up 200, Kirstie Gordon was 21*not out (from 26 balls); Josie Groves was 4*not out (from 5 balls.) Best ‘Blaze’ batter was Tammy Beaumont 76(104); Best ‘Vipers’’ bowler was Linsey Smith who took 3/27; (bowling speed 45.1-46.1 mph.)

Vipers’ innings *Skipper Georgia Adams [*Sarah Bryce keeping wicket for Blaze] *’Unchanged’ with Maia Bouchier, Charlie Dean, Mary Taylor, Ava Lee & Freya Kemp ‘batting, but not bowling.’ *Without international player Nicole Faltum (Australia); or England’s Danni Wyatt & Lauren Bell. *Ella McCaughan 0(8) was caught by Kirstie Gordon from Kathryn Bryce for an eighth-ball ‘duck’; *Hit on her ‘back-leg,’ Maia Bouchier went ‘leg-before’ to Kathryn Bryce (2/48) (bowling speed 56.4-57.1 mph);*Skipper Georgia Adams partnered by Georgia Elwiss added 96 runs. *Mini-collapse when three wickets tumbled and ‘100/2 became 109/5.’ *Firstly, Georgia Elwiss 50(69) snicked-an-edge to keeper Sarah Bryce from Josie Groves; the very next ball after scoring ‘back-to-back fifties’ against the same opponents. *Three balls later, Georgia Adams 39(52), was bowled by Josie Groves (3/39); *Josie Groves said to have ‘removed’ both Georgias ‘in the space of 4 balls.’ *Ten balls later (the interval misreported elsewhere), Charlie Dean 7(7) was short-lived, when bowled by Josie Groves (3/39.) *Drinks were taken just before mid-way (after 23.3 overs.) *Second match-winning partnership worth 94 runs followed, between Emily Windsor 57*not out (53), and Freya Kemp who was 32*not out (35); *Best ‘Vipers’’ batter was Emily Windsor 57*not out (53) *Best ‘Blaze’ bowler was Josie Groves who took 3/39 (bowling speed 42.2-47.1 mph.)

Match summary: ‘Vipers’ won their third 50-overs crown, also becoming the first women’s team to become ‘double champions’ during the same season. Commentators lauded the quality of play, when reporting women’s cricket data that 37,000 balls had been bowled this season (up from 25,000 for ’22; & 14,000 for ’21.) During ‘Blaze’s’ ‘Power-play,’ Lizelle Lee, Marie Kelly & Sarah Bryce all departed for low-scores. Tammy Beaumont made top-score as innings anchor, staging recovery with Sophie Munro who scored a season’s-best 33. ‘Blaze’s’ total was said to be ‘undercooked,’ but defendable. Commentators described two ‘high pressure situations’ when two early Vipers wickets fell to Scots skipper Kathryn Bryce. A similar situation occurred when three consecutive ‘Vipers’ wickets fell to Josie Groves, said to be playing her ‘dream match,’ coming locally from Northampton. As mentioned above, two 90-run batting partnerships (between Georgia Elwiss and Georgia Adams; followed by Emily Windsor and Freya Kemp) took ‘Vipers’ to victory. Separately as Head Coach, Charlotte Edwards holds all three domestic women’s trophies, two with ‘Vipers’ including the one named in her honour for 20 overs.’ Charlotte Edwards is also Head Coach with ‘Southern Brave,’ winners of The Hundred (Women) trophy (2023.) Separately, commentators mentioned that ‘Vipers’ had won back their 50-overs title for a third year, previously lost to ‘Diamonds’; only last year.

Match result: Southern Vipers 203/5 (target 201 from 40.2/48 overs) beat The Blaze 200/8 (48/48 overs) by five wickets; with 46 balls remaining.

*‘Blaze’s’ batting: 200/8 (48/48 overs @4.1 runs-per-over); Tammy Beaumont 76(104), Sophie Munro 33(66), Kirstie Gordon 21*(26); ‘Vipers’’ bowling: Linsey Smith 3/30, Charlie Dean 2/27, Georgia Adams 2/43, Mary Taylor 1/39; Fow: 1-3, 2-6, 3-45, 4-66, 5-106, 6-154, 7-163, 8-183.

*’Vipers’’ batting: 203/5 (40.2/48 overs @5.0 r-p-o); Emily Windsor 57*not out (53), Georgia Elwiss 50(69), Georgia Adams 39(52), Freya Kemp 32(35); ‘Blaze’s’ bowling: Josie Groves 3/39, Kathryn Bryce 2/48; Fow: 1-1, 2-4, 3-100, 4-101, 5-109.

*Scorecard courtesy of ECB @URL

*Video highlights, via  ECB (via NV Play) @URL

*Match highlights free-to-air courtesy of England and Wales Cricket Board (believed to be via NV Play) on ‘YouTube’ Livestream [9h47m] @URL–southern-vipers-vs-the-blaze