Beckenham witnesses an ‘Oldest Rivalry’ thriller in the WLC

Beckenham witnesses an ‘Oldest Rivalry’ thriller in the WLC

A scorching County Ground, Beckenham was the venue for a nail-biting encounter between Kent Women and Surrey Women in the Women’s London Championship 50-Over competition.

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An unmissable evening of cricket is coming to Canterbury in the Summer of 2024, and tickets are now on sale to see England’s heroes take on the White Ferns of New Zealand in Canterbury, just an hour’s journey from the capital.

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Following a rained-off ECB 50-Over encounter against Sussex in Brighton, Kent Women arrived at Beckenham on a sunny Saturday for another one-day contest against the county’s oldest rivals.

After originally naming a strong squad, international commitments and regional protocols meant that the squad, although still very strong, was changed, with a few talented stars getting their debuts in the Women’s London Championship, a tournament set up by counties surrounding London to provide meaningful 50-Over competition at county level.

Before the start of play, a minute’s silence was impeccably observed in memory of Patsy Lovell, Surrey’s most-capped women’s players.

Surrey won the Toss & inserted Kent to bat first. The Horses lost opener and skipper for the day Charlotte Pope early, dismissed by Charlotte Lambert for one.

Surrey found it difficult to break the second-wicket partnership as Megan Sturge and Isla McCulloch showed how good of a batting deck it was in Metropolitan Kent.

Izzy Sidhu found the breakthrough when she had Sturge caught by Anjali Ketan for 48. For her second scalp, Sidhu clean-bowled McCulloch for 31 as Surrey wrestled back some control from the hosts.

The game continued to ebb and flow as Coco Streets (63) and Genevieve Jeer (52) rebuilt Kent’s innings before speeding up and taking Kent past 220.

Surrey seamers Lewis and Stubbs came back to close out the innings and removed the two set batters one by one, before Emily Thompson played a smashing cameo of 25 not out from 12 balls as Kent finished on a high, setting a target of 267 runs.

Chasing 267 runs in 50 overs, Hannah Burridge was caught and bowled by Zeena Bilal for nought in the very first over, Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones took it upon herself to lead Surrey’s response. She partnered with Ellie Barker for 98 runs – 60 of which came from the bat of the South East Stars batter.

Once Barker was clean bowled by Tilly Corteen-Coleman, Stubbs lifted some responsibility off Blinkhorn-Jones and displayed her range of shots with immaculate fluency. Both batters sailed smoothly, with Blinkhorn-Jones scoring a century, until the collapse occurred, turning the game on its head.

Things changed from in-control to very tense in a matter of moments as WLC debutant Izzy Kirby had her namesake Izzy Sidhu caught for four shortly after the run out of Charlotte Lambert for four, leaving Surrey five runs short of the target with three wickets in hand.

On-field injuries picked up by Surrey in the first innings had limited the involvement of batters Amy Gordon and Robyn Bentley, and the responsibility to take Surrey home was on Abbie Thompson and seamer Anna Lewis.

Lewis responded to the call and struck a vital boundary off Kirby, making the scores level with 13 balls remaining. Kent, however, kept their spirits high and stayed in the game as Megan Sturge bowled out a wicket-maiden from the other end, dismissing Thompson on the final ball.

Gordon finally walked out to the middle, with the Horses declining to ‘time out’ the Surrey skipper, but it was Lewis who would have to face Kirby in the final over of the match. In extremely tense surroundings, Kent jumped in joy when Kirby pinned Lewis lbw for four and claimed her fourth of the innings.

Bentley then joined the captain as the number eleven, and much to the relief of the visiting camp, Kirby missed her mark as Surrey claimed a dramatic victory with a wide ball.

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