Kent Women got their season off to a perfect start with two wins against Surrey at Chipstead.
The Horses’ trip to Surrey was their first matchday in a revamped Vitality Women’s County T20 for 2021, where Kent are in the South East Group alongside this week’s hosts, Middlesex, Essex, Hampshire and Sussex.
Ahead of match one, the hosts won the Toss and elected to bowl first on a sunny but blustery day in Surrey. England international Kirstie Gordon was handed her full debut after signing for the Horses in early 2020 but her debut being delayed heavily by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Kent’s opening pair for Sarah Bryce and Grace Scrivens, who had put Essex to the sword last season in a 50-over match without losing a wicket, were once again the two to open for Kent.
The partnership lasted until the end of the second over, when Bryce edged Jones behind for ‘keeper Southby, trying to drive into the covers.
Phoebe Franklin came in at three to put on a further 12 runs from 9 deliveries, before top edging high into the air for Gray to take the catch. Kent reach the end of the powerplay 40/2.
It was down to Scrivens and new partner Alice Davidson-Richards to rebuild, and they did so in style. In total, their partnership lasted 11 overs, and the pair put on 104 runs together.
Scrivens, who will turn 18 in November, showed her class by hitting boundaries consistently, including a perfectly timed pull shot for six. She reached her half century from 39 deliveries, whilst ‘ADR’ proved an invaluable foil at the other end, keeping the score ticking over.
The duo’s stand lasted until the 17th over, Davidson-Richards top edging to Capsey off Gordon, not before scoring 36 from 36.
Former England international Susie Rowe joined Scrivens in the middle, and the pair really upped the scoring rate at the death with some imperious strokes, powering Kent to 195/4 after their 20 overs.
In reply, Surrey lost a wicket in the first over. Kirstie Gordon announced her arrival at Kent Women with a wicket on her fifth delivery on full debut, adding flight to her left arm spin to force Capsey to sky one to Kalea Moore.
The hosts rebuilt after their early stumble to reach the ninth over, before Moore struck in her second over. Cranstone attempted to come down the pitch to a shorter delivery that outfoxed the Surrey batter, Sarah Bryce obliging with the stumping to dismiss her for 36.
Megan Belt then took her first wicket of 2021 in the following over, bowling Brewer for three, as Surrey wickets began to fall consistently as they looked to chase an ever growing required run rate. An impressive direct-hit run out by Hannah Jelfs was the pick of Kent Women’s fantastic fielding performance.
Surrey reached the 18th over on 134/6, but further wickets from Moore & skipper Tash Farrant ensured a Kent Women victory by 50 runs, Surrey making 145/9 after 20 overs.
The second match began after Surrey again won the toss, but this time elected to bat. That decision proved to be a shrewd one as the hosts came out for the powerplay unscathed on 23 without loss.
Gordon and Capsey were then able to find the boundary in the following overs to take Surrey up to 52/0 after seven overs, before Kent finally got the breakthrough they needed – Megan Belt bowling Amy Gordon for 29 with a fuller flighted delivery.
Hannah Jelfs then broke another threatening Surrey partnership in the 12th over, dismissing Alice Capsey on the cut with Grace Scrivens there to take the catch.
Megan Belt took her second wicket of the match after some good wicketkeeping by Sarah Bryce, holding onto teh dangerous White’s feathered edge to take a good catch standing up to the stumps.
Surrey made 152/5 in their 20 overs.
Kent’s reply got off to a shaky start after losing both Bryce and Phoebe Franklin in successive overs, a good piece of wicketkeeping to stump the Scotland international and Franklin being foxed by a slower delivery to be bowled for one.
The first match’s heroes Scrivens and Davidson-Richards were tasked with the rebuilding job, again putting on more than 50 runs together before Scrivens was caught in the deep for 30.
After Susie Rowe fell for four, Kalea Moore joined ‘ADR’ in the middle and the pair looked to find the rope after the game moved into what would prove to be an exciting finish.
Kent needed six to win from the final over, and after two dot balls, two twos and a single, it was down to Alice Davidson-Richards to try and secure the win with the match tied going into the final delivery of the day.
What then followed was a calm yet stylish piece of batting. Davidson-Richards pulled out the ‘reverse-lap’ shot to sneak a single down the off-side, and despite a stifled appeal for leg-before, Kent were once again victorious – this time by five wickets.
The Horses now sit in top position of the South East Group after two matches, and will welcome Middlesex Women for their next T20 matches behind-closed-doors at The County Ground, Beckenham on Monday 3rd May.
Kent’s next match will be a visit to Essex for their Women’s London Championship 50-overs opener on 1st May.