Match Report: Kent Women vs. Essex Women

Match Report: Kent Women vs. Essex Women

The Battle of the Bridge T20 Showcase returned to Canterbury at Kent Women faced-off against Essex Women at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence.

A good bowling performance from Kent was backed-up with the bat, including 45 from 29 from Kent Women veteran Charlotte Pape, as the Horses ‘reclaimed the Bridge’ by beating Essex Women by three wickets at a floodlit T20 showcase at The Spitfire Ground St, Lawrence.

All-but-one of Kent’s bowlers claimed a wicket to curtail Essex to 109/5 & set themselves a victory target at under a run a ball, before Pape & co. chased down the required 110 in 18 overs.

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On an originally overcast evening at the home of Kent Cricket, Kent Women skipper Megan Belt won the toss & elected to field in what seemed to be ideal bowling conditions.

That decision was proved right when Alexa Stonehouse bowled Hollie Dring-Richardson with the second ball of the match, going on to only concede one run from the first over.

Essex found the boundary rope for the first time in the third over; Poole, who had been dropped in the second over by Pape, pulled hard into the off side for four runs.

Whilst Poole scored another four in the fourth over, Cath Dalton was finding it harder to find the gap in Kent’s field placements – until eventually smartly cutting to dissect the fielders in the fifth.

Dalton was then put down by Genevieve Jeer trying to pull Stonehouse into the covers, with Poole then smashing Kent’s left-armer into the ad boards by the Kennedy gates for the first six of the evening.

Dalton survived a chance when Sydney Gorham came on to bowl her right-arm medium pace from the Pavilion End, the Essex batter ‘chopping on’, but fortunately for her, she turned around to see the ball race away to the fine leg boundary.

Gorham would get her revenge – rapping Poole on the pads two deliveries to send the Essex batter back into the Pavilion for 17 – Essex reaching 37/2 after the powerplay.

Jess Bird made a bright start coming in at four, hitting three boundaries in quick succession. The visitors bought up their 50 inside the 8th over, but a heavy rain shower sent the players off the field at 18:27.

20 minutes later play got underway again under what were now blue skies and sunshine – the epitome of the weather situation throughout the afternoon – Alice Grant picking up where Kent had left off, bowling Bird for 14, & motoring on to a precious wicket maiden for her first over with the ball.

A wonderful diving stop in the field from Belt in the first ball of the 11th came after Essex had reached 55/3 after ten, who then bought herself on to bowl from the Nackington Road End, but was met by boundaries from both Dalton & Castle – a ploy that would come to haunt the visitors – as Dalton picked out Tilly Corteen-Coleman at long on for 22.

Castle tried to put up the run rate, smashing Grant for six over cow corner in the 15th, before dealing the same punishment to Megan Belt into the on side in the next over.

She was then dropped by Coco Streets, a tough diving chance from the bowling of Olivia Barnes, as Essex looked to accelerate in the final four overs of their innings. That however proved to not be an expensive missed chance, as Jodie Hobson took a wonderful running catch at deep midwicket two deliveries later to send Castle back in the hutch for 28.

Essex were made to feel the pressure by watchful Kentish fielding – another good diving stop to prevent runs came from Barnes in the 19th over, before Essex reached the three-figure mark with only 1.4 overs left of their innings.

The visitors climbed to 109/5 after 20 overs. Alice Grant was the pick of Horses bowlers, her four overs getting figures of 4-1-15-1.

Kent got their reply off to a steady start – Charlotte Pape, making her first Kent appearance at home since 2017, crunched a single off the first ball, with Alexa Stonehouse getting the same result from her first ball faced, too.

Pape executed a deft cut to split point & backwards point for the Horses’ first boundary in the second over – crashing another four with the next delivery past a diving Cath Dalton at mid off.

Hollie Dring-Richardson seemed to struggle with the St Lawrence slope in her first over – conceding five wide balls, before recovering exceedingly well – executing a deft caught and bowled to see the end of Alexa Stonehouse for 4.

Pape reached the boundary for the fifth time as Katherine Speed came on to bowl, expertly pulling past the fielders, before smashing a six over deep square leg & deep point with successive deliveries.

Coco Streets, ably assisting Pape batting at three, bought up the Horses’ 50-run mark with a sweep to the fine leg boundary for four, past the diving fielder.

Pape showed no signs of letting up her aggression – smacking Prisha Bedi for successive fours in the eight over in the leg side, before picking out Bird in the deep to see Kent 63/2 & needing 47 for victory.

Excellent running from Streets & her new batting partner Emily Barrett helped the Horses stay well above the required rate – at the halfway point, Kent were only needing 33 to win, helped along the way by a well-timed straight drive past Bedi from Barrett.

Streets fell to a questionable LBW appeal from Grace Poole for 15 from 23, & Barrett then fell to a good high catch from Dring-Richardson also for 15.

Hobson was also out LBW to Poole for 1 – with the Horses now needing 15 to win in six overs with five wickets remaining.

Elysa Hubbard bought up the Kent 100 with a cover drive in the 15th over but was out to Bedi LBW from the last ball of the 16th – Genevieve Jeer was then bowled in the first ball of the 17th to leave Kent 105/7.

Megan Belt survived a run-out chance as things got tense deep into the death overs, but the crucial remaining runs were acquired by the Horses skipper with two overs to spare.

Sally Chapman finished with figures of two for 13, Grace Poole two for 18.

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Player of the Match, Kent’s Charlotte Pape, said: “I felt really good [in the middle]. I’m back in the Kent system after a few years and it was nice to be back at The Spitfire Ground. The ball was coming off the bat lovely!

“It was good to get ahead of the run rate in the powerplay and I really enjoyed it.

“With the rain at the start, we felt that bowling first would get us there, we pinned them back a bit and we’d have taken 110 to chase anyday. Us getting above the run rate early doors made it easier for us to bring it home.

“The bowlers worked really well & there was pressure from both ends which helped bowlers get wickets. At no point did we think that they were cruising. We got crucial wickets at big moments to put us back on the front foot – it was a good all-round team performance.

“Games like this, with a good crowd in today, its nice to see how women’s cricket is progressing – I can’t wait for a lot more games like this. The more we can do nights like this I think is better for the game.

“I’m glad that I was also get my eye in before my Club’s ECB T20 final on Sunday against Gunnersbury [for St. Lawrence & Highland Court]!”

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