Kent Women’s preparations for the 2021 season got off to a good start as the Horses defeated arch rivals Surrey twice in one day at a behind-closed-doors County Ground, Beckenham.
With spectators currently not allowed at Kent’s Men’s First XI, Second XI & Women’s fixtures, Kent’s Members and supporters will have been pleased to enjoy both in-game clips and a live stream for the second match, courtesy of the South East Stars.
In the first clash of the day, Surrey won the toss and chose to bat first in sunny conditions at a ground where batting has historically been easier than at other venues.
Tash Farrant, who will be skippering the side throughout 2021 due to Tammy Beaumont’s playing commitments elsewhere, conceded just one run from the opening over. This put on the desired pressure for left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon, making her first appearance in a Kent jersey despite joining the Club in early 2020, to strike with her third delivery as a Kent Women player. A full delivery with lots of flight got the better of Capsey’s late swing, and was bowled without scoring.
In the next over, Kent Women’s Vice-Captain took a wicket of her own – her South East Stars teammate Bryony Smith holing out to Alexa Stonehouse at mid-off.
Surrey only reached 24/2 at the end of the powerplay, and subsequent Surrey batters never really got going during their time in the middle. The ‘Brown Caps’ only passed 100 in the 16th over, and finished their innings 129/8.
Kirstie Gordon was the pick of Kent’s bowlers on debut, finishing with 3 wickets for 21.
Set 130 to win, the Horses got off to a tricky start. 2020 Batter & Player of the Year Sarah Bryce was dismissed for just 3 in the first over, whilst Farrant, opening the batting on this occasion, fell five deliveries later.
Three boundaries in a row from Grace Scrivens in the tenth over helped ease Kent from 50/3 to 62/3 at the halfway point, and at time it seemed that the two sides were set up for a close finish.
Former England batter Susie Rowe was partnered with 2020 Fielder of the Year Kalea Moore with Kent needing seven to win from the last over, then two from the final ball: something that Rowe was able to achieve by coming down the pitch to Smith and heave into the legside for two runs.
Kent Women were victorious by four wickets, Rowe top scoring with 42 from 33.
For the second match, Kent won the toss this time, and chose to bat.
This time, Bryce has Grace Gibbs as her opening partner, before Gibbs fell at the end of the second over, mistiming her pull shot to Cooper from the off-spin of Capsey.
Bryce recovered from her first-over dismissal in the first match to bat for half of Kent’s innings, putting on 32 runs with Alice Davidson-Richards, until she was caught by Southby at long-off from Cooper.
Kent were 89/4 at the end of the 15th over, until Danielle Gregory pulled-off a double-wicket maiden to see the end of both Tash Farrant and Hannah Jelfs.
Grace Scrivens announced her arrival to the middle by executing a lovely scoop shot for four runs, but was bowled by Berry with her next delivery.
Kent managed to post 128/7 after their 20 overs, with Kalea Moore and Kirstie Gordon putting on 35 runs in partnership.
Moore’s salvo of 20 from 15 balls batting at nine very much helped the Horses’ cause.
Surrey were stifled by Kent’s opening bowlers during their reply – the now-trusted combination of Farrant and Gordon only leaking 17 runs in four overs.
Kent finally made a breakthrough in the seventh over, when a bouncer from Davidson-Richards was met with a hook shot from Capsey, only to fall straight to Ryana Macdonald-Gay to take the catch.
Grace Gibbs then dismissed Jones with her second delivery of this match, and Megan Belt took two wickets in two overs with her off-spin – bowling both Southby and Brewer.
Gordon took two wickets in the 17th over to produce the second double-wicket maiden of the day, finishing her four overs with figures of 4-1-15-4.
Tight bowling at the death from both Davidson-Richards and Macdonald-Gay saw Surrey only make it to 93/8 after 20 overs, and Kent won by 35 runs.
At the end of the day, Kent Women’s Head Coach Dave Hathrill said: “I thought that we played some very good cricket across both games.
“As a group, we took a great amount of value from the opportunity to get out & compete against a good Surrey side.
“Players got good time in the middle with the bat and rhythm with the ball that we can take into the start of the T20 competition next weekend.”
Kent Women travel to Surrey for a T20 double-header to kick off the Vitality Women’s County T20 on Sunday 25th April.