Somerset secured a second-place finish in Group 3 of the Vitality Women’s County T20 on Monday, beating a strong Wales side in both matches of the double-header at Taunton CC
Somerset were again without Nicole Harvey, but Lorraine Szczepanski had recovered from an injury that kept her out of game 2 last week, and Tilly Bond made her first appearances in this year’s competition.
Wales could count five Western Storm players in their ranks: Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Bethan Gammon, Lauren Parfitt and Claire Nicholas.
A wet outfield delayed the start of the first match by two hours, with a 5-over encounter getting underway at 1pm. Somerset won the toss and chose to bowl. Wales opening pair Griffiths and Hennessy were soon into their work, taking the score up to 25 with the half the innings played. Hennessy then fell to Holland, but little momentum was lost – that is, until the final over, bowled by Emily Edgcombe, which saw the loss of two wickets and just one run off the bat. Wales finished on 39 for 3.
Nat Wraith opened as usual for Somerset, but Daisy Jeanes was promoted to partner her in place of Sophie Luff. They wasted no time in getting going – 17 runs were taken off the first over, including three fours. Wraith hit a four and a six off the second over, so Somerset needed just 8 more runs off the last three overs. Wraith hit another four before Jeanes finished it off the fourth ball of the third over – victory was completed by 10 wickets in almost no time at all.
Wales chose to bowl first in game 2, and this time were able to make quick breakthroughs as Nicholas dismissed both Jeanes and Wraith in her first seven balls. Luff and Holland regrouped effectively, putting together a measured partnership of 73 for the third wicket. However, Holland’s dismissal for 29 followed by the stumping of Luff for 46 triggered a collapse as the middle and lower order looked to accelerate. Lilly Hawkins and Joleigh Roberts struck a four apiece but Somerset were forced to settle for 105 for 9, which felt under-par given the strength of Wales’ top-order. Nicholas finished with 4 for 20 off her four overs.
Hennessy was dismissed for just 4 by Edgcombe but Griffiths struck three fours to take Wales up to 39 for 1 after five overs, needing just 67 more runs. However, Holland, in her second over, got rid of both Griffiths and Lauren Parfitt – suddenly, the door was ajar for Somerset.
Szczepanski and Roberts kept a lid on the run rate after the powerplay, before the latter had Georgia Parfitt caught and bowled. However, at that point Wales still only required 49 runs off 53 balls. Gammon struck the first boundary since the powerplay off Bond’s first ball and along with Sophia Smale the runs ticked over nicely with the tension building.
But Smale was run out in the 16th over and Szczepanski took two in two balls in the 17th – Gammon and Nicholas – and Somerset were in the ascendancy again. They closed out the innings with few alarms, with Wales not really looking like finding the boundary. Edgcombe took two wickets in the 19th over to finish with three, while Szczepanski and Holland took two economical wickets apiece. Somerset won by 10 runs.
Elsewhere in Group 3, Warwickshire outclassed Gloucestershire in both matches at Thornbury CC to finish top with 20 points. Somerset finish second on 16 points, Wales are third with 12 and Gloucestershire are fourth without a point.
However, the curious format means that all four teams advance to the group finals day, which takes place on Sunday (8th May) at Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground in Birmingham. Based on group finishing positions, the semi-finals will be repeats of Monday’s matches, with Warwickshire taking on Gloucestershire at 10:30am followed by Somerset versus Wales at 1:30pm. The final will likely begin around 4:30pm.
Entry will (presumably) be free, so if you are in the area do go along!
The scorecard for game 1 can be found here
The scorecard for game 2 can be found here
The Play-Cricket home page for the 2022 Vitality Women’s County T20 can be found here