Eagles 233-2 (KE Bryce 126*, LI Wilkinson 2 for 50) beat Stormers 230 (RV Scholes 57, P Beal 2 for 31) by 8 wickets
A magnificent century from Kathryn Bryce saw the Eagles to an eight-wicket win in the first fifty-over match of the Women’s Regional Series at Freuchie Cricket Club. Having taken 2 for 33 with the ball, the Scotland captain struck 15 fours and one six as she crowned a commanding all-round display with her first hundred in regional colours.
Before play began both teams, wearing black arm-bands, gathered on the outfield to observe a minute’s silence in memory of Con de Lange. The tragic passing of the Scotland all-rounder has been marked across the entire cricketing community, and the Freuchie flag was flown at half-mast in a further gesture of respect towards a player, coach and personality whose loss will always be keenly felt.
The Stormers, put into bat, survived the early loss of Ellen Watson (8) and Emily Cavender (5) to pass 50 with little further alarm. Lorna Bryce and Rachel Scholes batted patiently as the Eagles bowlers probed, and in reaching their fifty partnership in the 14th over the Scotland pair had built a good platform from which to attack.
The fall of Jack (31), caught by Ruth Willis at point off the bowling of Samantha Haggo, brought Lois Wilkinson to the crease, and the all-rounder hit her stride with back-to-back boundaries off Phoebe Beal in the 25th. At the other end Scholes looked in similarly good touch, and after hitting three boundaries brought up her half-century with a fourth, a turn around the corner off the first ball after drinks. With the score on 148, however, Beal turned the innings with a double-wicket maiden. Stormers captain Scholes (57) was smartly stumped by Sarah Bryce, and when Charlotte Dalton (0) followed five balls later after feathering behind, the Edinburgh University student had put her team into a commanding position.
From there the Stormers advance stalled still further as the next nine overs yielded only 31 runs. Dawn-Marie Armstrong (4) and Wilkinson (44) both fell with the score on 179, and although Megan McColl (31) batted well to see her team past 200, the wicket of Georgie Howells (7), bowled by Haggo off the final ball of the innings, confirmed the Stormers dismissal for 230.
The urgency of Eagles opening pair Charis Scott and Hannah Short was apparent from the start of the reply as both looked for the quick singles which had often been lacking in their opponents’ innings, and although Scott (7) fell in the third, bowled by Wilkinson, Kathryn Bryce quickly put the fielding side under renewed pressure. The Eagles captain took 12 off the seventh before lofting the first six of the innings as 19 came from the next, and with Short also finding the rope the team from the east looked well on top.
The hard work done, the batters consolidated as the target for victory grew smaller. Although Short was forced to retire hurt after a well-constructed 40, Samantha Haggo (21*) joined her captain to see out a comfortable win with ten overs to spare.
“I’m very happy to get the series off to a great start,” said Kathryn Bryce. “It was a good game to get us going, we had to work hard in the field and get used to playing fifty overs again, you kind of forget how long it is after being indoors, so it was good to get a run-out in the field and then chase their score down in the way we did.
“We tried to go out there and be really positive and put the bowlers under a bit of pressure because sometimes you can get a bit bogged down, but if you can put the pressure on them it creates a few more bad balls which provide more scoring opportunities.” The Regional Series continues on Sunday 28th April at New Williamfield, Stirling.