Having left the rain in Scotland, the Wildcats ‘A’ travelled down to Cockermouth CC for the third fixture of this year’s ECB county championship campaign and were greeted by blue skies and cirrus clouds on what promised to be a good day for cricket.
Stand in skipper Abbi Aitken lost the toss and the Wildcats were asked to bat first with Cumbrian captain Liz Priddle opting to bowl first, looking to extract any benefit that the overnight rain may have left in the wicket.
A new opening partnership of Sarah Bryce and Abtaha Maqsood (3) started watchfully and took the score to 23 in the 7thover before Maqsood was bowled by M.Smith. This brought Rachel Scholes to the crease, with her and Bryce continuing where they had left off last weekend. The runs started to flow more comfortably, and the score had moved on to 71 before Bryce was caught in the deep for a well made 35, leaving the Wildcats two down at the first drinks break.
Smith & G. Brown sparked a mini collapse with pace off the ball as the Wildcats batters struggled to adjust to the slow spin. Lois Wilkinson (5) Scholes (19) and Katie McGill (1) all fell in the space of 10 balls to leave the innings in the balance at 84/5. Charlotte Dalton, making her first appearance for the team, steadied the ship with a dogged 17 as partnerships with Aitken (5) and Ikra Farooq (6) took the score to 130/6, before a wagging of the tail took the score to 154 all out.
Opening bowlers McGill & Aitken then took that late innings momentum into the start of the Wildcats bowling effort, restricting Cumbria to 12/0 from the opening 10 overs, both unlucky not to pick wickets as they beat the bat on numerous occasions. Wilkinson (2/11) & Scholes (2/16) then followed as the ‘spin twins’ showcased their skills, sharing four wickets for 27 runs in a miserly 20 over period.
The Wildcats fielders were also backing up their bowlers, and a Caitlin Ormiston run out within those 20 overs left Cumbria reeling on 43/5 after 30 overs, requiring 112 from 20 overs. Despite some lower order hitting from Liz Priddle (23), the Cumbrian innings didn’t pick up any momentum as Maqsood (2/13) Jess Mills (2/11) and Ormiston (1/1) cleaned up the tail to leave Cumbria 68 all out.
Head coach Steven Knox was pleased with the performance of the squad:
‘With nine of the full Wildcats squad unavailable for this game it was always going to test our strength in depth. What pleased me most about the win was that the new players came into the team and played their part with the bat to get us up to a competitive total. We were exceptional with the ball and in the field and our discipline made it really difficult for a fairly inexperienced Cumbrian team.
Competition for a place in the team in Sunday’s top of the table clash with Durham at Gala CC is now really high and that’s a great place for us to be in as a squad.’