Durham v Wildcats ‘A’
Wildcats ‘A’ had a winning start to their early May bank holiday weekend road trip to the North East of England with a convincing 8 wicket victory over Durham at Philadelphia CC. The Scots lost the toss and fielded first in the sweltering heat. They started brightly, restricting the home side early on in the ECB Division 3 North opener. Katie McGill beat the bat several times, as did former skipper Abbi Aitken as they got some swing from the pink ball. Although the ground fielding was of a high standard throughout, a couple of regulation catches went down and it took the seam of Caitlin Ormiston to make the break through, with an athletic dive for her caught and bowled to reduce to hosts to 45 for 1.
Captaincy of the side was bestowed to Lorna Jack for the first time and she set some really good fields as she ramped up the pressure on the top order with a prolong period of spin following Ormiston. Lois Wilkinson bowled an excellent spell and was rewarded for her relentless line with two wickets, one well stumped by the recent returnee from Australia, Sarah Bryce. Lois’s partner in crime Rachel Scholes gave the Wildcats ‘A’ a real grip on the game either side of drinks as she bowled her 10 overs for just 20 runs and claimed the prized wicket of Scotland’s own Becky Glen, who in previous clashes has been a match winner for her county side.
Durham ended on 164 for 4 with Hopkins on 54 not out from 110 balls in 117 minutes with just two 4s in her knock which never really seemed to kick on, though this was also testament to the bowling unit and fielding standards being high for the most part. The other stand out from the bowling performance that would have impressed Head Coach Steve Knox, was a spell with some good pace and bounce from Edinburgh Uni student Hannah Rainey.
The Wildcats ‘A’ batters knew they would have to deal with spin, and plenty of it, and with a huge emphasis on improving this area over the winter it was a real positive to see the opening duo of Bryce and Jack amass a fine stand in the face of some high quality spin bowling. The run rate never dropped much below 5 per over as the ‘A’ side aimed for maximum batting bonus points to go with the 10 points for a win.
Skipper Jack showed her tenacity and deserved her half century, which came off 78 balls, before she was caught soon after trying to lap the ball over the short fine leg fielder. Scholes strode to the crease at 129 for 1, however she could not back up her fine bowling spell with a match winning knock as she was eager to get things done and succumbed to a back pedalling catch at mid on. This left Stirling County’s Wilkinson to bat in the now stifling heat and she kept the outstanding Bryce company with a patient 11 not out as they saw off all the impressive Durham bowlers could offer. Bryce the Watsonian showed her class and impressive stamina with the bat having kept for 50 overs and she carried her bat with 81 not out which came from 102 balls and struck nine 4s.
The total was passed in the 34th over for the loss of two wickets and a fantastic start to the campaign left the team in high spirits in advance of game two the following day against Northumberland.
Northumberland v Wildcats ‘A’
Wildcats ‘A’ backed up their fine victory over Durham with a comprehensive win over Northumberland on a glorious bank holiday Monday at Stocksfield CC. The county side won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bat first on what looked a firm surface. Though it was flooded just three weeks ago and the bounce proved lower than in Durham the day before it was fairly predictable throughout proceedings.
Leading the pace attack was Katie McGill who struck with the clock just gone 11am as her second ball breached the defences of opener Scott. After 9 miserly overs from the ‘A’s the home score had reached 10 before McGill claimed Scott’s opening partner lbw for a 24 ball duck. The hosts were a young side and needed a partnership to navigate around numerous maidens and solid ground fielding. Hannah Rainey made it 23 for 3 with a top delivery, and again showed a quality slower ball option.
Northumberland started to show more resilience, even if they could never fully get on top of the spinners. The score moved from 46 for 4 to 76 for 5 then 91 for 6 as the Northumberland innings was galvanised by a run a ball 34 (4 x 4s, 1 x 6) by number 6 Rachel Foreman. The big hitter was dismissed by a superb catch at deep mid wicket by Lois Wilkinson off the bowling of Gala starlet Caitlin Ormiston. After some brief respite from the bank holiday heatwave, as a short spell of cloud cover cooled things slightly, the A team finished strongly as 91 for 6 became 105 all out.
After the again impressive Rachel Scholes finished her spell (10-1-34-2) it was the experience of Northern Counties CC’s Jess Mills with her outswingers and the youth of Arbroath Utd all rounder Megan McColl who wrapped things up. McColl in taking the 9th wicket, did so with her first ball in ECB county cricket, on what is the Arbroath High School pupils debut ‘A’ team trip. 105 was the target, with only the annoyance of a second day of a couple of regulation catches going down to take a little gloss of 42.1 overs of industrious endeavour.
With the innings wrapped up early a short 8 over spell was played out before lunch was taken. Captain Lorna Jack could not build on her impressive knock from Sunday and succumbed LBW in what was an erratic over from opening bowler Chomse. At the lunch break the Wildcats were on a healthy 58 for 1 as Sarah Bryce maintained her imperious form from the victory over Durham punishing anything that dropped short whilst Rachel Scholes drove majestically down the ground on several occasions.
— Scotland Women (@WildcatsCricket) May 6, 2018
Chris Cattanach and all at Stocksfield deserve high praise for their hosting of the fixture and providing excellent hospitality which included an excellent tea.
With 47 required after tea the ‘A’s needed to ensure complacency did not creep in, while scoring at more than four an over to claim maximum bonus points on top of the 10 for a win. Having looked untroubled before tea Rachel Scholes’s defences were breached by Chomse with a good delivery for 27 (38 balls, 5 x 4s). Wilkinson could not repeat her role from the day before in seeing out the game as an exaggerated leading edge was well caught by Robson at midwicket.
The all round talent of McGill was called upon to accompany the seemingly unflappable Bryce, unruffled by several head high no balls, as she dispatched such deliveries to the boundary to again carry her bat, this time for 41 (49 balls, 64 min, 6 x 4s). McGill ended on 10 not out as the Scots cruised to a 7 wicket win in just 16.3 overs, ending the bank holiday weekend top of ECB County Championship Division 3 North.
Special mention must go to Sarah Bryce who was on the field for every ball of the two games in unseasonably high temperatures and kept wicket and batted superbly throughout.
The A team now look forward to an early morning trip to Cumbria on Sunday to take on a resurgent Cumbrian side led by Wildcat Liz Priddle who started the season with two 50s for her new team as they defeated Northumberland and pushed Durham all the way on Monday before losing by 3 wickets.