The Women’s Super Series resumes at Titwood this weekend, where the Ross and Sutton XIs will battle it out in the third and fourth T20s of Cricket Scotland’s new representative competition. After a nail-biter of a day in Arbroath last Sunday, both teams will be keen to build on the positives of an entertaining first round which finished all square.
Of the two it was probably the Sutton XI which left Lochlands the happier, having recovered from a trouncing in the first game to take a 10-run win in the second. That transformation was built on a far more dynamic showing with the bat – where the Ross bowlers had dominated the morning, with only three Sutton batters reaching double figures, game two saw each of the top three score at a strike-rate of above ninety as they posted a much more impressive total of 133 for 2. Ellen Watson and Lorna Jack led the way with an opening stand of 64, and although Watson was then bowled by a beauty from Hannah Rainey, Charis Scott, and in due course Katie McGill, made sure that that early momentum was carried through to the end. Most encouraging of all, though, was the form of Jack, who showed more than a glimpse of that attacking flair which first came to prominence in the World T20 European Qualifier back in 2017 – that her 46 runs came at well over a run a ball while containing only three boundaries said a lot about her busyness at the crease and aggressive running between the wickets.
The Suttons’ final total still needed some defending, of course, but fine catches from Emma Walsingham and Ikra Farooq and a slower-ball yorker from Niamh Robertson-Jack ensured they got off to a good start in doing so. It was Nayma Shaikh who was the star of the innings, however, with a hat-trick which kept the chasing team on the back foot. Shaikh had an excellent WPL as a batter – after finding plenty of movement in the air and off the pitch here, though, it is the development of her bowling in the shortest form which will be most fascinating to watch as the rest of the competition unfolds.
The Ross XI, meanwhile, can reflect on a performance in game one which shut the door on their opponents in emphatic style. Megan McColl’s burst of three wickets in eight balls left the Suttons reeling at 27 for 3, and with spinners Abtaha Maqsood and Katherine Fraser then turning the screws even tighter, any hope of a revival was quickly snuffed out. That the top three of Ailsa Lister, Abbi Aitken-Drummond and Becky Glen then set about the chase with such relish will have been particularly satisfying for Peter Ross – Glen’s unbeaten 21-ball 36, with its five fours and a six, must have pleased him most of all.
And there were plenty of plusses for the coach to take from the afternoon, as well, as the Rosses stayed in game two until the very last over. The middle-overs partnership between McColl and Emily Cavender ensured that the early damage was quickly repaired, and although Cavender then became the first of Shaikh’s memorable trio, McColl continued to play her shots as her side moved into three figures. The 20-year-old’s near run-a-ball 37 underlined her rapidly developing game – after her excellent showing with the national side in Ireland, the Arbroath all-rounder is already making her mark on this new competition.
Both Peter Ross and Daniel Sutton make two changes to their squads for Titwood. Lois Wilkinson makes a welcome return in place of the Hundred-bound Abtaha Maqsood, while Katherine Mills comes into the Ross XI in place of Emily Cavender. Samantha Haggo, a late withdrawal from round one, takes her place in the Sutton team instead of the unavailable Katie McGill, while Niamh Muir replaces the unfortunate Ikra Farooq, who is out for six weeks after breaking her thumb in the second match at Lochlands.
All in all, it promises to be another fascinating day. A stated aim of the Super Series is to give players at both ends of the experience scale the chance to showcase their skills – on the evidence so far, that is something that is already bearing fruit.
The Cricket Scotland Super Series will be live-scored and streamed via CS Live.
Ross XI: Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Ailsa Lister, Becky Glen, Megan McColl, Katherine Mills, Lois Wilkinson, Katherine Fraser, Hannah Rainey, Catherine Holland, Molly Paton, Anne Sturgess, Zoe Rennie.
Sutton XI: Priyanaz Chatterji, Ellen Watson, Samantha Haggo, Lorna Jack, Abbie Hogg, Charis Scott, Emma Walsingham, Emily Tucker, Niamh Robertson-Jack, Orla Montgomery, Nayma Shaikh, Niamh Muir.
As part of our ongoing coverage of men’s and women’s domestic cricket, The Cricket Scotland Podcast will include a round-up of the Super Series every Tuesday, with analysis and player interviews along with those from our other featured games. Follow @ScotlandPod on Twitter for all the latest information.