The Women’s European Championship was not a happy hunting ground for Scotland. First contested between England, Ireland, the Netherlands and Denmark in 1989, twelve years before the newly-minted Wildcats made their debut appearance, the now-defunct competition brought the Scots no better reward than third place. It did, however, see Scotland take what was then its greatest scalp as, on 15 August 2011, the mighty Ireland was defeated in Utrecht.
The Scots’ two-wicket win broke a run of eight straight defeats, but they would have to wait another sixteen matches to taste victory again. On Dutch soil once more, in the Quadrangular Series which preceded the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dundee and Angus last summer, Scotland got the better of its near neighbours for a second time.
For Sarah Bryce, captaining the side in place of her sister Kathryn, who was away on Kia Super League duty with Loughborough Lightning, it was an occasion to savour.
“It was only the second win against Ireland in our history, and the first time for all but one in our squad,” she remembered. “To cause that upset was really special, especially as we were missing a couple of key players including Kathryn and Abtaha [Maqsood].
“Captaining the side to victory and singing ‘Flower of Scotland’ afterwards was very special.”
Played at the Sportpark Het Schootsveld in Deventer, Scotland went into the game on the back of a defeat to Thailand and a win over the Netherlands, and, batting first, were indebted to a third-wicket partnership of 44 between Lorna Jack (32) and Priyanaz Chatterji (20) – the latter Scotland’s only representative of the Class of 2011 to play in the match – to take the side to a defendable total.
“We won the toss and decided to bat first,” said Sarah. “Our total of 105 was definitely below par, but thanks to a decent partnership between Jacko and Priyanaz we were in the game.
“We had seen Thailand defeat Ireland the previous day, and with the history of the fixture we all went out to field ready and pumped to fight to the end. Scholsey [Rachel Hawkins] opened the bowling and kept things really tight which applied some pressure, and that was then rewarded when Priyanaz picked up the first wicket LBW in the second over.
“It gave us a real confidence boost. When you’re defending such a low score everyone needs to deliver and, luckily for me, every time I threw the ball to someone they bowled to their plans.
“We managed to squeeze them, gradually increase the required run rate, and never let it slip. One of their key players was Kim Garth, a crucial wicket which the young gun Katherine Fraser picked up in the middle of the innings.
“When the final ball was bowled there was a massive sigh of relief and great excitement within the whole team.”
Scotland’s 11-run win would be followed by a five-wicket victory over Thailand and a 62-run DLS success against the Netherlands. Although Ireland then took its revenge with a nine-wicket win over Scotland in the last match of the double-round-robin competition, it was not enough for the Full Member to overhaul Steve Knox’s team in the final table. Secure in second place, the Scots finished a tournament above their Celtic rivals for the first time in their history.
10 August 2019 at Deventer: Scotland 105 for 6 (L Jack 32, EAJ Richardson 3 for 14) beat Ireland 94 for 7 (KJ Garth 30, KJG Fraser 1 for 12) by 11 runs