Stormers 243 (L Jack 66, H Rainey 3 for 34) beat Eagles 148 (S Bryce 73, R Scholes 4 for 14) by 95 runs
The summer of women’s cricket got underway with an emphatic victory for the Stormers in the opening match of the Cricket Scotland Regional Series at Raeburn Place. Despite a defiant 73 from Eagles opener Sarah Bryce, Stormers captain Lorna Jack’s decisive hand in partnerships of 60 and 96 proved to be the difference as the side from the West, North and Borders secured a 95 run win in the only fifty over match of the competition.
Batting first after winning the toss, Stormers’ Rachel Scholes got her side away to a brisk start with two boundaries in the opening overs. At the other end Jack found the ropes too as the opening pair made the most of an excellent batting surface to take the total past 50 at around a run a ball.
With the batsmen looking untroubled it was going to take something special to make the breakthrough, and it duly arrived in the form of Kitty Levinson’s pick-up and throw from the boundary to run Scholes out for 26. Emily Cavender (12) quickly followed, stumped by Sarah Bryce to give thirteen-year-old spinner Katherine Fraser a wicket with her first delivery, and when Becky Glen (3) became the second Stormer to be run out by the powerful arm of Levinson the batting side suddenly found themselves on the back foot at 97-3.
Jack and Priyanaz Chatterji settled any nerves with what turned out to be the highest partnership of the match, however. The Stormers captain brought up her half century with a fifth four as the Scotland duo kept up the run-rate with some powerful hitting, and as the total reached 185 at the end of the 30th over the game appeared to be slipping away from the bowling side for a second time in the day.
As the score approached 200 the Eagles found the breakthrough, though, as Jack (66) was trapped in front by Caitlin Ormiston, and when Chatterji (47) presented the Gala bowler with a second wicket in her next over via a mistimed pull to midwicket the bowling side had given themselves a chance once more. Led by Hannah Rainey (3-34) and Katherine Fraser (3-53) the final five wickets were wrapped up for just 42 as the Stormers were dismissed for 243.
Despite giving away a frustratingly high number of extras, the Eagles bowlers stuck to their task well on a pitch that offered little assistance to them. Fraser, in particular, caught the eye as she varied her length and flight beautifully to add the wickets of Ellen Watson and Abtaha Maqsood to that of Cavender. Demonstrating excellent control, a nice range of variations and evident confidence in delivering them, the young off-spinner looks to be an outstanding prospect for the future.
Although the runs required were fewer than had looked likely with Jack and Chatterji at the crease the Eagles were still faced with an imposing task, and the chase began with an immediate statement of intent from Sarah Bryce as she cracked the first ball through the covers for four. Fresh from her winter in Australia the Scotland wicketkeeper looked in terrific form, but as the innings unfolded the frailty of the batting at the other end meant that the Stormers total would never be seriously threatened.
The loss of Riti Patel (4), Kitty Levinson (8) and Katie McGill (1) reduced the Eagles to 61-3 as they tried to build momentum, and although Bryce brought up her fifty with a single in the 24th over the dismissal of Ruth Foulds (7) immediately afterwards left them in further trouble at 93-4.
The pressure racked up as the batsmen struggled to pierce the field, and when Bryce (73) finally succumbed in the 38th Rachel Scholes (4 for 14) swiftly claimed the last two wickets of the innings to see the Eagles bowled out with eight overs still remaining.
The Regional Series continues with six Twenty20 matches over the summer, beginning with a double-header at Rossie Priory on June 3rd. At the start of a big year for Scotland’s Women, particularly in T20, it is another opportunity for players to put themselves into contention for national selection.
“We’re hoping that the competition will provide a platform for the strongest players in the country to exhibit their skills and we can hopefully build a bit of an identity as well,” said National Head Coach Steve Knox.
“We’ve only got the two teams this year but we’re hoping that that will expand over the next two years into a three-team competition which will provide the foundation for everything that happens over and above that.
“It’s a great opportunity for our best players to pit their skills against each other. This is another big season for us and I’m very excited about what is to come.”