Just three teams of women (36 in total) and an U16 boys team took to the field in Loughborough last Saturday for the first of three weekend's of "Super 4s" action (should it now be called the Super 3s?).
The women taking part were :-
Emeralds - Knight (capt), Beaumont, Brindle, Sciver, Luff, Hartley, Scutt, L Smith, Davidson-Richards, Shrubsole, Rudd, Langstone
Sapphires - Edwards (capt), Wyatt, Rowe, Hazell, Miles, Hennessy, Dalton, Carr, Griffith, Reynolds, Cross, Farrant
Rubies - Winfield, Jones, Gunn, Greenway (capt), Wilson, Cooper, G Davies, Morris, Grundy, Odedra, Noakes, Gibbs
Some of the names missing that might have been expected to take part were - England's Brunt, Colvin, Marsh and Taylor, plus the Academy's Dibble, Macleod, Shipman and Watson.
The ball dominated in this first weekend of T20 games with no side scoring more than 112. It is tough format as a batsman trying to show what you can do, but fearing giving your wicket away, which tends to lead to low scoring games.
Sapphires beat Rubies by 9 wickets - Sapphires could only muster 89/8 in their 20 overs with only Lydia Greenway (25 off 37) scoring more than 20. Tash Farrant claimed 2/13 off 4 overs and Danni Hazell 2/10 off 4. Charlotte Edwards (45* off 43) and Danni Wyatt (33 off 37) took them to within nine of victory before Wyatt fell.
Emeralds beat Leicester u16s by 7 wickets - Emeralds restricted the boys to 104/9 in their 20 overs with Anya Shrubsole (2/13 off 4) and Cecily Scutt (2/16 off 4) the pick of the bowlers. Tammy Beaumont (0) and Heather Knight (6) went early but Arran Brindle (58* off 61) and Nat Sciver (24 off 41) steadied the ship, although Sciver fell just before the game was won.
Sapphires beat Emeralds by 5 wickets - Emeralds managed to score 108/3 with Arran Brindle (44 off 38) and Heather Knight (31 off 44) the main scorers. Danni Hazell (2/17 off 4) was the main wicket-taker. In response Edwards (1), Wyatt (7) and Hazell (5) went cheaply, but Suzie Rowe (34 off 36) and Natasha Miles (41 off 37) took the score to 82/4 before Rowe fell. Miles went with the scores level, but Sapphires sneaked home with 2 balls to spare.
Rubies beat Leicestershire u16s by 6 wickets - The Leicester boys also managed to score 108 but for the loss of four wickets (one to Noakes, Odedra and Grundy and one run out). Lauren Winfield opened and batted throughout the Rubies' reply for 56 off 46 balls. She lost Jones (5), Gunn (1) and Wilson (4), but Cooper (6*) helped her take Rubies to victory with 10 balls to spare.