Overnight rain and early morning showers meant that both of the morning's semi-finals were delayed. On the second pitch Kent v Notts was only delayed by 15 minutes and they played a full game. On the main pitch a wet patch on the bowler's run up at one end meant a delay of 90 minutes, and the game was reduced to 15 overs per side.
Kent posted a challenging 131/4 with Tammy Beaumont (47) in fine form. Danni Wyatt was the only wicket-taker for Notts claimed 3/28. At 76/6 in reply Notts looked dead and buried, but veteran Jane Smits (59) had other ideas. She steered her team to within 10 runs of victory before she fell run out in the final over. Notts eventually finished eight runs adrift. Fifteen year old off-spinner Megan Belt claimed three wickets for Kent.
When play eventually started on the main pitch Berkshire, without their talismanic skipper and opening bat Heather Knight, were invited to bat by Sussex. They seemed to lack any self-belief and in a low-key innings struggled to 59/7 in their 15 overs. Alex Rogers (25*) was the only player to reach double figures as the wickets were shared around for Sussex. In reply Sussex lost Alexia Walker and Sarah Taylor, but Paige Scholfield (16*) and Arran Brindle (17*) saw Sussex home in the 14th over.
In the final Sussex won the toss and decided to bat first. Kent were without Lydia Greenway and Laura Marsh and Sussex were already without Georgia Elwiss. As the teams warmed up it became apparent that they would also be without Sarah Taylor.
Alexia Walker (26) hit nine off the first over from Tash Farrant, but together with Georgia Adams (26) they could only get Sussex to 26/0 after the first 6 power-play overs. With more fielders then set out on the big East Preston boundaries, fours became even more difficult to hit. Sussex lost Walker in the 11th over with the score on 56 and in the next over Adams was caught at short third man off Megan Belt (1/19) - 59/2. Sussex limped along and it was only 18 off the last two overs they helped them to a below-par 107/5.
Charlotte Edwards (49) opened with Alice Davidson-Richards (17). With an inexperienced middle order Edwards set out her stall to bat through the innings, allowing Davidson-Richards to try and go after the bowling. She fell in the 8th over to a good catch at long-on by Hannah Phelps off Holly Colvin (42/1). Kent were always up with the required run-rate and when whippet Tammy Beaumont (35*) joined her skipper in the middle they continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over with quick singles and twos to the fielders in
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In the third/fourth place play-off Berkshire defeated Notts by 5 wickets as they chased down 113/8 in the 18th over.
All the teams looked a little jaded in this competition, and the long hard season has obviously told on all the England girls, who are already thinking about the impending tour to the West Indies in October. Perhaps some consideration should be given to the T20 regionals being played earlier in the season, with the finals in the middle of the County Championship matches, allowing the County Championship to take centre stage at the end of the season.
Sussex will need to pick themselves up and dust themselves off before next week's County Championship play-off with Yorkshire. Quite why a league system needs a final is beyond me, but play it they must. Quite who will be playing for both teams is anyone's guess.