A somewhat depleted England Women's Academy offered the EWDP U19s an early season opportunity to score some bragging rights over their more senior counterparts. However early wickets from the Sussex quick, Freya Davies, put the EWDP on the back foot, and confident runs from fellow Sussex player, Paige Scholfield, ensured the EWA cruised home with more than 12 overs still in the locker.
The EWA were missing - Georgia Adams (injured), Hollie Armitage (injured), Steph Butler (Sri Lanka), Alex Hartley (Sri Lanka), Georgia Hennessy (unavailable), Emma Lamb (Sri Lanka) and Alex Macdonald (Sri Lanka), so it was left to Davies, Scholfield, Aylish Cranstone, Evelyn Jones, Sophie Luff, and Carla Rudd to keep the young upstarts down, with help from some of the U19s themselves - namely Emily Arlott, Maia Bouchier, Marie Kelly, Sophie Mackenzie, Caitlin O'Keefe and, most significantly, Durham left-arm spinner Rachael Petherick.
In the opposition camp EWDP coach Sally Ann Briggs thought she had a decent line-up of young talent, namely Anna Nicholls, Ellie Threlkeld, Cordelia Griffith, Bryony Smith, Izzy Collis, Alli Kelly, Georgie Boyce, Sophia Dunkley, Nalisha Patel, Katie George and Tara Norris. It was a team that looked on paper to have a strong batting line-up and their self-confidence was evident when they won they toss and elected to bat first on the main pitch at Loughborough, which looked to have plenty of runs in it.
Unfortunately for the EWDP things did not go according to plan as Freya Davies, bowling with good pace and swing, removed three of the top four in her opening six over spell. In the first over of the game Anna Nicholls (2) played across the line and was lbw, beaten for pace, and in the third over her fellow opener, Ellie Threlkeld (5), was bowled. Just as the batsmen seemed to be getting on top Davies accounted for Bryony Smith as she too was beaten for pace, skying a top edged pull to square leg. At 43 for 3 the EWDP were in trouble. But Essex's Cordelia Griffith (54) and Sussex's Izzy Collis (40) gradually rebuilt the EWDP innings through a mixture of caution and occasional aggression. Both dealt harshly with the short ball both on the off-side and the leg-side and together they took the score to 109 for 4 when the players left the field for a short rain break. Unfortunately on their return Griffith immediately drove Sophie Mackenzie to extra cover to depart, and then Alli Kelly was lbw first ball to the left-arm seam of Aylish Cranstone. But Notts' Georgie Boyce proved to be another willing partner for Collis and together they added 54 for the sixth wicket before Collis became Rachael Petherick's first victim, caught and bowled on the drive. It was just reward for the left-arm spinner who bowled well on a pretty unresponsive pitch. Davies returned for the batting powerplay and conceded just four runs in two overs, and when Petherick accounted for Sophia Dunkley missing a favoured sweep shot, skipper Sophie Luff decided to try and finish the EWDP off. It was a tactic that worked perfectly. The hard-hitting Boyce (34) was run out after a mix up by a fine throw from deep cover by Maia Bouchier, and Petherick (3/28) then claimed her third, enticing Nalisha Patel to drive her to cover. Davies (4/34) finished off the innings when she had Bea Firth lbw in the 43rd over. The EWDP were all out for 184.
The EWA were gifted the ideal start with 26 off the first over as Katie George struggled to find her line. Unfortunately most of those runs came in extras. Thereafter Yorkshire's Bea Firth (2/27) and Tara Norris bowled tight lines and Norris was rewarded when Cranstone (5) was bowled in the fifth over. In the next Evelyn Jones chopped a short ball onto her stumps for a 19 ball duck, and the EWA were tottering on 32 for 2. Paige Scholfield came to join her skipper Luff at the crease and the pair initially made steady progress before Scholfield, playing her first game of the season, got her eye in and took a liking to Norris and Patel, hitting five 4s in the space of seven balls. It looked as though the EWDP were going to be heading for an eight wicket defeat, but Dunkley sneaked one past the advancing Luff (25), who was harshly adjudged to have been bowled amid a flurry of keeper's gloves and dropped ball. Bouchier then ran herself out attempting a suicidal single to mid-off and the EWDP sniffed an opportunity. Had Norris held on to a regulation catch at mid-on off Scholfield in the next over the game could have opened up, but it was not to be. Scholfield lost Rudd bowled by the returning hard-working Firth with 35 still needed, but then she and Davies guided the EWA towards a comfortable victory. With the finish line in sight Scholfield holed out to deep square leg for 75, but Davies (22*) rounded off a good day as she hit the winning runs in the 37th over.
full scorecard here