The Wiltshire U15 Boys towered over most of the England Women Academy players, but on the cricket pitch the girls played the smarter T20 cricket and won both games they played, in their opening fixtures of the EWA's development game season. True the girls were older than their male counterparts (ages ranged from 17 to 23) and the boys admitted that they had not played a T20 game together as a county, but that did not detract from the fact that the girls out-thought the boys on the pitch with their choice of bowlers, fielding positions and general game management. In all of this they were exceptionally well captained by Somerset's Sophie Luff.
In the first game the EWA made a rather tentative start losing both openers Emma Lamb and Evelyn Jones for 6 runs apiece in the powerplay, leaving them on 18/2 after the first six overs. Paige Scholfield (10) briefly added some impetus before she was caught at wide mid-off. After 10 overs the EWA were struggling on 38/3, and they continued to struggle as Alex Macdonald was bowled for 11, and Luff was caught at mid-on. Carla Rudd came in for the last four overs and hit 21* off 15 balls to take the final score to 99/6 at the end of their twenty overs. It seemed unlikely to be enough against a team of hard-hitting young lads.
As it was it proved to be just enough. Nine off the first over from Freya Davies looked to be an ominous start, but she followed that up with a maiden, as did left-arm spinner Alex Hartley and at the end of the powerplay Wilts were on 23/1, with Macdonald claiming the opening wicket. Steph Butler then bowled her four overs on the trot conceding just seven runs and claiming one wicket, as Wilts limped to the thirteenth over with 42/4 on the board. Butler's bowling partner had been Tara Norris, who claimed 2/15. With three overs left the game looked dead and buried with Wilts still needing 36 to win, but Wilt's Will Thomas suddenly came to life crashing 11 off the 18th over from Macdonald with a towering 6 over long off. He then did the same to Davies's second ball of the 19th and claimed 4 next ball as he was dropped on the long-off boundary, Hartley dislocating her finger in the process. But Davies kept her cool and had Thomas well caught by Jones on the midwicket boundary. Wilts still only needed 10 off the last over, but Macdonald restricted them to just four singles to leave EWA winners by five runs.
scorecard for Game 1
In game 2 it was Wilts turn to bat first, but the EWA made a great start with Davies opening with a maiden which also included a run out, and Butler conceding just three runs from the second over and claiming the second Wilts' wicket. Davies added the third wicket in the 5th over and another run out left Wilts precariously poised at 25/4 as the powerplay ended. After 10 overs they had reached 41/4, but from there on in Wilts began to motor thanks again to Will Thomas, who scored 67 off 52 balls, before he was out in the 18th over caught by Jones - a steepling catch at mid-off. Norris had earlier picked up the 5th wicket and with two overs to go Wilts were 100/6. Just four came from Davies' 19th and five from Macdonald's last with another wicket to leave the EWA chasing 109/7.
After 26 runs from the first two overs the EWA never looked back. They lost Emma Lamb caught behind for 13 in the third over, but after that Jones (36*) and Luff (37) accumulated steadily, pushing and running sharp singles to keep the score ticking over. Wilts had no real answer and as Luff attempted to hit the winning run in the 18th over she was caught at extra cover. Jones completed the job with the first ball of the next over, for a comprehensive eight wicket win.
scorecard for Game 2
EWA team - Sophie Luff (capt), Steph Butler, Izi Collis, Freya Davies, Alex Hartley, Evelyn Jones, Emma Lamb, Alex Macdonald, Tara Norris, Carla Rudd, Paige Scholfield,