TCC Ladies beat fellow title challengers Bradley Stoke by just 5 runs in the latest round of fixtures.
In our latest Women's indoor league match, skipper Nina won the toss and had no hesitation in sticking to the team's game plan of chasing a target against Bradley Stoke.
Experienced batters Kai & Vicky opened up for Bradley stoke and immediately went on the offensive against Thorns opening bowler Helen. Bowling her usual nagging line & length Vicky smashed her 3rd ball for a straight six. Liz, Nina & Gail bowled the next 3 overs but couldn't prevent the pair from setting a strong platform of 34-0.
Thorns needed a breakthrough and it came off the 1st ball of Caroline's spell where she gathered a drive and quickly executed a run out. The ladies sensed an opportunity and with debutant Rachel (aka Slinger) bowling her 2 overs well and putting on pressure, it enabled Gail to capitalise and pick up 2 wickets. The first an excellent pick & throw from Liz followed by a mis-timed pull safely gathered by the expectant Helen running in to safely gather.
That left Bradley Stoke on an even 56-3 after 2 pairs. With class batters Esther & Sarah walking to the crease for the last 4 overs the game hinged on this pivotal 10 minutes. Caroline bowled the first with just 7 runs coming, Liz bowled the 10th over for just 6 with Bradley Stoke on 69-3 with 2 overs left. Bradley Stoke knew they needed to up the tempo to post a competitive target.
Nina took the penultimate over and was backed up expertly by her team mates, which created panic as they tried to force the initiative. Rachel fielded the 2nd ball securing a run out gathered by Nina herself. Nina then bowled her 'mystery' ball rolling her fingers over the seam which completely bamboozled Esther and took her off stump to joy of the captain & team. Not finished yet, her 5th & last ball drew Sarah into a false shot and another catch for the impressive Helen. In one over Bradley Stoke had slumped to 70-6!
Helen bowled the last, following 3 dot balls and a 3 before Caroline ran out Esther as they tried to induce a mis-field. Finishing on 73-7, Thorns were in a great position leaving only 39 to win, assuming no wickets lost.
Following drinks Helen & Gail opened up with Helen pinching the strike, but both batters played sensible cricket without too many risks. Jashtrey did take Helen's middle stump with a beauty leaving Thorns on 23-1 after the first pair & well placed with 21 required off 8 overs.
Caroline & Rachel played the same game, hitting the walls regularly without too many risks.
Importantly neither batter lost their wicket as they accumulated a further 18 runs. With just 3 runs required off the last pair, some composure was required, but Bradley Stoke held their most experienced bowlers back for the final pair. Liz & Nina kept their cool knowing wickets would be the only way to give Bradley Stoke any chance.
The 9th over produced 6 runs (0 wickets) which meant TCC lead by 4 and the 10th over saw 3 runs (0 wickets ), which increased the lead to 7. Bradley Stoke captain Kai bowled the 11th, Nina smashed her 4th ball for 6 but in trying to repeat the feat with the 5th ball, she was caught with Thorns leading by just 9 going into the last over.
The tall & imposing figure of Esther with her quick seamers bowled the last. Liz had the chance to grab the headlines in the tabloids as the title rested on her shoulders. 1st ball: Liz smashed a cover drive into the wall, a lead of 10. Searching for the magic ball, Liz watched as Esther beat the bat three times in a row but most importantly the wickets remained intact. The final ball cleaned up all 3 stumps as Liz could see the back pages with her name on it! But it was all academic as Thornbury celebrated a 5 run victory in another nail-biting finale, to cap off another fabulous team performance.
Special mentions to Nina and her match turning over and to Rachel for coming out of retirement and performing with both bat & ball. Player of the match goes to Liz for her steady accurate bowling, composed run out and keeping out Ether's ferocious last over.
Helen:18-10-1 Gail: 2-2-0 (partnership 23/1)
Caroline: 10-6-0 Rachel: 10-8-0 (partnership 18/0)
Nina: 10-9-1 Liz: 10-4-1 (partnership 17/2)
Helen: 2-12-1 Liz: 2-12-0 Nina: 2-5-3 Gail: 2-14-2 Caroline: 2-12-1 Rachel: 2-14-0
Harry Hawkins TCC Women's coach