South East Stars have marched into this Sunday’s final of the 20-over Charlotte Edwards Cup at Southampton, where they will face the winner of the second and third place play-off between Northern Diamonds and Southern Vipers.
The Stars – who are an amalgamation of Surrey and Kent’s women’s teams – booked their place by rounding off the group phase with three polished performances in the space of six days.
Batting first in all three, Lightning, Southern Vipers and, finally, Central Sparks were all brushed aside with ease.
Tash Farrant pulled the strings in the first, before going off on international duty, and Surrey opener and off-spinner Bryony Smith led the line in the last two.
“If we lose a few wickets, we’ve got depth in our batting line-up and I was really pleased with how people chipped in at the end of our innings,” said Farrant, after the 28-run victory over Lightning in which she scored 35 and took 2-25.
“It’s so nice to be back with the girls [after The Hundred]. We batted well and posted a really good total on a good wicket.”
Surrey’s Alice Capsey starred in the 20-run win over Southern Vipers by taking 2-9, though not before hitting 61 off 46 balls. But the day didn’t end happily for the 16-year-old, who picked up an injury in the field.
Given the absence of Capsey for the 26-run victory against Central Sparks, Smith, who is the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 13 victims at 8.92 runs apiece, was delighted not only to be confirmed as finalists, but also with the batting of Chloe Brewer (41) and Emma Jones (46 not out).
“Losing Alice and Phoebe Franklin to injury was a big blow for us,” said Smith. “But Chloe Brewer and Ryana Macdonald-Gay were really good for us today.
“They’ve both come through our Academy system; I’ve coached both of them a lot so that was handy. It means we’ve got a few selection headaches for the final!”
Smith added: “We play a really positive brand of cricket and we wanted to bowl first in all of our last three games, because we’ve got the bowling to defend any score.
“We always want to go from ball one. I’m trying to lead that myself and to see the young ones come in and bat like that – I’m really proud of them.
“To get over 150 in all three games was a real positive for us. We’re really excited and pleased to come top of a very strong group.
“We don’t know who we’ll play in the final, but we’ll watch the play-off and will be ready to face whoever wins.”
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