Devon travelled to Chippenham CC for two T20 fixtures with Wiltshire knowing that one victory would guarantee top seeding within their group ahead of Finals Day.
In match 1, skipper Steph Hutchins won the toss and with grey skies and a cool morning opted to bowl first. A disciplined bowling performance backed up with some good catching and ground fielding started well with a wicket each for opening bowlers Katie Donovan and Katie Harman and at 29-2 Devon were in control. There followed a counter attack from Lauren Shrubsole and Isla Thomson who made 21 and 30 respectively in a stand of 48 for the 3rd wicket without really threatening to provide the acceleration needed to set a challenging target. A superb direct hit from Georgia Read to run out Shrubsole was followed the very next ball with a smart stumping off the bowling of Steph Hutchins (pictured below in a previous game) and from 77-4 the innings tailed off in the main due to a superb hat trick on debut from Exeter University student Eva Lewis as Wiltshire closed on 90-7.
Without experienced batters Becca Halliday and Claire Varcoe a shuffle at the top of the order gave an opportunity to Read who batted well for her 25 from 27 balls having lost Amelie Munday and then Ruby Davis early in the piece. With captain Hutchins they added 32 in good time before Read departed. Hutchins got Devon to within 11 runs of victory before falling for 30. Erin Vukusic 19no saw the team home with two overs to spare.
The second game was a much closer affair with Devon once again bowling first. On the face of it the task seemed simpler as Wiltshire were restricted to a total of 82-7 and without a 53 run 2nd wicket partnership from opener Emily Bogg and another important contribution from Lauren Shrubsole things could have been much worse after the pair were dismissed by Ellie Bishop who in partnership with Eva Lewis strangled the innings with 8 overs for just 20 runs with the loss of 4 wickets, Bishop taking 3. Special mention also to Imogen Dardolph (pictured below in a previous county age group game), called up as a late replacement for Becca Halliday who bowled particularly well, sending down 4 economical overs and picking up a wicket.
Devon once again shuffled the pack with Evie Privett joining Munday at the top of the order. Munday fell early in the piece once again, followed soon after by Ellie Bishop. With the departure of Privett for 12 Devon found themselves in trouble at 27-3. Jemima Vereker soon followed and despite a quickfire 19 from Steph Hutchins the fall of three quick wickets left Erin Vukusic to be joined by Katie Donovan. The pair kept their nerve, Donovan particularly impressing with 10 from 8 balls. Exactly what was required and despite a nervy finish Devon got home with an over to spare to complete the group round matches on top of the group and look forward to Finals Day on Sunday 8th May at Heathcoat CC.
Report by Warren Carr, Devon Women Team Manager