Sunday, May 14 saw Devon Women compete in Group 8 Finals Day in the Women’s County T20 County Championship.
After a frustrating group phase dominated by the weather, meaning that the team had only started one of the six games and that game was abandoned due to rain, Sunday was an excellent chance to actually play two games. The format was a semi final at Taunton Vale Sports Club, before a third place play-off and final at The Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton in the afternoon.
Semi Final - Somerset won by 7 wickets
Devon’s semi final was against a strong Somerset side. Devon lost the toss and were put into bat. Openers Amelie Munday and Emma Corney started brightly showing real intent and set the tone for a good first powerplay putting on 22 in quick time. The loss of Munday brought Becca Halliday to the wicket a partnership of 37 saw Devon in a strong position going into the second half of the innings. At this point, they lost Corney (39) and Halliday (14) in quick succession and coupled with Somerset’s accurate bowling and excellent fielding Devon slowed and eventually reached a total of 95 for 7 off their 20 overs.
This total was always going to be challenging to defend. Somerset were very aggressive in their reply with Nat Wraith setting the tone with 45 off 28 balls to break the back of the chase. Once she was dismissed Devon worked hard to slow the run rate and made Somerset work hard for every run. Somerset reached the total 3 down but the bowling discipline backed up with a good fielding performance set the team up well for the afternoon’s third place play-off.
Third Place Play-Off - Devon won by 4 runs
Cornwall were their opponents for the third place play-off. Cornwall won the toss and elected to bowl. In a complete reverse of the morning's game, the top order found scoring difficult and lost the top three inside the powerplay, at one stage Devon were 11 for 3 scoring at less than two an over. The rebuilding was based around a partnership between Ellie Bishop (18) and Jemima Vereker (13) this enabled Devon to set a base to attack the final overs of the innings. Erin Vukusic (31 not out off 25) ably assisted by Steph Hutchins and Katie Donovan successfully put momentum into the final overs and Devon completed the innings with a very defendable 100 for 7.
Katie Donovan made the perfect start with the ball reducing Cornwall to 13 for 2 clean bowling the dangerous Odgers and number 3 Forge. Devon consistently bowled accurately and were supported with a good fielding performance. Cornwall regrouped putting on 53 for the 3rd wicket. Captain Steph Hutchins cleverly juggled her bowlers and the introduction of Ellie Bishop (3-13) proved crucial as the run rate slowed and Cornwall lost wickets steadily.
The game went down to the final over; Devon had worked hard to leave Cornwall needing 15 off the last over. Erin Vukusic was tasked with bowling the over. The over proved to be a really tense affair with the first four balls yielding 10 runs for Cornwall and a wicket for Devon. Two balls, 5 to win was the final equation. Vukusic showed great maturity and composure to bowl two dot balls and bring victory to Devon.
The win was reward for a disciplined bowling and fielding performance after showing resilience with the bat.
Reflecting on the day, Devon Women Lead Coach, David Joseph, said: "Finals Day showed the real potential of the very young Devon squad and they will have learned a lot from the experience of playing two pressure games."
The Devon Squad on the day: