Tuesday evening saw us welcome Hurstpierpoint ladies to SJP for our first home match of the season. Skipper Charley Hepburn returned following a three-week lay off due to injury and duly lost the toss. Hurst invited us to bat first so Charley and Jodie Johanson (in for the hospitalised Izzy Deamer, get well soon Izzy!!) strode to the middle to begin our innings. Jodie received an good ball which nipped back off a length early on and her dismissal brought Adeline Preston to the crease. Adeline was out of the blocks very quickly, driving her second ball away to the cover boundary. At the other end, Charley got underway with a ferocious cut shot as both batters settled. They then proceeded to up the scoring rate, Adeline smashing a couple of lovely back foot drives through point as Charley worked the gaps and ran well. Adeline’s fine early season form continued as she raced to retirement with 33 off 24 balls and Charley followed suit having unleashed a couple of pulls to the square leg rope, heading back in with 31 not out from 28 balls. Emily Goss and Charlotte Bates then looked to continue the good work, picking up singles and aiming for the gaps. Charlotte smashed a boundary before playing across the line to a straight ball and Emily was also dismissed as wickets began to fall. Ella Ward did her best to pick up the momentum of the innings again as Beth Coffey was run out for 2 trying to sneak a quick single. Amy Butterfill was caught at point under instructions to ‘give it a whack’ before Adeline came back in and finished the innings off with a scampered 2, ending on 35 not out as we closed on 102 for 5.

Hurst got off to a flying start as the dangerous Karen Miles found the boundary three times in the opening over. Beth bowled a very tight over from the bottom end to peg things back before Charlotte picked up our first wicket with a full ball that swung into leg stump. Hurst then put on a good partnership of 34 runs before Charley, bowling seam up instead of her usual spin dropped a filthy delivery short of a length which was smashed towards backward point where Ella Ward stood. With little time to react, Ella swooped low and clung on to a tough chance! Amy came on to bowl at and bowled two tight overs before producing a couple of unplayable deliveries in her third over, picking up two wickets in three balls, both bowled. Emily took over from Amy and after a rusty start began to find her length. She produced a well flighted delivery to pick up our fifth wicket, again bowled before Ella induced a top edge from the Hurst batter which was safely pouched by Jodie behind the stumps. With one wicket needed, Hurst began to claw their way back into the game, inching closer to their target of 103. Needing 9 to win from the final over, Beth produced a fantastic set of deliveries, conceding just 3 runs (no extras) to see us over the line by just 5 runs.
Good to get a win under our belts but I think that we made hard work of it! Some of the fielding was ordinary and will need to improve. Adeline and Charley shone with the bat and it was good to see the wickets shared around with Amy Butterfill claiming 2 for 11. Beth bowled very well and was unlucky not to get in the wickets, but the value of her final over can’t be underestimated. Ella’s catch was the fielding highlight and Jodie did a great job as keeper. Thanks to Jez and Claire for scoring and to everyone with their help with teas! Thanks also to our loyal supporters, it was an exciting finish and great entertainment! Well played both teams, we look forward to the return fixture later in the season.
Author :  Alec Hepburn