Rhianna has Wokingham dancing to her hit tune
A FIRST Southern League Championship win has boosted confidence for Ashford Ladies who were still searching for their maiden victory at the higher level prior to facing Wokingham on their travels – Rhianna Southby the star.
A strong all-round performance saw them run out comfortable winners by 60 runs to prove they are worthy of their place in the division.
With Becky Halls in support, Southby led the way for the visitors, punishing loose deliveries while treating good balls with the care they deserved.
Despite a damp outfield she was soon finding the boundary, dealing particularly well with a few high full tosses and showing the form which has taken her into the senior Surrey squad at only 15.
Her 50 came up shortly after the drinks break and she went on to make 72, her highest score for Ashford, before she was bowled with the total on 92.
Katie Butler kept the run-rate up with three boundaries in her 29, and some powerful hitting from Yolandi Maynier and Angharad Purser took the final score to 178.
Jenny Tippell led the Ashford attack with the ball and tore the heart out of Wokingham’s reply with a devastating spell of 4-4 in her first four overs.
Under skipper Julia McQuitty the hosts rallied to 54-4, then Maynier got into the action with a wicket and a run out.
Once again McQuitty steadied her side, and the score had passed 100 when Maynier pulled off another run out with a fine piece of fielding. Hannah Merchant returned to the attack to claim the key wicket of McQuitty for a hard-fought 44, and Ashford were almost home. Halls turned to Sarah Taylor, who needed only 10 balls to take the final two Wokingham wickets, the last one caught by Tippell.
Ashford’s first win at this level marked a proud day for everyone at the club, especially Halls and Ali McCreedy, who have been with the side for all of the long journey from its beginnings at Englefield Green, and through a spell at Laleham before finally finding its home at Ashford.
A championship win – proof of what can happen for those who dare to dream.
Double act: Rhianna Southby is congratulated by Becky Halls, right, on reaching her 50.