Gritty Ashford topple leaders
Halls and Butler lead charge as strugglers find their form at last with bat and ball
BEDEVILLED by ill-luck and a lack of belief after a series of debilitating losses at the higher level, Ashford managed to pull off a remarkable 69-run victory against unbeaten league leaders Bishop’s Stortford.
Batting first, they got off to a steady start, Elize Brown pulling the ball strongly to find the boundary three times on her way to a quick 23. Skipper Becky Halls was joined by Katie Butler, and the pair saw off the best of the visitors bowling, Butler leading the scoring as the run rate began to climb.
The partnership had reached 124 when Halls was caught for a fine 70, and Butler fell shortly after for 61, her second 50 of the season.
But by then the work was done and Ashford posted a total of 182 from their 45 overs.
The league leaders got off to the worst possible start in reply, Ashford bowlers Hannah Merchant and Jenny Tippell both striking in their opening spells. And when Gill Bonham took a good catch in the gully off Merchant, three wickets had fallen for just 12.
Led by Scarlett Hughes, Bishop’s began to make a recovery, but Ashford were not about to let them off the hook. Brown broke the partnership thanks to a good catch by Yolandi Maynier and it was Maynier herself who got the wicket of Hughes, Butler behind the stumps pulling off a sharp stumping.
Young Elizabeth Hackney bowled a testing spell without any luck but the required run-rate continued to rise as Tippell returned to pick up two more wickets. Angharad Purser joined the attack and soon had a wicket to her name, too. It was Merchant who finished things off, Bonham taking another catch to seal a fine Ashford victory.
“Finally, we have found some of the form which brought us such success last year,” said team spokesman Alison McCreedy.
“The top order delivered runs and the bowlers took wickets, all backed up by a strong performance in the field, catching well, and chasing down every ball.
“With all but one of our remaining matches at home, we will be hoping that this marks the turning point of the season, and Short Lane will see some more memorable games.”
Halls: On her way to a fine 70.