Somerset Women concluded their season last weekend at picturesque Poulton C.C. with a loss to Durham and a resounding win against neighbours Gloucestershire.
Choosing to bat first Somerset were well set in reaching 49 for one before Sophie Luff (21) and Olivia Hamilton (24) were both dismissed to consecutive deliveries. With two new batters at the crease the scoring rate stalled for a couple of crucial overs before Nicole Richards (14) and Emma Godman (34) built another partnership, eventually taking the score to a slightly below par 109 for six.
Durham started very positively indeed against some indifferent bowling in the powerplay, running up 50 for two in the first six overs and taking control of the game. From that point sensible choice of shots saw them amass a winning total in the 18th over.
Lauren Filer with two for 16 was the most successful bowler, with a wicket each for Georgia Tulip, Lauren Bowen-Jones and Nicole Richards.
During the game a thumb injury to Luff ruled her out of the second match and Richards stepped up to take the reins. Inserting Gloucestershire, Tulip (two for 14) dismissed both openers cheaply and wickets fell regularly as Somerset put on some pressure. None of the home batters really came to terms with the bowling, Skelton’s 17 coming of 43 balls, as they crawled to 76 for seven off their 20 overs.
Other successful bowlers were Lorraine Szczepanski with one for 11, Bowen-Jones with one for 11, Megan Hodkinson with one for 10 and Filer with one for 4.
Despite losing a wicket without a run on the board, Somerset never looked troubled in reply. Olivia Hamilton continued her T20 form by striking 50 not out, from just 31 balls with 10 boundaries, and in partnership with Richards (24 not out) saw Somerset through to a nine wicket win in the 12th over.
The results mean that Somerset finish comfortably mid-table having played some very good, but inconsistent, cricket. The positives are that so many of the recent graduates and current members of the age group teams have stepped up to make their debuts and continue their development. This is very encouraging for the future and is something that can be built on in the winter ready for a tilt at promotion in both the 50 over and T20 formats in 2019.
However, that development will have to take place without Jackie Hawker, who announced her retirement on Sunday, alongside with them. Jackie is one of those players for whom the word “legend” might be properly used. In her 26 year County career (she started very young!) Jackie has been capped by England eight times with a Test debut in 2001 against Australia and a highest score of 56 not out against India.
With County T20 best figures of five for 6 just a fortnight ago Jackie bows out having been pivotal in many Somerset successes and having supported so many players in their own County and International careers. She also goes with our thanks and as the epitome of a “team player.” We all very much look forward to seeing Jackie again around a boundary somewhere supporting the team and enjoying their future endeavours.