Derbyshire Women clinch cricket promotion in style

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Derbyshire Women clinched promotion to ECB Women’s County Championship Two on a record-breaking final day of the season to make it a double success.

Charlotte Horton’s team demolished Norfolk by 209 runs to add promotion to their earlier promotion to Division Two of the ECB T20 Cup.

Wicketkeeper Bess Heath was the star with a magnificent first century — taking her past 1,000 runs for the season — three quickfire stumpings and a one-handed catch.

Horton described the success as a fantastic effort from the whole dquad.

“With Derbyshire hosting eight games during the 2017 Women’s World Cup, an exciting season ahead is in prospect — and with players coming through the development age-groups, the county can be positive about its progress,” she said.

As well as Horton and Heath, the squad comprised Rachel Hopkins, Emily Marriott, Lia Kellogg, Rebekah Grimley, Alice Dyson, Sarah Glenn, Megan Pittman, Lauren Tuffrey, Georgie Harrison, Sarah Sribala-Sundaram, Emma Thatcher, Amy Lacey, Jess Bakewell and Lucy Yates,

Derbyshire gained promotion with a dominant performance against a young and promising Norfolk at Spondon on Sunday. The margin of victory surpassed the previous week’s 200-runs victory over Cheshire as the squad signed off in style.

Despite the washout across the county the previous day, the forecast looked good as Hortons team were invited to bat on a good track.

Horton (12) and Hopkins (20) started watchfully, aware of the big prize at stake. Despite that, the pair advanced at a good pace with six boundaries in an opening stand of 50.

Thanks to strict umpiring on wides, the scoreboard continued to move. The openers both fell in the ninth over as first Hopkins mistimed a ‘half-tracker’ to midwicket, shortly followed by Horton in similar style.

Emily Marriott (11) was joined by Bess Heath and the score moved along before Marriott missed a straight one in the 14th over to leave Derbyshire 89 for 3.

Kellogg (10) looked in good form again, but was caught behind over reaching for a wide delivery with the score 130 for 4 after 19 overs.

The fifth-wicket partnership proved decisive as Grimley (44 from 50 balls) smashed six fours while adding 133 in 17 overs with Heath as records began to fall.

First Heath passed the 1,000 runs milestone when she reached 30. The perfect opportunity to pass the landmark came with Heath on 24 as she faced a free-hit no ball — the full toss being despatched into the trees for six.

Heath passed 50 soon after as the bowling began to suffer. With the score on 233 from 31 overs and Heath on 98, a thick edge over point and two quickly scurried runs took the 15-year-old to her first century.

With 19 overs remaining a huge total looked on the cards. However, Heath soon fell after hitting 17 fours and one six in her 79-ball knock of 114.

After Grimley was also dismissed, Derbyshire were on 276 for six. Dyson (25) and Sribala-Sundaram (2) took the score to 290 before Emma Thatcher (6), Georgie Harrison (1 not out) and Amy Lacey (2) perished chasing quick runs.

Derbyshire were all out on the final delivery for a record-breaking 324. Norfolk used nine bowlers and conceded 77 extras, including 65 wides.

In reply, Norfolk added 32 for the opening wicket in 10 overs as Lacey (10-2-24-1) and Kellogg (4-0-18-0) opened the Derbyshire attack.

Dyson (7-0-37-1) and Marriott (8-0-19-2) joined the attack as Derbyshire steadily got on top and the daunting run-chase took its toll on the batting line-up.

A magnificent diving stop and run-out throw from Horton were one of the highlights of another first-class fielding display by Derbyshire. Harrison (2-0-9-0), Sribala-Sundaram (7-2-7-3) and Hopkins (2.3-2-0-2) provided the bowling back-up with Sribala-Sundaram bowling an almost unplayable spell.

Hopkins claimed the final wicket of the season thanks to a simple Dyson catch at mid-off and the players screamed with delight as the league and cup promotion double was confirmed,

Captain Horton thanked Briggs of Burton for their sponsorship and ongoing support of the Women’s team.