Southern Vipers beat the Blaze by five wickets in the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Northampton on Sunday, chasing down their target of 201 with an unbeaten 57 from Emily Windsor.
The run chase was not without nerves: the Blaze’s 19-year-old leg-spinner Josie Groves took three wickets in eight balls straight after the drinks break to reduce the Vipers to 109 for five, including having Georgia Elwiss caught behind immediately after bringing up her 50.
But some nifty hitting by Windsor, combined with a level-headed 32 not out from Freya Kemp, eventually saw the Vipers home with 46 balls to spare. The Vipers have therefore done the domestic double for the first time in their history, adding the 50-over title to the 20-over trophy which they won against the same opposition in June.
“Our slogan this year was ‘Venomous Ambition’, and that’s what the girls have showed,” the Vipers’ head coach, Charlotte Edwards, said. “There’s so much fight in that dressing room. Watching Kemp bat like she did was the highlight of my season today.”
Edwards herself has won a remarkable five out of seven trophies since she was named the Vipers’ head coach in July 2020 – in addition to her victories as head coach of Southern Brave in the Women’s Hundred last month, and with Mumbai Indians in the inaugural Women’s Premier League in March.
“Lottie gets the best out of every player that she has in her team,” Windsor said. “She really gets to know her players on and off the field and she knows what makes them tick. People love playing for her. I wanted to do it for the team today. It’s the most special out of the three that we’ve won.”
The match had got under way in drizzle after a 50-minute delay, but finished up under blue skies, meaning the Vipers – who chose to bowl first – had the best of the conditions. Linsey Smith, who rejoined the Vipers last winter after four seasons with the Yorkshire-based Diamonds, was instrumental in the win, trapping the South African Lizelle Lee lbw with her first ball of the match before having Marie Kelly caught at cover for a golden duck in the same over. She was back at the end of the innings to dislodge the stumps of Lucy Higham, as the Blaze struck exactly 200 from a rain-reduced 48 overs.
The Vipers put down two caught-and-bowled chances off Tammy Beaumont, on 14 and 31; after a scratchy start, she was the top scorer with 76. But it was Charlie Dean who eventually won the battle of the England stars, beguiling Beaumont in the 38th over with a flighted delivery which she miscued to long-off, as Blaze fell well short of a par total.