Birmingham Bears Women kicked off the NatWest T20 Blast season with two impressive wins against Surrey and Somerset at the Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground.
Birmingham Bears vs Somerset
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After winning the toss and electing to bat, Somerset Women found themselves in trouble just 11 balls into their opening innings of the NatWest T20 Blast season, as an in form Katie Green ripped through the opening pair to take the Bears first wicket of the T20 tournament. Green continued to collect wickets, snagging Sophie Luff and Izzy Imlach to peg back the visitors to 33-3. Liz Russell also go in on the action and she too found momentum with the ball, taking 3 wickets for just 9 runs at eth end of her 4 overs. The Bears bowling unit were incredibly attritional, at the end of Somersets 20 overs they finished on 68-8.
The Bears put on an opening partnership of 49 between Amy Jones and Kathryn Bryce, after just 5 overs, until Jones was bowled by Somerset’s Georgia Tulip. The opening pair played a boundary rich knock together and neither party wasted many balls. Georgia Hennessey joined Bryce at the crease and the pair comfortably saw of the visitors target after just 8 overs in the game. A bruising loss for Somerset, but a brilliant first win for the Bears.
Birmingham Bears vs Surrey
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After winning the toss and electing to bat Bears opening batters Amy Jones and Kathryn Bryce set about quickly forming a formidable opening partnership. The pair notched up an impressive 95 runs from just 64 balls, before Amy Jones was caught just 2 runs shy of her half-century. The wicket of Jones appeared to take the momentum out of the Bears attack, both Georgia Hennessy and captain Marie Kelly came and went in quick succession but played a good supporting role which allowed Bryce to get past her half-century. Jo Gardener brought some stability to the batting line up, but she was run out just as she looked to be settling into a rhythm. Becky Grundy and Georgia Davis made late cameos and the Bears finished on 168-5, with Kathryn Bryce finishing on 73 not out.
Surrey made an impressive start tor their chase, the opening pair of Kirstie White and Bryony Smith put on an opening stand of 54 before Smith was caught by Katie Green from the bowling of Becky Grundy. Similar to the Bears innings, once the opening pair were broken Surrey struggled to get into any scoring rhythm again and Becky Grundy was the catalyst to Surrey’s downfall. Grundy took 4/14 from her four overs and took 4 wickets from the top 5 of Surrey’s batting order. Georgia Davis, Anisha Patel and Liz Russell all contributed with wickets, but it was the Bears bowling unit as team that eventually strangled Surrey out of the game with the visitors running out of balls and unable to catch the Bears target.
The Bears play away next in a double header vs Berkshire Cricket Board and Yorkshire Vikings at Harrogate Cricket club on Sunday 2 July. The girls will be looking to build on their early season momentum and continue their winning ways before returning to Edgbaston Foundation Sports Ground on Sunday 16 July when they take on Lancashire Lightning. The team will also play Sussex Women on 16 July at Edgbaston after the men’s game vs Leicestershire Foxes.