Suffolk Women complete the double

September 22, 2022

SUFFOLK Women’s skipper Natalie Samuels has hailed her side’s ‘really special’ achievement after completing a double-winning season.

After winning the Vitality Women’s T20 Regional competition for the first time this season, Suffolk have now won the East of England Championship at the first attempt.

Suffolk defeated Norfolk Cricket Board by 46 runs at Old Buckenham CC on Sunday to wrap up the title and so top the seven-team table with 103 points – six more than runners-up Hertfordshire.

After Samuels won the toss and elected to bat first, openers Izzy Sidhu (111 not out) and Sophie Hughes (61 off just 65 balls) put together an opening partnership of 128 in 24 overs.

Immy Sidhu (19) and Amelie Clarke (23) played supporting roles as Izzy Sidhu struck 12 fours from 137 balls received in Suffolk’s 265 for 5 off their 45 overs.

Clarke (8-1-22-1) and Evie Booker (9-4-21-0) then kept things tight, but it was Lauren Swinburne who was the most successful bowler, returning figures of 9-0-54-4 in the home team’s reply.

She dismissed the top three batters and took wickets in successive balls in the fifth over as Norfolk lurched to 20 for 3, before recovering to close on 219 for 7.

Samuels said: “Although the East of England Championship has been running for three years now, it is the first time we’ve entered.

“Winning it really means a lot to us. There was a period of time where due to Covid and funding we weren’t playing very much county cricket at all, so to do the double by winning both the T20 and the longer format competitions in the same year is really special, and a testament to the talent and drive of the players.

“I’m really proud of the team. We’ve had varying availability throughout the season, and so really had to show our strength in depth.

“Different people have contributed all the way through so both league wins feel like they were achieved through a team effort, with moments of individual brilliance throughout.”

Asked what had been the key to the team’s success this season, Samuels said: “I think the key has been a sense of belief, even in situations where we have definitely been the underdog.

“We also have some real talent coming through from the U18s, who’ve stepped up this season and proven themselves more than capable of challenging top teams.”

Suffolk Girls’ U18s reached the national finals of the Royal London Cup for the first time, before losing to Devon in the semi-finals.

“The future is really bright for women’s cricket in Suffolk. I spent some time coaching the U15 and U18 squads this year and they already have such an understanding of the game, and a strong desire to be the best cricketers coming through the set-up. It bodes well for the women’s squad in the coming years,” added Samuels.

Suffolk squad: Eve Aldous, Lucy Amos, Jess Board, Evie Booker, Amelie Clarke, Sophie Hughes, Liv Hyndman, Charlotte Oastler, Natalie Samuels, Lizzie Shaw, Immy Sidhu, Izzy Sidhu, Poppy Sidhu, Sophie Singer, Lauren Smith, Lauren Swinburne, Petra Tweedy, Sophie Utteridge, Evelyn Whitmore. The photograph above was taken prior to the match versus Hertfordshire at Stowmarket CC in August which Suffolk won by five wickets.

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