Gloucestershire Women v Devon Women at North Devon CC, April 8, 2017
Gloucestershire 147 all out (39.5 overs)
Devon 148-9 (38.2 overs)
Devon won by 1 wicket
Gloucestershire Women suffered a narrow one wicket defeat to Devon in their first pre-season friendly of 2017.
2016 player of the year Danielle Gibson carried on where she had left off scoring 60 from 70 balls and taking 0-32 as the hosts chased down their target of 148 with eight balls to spare.
After winning the toss Glos skipper Abby Evans won the toss and chose to bat. But the innings didn’t get off to a great start as Charlie Walker was caught behind without scoring from the second ball of the game.
This brought Gibson to the crease and buoyed by a winter of development with the England Women’s Academy, she was positive from the start. She dominated a partnership of 50 with Maria Fowler before the latter was caught for five in the 12th over.
Gibson was then joined by 15-year-old Chloe Skelton, who along with one of Molly Thomas was one of two youngsters making her senior debut. She showed great maturity playing a supporting role to Gibson who passed 50 from 59 balls with eight boundaries as the pair put on 34 for the third wicket.
The 20 over drinks break broke both players concentration, as Skelton was bowled for eight and Gibson followed soon after for a superb 60 from 70 balls to make it 87-4. Two more qickets wuickly followed as Glos slipped to 93-6. Late contributions from Evans (14), Sidra Khan (15) and Mollie Robbins (8 not out) saw the total reach 147 before Khan was dismissed in the final over.
In reply O’Keefe and MacKenzie started confidently for Devon, putting on 48 in 11 overs before Khan knocked back MacKenzie’s middle stump for 27.
O’Keefe followed with the total on 69 when she was bowled by Thomas for 32.
Offspinner Charlie Phillips built pressure and was rewarded when Higginbotham picked out Walker at mid off with the score on 79.
Glos then dropped three simple catches in three overs after the drinks break to keep Devon firmly in the driving seat. But they continued to fight and reduced Devon from 125-3 to 133 – 9 in the space of 4 overs as Khan (4-23) and Evans (3-21) ran through the middle order.
The dismissal of Halliday came as a result of an amazing one-handed sprawling catch by Molly Thomas at mid off and this really seemed to spur the team. However, Devon’s final pair of Pitman and Hutchins managed to get their team over the line with 10 balls to spare.
Coach Steve said: “It was great to get outside after a winter of indoor practice and good to be involved in a very competitive game. Dani’s innings was superb and it was great to see how much she has improved over the winter. Sid and Abby really dragged it back with their bowling spells and Molly’s catch was gravity defying! It was pleasing to give debuts to Molly and Chloe Skelton and both did not look out of place at this level. Despite the close defeat, this game gave all the players time in the middle and in the field and that was the main purpose of having this early fixture”
Gloucestershire’s next preseason game is against the Western Storm Development Squad at Chipping Sodbury CC on Saturday 22nd April.