Kent take women's crown
Kent were crowned Women's County Championship winners yesterday - despite losing the final game of the season to Sussex at Sandwich Town CC.
The side led by Charlotte Edwards had already sealed the title before the start of play as they stood unbeaten at the top of the table.
Kent kicked off their campaign with a convincing nine-wicket victory over arch rivals and 2010 champions Sussex at Brighton College in the first match of the season.
The two sides have dominated the championship in recent years and as they prepared to face each other in their last match of the 50-over competition, Edwards paid tribute to the all-round efforts of her team following that perfect start.
Edwards said: “Kent v Sussex is a fierce rivalry but it’s always a good one. It was a great psychological start for us. Once we got that big win under our belts we took a lot of confidence into the rest of the season.
“Starting so well gave us such a huge boost and I guess Sussex were always playing catch-up. We’ve kept playing good cricket all year.”
Kent had won all their completed games before Sunday’s clash with rivals Sussex, who tarnished the unbeaten record with an eight-wicket victory.
Edwards said: “I’m obviously disappointed with today’s result and that we couldn’t remain unbeaten, but overall it’s been an excellent year for the team and all the girls are really proud of what we’ve done.
“We’ve shown a lot of strength in depth in our squad this year. A lot of our key players have stood up and a lot of our younger girls have really performed.”
Edwards commented on the impact England spinner Laura Marsh has made in her first season since joining Kent: “To get someone like Laura was great for us.
“Probably one area we really needed to strengthen was our bowling and she’s definitely done that.
“She is a world-class bowler and a really valuable batter as well. She’s bowled some crucial spells which have really turned games.”
Edwards’ own form has been dominant this season and her move to the top of the order from number three has enabled her and Tammy Beaumont to forge a partnership that has been the basis of Kent’s success.
Beaumont, who has been included in the England women’s squad to tour South Africa next month, has scored 466 runs in 14 innings while Edwards has hit 683 at an average of more than 113.
Edwards said: “I’ve formed a really good partnership with Tammy. She has played brilliantly for us this season and has really deserved her call-up to the England team.”
With Sussex and Kent largely sharing the spoils in the women’s game in recent years, this is the fourth year out of the last six that Edwards’ side have won the County Championship – after their first title in 2006.
Edwards said: “It’s been a really good few years for Kent. The most pleasing thing for me is we’ve been really consistent and we’ve blooded some really good youngsters. I think we’ve got a lot to be proud of.”
Kent will be looking to add to their silverware and edge out Sussex, Yorkshire and Berkshire in the women’s t20 finals at Shenley Cricket Centre on Saturday September 17.