Brunt delighted with just deserts
Katherine Brunt enjoyed the benefit of local knowledge as England wrapped up the NatWest Women’s Series at Barnsley yesterday, but believes it was just reward for her efforts in less familiar conditions.
Brunt led England’s line with 3-31 in a nine-wicket triumph against New Zealand at Barnsley Cricket Club, where the 25-year-old began playing aged eight.
The fast bowler had to make the most of less responsive pitches earlier in the series as she sought to hit the heights that saw her demolish the same opponents in last year’s World Twenty20 final at Lord’s.
“It’s been a hard summer trying to find my form,” she told ecb.co.uk in her distinctive South Yorkshire accent, strikingly similar to that of former England paceman Darren Gough - who also hails from Barnsley.
“I’m carrying a few niggles but I’ve stayed strong but the conditions and pitches haven’t suited my bowling until today.
“I’ve really had to work hard at bowling immaculate lines and lengths, which is all you can bowl on pitches like at Taunton.
“I’ve worked hard and so has everyone else and we’re all just hitting our straps now and putting in some really good performances.”
However, Shaw Lane provided the perfect conditions for her before England’s Taylors - Sarah and Claire - shared an unbroken stand of 98 to complete a comfortable win.
“We’ve had a lot of rain here so it turned out to be a good seamer’s track,” Brunt added.
“It turned quite a lot as well so it was always the bowlers’ day - for the first time in quite a while.
“The batters had to dig really deep and Sarah Taylor and Claire Taylor played really, really well.”
Brunt revealed she was surprised at New Zealand captain Aimee Watkins’ decision to bat first, a tactic she had advised England skipper Charlotte Edwards against taking.
Brunt and fellow seamers Isa Guha and Jenny Gunn, plus spinner Laura Marsh, all returned economical figures from 10 overs to limit the White Ferns to 136 for nine in 50 overs.
“That just goes to show that we know the local weather and how the pitch has always played,” she explained.
“I guess that helps - me being a Yorkshire girl, a local girl, to help them out with that - so we were fortunate to have that edge.”
Brunt was naturally thrilled to be involved in Barnsley’s first international game and made sure her family were out in force.
“I managed to reserve 25 tickets for my family - cousins, aunties and uncles - so I’m really glad they could make it and see what I do and how much I enjoy playing cricket for my country,” she said.
“It’s fantastic to be able to have a one-day international here. I never thought that was possible, but Barnsley Cricket Club has come a long way.
“They’ve built a a new pavilion and they’ve got a new scorebox, which is brilliant. They’re done a really great job today hosting and hopefully there’ll be some more in the future.”