Smith pips Brunt as Reading prevail
Teenage prospect Linsey Smith added to her burgeoning reputation by taking 5-9 to help Reading beat Ransome & Marles and become Women's Premier League champions.
The left-arm seamer destroyed the Ransome & Marles card including three wickets in six deliveries as the Nottinghamshire club were dismissed for just 85.
Reading made slow progress in reply as Katherine Brunt, with 5-9 from ten overs, almost single-handedly turned the game in Ransome & Marles' favour. But Claire Taylor proved immovable as Reading won by three wickets with more than ten overs remaining.
On a green wicket at Bishop Stortford, Reading won the toss and elected to field first in the traditional end of season fixture which pits the South League winners against the North League champions.
It proved to be a wise decision as Daisy Gardner took three early wickets including the dangerous pair of Lucy Doolan and Jenny Gunn to leave Ransome & Marles 36 for three in the eighth over.
Former England wicketkeeper Jane Smit, a veteran of 109 ODIs, and academy player Charlotte Horton attempted to rebuild the innings but the former was soon dismissed by Isa Guha, trapped leg before to leave the score 48 for four.
But it would get worse for Ransome & Marles once 15 year old Smith was thrown the ball.
Having dismissed Katherine Brunt with her second delivery, courtesy of Taylor's catch, Smith then bowled Nicky Shaw and trapped Sarah Daman-Willems leg before to leave Ransome & Marles 61 for seven.
Smith sent Horton and Rebecca Widdowson back to the pavilion in quick succession to finish with a 'five-for' and the innings was ended when Judith Turner induced the obdurate Harriet Rogers to hit a catch to Alice Macleod.
Reading made hard work of chasing their modest target although that was due in part to a fired-up Brunt who dismissed both openers with just 16 runs on the board.
Rogers and Asha Smith gradually chipped away at the total but Reading suffered another setback when Shaw broke the partnership, castling Rogers for 17 in her first over.
With Reading teetering on 49 for three, Ransome & Marles sniffed an unlikely victory and in Brunt had a potential match-winner.
She returned in devastating fashion, dismissing Smith, Amanda Potgieter and Guha to complete a five-wicket haul, but it proved too little, too late.
Taylor, the world's number one batsman, dug in and marshalled her side over the line with an unbeaten 17 that took 62 balls to assemble.
Lauren Griffiths fell at the death but the dogged Taylor ensured Reading got home by taking a single off Shaw in the 39th over.