Essex Women U18 qualify for National T20 Finals Day


Essex Under 18 Women have secured their place at Finals Day of the National T20 County tournament in Loughborough on Sunday 10 September.

The young Eagles, who reached this stage by virtue of having topped the nine-team Group 3, will face North East Warriors, who won Group 1, in their last-four tie.

The other semi-final will see Group 4 toppers Hampshire take on Worcestershire, who finished first in Group 2, with the action at the Brockington Oval, on the campus of Loughborough University, starting at 10:30am.

Essex won seven of their eight group-stage matches in finishing eight points clear of nearest challengers Berkshire, against whom a DLS-affected five-wicket loss was the only blemish on their record.

Three successful chases at the beginning of August, against Kent, Suffolk, and Middlesex, preceded that defeat, but it failed to take the wind out of the young Eagles’ wings as four consecutive victories followed.

The biggest wins of the bunch were the final two, with an 88-run success over Buckinghamshire following a 112-run hammering of Surrey in which the young Brown Caps were bowled out for just 37.

Sophia Mitchell claimed three wickets in that comprehensive win and was both Essex and the entire group’s leading light with the ball, taking 11 wickets at an average of 7.36 and with an average economy rate of 3.86.

Mitchell finished ahead of Jessica Pugh for the young Eagles, who claimed eight scalps, and Bella Johnson and Prisha Bedi, who picked up seven apiece.

Meanwhile, Bella Howarth was the most productive with the bat for Essex, with her 246 runs at an average of 49.20 and a strike rate of 110.81 putting her second in the overall charts, behind only Suffolk’s Sophie Singer.

Johnson demonstrated her all-rounder abilities by hitting 116 runs to finish second to Howarth, while Hollie Dring-Richardson’s total of 110 put her in third.