Ice, snow, and an 8am start were an unlikely combination for a day of cricket, but this became a prelude to a string of inspired indoor performances by York’s women in Leeds.
Presented with weak opposition in the form of Sheffield, York still struggled early on due to lethargic fielding. Debbie Farrington provided the only inspiration with figures of 3 for 7, as Sheffield managed a respectable 67 for 4 off their 8 overs. York responded excellently, with openers Donna Monkman and Lucy Horitz calmly leading their side to the 68 required.
Leeds Met stood to provide the day’s toughest challenge. Widely recognised as the tournament’s strongest team, and with a left-right bowling attack, York had a tough task ahead. Leeds Met were immediately stunned as Monkman swept through the top order, returning figures of 3 for 7.
Backed up by outstanding fielding, Leeds were restricted to 53 all out. York responded anxiously, losing quick wickets, and still needed 17 with only Farrrington remaining. On the last ball, 1 was still required to win, but Farrington heroically hit the winning run to claim victory for York.
Now sitting top of the group, York needed a win against Birmingham in their final game to secure qualification. Batting first, York edged to 60 for 4. A devastating bowling display of 3 for 11 from Gemma Ware, coupled with a catch out of the Jonty Rhodes collection from Farrington, left Birmingham needing 3 runs off the last 3 balls. Monkman bowled with pinpoint accuracy, and York grasped another victory.
Semi-final resistance appeared in the form of Oxford, who piled on a massive 84 runs in their 8 overs. York batted courageously in response, Monkman making 22, and incredibly with one over left the outcome was still uncertain. Oxford held on to win by 6 runs, though such impressive performances will give the squad huge encouragement for the outdoor season next term.