Trent Rockets’ hopes of inaugural Women’s Hundred glory are over as they succumbed to a nine-wicket defeat to Manchester Originals, a result that opener Sammy-Jo Johnson has described as “tough to swallow”.
Needing to win their final group stage game to stand a chance of qualification, the Rockets posted 122 for six, as Johnson top-scored with 33 off 20 and England spinner Sophie Ecclestone took two for 11 from her 20 balls.
The total proved below-par as the Originals made light work of chasing it down, reaching their target with 13 balls to spare.
“We are such a better side than the way we played tonight,” said Johnson. “We didn’t score enough runs, that was the first thing.
“Then with the ball, we didn’t hold our lines and lengths like we needed to and just gave them too many four balls.”
After winning the toss and opting to bowl first, the visitors started with impressive control to restrict the Rockets’ early scoring opportunities, limiting them to 20 runs, and just two boundaries, from the powerplay.
That pressure eventually told a short while later, as Rachel Priest hit spinner Alex Hartley to Cordelia Griffith, with 29 on the board for the Rockets.
Johnson proceeded to release some of the burden with two colossal sixes off Natalie Brown, before she too mis-hit Hartley, this time to Emma Lamb, to leave the hosts 60 for two at the halfway stage.
"It wasn’t a horrible wicket. It was quite good,” reflected Johnson. “It was just if you didn’t pick the height of the ball up early that you got into a bit of trouble.
“All in all it was a good wicket and a good outfield, you get value for shots here and we just didn’t play our best cricket.”
Originals captain Kate Cross saw her counterpart Nat Sciver pick out Sophie Ecclestone for 13, and the Rockets continued to struggle to find their rhythm throughout, reaching 80 for three with 30 balls remaining.
Cross snared another England teammate when Katherine Brunt picked out Lizelle Lee for 15, but some striking from Heather Graham, who made 21, brought up the Rockets’ 100 from 86 balls.
Graham skied Ecclestone to Hannah Jones before Abbey Freeborn was pinned lbw the very next ball, but some late Sarah Glenn hitting saw her amass 23 off 12.
The visitors’ chase started in confident fashion, as openers Lee and Lamb repelled the Rockets’ bowlers to amass their fifty partnership from 35 balls, and rack up a total of 79 without loss at the halfway point, with some error-strewn fielding failing to help the Notts cause.
Johnson condemned the fielding effort from her side: "We are such a better fielding side than that. It was just sloppy all round; simple misfields, simple catches, poor throws. I can’t put it down to anything, just as a group we were sloppy and that was disappointing.”
A breakthrough did finally arrive for the hosts when Katherine Brunt hung on to an aerial sweep from Lamb on the boundary off Georgia Davis for 46 off 31, but the result was little more than a formality by that point.
The Rockets were unable to obtain any further scalps, as Lee and Mignon du Preez, who made ten not out, guided the Originals over the line and eliminated the Rockets.
However, Johnson was keen to reflect upon the positives: “It’s a new tournament and you have got to wrap your head around it. In saying that, we picked it up quickly.
“It is a superfast game, it is exciting with the energy from the crowd and the music, it is a fantastic tournament and I can only see it getting better as the years go on.
“You do put sides together quickly like that, but that’s franchise cricket and it’s going to happen. You have to adapt to what players you’ve got in your squad and put your best 11 on the park each time.
“I think we did that, so on the whole it was successful for us. It was disappointing with our results not to qualify, but I definitely think this team is going to a long way in the future.”