WYE Valley cricket star Sophia Smale cruised into the U19 T20 Women’s World Cup semi-finals in South Africa today by helping England top their group with a 95-run win over the West Indies.
And next up tomorrow (Friday, Januaery 26) with a place in the final at stake is a mouth-watering clash with old enemy Australia, who placed second in the other group, while India face New Zealand in the other semi.
Sophia took a vital wicket and a catch to put the brakes on the West Indies, catching opener Realeanna Grimmon off the bowling of Ellie Anderson for four, before dismissing top West Indies batter Zaida James to another catch by Davina Perrin for five to reduce them to 23/4 chasing 179/4.
Beginning in their usual tempo, the England openers went flat out for runs.
They were able to provide a quick start before Asabi Callender (1/28) dismissed Liberty Heap (13 from 16).
A good partnership between skipper Grace Scrivens (56 from 43) and Niamh Holland (21 from 21) then ensured England reached 100 by the 12th over.
After losing Holland and Scrivens in back-to-back overs, England looked like they might end up short of their expected total.
But attacking cricket from Seren Smale (28 not out from 19) and Charis Pavely (29 not out from 16) ensured that they set a commanding target.
England new-ball pair Anderson (5/12) and Alexa Stonehouse (2/15) were too good for the West Indies as the batting side were reduced to 15/3 in 4 overs.
Then Monmouth School for Girls sixth former Sophia took her 10th wicket in South Africa,
following a 3/11 against Ireland, finishing with 1/17 off four overs.
Order was restored by Djenaba Joseph (44 not out from 42) and Asabi Callender (17 from 28) through their fifth wicket stand of 47 runs.
But Anderson returned with a vicious spell to reduce West Indies from 70/4 to 76/8 and complete her five-wicket haul, as West Indies finished with 84/8 in their allotted overs.
See www.u19worldcup.com for more details.