The Sussex girls under 17s continued their winning ways from last season as they remained unbeaten again to be crowned County Champions for the second year in a row and continue to be the best team in the Country.
The side first had to overcome Devon in the semi finals to secure their place in the championship finals, which was a game they where they were really tested.
Sussex elected to bat first and the pitch was very unpredictable from the start with some staying very low and then some bouncing above the head which made it hard work for the batsman. This resulted in Sussex being bowled out for 150 with an over remaining, with top scores from Georgia Tibble (29) and Abbey Freeborn (21).
With a bit of rain, Sussex hoped the pitch would continue to deteriorate, but instead it got better, so it was the bowlers who had to do the talking, which Tanya Wake did early on making the breakthrough with the first wicket. However Devon batsman Mackenzie and Kelly built up a strong partnership and kept up with the run rate scoring 62 before Flora Bertwistle came on and took the second wicket.
Devon were looking on course in reaching the total after being 127-5 with about 15 overs to go, however captain, Izzy Collis, who has performed all season with the bat, showed what she can do with the ball, taking five of the final six wickets and finishing with 5-23, with the last five batsman out for ducks and Sussex winning by just 21 runs to reach the final.
On the second day the 17s faced Lancashire in the championship final and again after winning the toss elected to bat first. Sussex started well, with Izzy Collis hitting the ball well through the gaps, but was soon caught for 23 after losing Freeborn early on as well, Sussex were 40-2.
However Ellen Burt and Georgia Tibble continued to strike the ball with a lot of power as well as working it into gaps to rotate the strike, they put on a third wicket partnership of 120 with Burt scoring 65 and Tibble 59 and helping put Sussex in a strong position with a final score of 195-8.
It had been raining on and off during the innings of Sussex, but during lunch the heavens opened and there was a little wait before the sides went back out. Tanya Wake struck in the first over with a great catch by Collis at cover. However like the day before, Lancashire batsman started to build a small partnership before Eleanor Monk struck with two quick wickets, one being a run out after the ball being hit back at Monk with the fainted of touches to run the non striker out, leaving Lancashire 79-3 off 21 overs.
The rain started again and this time it was heavier than before and lasted over an hour, resulting in overs being reduced to 37 with a revised total of 161, so Lancashire required 82 off 15 overs.
Sussex started well as soon as they were back on the pitch with Flora Bertwistle taking her first wicket and then Eleanor Monk taking her second wicket with a great catch in the deep from Holly Tasker, leaving Lancashire 80-5.
The 17s kept the bowling tight and put Lancashire under pressure, which resulted in them making mistakes with Charlotte Walder taking the sixth wicket with a run out. Eleanor Monk who has performed well all season with the ball took another wicket and Lancashire were 87-7 with 10 overs remaining, with Monk finishing with match winning figures of 3-17.
Bertwistle followed with her second wicket, while leg spinner Anna Harris took her first, leaving Sussex needing just one wicket to be crowned champions. It was left to captain Izzy Collis to take the final wicket with a stumping by Abbey Freeborn with Sussex winning by 80 runs and being crowned County Champions for the second year in a row and still being unbeaten since 2012.
Director of Sussex Women’s Cricket, Charlotte Burton said, “It has been another great year for the Sussex under 17s, they continue to go from strength to strength and show why they are still the best team in the Country. To be crowned champions for a second year in a row is a fantastic achievement by any side, but to remain unbeaten since 2012 shows what a talented side we have. It has been an all round team effort and everyone in the squad has put in performances throughout the season, I am extremely proud of the girls they deserve being champions for another year with all the hard work and commitment they have put in all year. The future continues to look good with the players coming through the system and I know the girls who remain at under 17s next year will look towards make it 3 out of 3 championships.”