Surrey began the defence of their London Championship title in a stunning fashion at Guildford, with the Three Feathers outplaying Middlesex in all departments and securing a massive 161-run victory over their London rivals.
It was an exceptional day for the talented 20-year-old Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones, who starred with the bat and scored her maiden Surrey century, ultimately finishing on 117 off 122 balls and pushing Surrey to a fantastic total of 267/8 from their 50 overs.
Staying busy, rotating the strike regularly, and running hard between the wickets to put off the bowlers’ rhythm and keep the scoreboard ticking, was an impressive feature of Surrey’s and Blinkhorn-Jones’ innings. The centurion, who was easy on the eye throughout her innings, hit three glorious boundaries down the ground, but she particularly profited from the leg side, striking eight fours through the midwicket region.
In the latter half of the game, Charlotte Stubbs also produced an extraordinary performance, bowling a magical spell and setting the agenda for the hosts as she collected four early wickets to disrupt Middlesex’s chase and ended with figures of 4/19 from her seven overs.
The cherry on the top for Surrey was Bethan Miles playing a blistering knock of 38 off 24 balls as well as debutants Anjali Ketan and Priya Khatkar opening their wickets account for Surrey, with the former picking up three wickets and the latter getting one, as the hosts restricted Middlesex to a score of 106.
Asked to bat first, the Three Feathers were already in a bother when Blinkhorn-Jones walked out to bat, having lost their captain Amy Gordon (3) and wicket-keeper batter Rhianna Southby (1) cheaply and the scoreboard reading 20/2.
From thereon, for the next 152 minutes, the 20-year-old demonstrated great maturity in the middle as she became the glue around whom Surrey’s innings blossomed.
The right-hander initially calmed the waters and added 40 runs for the third wicket with Izzy Berry (20) before taking it up a notch with debutant Thea Brookes, who was the next batter to join Blinkhorn-Jones, and putting up another 76 runs – the highest batting partnership of the match.
Number seven Stubbs (13) had accompanied Blinkhorn-Jones for 39 more Surrey runs before the latter struck a ball though the covers and scrambled for a single to bring up her magnificent century off just 111 balls.
Having reached 198/7 and stitched a wonderful launchpad in 43 overs, Surrey rocketed the run rate in the death overs as Bethan Miles (38* off 24) partnered Blinkhorn-Jones at the crease. Miles injected instant impetus as Surrey hit a flurry of boundaries to end on 267/8, with Miles and Blinkhorn-Jones scoring 67 rapid runs off 41 balls for the eighth wicket.
For Middlesex, captain IFK Routledge collected the most wickets, ending with 3/52 from her ten overs, and Sonali Patel, who finished with 2/34 from a full quota of overs, bowled a tight line and length. During the visitor’s reply, only four batters could reach double figures, with number eight Patel top-scoring with 21.
Surrey will go again in the London Championship on June 11, taking on Essex in the second round.