Southern Vipers 143 for 4 (Boucher 51, McCaughan 47) beat South East Stars 139 (Spence 45, Norris 3-29) by six wickets
Southern Vipers will play Northern Diamonds in the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Lord’s on Sunday, after they routed South East Stars by six wickets in Wednesday’s eliminator at Beckenham.
Beckenham may have a reputation as a batters’ paradise, but when play started at 10.30am conditions were overcast, damp and chilly. After winning a toss they would probably rather have lost the Stars chose to bat, only to lose three wickets in the first four overs. Chloe Hill stumped Kira Chatli off Charlotte Taylor for 1 in the second over and Bryony Smith made just 7 before she edged Tara Norris behind in the third.
Norris then claimed her second victim in the fourth when Chloe Brewer was brilliantly caught in the slips by Bouchier.
After a partial rebuild, debutant Mary Taylor struck twice in as many overs. Phoebe Franklin was bowled for 15 before Rhianna Southby was lbw for 1.
Paige Scholfield struck in her first over, trapping Ryana MacDonald-Gay lbw for 8 and Finty Trussler was just seven balls into her spell when she bowled Freya Davies for 4.
Norris bowled Alexa Stonehouse for 11 and when Georgia Adams ran out Eva Gray for 1, deflecting a straight drive from Spence on to the stumps, the Stars were 100 for 9. By that point, however, conditions were improving and Danielle Gregory joined Spence to put on the biggest partnership of the innings, contributing 13 from 34 balls before she was bowled by Trussler.
The sun was shining by the time the Vipers began the chase and with the required rate under three-an-over there was little pressure on the openers. Neither Bouchier nor McCaughan offered the bowlers any encouragement as they cruised towards the target.
Bouchier strolled past 50 with a single to mid off from Gregory before she tried to pull Davies and played on. McCaughan holed out to Smith and was caught by Davies at long on but by then the visitors only needed 30 to win.
Franklin subsequently bowled Adams for one with a ball that nipped back, but Scholfield, having levelled the scores with a six over long on, was then bowled by Gregory’s next ball for 11, leaving Emily Windsor to drive the winning boundary through the covers and sending them through to their third consecutive final against the Diamonds.