Lincolnshire’s first ever women’s one-day international cricket match took place on Monday as part of the district-wide SO Festival catalogue – with England beating visitors Pakistan convincingly.
Louth’s Arran Brindle enjoyed a dream return to her home ground as she hit 55 with the bat before taking a key wicket with the ball as England reached 227-7 and won by 111 runs at the home of Louth Cricket Club.
Pakistan did start well, with their openers sharing a 58 run stand before a middle order collapse left the 238 target well out of reach.
The day began in spectacular fashion when the match ball was parachuted down onto the pitch from 6,000 feet by the RAF Falcons display team.
The ground was officially sold out, with 1,000 schoolchildren and 1,000 paying fans lining the boundary for the historic clash.
England won the toss and opted to bat first on a flat-looking pitch, with homegrown Louth all-rounder Arran Brindle and captain Charlotte Edwards getting England off to a steady start, both reaching half centuries.
Brindle batted well, hitting three fours before she was stumped off the bowling of Yousuf for an impressive 55 despite a somewhat nervy start.
Skipper Edwards went on to make 83, but watched on as wickets fell at the other end before she was bowled by Sumalya Siddiqi as she tried to increase the scoring rate.
Knight, Sciver and debutant Winfield were also out cheaply as England looked to push towards the magic 4.5 an over target.
They did reach 220, and then passed it! Lydia Greenway’s excellent 38 from just 29 balls, including a huge six, saw the hosts reach 227-7 off their 50 overs, which looked to be a competitive total on a slow London Road pitch.
At the interval local youngsters enjoyed cricket games of their own, having been inspired by action on the pitch.
Pakistan made a solid start in reply to England’s total, with openers Javeria Wadood and Bibi Nahida reaching a half century opening stand before the former was run out by a direct hit from Heather Knight for 23.
Wadood continued to bat well against tight bowling from England, including from Arran Brindle who took a wicket of her own when she had Abidi caught by Greenway at square leg for a 15-ball duck.
England’s tight bowling saw the required run rate nudge over six an over at the halfway stage, despite losing only two wickets by that time.
Wadood tried to up the tempo, but her attempted lob down the ground was pouched by captain Charlotte Edwards off the bowling of Jennifer Gunn for 39, leaving Pakistan in a pickle at 101-3. In the same over Nida Rashid was caught without scoring.
Captain Sana Mir came to the crease with the score at 101-4, but her swipe off Hazell flew into the air and wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor took the catch before Batool Fatima was trapped LBW by Gunn as Pakistan lost a fourth wicket in a matter of minutes.
Gunn finished with career best figures of 5-22 from her ten overs, including her 100th career wicket in ODIs.
The tailenders did put up some resistance but England wrapped up the remaining two wickets to seal a comfortable victory in the first match of a four-ODI series which includes two T20 games at Loughborough University.
Gunn was named player of the match on the day for her excellent bowling and milestone 100 wickets.