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Tammy Beaumont Says Highest Hundred Score, First Women’s Century, And Huge Win Was All About Payback To Welsh Fire Fans

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By David Williams

History-maker Tammy Beaumont admitted Welsh Fire are repaying their debts to fans.

The Fire captain hit the highest-ever score in the Hundred, 118 off 61 balls, steering her team to a record score of 181 for 3 in the women’s competition – and a 41-run victory over Trent Rockets.

The England opener’s score topped Will Jacks’ 108 for Oval Invincibles last summer.

It was also the first century by a woman in the Hundred and only the third in either the men’s or women’s competition.

Fire’s 181 topped the 166 scored by Southern Brave against the Welsh Fire two years ago.

Fire’s 41-run victory puts them back top of the table, a big step towards knockout qualification, while for Beaumont it caps a remarkable season after becoming the first English woman to hit a Test double century during an impressive Ashes series.

“It is not something I thought I would do, particularly as this season I have not got past 50 – let alone 100,” Beaumont said.

“It was an amazing moment, especially in front of a home crowd. For two seasons of the Hundred, they have had to endure some poor cricket from the men and the women here so we are really keen to put on a show and get more people into cricket in Wales.

“I guess I have got Jon Lewis, the new England coach, to thank. He came in late December last year and really challenged me to change my game, go after bowlers more and I have tried to do that.

“Even he said he was surprised I could do it at this stage of my career, but I am always someone who likes to take on a challenge, it has come off and I am really glad that it did.

“At times I wondered if this would be the end of me. The kids coming up like Alice Capsey and Emma Lamb are absolutely incredible so I am trying to keep up with them.”

Trent Rockets chased the record total bravely, opener Bryony Smith hitting 48 off 21 balls, but the scale of the task was always too great as they finished on 140 for 5.

A record-breaking afternoon at Sophia Gardens started quietly.

Beaumont elected to bat first on winning the toss for Welsh Fire and after a slow start by both Sophia Dunkley and Beaumont against the swing of Alexa Stonehouse, it was the captain who found her feet first.

Beaumont sent the scoreboard whirring with a combination of sweeps, cuts and straight drives, but was dropped at deep square leg by Jo Gardner off the returning Stonehouse when on 33.

Dunkley could have been run out with a direct hit when on 22.Beaumont brought up her fifty off just 25 balls with another sweep off Kirstie Gordon, scoring at a strike rate of 200 as an example of her more aggressive approach.

Dunkley fell for 24 off 18, trying to sweep the legspin of Alana King, but there was no slowing of the run rate with Sarah Bryce joining her captain, Fire’s hundred coming up off 55 balls.

Beaumont celebrated by hitting four successive fours off Cassidy McCarthy, then survived an LBW decision on review against King. She was given out, but the ball had pitched outside leg.

Having taken 16 off McCarthy’s set of five, Beaumont then scored 18 off Naomi Dattani set. Her century came with a single tucked to square leg, and she celebrated by soaking in the applause of the crowd and her team-mates.

After all the records had fallen, Beaumont was finally out off the penultimate ball of the innings, caught deep square leg by Gardner off the bowling of Gordon. Bryce was overshadowed at the other end, but her 31 off 20 was a useful contribution.

It was a day to forget for most of the Rockets bowlers, but King – who was played out by Beaumont – stood out with 1 for 16 off her 20 balls.

It needed something remarkable from the Rockets batting line-up, but Lee showed her intent with a straight six second ball of the innings.

Smith also launched into the Fire bowling, hitting 34 off her first 13 balls. Fire needed wickets and Shabnim Ismail induced a false shot from Lee, caught mid-off by Georgia Elwiss for 26 off 24.

That brought Nat Sciver-Brunt to the wicket, but at the other end Rockets lost Smith as she was well caught by a diving Dunkley at deep midwicket for 48 off 21 balls, Freya Davies the bowler.

Dunkley took an even better reaction catch off her own bowling to dismiss Sciver-Brunt cheaply and as Harmanpreet Kaur struggled to 22 not out, Welsh Fire were able to see out the victory in relative comfort.

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