In the most thrilling clash of the day Lightning finally achieved a win, by six runs over Central Sparks.
In the process Sarah Bryce chalked up her fourth half century in four attempts (75), a remarkable achievement. Like many of her fellows, she fell to an unwise cross-batted shot, of a type she had shunned till that decisive moment.
Her partnership with Bethan Ellis (62) of 148 set Lightning on the road to victory, but Ellis too was guilty of a swoosh to leg and fell lbw. Sparks have performed well this series and weren’t in a mood to let the opposition walk over them. After a promising second-wicket stand from Gwenan Davies (50) and Marie Kelly (53) – she looked in very good form – we were in for a dramatic few overs near the end as Clare Boycott (33*) proved hard to dislodge and Emily Arlott (19) helped her to provide a breathless finish.
Elsewhere results conformed to expectations. Stars’ praiseworthy stat of a single wide (see below) didn’t stop Storm thrashing 215 runs off them, led by another captain’s innings from Sophie Luff (104*) who partnered Georgia Hennessy (86) in a stand of 162.
Storm needed to exert every muscle as Vipers were still showing them the way in the South Group table. They had an easier task in defeating Sunrisers at Southampton. But once more Sunrisers put on a very decent show, Katie Wolfe and Katie Midwood bowling tidily. But they couldn’t get rid of Georgia Adams till she had added another 85 runs to her total of 225 runs thus far. She is led at present by Sophie Luff (257) and Sarah Bryce (235).
Sunrisers’ skipper Amara Carr experienced the violent ups and downs cricket can play. After her splendid 99 in Round One she played an unwise pull to the second ball of the innings and paid the price. Sadly for the team there are few other experienced heads around to overcome an early loss like this. They did well to reach 183, but that was the only total of the day to finish under 200.
Lightning 233-8 beat Sparks 227-9 by 6 runs
Vipers 232 beat Sunrisers 183 by 49 runs
Stars 212-9 lost to Storm 215-3 by 7 wickets
Sophie Luff 104*
Georgia Adams 89
Georgia Hennessy 86 and 10-0-40-3
Sarah Bryce 75
Bethan Ellis 62
Marie Kelly 53
Gwenan Davies 50
Kirstie White 50
Maxine Blythin 50
Several bowlers performed meritoriously without taking more than 3 wickets, The one black mark on the bowling front (again):
Wides: Sparks 12, Sunrisers 11, Storm 32, Lightning 35, Vipers 15, Stars 1
Total: 106 in three matches
Tables after 4 Rounds:
Northern Diamonds 18
Central Sparks. 9
North West Thunder 4
Southern Vipers 19
Western Storm 14
South East Stars 5
Two aptly named matches take place on Sunday 13 September:
Thunder v Lightning!
Diamonds v Sparks!