The Sun also Rises – The Charlotte Edwards Cup

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A New Identity

The new-look T20 series has acquired a name, the Charlotte Edwards Cup. This choice represents a shift in policy, honouring a great player from the recent past. Lottie is of course the current head coach at Vipers. Maybe at a later date one or two of England’s earlier stars may receive a similar honour, as happened with the naming of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

It was heartening to see three test grounds in use and first-class umpires on view. The production standards of the live streams is improving, though inconsistent.

Western Storm v Sunrisers (Taunton)

The day’s honours were taken by Sunrisers who defeated the old invincibles Western Storm with something to spare. It’s really heartening to see them do so well after a discouraging set of results since the eight regions were first set up.

They held Storm to a sizeable 129-6, but it was a challenge they faced with confidence. All the top five batters got a start, Mady Villiers, elevated to No 3, leading the way with 36. Grace Scrivens showed the unconcern of youth, finishing with 34* including a massive six into the far yonder. Amara Carr had the pleasure of completing the job.

Scores: Storm 129-6; Sunrisers 133-3

Lightning v SE Stars (Trent Bridge)

Stars overcame a Lightning side that is still hunting for its best form.

Alexa Stonehouse had a fine start to the game, dismissing her Kent team-mate Sarah Bryce in her first over. Bryce is finding runs hard to get this year. Beth Harmer pulled Grace Gibbs for a six off her second ball to make a positive start, but thereafter progress was slow. Only she (34) and Abi Freeborn (30) returned scores likely to reach a decent total. Stars’ spinners, Dani Gregory, Kalea Moore and skipper Bryony Smith turned the game. Moore’s off-spin defeated Harmer’s forward defensive in her first over, then Gregory undid Kathryn Bryce with a fine delivery. Smith finished things off with a telling 4-15, two big hits landing in Gibbs’ pouch at long on.

Behind the stumps Kira Chathli supported her bowlers extremely well.

After the interval Smith showed Lightning how to get off to a fast start; she made her 30 in under three overs with four fours and two sixes. It needed a brilliant catch by Michaela Kirk on the boundary to halt her progress. Alice Capsey and Phoebe Franklin continued the good work. Capsey, not yet 17, batted beautifully, combining deft deflections with full-blooded drives (21 off 14).

The game was won at the start of the fourteenth over.

Scores: Lightning 107; Stars 108-4

Sarah Bryce (WK), Bethany Harmer, Sonia Odedra, Kathryn Bryce (C), Abbey Freeborn, Teresa Graves, Michaela Kirk, Kirstie Gordon, Nancy Harman, Sophie Munro, Grace Ballinger
South East Stars
Aylish Cranstone, Bryony Smith (C), Alice Capsey, Phoebe Franklin, Grace Gibbs, Susie Rowe, Kira Chathli (WK), Emma Jones, Kalea Moore, Alexa Stonehouse, Danielle Gregory

Northern Diamonds v Thunder (Headingley)

It would be fairer to call this match Diamonds v Lamb. Emma Lamb put in an all-round performance to make selectors sit up and take notice. She anchored the first innings with 58, helped by Natalie Brown’s 25 in the middle order. Then the hosts’ batting fell away, hindered by the unfortunate accident that befell Sarah Taylor right near the end of Thunder’s innings, when she suffered concussion from a ball that sat up. She couldn’t bat.

They started like the proverbial bull: 31 inside four overs. But thereafter wickets fell regularly, especially to Lamb who took 4-13. She also held a spectacular catch in the covers and effected two run-outs. Much depended on Sterre Kalis (32), but she was brilliantly stumped by Ellie Threlkeld down the leg-side off Natalie Brown.

We may hear Alex Hartley recount an even more amazing catch at long-off than the one she took at Loughborough. It was very similar, requiring her to turn, tumble and hang on.

Armitage (captain), Dobson, Campbell, Taylor, Gunn, Kalis, Langston, L. Smith, Graham, Fenby, Levick
Thunder: Lamb, Boyce, Threlkeld, Duckworth, Brown, Marshall, Jackson, Collins, Turner, Hartley (captain), Jones

Scores: Thunder 118-6; Diamonds 106-9

Central Sparks v Southern Vipers (Edgbaston)

Sparks’ batting was a great disappointment. Marie Kelly (36) tried to build a firm foundation, but once she was dismissed for 36, no-one else could provide real momentum. Only Emily Arlott (22) put together an innings of note. Charlie Dean led the bowling honours, taking a remarkable 5-19. Vipers’ bowling line-up is a tough as it comes, but 83 is no sort of total when the opposition have got Danni Wyatt opening. Arlott dismissed Georgia Adams early, but Wyatt (45) and Maia Bouchier (25*) made short work of the target.

Scores: Sparks 83; Vipers 85-2