Source: Julian Thompson

Alice Davidson-Richards Top-Scores

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Western Storm v South East Stars at Bristol on June 1 (14h30)

*Storm scored at four-runs-per-over during the first half of the match.

*Unusually, Storms’ average scoring rate remained constant at four-runs-per-over, between the power play and the mid-way point (39/2.) *Where Stars scored runs at a faster rate before mid-way, Storm scored a greater proportion of their runs after mid-way. Moving forward, former England player Fran Wilson anchored Storm’ innings scoring at around one-run-per-ball.

*By comparison, Stars’ top scorer Alice Davidson-Richards (pictured) anchored Stars’ innings for half the match, between the eight and eighteenth overs: that paved the way for a cliff-hanger ending. Once Davidson-Richards departed, Stars keeper Kira Chathli saw Stars across the line for a three-wicket win.

Previously (on 21 May) when Stars beat Storm, Kalea Moore and Aylish Cranstone made ‘fifties’ for Stars; and Georgia Hennessy made ‘fifty’ for Storm. This time, although Davidson-Richards made top-score, no fifties were scored by either side, but Kalea Moore took most wickets (3-fer) in a match where advantage hung in the balance until the final over. Separately, Heather Knight was feeling unwell and unable to play. TV coverage came from Western Storm Cricket (please see below.) Also broadcast live stream by social media (including ESPN-cric-info.)

*Storm’s power play was dominated by three overs from England’s Freya Davies fast-medium pace, with twelve ‘dot’ balls, conceding eight runs. This factor suppressed Storm’s power play score (24/1.)

*Opener Fi Morris presented a top-edge: and was caught behind by keeper Kira Chathli from Davies for a second-ball duck. *Replacing Davies beyond the power play, Danielle Gregory’s right-armed leg-spin had comparable ‘dot’ ball economy.

*Storm needed to break the deadlock or face the prospect of a low score below the ‘100’ mark. *Gregory was rewarded when skipper Sophie Luff 13(25) forcefully hit a vertical ‘skier’ – snapped-up at ‘deep mid-wicket’ by Alice Davidson-Richards.

*Danielle Gregory also dismissed Georgia Hennessy 27(31) known as Luff’s ‘Somerset twin.’ *Receiving Phoebe Franklin’s low throw from ’cover point,’ Gregory whipped-off the bales at the bowler’s end; to see Hennessy depart with disappointment, following a ‘square’ shape described in mid-air, to signal an umpire’s review. *At mid-way, Storm were 39/2.

*During the second half, Storm suffered more damage from Stars’ Kalea Moore’s (3-Fer) right-arm off-breaks that dismissed three middle-order batters for just eight runs.

*Firstly Dani Gibson failed to spot the slower ball, raising her bat too soon before her stumps were skittled (59/4.) *Natasha Wraith grounded her bat, but Moore got the same result from a faster ball. (67/5) *Katie George went the same way as her skipper with excellent timing, but sent the ball aerial. *Well-caught by Freya Davies running between long-off and long-on (67/8.) Thereafter, Fran Wilson 33*(30) and Alex Griffiths 16(15) were content to scamper cautious ‘ones and twos.’

*With up to twenty balls remaining, Storm recovered slightly to 82/6 by the 100-ball benchmark (16.4 overs.) Two more wickets fell during Storms’ last two overs as pressure mounted to chalk-up 100 runs.

*At 98/7, Alex Griffiths spooned a dolly back to teenage star Alice Capsey, who took the return catch, followed by a delighted leap down the wicket.

*Bowling the final ‘death’ over, Freya Davies’ final ball skittled Nimah Holland’s stumps, leaving Fran Wilson (with three ‘fours’ to her name) ‘not out.’ Storm closed on 109/8.

*Stars reply. Katie George’s first over of pace gifted two ‘fours’ to Stars skipper Bryony Smith. Thereafter, Storm’s bowlers regained some control. Stars power play was dominated by three overs of economical ‘off-breaks’ from Storm’s Claire Nicholas (1/19.) *Nicholas’ second over dismissed opener Aylish Cranstone 4(9) who swept too early. *Cranstone ballooned a catch to Dani Gibson jumping-up inside the circle at long-on.

*Gibson also bowled two power play overs, at which point Stars were a nose in front at 35/2 (vs 24/1.) *Just after the power play, England’s Sophia Dunkley 8(7) lobbed Sophia Smale’s first ball (slow left-arm) that was caught one-handed by Claire Nicholas arriving from ‘square-leg.’

*Two more wickets fell before mid-way. *Firstly, Bryony Smith 24(28) ballooned a catch to Dani Gibson at ‘long-on,’ from Alex Griffiths medium pace (39/3.) *Secondly, Alice Capsey (1) mistimed a hook shot, confidently caught by skipper Sophie Luff at ‘mid-on,’ from Sophia Smale.

*Stars first fifty runs were clocked-up in 9.4 overs. *Mid-way after 10 overs, Stars were 52/4 (vs 39/2) needing to score at one-run-per-ball (58 runs from 60 balls.)

*Left-arm medium-fast bowler Katie George returned, knocking back Phoebe Franklin’s (4) off-stump, following three unplayable ‘dot’ balls. *Similarly after a long rest, Dani Gibson saw Kalea Moore ‘run out’ from her first ball: involving a direct hit from Georgia Hennessy, removing one bale. *Umpire had no hesitation when considering Moore’s dismissal (76/5.) By the 100-ball benchmark Stars were level-pegging on 89/6 (vs 82/6.)

*At that point, Alice Davidson-Richards 35(25) seized back advantage for Stars, striking 11 runs from Katie George’s pace, including two ‘fours.’ *Claire Nicholas responded for Storm. *Davidson-Richards made a ‘reverse sweep’ from Nicholas to the off-side, but was ‘run out’ by Fran Wilson throwing to keeper Natasha Wraith; whilst attempting a second run with Kira Chathli. *Davidson-Richards was out. *The match reached its conclusion when, needing 3 runs from the final over, Kira Chathli (11*) hoisted Alex Griffiths over ‘extra-cover’ for the winning ‘four.’

Postscript: In the sixth-and-final round of the group stage, Stars play Sunrisers – who’ve nothing to lose as ’spoonists’. *Beating Sunrisers guarantees Stars a second consecutive appearance on finals day as inaugural cup winners of last year’s ECB Charlotte Edwards Cup.

*During this year’s double-header on finals day, Stars and Sparks (expected to qualify for 2nd and 3rd places) play the first match, having beaten each other at the group stage. *Storm meanwhile, have one more match to play.  *The 2nd-placed winner looks set to play Vipers who remain undefeated with maximum points. *Some time later, Aylish Cranstone said she was ‘looking forward to scoring ‘fifty’ on finals day’ – Cranstone is the only uncapped player to have scored three ’fifties’ to date, during this year’s group stage.

Result (group B): South-East Stars Women 112/7 (19.3/20overs) beat Western Storm Women 109/8 (20 overs) by 3 wickets and 3 balls remaining

*Storm: 109/8 (20 overs, 5.45 runs-per-over) Fran Wilson 33*(30), Georgia Hennessy 27(31), Alex Griffiths 16(15), Sophie Luff 13(25); Stars bowling: Kalea Moore 3/4, Freya Davies 2/16, Danielle Gregory 1/17, Alice Capsey 1/20; Fow 1-1, 2-33, 3-46, 4-59, 5-67, 6-67, 7-98, 8-109; *Stars 112/7 (19.3/20 overs, 5.74 runs-per-over): Alice Davidson-Richards 35(25), Bryony Smith 24(28) Kalea Moore 13(19), Kira Chathli 11*(7), Alexa Stonehouse 7*(9); Storm bowling: Sophia Smale 2/18, Claire Nicholas 1/19, Alex Griffiths 1/23, Katie George 1/25;  Fow 1-19, 2-35, 3-39, 4-43, 5-55, 6-76, 7-95.

Match video highlights are free-to-view courtesy of Western Storm via Youtube and Smart TV at URL youtube at URL