Western Storm v Central Sparks at Worcester (New Road) on June 4
Sparks go through to finals day somewhat bizarrely, following defeat by Storm. Top-scorer Amy Jones (pictured) made her third ‘fifty’ for Sparks group stage, one of just two players to do so. Separately, the other player who bagged three group-stage ‘fifties’ (Aylish Cranstone) scored just ten runs short of Jones’ 245 runs from six innings. Previously, Sparks beat Storm in their first match of the season at Cardiff (14 May). Match coverage and Video highlights came from Central Sparks (please see below.) Also broadcast live stream by social media (including ESPN-cric-info.) Sparks finish third-placed overall on points, qualifying them to play in the final round of the ECB’s Charlotte Edwards Cup.
*Batting first, Sparks lost Issy Wong during their second over when Wong lofted Dani Gibson, caught by Nimah Holland at long-on (5/1.) *By Sparks power play, the legendary Joneses’ partnership had added 29 runs (34/1.)*By mid-way, Sparks were 68/1. During the next (11th) over, skipper Eve Jones 27 runs (from 31 balls) lost her middle stump, coming down-the-wicket to Sophia Smale (left-arm spin, round-the-wicket.)
*Amy Jones’ clocked-up her third ‘fifty’ with the first of two ‘fours’ that opened the fifteenth over. *Next over, Amy Jones 63(46) and Abi Freeborn 24(23) passed 100/2 Sparks’ 100-mark. *During the sixteenth over, Amy Jones was dismissed by Sophia Smale (2/17) while describing a square-cut. *At the 100-ball benchmark (16.4 overs) Sparks were 107/3.*Thereafter, Sparks batters were constrained to hitting ‘ones’ and ‘twos;’ apart from Abi Freeborn who scored ’six’ from Georgia Hennessy.*During the penultimate over, Freeborn threw caution to the wind as Storm’s keeper Natasha Wraith was quick to whip-off her bales from Claire Nicholas right-arm spin.
*Storm’s reply. All Storm’s batters made double-figures in what turned out to be a closely-fought match.*Fi Morris 21 runs (from 17 balls) started well, striking Grace Potts’ for two ‘fours’ from the first over. *Potts’ third over snicked a top-edge from Fi Morris’ mis-timed square-cut, caught by Gwen Davies (33/1.)*After six overs’ power play, Storm were level-pegging on 38/1 (vs 34/1); needing 101 runs from 90 balls. *Thereafter, their required-run-rate remained fairly constant.*Facing Issy Wong, Skipper Sophie Luff 11(12) found the boundary, with her sixth ball.*Next over, skipper Luff was caught behind by keeper Amy Jones; previously having struck the same bowler (Emily Arlott) for ’four.’
The match hung in the balance as Fran Wilson 29(26) and Georgia Hennessy 47*(45) faced eight overs, including four frustrating overs from Sarah Glenn (half of whose deliveries were dot balls.)*Wilson and Hennessy clocked 61/2 by mid-way (vs 68/1); their partnership banking 57 runs for Storm’s third wicket.*Breakthrough for Sparks came when Emily Arlott returned to bowl, given six overs’ rest. *Arlott’s first ball was ballooned by Wilson to deep mid-off, comfortably caught by skipper Eve Jones.*After 16.4 overs (100 balls) Storm on 114/3 (vs 107/3) needed to score at one-run-per-ball with Georgia Hennessy still batting.*Promising all-rounder Danielle Gibson 24*(14) stepped-up, hitting ’six,’ and scampering another ‘two’ runs to clinch victory for Storm, with seven balls to spare.
In summary, although Amy Jones top-scored, Storm’s batters each replied with double-figures. Despite losing to Storm at Worcester, Sparks can move forward to the final round whereas Storm duck out with insufficient points. Having accumulated sufficient points at the group stage to finish third, Sparks can step forward to play second-placed Stars on finals day at Northampton. Winners of that eliminator match will play Vipers (as the team with most accumulated points); in the same-day final, on 11 June.
Result (group B): Western Storm Women 135/3 (18.5/20 overs) beat Central Sparks Women 134/4 (20 overs) by 7 wickets with 7 balls remaining
Sparks: 134/4 (20 overs, 6.7 runs-per-over): Amy Jones63(46), Eve Jones27(31), Abi Freeborn24(23); Storm bowling: Sophia Smale 2/17, Claire Nicholas 1/22, Danielle Gibson 1/22; Fow 1-5, 2-70, 3-107, 4-126;
Storm: 135/3 (18.5/20 overs, 7.17 runs-per-over): Georgia Hennessy47*(45), Fran Wilson29(26), Danielle Gibson24*(14), Fi Morris21(17), Sophie Luff11(12); Sparks bowling: Emily Arlott 2/29; Grace Potts 1/20; Fow 1-33, 2-45, 3-102.
Entire match, is free-to-view courtesy of Central Sparks via Youtube and Smart TV (3h09m50s starting from 17m45) at URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOs925AAgeA
Video clips also courtesy of Central Sparks@Warwick County Cricket at URL https://edgbaston.com/fixtures/womens/central-sparks-vs-western-storm-4-june-2022/