Source: Julian Thompson

Emily Arlott Takes Sparks Into Final

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Central Sparks v SE Stars Playoff at The County Ground Northampton (Wantage Road) at 12h00 on 11 June

England hopeful Emily Arlott (pictured) took Sparks forward by scoring Sparks’ winning run under considerable pressure from their final over, knocking-out Stars (the defending champions.) As Playoff winners, Sparks meet Vipers in the ECB Charlotte Edwards Cup final. Trophy was exhibited on a pedestal (please see video coverage on ‘youtube’ below.) Setting the scene, commentator Adam Collins, introduced guests Tash Farrant (representing Stars) and Charlotte Taylor (Vipers). Collins ‘beefed-up’ Sparks’ Emily Arlott, as ‘new talent’ that can’t be ignored. Collins added that Arlott did well during the group stage, to bag six wickets for 28 runs.

Previously at the group-stage, honours were even, Stars beating Sparks and vice-versa. Collins added that Wantage Road was ‘a high-scoring ground,’ with three scores above 200 in the men’s ’Vitality Blast T20.’ For the women’s tournament, this season’s average innings total was reportedly 142 (vs 127) with more boundaries and ‘sixes’ being hit, compared to last year. Conversely, this Playoff match was a low-scoring: each side struggling their way toward the hundred mark. Video coverage came from Sparks (please see below.) Also broadcast live stream by social media (including ESPN-cric-info.) Sparks were unchanged. Stars rotated Freya Davies and Danielle Gregory for Ryana Macdonald-Gay and Eva Gray. On commentary, Tash Farrant was rested. Weather was mild with a backing cross-wind that died down, giving way to brighter sunshine.

*Sparks opening bowlers had their best day in the entire contest, taking five quick wickets.*Issy Wong (68-71mph) and Grace Potts (59-63mph) each took two wickets up front, limiting Stars to twenty-five runs during a nightmare six overs’ power play. *Sparks’ bowlers (according to Collins) bowled out-swingers to ‘move the ball away from the right-hander.’ *Firstly, Issy Wong’s slower ball (69mph) beat Stars skipper Bryony Smith who was bowled at two-thirds of stump height, skittling her middle-and-off stumps, for a third-ball duck (0/1). *England’s Sophia Dunkley exhibited text-book defence before top-edging aerial over ‘long-on’ for a lucky ’four’ from Grace Potts (63mph.) *Driving hard at ’mid-on’, Dunkley sent Sarah Glenn rolling backwards, taking an inevitable catch. *At that point, Collins said that: ’Stars looked in big trouble.’ *Next over, when Issy Wong returned, left-handed Aylish Cranstone top-edged another vertical skier, landing deep behind ‘leg slip,’ and was caught by Grace Potts. *With Stars at 15/3, Collins observed that both Stars’ openers had gone for ‘ducks’ and Issy Wong’s bowling figures were astonishingly ‘2/2.’

*For Stars, Collins beefed-up Alice Davidson-Richards as the ‘perfect person’ (to deal with) the situation,’ as Issy Wong’s first delivery whizzed passed for ‘four’ byes. *Bowling her second over, Grace Potts (clocked at 60mph) clean-bowled teenage star Alice Capsey, yet to fire-up this season with her bat. *Capsey offered a defensive shot but was beaten ‘through-the-gate’ by a lifting ball (Stars at 15/4.) *Bowling a series of dot balls, Issy Wong scored a rare maiden (69-70mph.) *Best known for ‘playing spin,’ Phoebe Franklin (9) put Potts away for ‘four’ but snicked a thin-edge to keeper Amy Jones: caught behind from Stars’ last power play ball. *Charlotte Taylor said that Sparks’ opening pair had ‘bowled brilliantly’ and there was ‘not much more’ that Stars’ batters could have done. *Collins said Stars had ‘entered unchartered territory;’ never having faced this scenario before; and ‘needed to reassess’ their position. *After their six-overs power play, Stars were almost out of the game on 25/5.

*Beyond the power play, Alice Davidson-Richards and Kalea Moore lifted Stars’ run-rate from four to six runs-per-over; in a sixty-run six-wicket partnership. *Both players offered edges during Emily Arlott’s first over. *Firstly, Davidson-Richards top-edged between fielders for a ‘single’. *Next ball, Moore snicked a top-edge from a short ball, sent sailing over the keeper’s head for ‘four.’ At mid-way, Stars remained below-par, on 41/5. *Next over, Davidson-Richards struck two ‘fours’ from Hannah Baker’s spin to chalk-up Stars’ ‘fifty.’ *Another breakthrough for Sparks came when Davidson-Richards 29(30) was clean-bowled by Sarah Glenn (47-49mph) at 85/6. *At the 100-ball benchmark Stars were 89/6. *Arlott saw two more wickets fall when bowling the penultimate over, conceding four runs. *Firstly, top scorer Kalea Moore 34(42) was caught by Davina Perrin, from Arlott. *Four balls later, keeper Kira Chathli 3(4) was ‘run out’ by Gwen Davies. *Stars mustered a barely defendable score of 104/8.

*Sparks reply. Collins later questioned humorously: “Who’d have thought the match was going all the way?” *Opener Issy Wong departed to Kalea Moore’s off-spin, her middle stump ‘taking the pace off the ball.’ *After six overs power play, Sparks made ‘fifty’ (53/1) needing 52 runs from 84 balls. Collins humorously convinced Stars’ Tash Farrant ‘it would all be over soon!’ *Legendary Joneses’ partnership passed the mid-way run-chase marker. *Fortunes changes when both Joneses wickets went for ‘mid-wicket’ catches in the space of 3 balls. *Amy Jones 17(15) was taken ‘sharply’ by Phoebe Franklin’ off skipper Bryony Smith (59/2); followed by Eve Jones 29(24): caught by Smith off Danielle Gregory. *Two fresh batters Abi Freeborn and Ami Campbell replaced the experienced Jones.*Campbell was ‘bowled under her bat,’ losing her middle stump to Smith sending both bales flying.*Sparks were said to have ‘come to a complete halt’ by mid-way, with just one wicket’s advantage 68/4 (vs 41/5). *Next over, Gwen Davies (2) went ‘leg before’ to Bryony Smith, her first-ball ‘leg before’ appeal by Smith having previously been turned-down.

*Bryony Smith’s ‘outstanding spell’ continued bagged a 4-fer (4/14) as Davina Perrin (7) was bowled ‘through the gate’ on 79/6. *Collins became more animated when Kalea Moore’s ‘golden arm’ sent the ball straight through Abi Freeborn’s defence; on 83/7 *At 16.4 overs (on 92/7 vs 89/6) Collins said the match was anyone’s game, Sparks needing to score 13 runs from 20 balls. *Sparks eighth wicket fell when Sarah Glenn, known for hitting ’sixes’ at the closing stage; went aerial catching a top-edge from Alice Davidson-Richards (64mph.) *Glenn was caught at ‘deep mid-wicket’ by Phoebe Franklin diving forward, catching low down, followed by a gymnastic roll.*Bowlers-turned-batters Emily Arlott and Grace Potts came close to being ‘run out,’ as scores drew level and the match entered its final over. *Needing one run from Alice Davidson-Richards’ death over, Emily Arlott 16*(21) ‘held her nerve’ to hit Sparks winning run, over the bowler’s head; knocking-out the defending champions from the first delivery of the final over.

Result (Playoff, winner plays Vipers in ECB Charlotte Edwards Cup final): Central Sparks Women 105/8 (19.1/20 overs) beat SE Stars Women 104/8 (20 overs) by 2 wickets with 5 balls remaining

Stars: 104/8 (20 overs, 5.2 runs-per-over) Kalea Moore34(32), Alice Davidson-Richards29(30), Emma Jones13*(17); Sparks bowling: Grace Potts 3/20, Issy Wong 2/8, Sarah Glenn 1/23, Emily Arlott 1/18; Fow 1-0, 2-5, 3-11, 4-15, 5-25, 6-85, 7-95, 8-98.

Sparks: 105/8 (19.1/20 overs, 5.47 runs-per-over): Eve Jones29(24), Amy Jones17(15), Emily Arlott16*(21), Issy Wong11(6);Stars bowling: Bryony Smith 4/14, Kalea Moore 2/20, Alice Davidson-Richards 3/1, Danielle Gregory 10/1; Fow 1-34, 2-59, 3-59, 4-60, 5-69, 6-79, 7-83, 8-98.

Scorecard and statistics at URL: &

Entire match, is free-to-view courtesy of Central Sparks via Youtube and Smart TV (3h15:39 starting from 24m40s) at URL:

Postscript: Last summer, Arlott collected her first ‘hat-trick’ and ‘5-fer’ (5/29 in June’21.) Having caught the eye of England’s selectors, Arlott played for ‘England A,’ touring Australia during last winter.