Source: Julian Thompson

Western Storm v Central Sparks

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Bristol County Ground on July 9 – Second Round for Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

Sparks’ match-winning performances came from Ami Campbell (pictured) 50 (from 75) Spinner Sarah Glenn who took 4/23. Having posted a defendable score above 200, Sparks took eight wickets by mid-way; but met with dogged resistance from Storm’s tail-enders who reduced the difference to 22 runs. Storm later tweeted that Lauren Filer’s performance was ‘brilliant to see’ in two match-saving partnerships that very nearly succeeded. Lauren Filer took three Sparks wickets (3/36) and made top-score 58*runs (from 69 balls) her ‘fifty,’ fighting a rear-guard action following Storm’s unprecedented top-order collapse. Filer has made good progress with bat-and-ball, bowling with improved accuracy this season; conceding fewer ‘wides.’

Setting the scene, commentators said that last week Sparks ‘came up (losing) against’ defending champions (Southern Vipers); whereas Storm beat Lightning in a rain-affected match with reduced-overs. Broadcasting from a ‘top-floor bedroom apartment’ studio overlooking the ground, commentators were Ed ‘Cricket’ Seabourne (Somerset) former all-rounder Charlie Taylor (Glos.) with guest Lisa Pagett, at Western Storm: regional director of women’s cricket for the South-West & Wales. Also via ESPN-cric-info social media. Weather was a warm summer’s day, without rain.

Sparks’ innings

Sparks Elected to bat, Elizabeth Russell replacing Issy Wong. Amy Jones also absent: on England duty. *During the power play, Sparks faced seamers from both ends. *Commentators said that Lauren Filer’s ‘in-swing’ can be ‘deadly.’ Filer delivered 21 ‘dots,’ also taking 15 year-old Davina Perrin’s (22) wicket. *Seabourne added that Davina Perrin was the youngest ever player signed-up for ‘The Hundred:’ about to enter its second season. *From the opposite end, England hopeful Dani Gibson shared the workload with Katie George (who had recovered from last season’s back injury.) *George was said on occasions to deliver ‘too much swing’ that prompted Umpires to call ‘wide.’ *After ten overs power play, Sparks were 45/1.  *Post power play, Sparks’ Thea Brookes (5) was caught behind by Storm’s keeper Natasha Wraith, from Filer. *Top-scoring Ami Campbell 50(75) joined skipper Eve Jones 44 (74) *Their partnership lasted for seventeen overs banked what turned out to be valuable sixty-four runs for Sparks’ third wicket. *After 100 balls (16.4 overs) Sparks were 63/2; reaching 96/2 by mid-way (25 overs) and chalking-up their 100 runs, next over.

*Storm newbie Chloe Skelton took centre stage, bowling her ‘occasional right-arm off-breaks.’ *Skelton dismissed both of Sparks top-scorers. *Firstly Eve Jones (44 from 74) who was clean-bowled; and secondly Ami Campbell 50(75) caught at ‘fine leg’ from Niamh Holland. *Lauren Filer returned during the thirty-first over whilst Chloe Skelton changed ends. *Abi Freeborn had a lucky escape, mis-timing to deep ‘square-leg’ where Katie George put her down. *Niamh Holland replaced Filer from the thirty-fourth over, a second wicket 13 balls later, her medium pace skittling Sarah Glenn (2) *From the forty-fourth over, Lauren Filer paired with Dani Gibson, took Sparks four remaining wickets. *Bowler-turned-batter Ria Fackrell 16(23) offered spirited resistance until falling to Dani Gibson who took three wickets from the last 9 balls. *Gibson also ‘ran out’ Georgia Davis (4) from Katie George. *Gibson clean-bowled Grace Potts (4) and Hannah Baker was ‘run out’ from the final ball of Gibson’s ‘death’ over.

Storm’s innings 

For Sparks, Abi Freeborn kept wicket, without Amy Jones available. *For Storm, Heather Knight was also absent (England duty) *Storm lost three wickets during the power play. *Sparks power play bowlers alternated between seamer Grace Potts bowling five overs with spinner Georgia Davis (off-breaks); and Elizabeth Russell (stepping-in for Issy Wong.) *Firstly, Georgia Hennessy was caught behind by Abi Freeborn from Grace Potts, for a golden duck. *Secondly Alex Griffiths (9) was caught by Sarah Glenn, also from Potts. *Thirdly Fran Wilson (13) was clean-bowled by Elizabeth Russell. *After ten overs’ power play, Storm seemed to be on equal terms: 32/3 (vs 45/1.)

*Disaster struck Storm when Sarah Glenn took two wickets, then a third wicket that fell within a space of eleven balls. *Firstly skipper Sophie Luff (8) went cheaply, ‘leg before’ to Glenn. *During the same over Glenn also clean-bowled Dani Gibson (9) ‘across the line.’  *A third wicket fell when Natasha Wraith (7) was caught behind by stand-in keeper Abi Freeborn. *Sarah Glenn took two more wickets before mid-way, either side of the 100-ball benchmark (16.4 overs.) *At that point, Storm were still ‘on par’ with runs, but carried forward a concerning four-wicket disadvantage with their biggest hitters gone: 64/6 (vs 63/2.)

*After 25 overs, Storm had not only lost six more wickets than Sparks but were also twenty runs adrift 75/8 (vs 96/2.) *With the balance tipped in their favour, Sparks seemed confident of a win. *Storm’s tail-enders had other ideas. *Commentators commended batters 9, 10 & 11 taking the score from 68/8 to 184/9. *Bowler-turned-batter Lauren Filer 58*(69) added to her earlier ‘3-fer,’ chalking up her ‘fifty’ with the first of three ‘fours’ scored from Ria Fackrell’s penultimate over. *Filer’s eighth-wicket partnership with Sophia Smale 32(79) added 73 runs, until run out by Thea Brookes. *At that point Storm needed 67 from 50 balls with one wicket remaining. *Batting at No.11, Chloe Skelton 25*(35) was tweeted to have ‘a bit of character.’ *No further wickets fell, leaving Storm 22 runs adrift.


After a slow start peppered by Storm’s ‘dot balls,’ Sparks skipper Eve Jones built a solid partnership with Ami Campbell that added 64 runs for their third wicket, contributing towards a half-decent score. Storm’s top-order wickets tumbled cheaply, challenging their last three batters to see through the second-half of their innings. Having earlier taken 3/36, Storm’s Lauren Filer made top-score-of-the day (58). Eventually, Storm’s rear-guard action fell just short of the target. The match concluded when Storm’s tail-enders ran out of time rather than wickets. That outcome had seemed unlikely, given Storm’s earlier batting collapse.

Result: Central Sparks Women 206/10 (50 overs) beat Western Storm Women 184/9 (50 overs) by 22 runs

Sparks batting: 206/10 (50 overs, 4.12 runs-per-over): Ami Campbell 50(75), Eve Jones 44(74), Abi Freeborn 35(58), Davina Perrin 22(29), Ria Fackrell 16(23); Storm bowling: Lauren Filer 3/36, Niamh Holland 2/17, Danielle Gibson 2/39, Chloe Skelton 1/46; Fow 1-35, 2-45, 3-109, 4-143, 5-156, 6-188, 7-192, 8-200, 9-204, 10-206.

Storm batting: 184/9 (50 overs, 3.68 runs-per-over) Lauren Filer 58(69); Sophia Smale 32(79), Chloe Skelton 25(35), Fran Wilson 13(10), Katie George 12(23); Sparks bowling: Sarah Glenn 4/23, Grace Potts 2/33, Elizabeth Russell 2/48; Fow 1-3, 2-17, 3-31, 4-41, 5-44, 6-48, 7-64, 8-67, 9-140.

Scorecard and statistics at URL:

Entire match, is free-to-view courtesy of Central Sparks via Youtube and Smart TV (6h56m40s starting from 09m35) at URL:

Video clips also courtesy of Central Sparks@Warwick County Cricket at URL