Source: Julian Thompson

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2023 – match 14

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North West Thunder vs Central Sparks on May  6 – match RHF14 – at Manchester (Emirates Old Trafford)

Thunder’s England duo Sophie Ecclestone and Emma Lamb made ‘fifties.’ Sparks debutante Erin Burns (Australia) took a ‘4-fer’ with her off-spin and added what turned out to be 37 valuable runs with her bat. Sparks Eve Jones (pictured) played a skipper’s ‘fifty.’ Commentators were right to anticipate a ‘tense finish.’ A ‘magnificent final over’ resulted in an unlikely last-ball tie. Commentators were Michael McCann (Sports journalist) with Allyson Bryne (ex-skipper, Lancs & Cheshire women.) Video highlights from Lancs TV via ECB Online (NV Play) – please see below. Weather was overcast with intermittent showers 12-15C.

Thunder innings *Skipper Ellie Threlkeld, with Kate Cross recovered from injury. *Internationals Deandre Dottin (ex-WIndies) and Tara Norris (USA) *England duo Sophie Ecclestone struck a personal best 74 runs and opener Emma Lamb also made ‘fifty.’ *Sparks bowler Erin Burns (Australia) took 4/56 with her off-spin. *Naomi Dattani 16 runs(from 18 balls) was caught at deep square ‘mouse-trap’ by Grace Potts from Issy Wong’s short ball – a ‘bouncer.’ After 10 overs Power-play, Thunder were 43/1. *England’s Emma Lamb 56(68), made ‘fifty’ and was stumped by keeper Freeborn from Erin Burns. *Next over, skipper Threlkeld 1(9) chipped to ‘mid-on,’ and was caught by Grace Potts from Erin Burns. *Fi Morris 31(42), was caught at ’short extra cover’ by skipper Jones from Georgia Davis. *After 25 overs, Thunder were 115/4. *Deandre Dottin 8(14) was bowled by Erin Burns. *Two wickets fell during a ‘brilliant’ over from Erin Burns. *Libby Heap 17(14) was caught by Emily Arlott. *Five balls later, Kate Cross 2(5) was bowled ‘magnificently’ edge of off-stump, by Erin Burns. *Despatching Burns for ‘four’ and ‘six’ during the same over, Sophie Ecclestone and Tara Norris 8th wicket partnership added 38 runs. *Tara Norris 8(27) who’d been dropped at ‘first-slip,’ went ‘leg before’ to Emily Arlott. *Mahika Gaur (6) was caught  at ‘mid-off’ by Emily Arlott from Grace Potts. *Earlier Gaur was given a life when Georgia Davis put down a return-catch. *Commentators curse struck when Sophie Ecclestone 74(65), who’d made fifty, ‘looked in good form,’ was caught by Issy Wong from Katie George. *All six Sparks bowlers took wickets as Thunder were bowled-out. *Erin Burns was stand-out bowler, taking a ‘4-fer.’

Sparks innings *Skipper Eve Jones. *Debutante Erin Burns (Australia.) *Chloe Brewer was caught behind by Ellie Threlkeld from a thin-edge for a second-ball duck, from Kate Cross. *Commentators added that was her 3rd ‘duck’ in 4 innings, and ‘an early breakthrough.’ *Abbey Freeborn 17(19) was edged to ‘short of third’ and caught by Fi Morris from Mahika Guar (1/52.) *After 10 overs Power-play, Thunder were 54/2 (vs 43/1.) Eve Jones and Erin Burns’ 3rd wicket partnership added 81 runs. *After 25 overs, Sparks were 118/2 (vs 115/4) *Erin Burns 37(45) was clean-bowled, deceived by Alex Hartley’s spin (1/31.) *Eve Jones 69(106) who’d scored a skipper’s ‘fifty’ was caught by Tara Norris at ‘short extra cover,’ from Kate Cross. *Ami Campbell 28(29) was caught at ‘short of third’ by Mahika Gaur, also from Kate Cross. *3 overs later, Katie George (6) lobbed a dolly back to Sophie Ecclestone for caught-and-bowled. *Drama struck when Tara Norris (2/36) was hit for ‘four,’ took two wickets, anticipating a ‘hat-trick.’ *Firstly, Emily Arlott 13(8) was caught in the ‘covers’ by Fi Morris; followed by Issy Wong whom Norris bowled for a ‘golden duck.’ *Sophie Ecclestone (2/33) trapped Georgia Davis ‘leg before’ with her last ball. *Cliff-hanger ending with Sparks needing 12 runs to win from two overs, with one wicket remaining.*Grace Potts and Davina Perrin 27*(24) (u19 world cup finalist) held their nerve, Grace Potts scoring a ‘leg-bye’ to tie the match. *Rain continued as ground staff rushed covers onto the pitch.

Match summary Legendary Old Trafford rain intervened during a reduced-overs match that ended in a last-ball tie. Sophie Ecclestone’s career-best score of 74 made top-score for Thunder; and Eve Jones top-scored with 69 for Sparks. Between innings, commentators noted that Thunder were ‘done by pace.’ All Sparks bowlers took wickets. The match came to a climax with teenager Mahika Gaur entrusted to bowl a ‘magnificent final over.’ Commentators spoke of a ‘tense finish’ as scores drew level, taking ‘Duckworth-Lewis-Stern’ (DLS method) into account for a fair outcome.

Match Result: North West Thunder Women 234/10; Central Sparks Women 223/9: Match tied (DLS method)

Thunder batting 234/10 (47.1/50 overs, 4.96 runs-per-over)

Sophie Ecclestone 74(65), Emma Lamb 56(68), Fi Morris 31(42), Liberty ‘Libby’ Heap 17(14), Naomi Dattani 16(18); Sparks bowling: Erin Burns 4/56, Georgia Davis 2/38  Grace Potts 1/25, Issy Wong 1/29, Emily Arlott 1/36, Katie George 1/45.

Fow 1-42, 2-105, 3-106, 4-114, 5-120, 6-151, 7-153, 8-191, 9-214, 10-234.

Sparks batting 223/9 (45/45 overs, 4.95 r-p-o)

Eve Jones 69(106), Erin Burns 37(45), Ami Campbell 28(29), Davina Perrin 27*(24), Abbey Freeborn 17(19), Emily Arlott 13(8); Thunder bowling: Kate Cross 3/40, Sophie Ecclestone 2/33, Tara Norris 2/36, Alex Hartley 1/31, Mahika Gaur 1/52.

Fow 1-5, 2-44, 3-125, 4-154, 5-173, 6-186, 7-201, 8-201, 9-212.

Scorecard with video highlights, courtesy of ECB via NV Play on YouTube at URL:

NB: Full video courtesy of Lancs TV from 22m06s from 13m00s/08h13m18s at URL:

Pre-match video: Mahika Gaur’s ‘Journey to Thunder,’ (2m59) courtesy of Lancs TV via YouTube at URL:

Thunder and Sparks awarded 2 points each. Latest England and Wales Cricket Board tables at URL: