Source: Julian Thompson

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2023 – match 52 – Storm vs Sparks

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Western Storm vs Central Sparks – at Taunton, at The Cooper Associates County Ground (Somerset) on September 13

Expectations were high for ‘Sparks’ to win remaining fixtures to finish the group stage in second-or-third place. Setting the scene, commentator Ed Seabourne was quick to mention that although both teams were looking to finish their group stage ‘on a high,’ the match was of ‘huge importance’ for ’Sparks.’ Skipper Eve Jones [84*runs ’not out’ (from 113 balls)] built two key partnerships, firstly adding 85 runs with keeper Abbey Freeborn. Eve Jones’s second partnership with New Zealand international player Maddy Green added another 106 runs before ‘carrying her bat.’ Commentators were Ed ‘cricket’ Seabourne (Sports journalist) and Clare B Jenkins (Women’s cricket commentator & ex-Somerset Women) and Hannah Thompson-Radford (Sports journalist) Video highlights courtesy of ECB (NV Play) & Somerset Cricket for Western Storm (please see below.)

Storm’s Innings Skipper Sophie Luff [*Abbey Freeborn keeping wicket for ’Sparks’] *Without Heather Knight, Danielle Gibson & Lauren Filer (England call-up) *During the tenth over, Alex Griffiths 18(29) leg-stump was skittled ‘spectacularly’ by Katie George coming around-the-wicket. After 10 overs ‘Power-play,’ Storm were 32/1 *Five balls later Sophie Luff 4(3) played defensively ‘across-the-line,’ and was bowled by Grace Potts (1/34.) *Emma Corney 32(56) went plumb ‘leg-before’ to Georgia Davis *Niamh Holland 7(16) was bowled by Hannah Baker (1/47) who ‘got one to turn.’ *After 25 overs, ’Storm’ were 98/4. *Fran Wilson 30(46) was caught from the toe-end of her bat, by Ami Campbell from Bethan Ellis (1/27.) *Natasha Wraith and Katie Jones mounted a recovery, added 64 runs for ’Storm’s 6th wicket. *Natasha Wraith 39(48) leg-stump was skittled by Katie George (2/39) coming over-the-wicket. *Playing her second match after two years with Storm’s academy, Katie Jones 32(36) missed a ‘reverse-sweep’ and went ‘leg-before’ to Georgia Davis (2/32.) *Sophia Smale 32(20) steepled high and was caught-and-bowled on follow-through by Emily Arlott (1/47) *Chloe Skelton 26*not out(35) & Mollie Robbins 2*not out(3) *Best ‘Sparks’ bowlers were Georgia Davis 2/32 & Katie George 2/39.

Sparks’ Innings *Skipper Eve Jones [*Katie Jones keeping wicket for Storm] *Maddy Green (NZ) replaced Erin Burns (Australia WBBL.) *Without Amy Jones & Issy Wong (England call-up) *Opener Bethan Ellis 6(25) was bowled, bails sent flying by ‘left-armer’ Sophia Smale *After 10-overs ‘Power-play,’ ‘Sparks’ were level-pegging on 31/1 (vs 32/1) *Abbey Freeborn 44(57) went ‘leg-before’ to Alex Griffiths (1/41) *After 25 overs, ’Sparks’ were 101/2 (vs 98/4) *Maddy Green 64(56) formed ‘Sparks’ main century partnership with Eve Jones until stumped by Katie Jones from Sophia Smale. *Ami Campbell 14(14) was ’not out’ *Best ‘Sparks’ batter Eve Jones 84*’not out’(113) who played a ‘skipper’s innings,’ carried her bat. *Best ‘Storm’ bowler was Sophia Smale 2/38.

Match summary: Most of Storm’s batters reached double-figures, that turned into a defendable score. Sparks chased down their target score at a cost of only three wickets, having won by a comfortable margin. Skipper Eve Jones (84*runs ’not out’) played a skipper’s innings, building two key partnerships with Abbey Freeborn (adding 85 runs) and New Zealand international Maddy Green (106 runs.)  By contrast, ‘Storm’ were looking to finish their final home match ‘on a high’ before travelling to ‘Old Trafford’ to receive their inaugural ‘wooden spoon;’ highly likely to finish their group-stage matches in eighth place. ‘Sparks’ 31 points (4th place at time of writing); ‘Storm’ 16 points.

Match result: Central Sparks 242/3 beat Western Storm 241/8 by seven wickets with 35 balls remaining

*’Storm’s’ batting: 241/8 (from 50/50 overs @4.8 runs-per-over) Natasha Wraith 39(48), Sophia Smale 32(20), Katie Jones 32(36), Emma Corney 32(56), Fran Wilson 30(46), Chloe Skelton 26*not out(35), Alex Griffiths 18(29); *’Sparks’’ bowling: Georgia Davis 2/32, Katie George 2/39, Bethan Ellis 1/27, Grace Potts 1/34, Hannah Baker 1/47, Emily Arlott 1/47. Fow 1-38, 2-43, 3-67, 4-88, 5-113, 6-177, 7-179, 8-239.

*’Sparks’’ batting: 242/3 (from 44.1/50 overs @5.4 r-p-o) Eve Jones 84*’not out’(113), Maddy Green 64(56), Abbey Freeborn 44(57), Ami Campbell 14*’not out’(14); *’Storm’s’ bowling: Sophia Smale 2/38, Alex Griffiths 1/41; Fow: 1-14, 2-97, 3-203;

*Scorecard, courtesy of ECB @URL

*Video highlights, courtesy of ECB @URL

*Match free-to-air courtesy of Somerset Cricket (believed to be via NV Play) on ‘YouTube’ Livestream [starting from 49m00s/7h45m07s] @URL