Source: South East Stars

South-East Stars flying high

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Sunrisers v SE Stars

South-East Stars gained a satisfying win over Sunrisers at Northampton, to leave them equal top of the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint trophy table with Southern Vipers.

It was a game largely dominated by Kent players. Grace Scrivens led the home side, coming fresh from a match-winning 118* against Sparks on Wednesday. It has been a relief seeing Sunrisers putting the bad times behind them under her leadership.

But she wasn’t able to repeat her batting feats here. Alexa Stonehouse, her old (young?) sparring-partner from the England Under 19s, beat her all ends up (15), as soon as she came on first change.

The opening attack of Phoebe Franklin and Tash Farrant had already made their mark. Farrant was inaccurate at first, but won an lbw decision against Amara Carr, to reignite her return to action after her lengthy absence with a nasty back injury.

At the other end Franklin nibbled the ball about, leaving the batters unsure of her line and movement (10-1-30-1). She was opening in place of Ryana Macdonald-Gay, who was omitted from the side after taking 12 wickets in four games to win the PCA’s Player-of-the-Month award. As things turned out, her presence wasn’t to be missed. After ten overs the hosts had mustered only 38-1.

Cordelia Griffith (28) and Jodi Grewcock (24) looked to be righting the boat, but an outstanding diving catch by Franklin off Stonehouse accounted for Griffith.

Kalea Moore, another player recovering from a back injury, became the fourth Kent bowler in succession for SES. She found some spin on a pitch that was suffering the effects of heavy rain the day before. It left the outfield slow during the morning, making Scrivens’ decision to bat first questionable. But her batters were helped by untidy fielding, both on the turf in the pick-up and throws into Chloe Hill’s gloves. She had to mount an acrobatic display.

Moore had the pleasure of taking two wickets; she took a caught-and-bowl to dismiss Grewcock, then tempted Mady Villiers outside the off-stump. The ball took an inside edge and invaded the castle (11). The 17-year-old Amu Surenkumar (25) and Flo Miller (30) battled hard to keep the innings moving. Miller wasn’t defeated till 169 runs were on the board.

Dani Gregory took a while to find her length, dropping too short, but she had bad luck with three possible c&b’s, only one of which was a gimme. The ball seemed to be holding in the turf.

Alice Davidson-Richards was her usual unpredictable self: plenty of loose stuff, but she always has the ability to pick up vital wickets. She accounted for Miller and the Aussie, Nicola Hancock (16), who fell to another outstanding diving catch by Franklin.

Bryony Smith and her staff won’t be happy with the way the Sunrisers’ tail wagged (Esmee Macgregor 20 and Kate Coppack 17 not out), but the total never got out of hand.

The Reply

It must help a team having a captain opening the batting as if she’s playing a Super Over, Stokes-style. That is Bryony Smith (34). However many or few she makes, her attacking approach gives her team the initial impulse it needs to reach the target. By the time she was out (67-2), she had hit six 4s. At the other end, Farrant (20), very much the new find as a left-handed opening bat, has gained a new discipline and confidence.

But she will be very annoyed at the way she got out. Having done all the hard work, she faced the first ball from leg-spinner Grewcock, gave a wild yahoo and was undone. That’s what gets wrist-spinners up on a cold morning.

The openers had set the stage for a match-winning stand by Sophia Dunkley (67/89) and AD-R (50/67) of 105. It will have done Dunkley the world of good as she tries to regain the confidence of the England selectors.

Scrivens used eight bowlers in an attempt to find the key to success, but only Villiers (10-0-43-2) and Grewcock (10-0-37-1) emerged with credit.

19-year-old MacGregor showed calm and control near the end, bowling a series of yorkers that many a seasoned professional could admire.

But the game had swung beyond the hosts’ control. Franklin completed an excellent day’s work with 28*, as the visitors paced their advance sensibly.

Scores: Sunrisers 222-9
SE Stars 223-5 (47.5 overs)
SES won by 5 wickets

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