Report: Sparks v Diamonds, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
Central Sparks got their season up and wining in fine style with an accomplished seven-wicket victory over Northern Diamonds in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Worcester.
Sparks handed Diamonds their first defeat of the campaign after a dominant display at New Road, led by spinner Georgia Davies with the ball and skipper Eve Jones with the bat.
Put in, Diamonds sped to 50 without loss after ten overs but then folded to 161 all out despite Lauren Winfield-Hill’s 42 (40 balls). Davies unpicked the lower order with four for 19 as the last seven wickets fell for 40.
Sparks then chased down the target with great efficiency to reach 162 for three with 70 balls to spare. Jones (67 not out. 11 balls) and Abbey Freeborn (37, 50) added 98 in 21 overs for the second wicket to break the back of the chase and skipper Jones stayed to see her side all the way to victory with a consummate captain’s innings.
Diamonds had started their innings crisply as Winfield-Hill scored 42 of the first 50 before England fast bowler Issy Wong made the vital breakthrough by bowling the fluent opener. Thereafter the innings lost momentum with only Hollie Armitage (37,56) and Chloe Tryon (26, 23) making any impact against an impressive collective effort from the Sparks bowlers. Wong, Katie George and Hannah Baker took two wickets apiece before Davies bamboozled the later batters.
When Sparks began their reply, Diamonds struck early when Jessica Woolston had Chloe Brewer caught at slip in the fourth over, but Jones and Freeborn rebuilt diligently. They put 50 on the board in the 12th over and advanced to 100 in the 24th before Freeborn was run out in the cruellest fashion, at the non-striker’s end when a straight drive from Jones was deflected on to the stumps by Katie Levick.
If Diamonds had any hopes of inducing a clatter, they were killed off by a stylish cameo from 16-year-old Davina Perrin. Her 30 (from 51 balls) underpinned a stand of 45 in 12 overs with Jones. When Perrin was stumped off a nicely flighted delivery from Armitage, Sparks needed just 13 from 23 overs with seven wickets in hand and a rock-solid win to christen their home campaign was assured.
Sparks captain Eve Jones said: “It was really pleasing the way we played. I think we played some good cricket last week but wanted to come out fighting today and I think we did that. The bowlers bowled really well and managed to bowl them out which is really positive. Georgia got four and three other bowlers two each so that is a really good effort.
“From a batting perspective, last week our problem was that we didn’t build partnerships so that was our priority today, to spend a bit of time at the crease and get the job done and that’s what happened.
“It was great to get a win because it is a big weekend for us with back-to-back games. We wanted to kick-start our season and we have done that and will now go into Monday’s game with some confidence and looking to get two wins from the weekend.”
Over 9,000 tickets sold for Pakistan Women IT20
Pakistan Women will be in Birmingham on Saturday 11 May 2024 and over 9,000 tickets have already been sold.
With the Men’s IT20 already sold out, this is your last chance to see Pakistan at Edgbaston next summer. Tickets available from only £15, before the 12 March Early Bird deadline.