Charlotte Edwards Cup
Charlotte Edwards Cup Logo Sat 8 June, 11:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Central Sparks

Central Sparks

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Central Sparks

Northern Diamonds

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Report: Sparks v Diamonds, Charlotte Edwards Cup

Northern Diamonds at last got their Charlotte Edwards Cup campaign up and running with a 13-run victory over fading Central Sparks at Edgbaston.

Diamonds had lost their first five games but found their form to handed Sparks their third successive defeat after successfully defending a modest total of 137 for seven.

The Diamonds’ innings was an extraordinarily lop-sided affair, featuring their second-biggest ever Charlotte Edwards Cup partnership followed by a collapse of six wickets for 17 runs in the 25 balls. Hollie Armitage (62, 49 balls) and Sterre Kallis (43, 39) added 97 in 76 balls but the rest of the rejigged batting order imploded against an attack led by Hannah Baker (three for 24).

Sparks replied with 124 for eight. England star Amy Jones, on her first appearance of the summer, struck 39 (30) but all six Diamonds bowlers took wickets in a compact team effort headed by Katherine Fraser’s skilful 3-0-12-1.

After Diamonds were put in on a good batting pitch, Lauren Winfield-Hill fell in the fourth over when she chipped Charis Pavely to extra cover, but Sparks’ next breakthrough was a long time coming.

Armitage worked the ball skilfully to leg to keep the scoreboard moving and punished anything loose on the way to a 41-ball half-century which she reached with her seventh four, lapped off Grace Potts. Kallis, who reached the crease with just 52 runs from her previous five innings, visibly grew in confidence after she settled and produced the shot of the day when she lifted Emily Arlott over extra cover for four. 

Arlott had her revenge later in the over though when Kallis was bowled through a cut – and the innings immediately went into freefall. Armitage fell next ball when a flighted delivery from Georgia Davis defeated an attempted pull. When Erin Burns charged and missed at Baker three wickets had fallen for three runs in 11 balls.

Sparks took advantage of some frenzied attempts to find late boundaries as Bess Heath edged Katie George behind and Leah Dobson and Katherine Fraser were caught in the deep off successive balls by Baker.

Sparks soon lost Abi Freeborn, bowled middle stump by Rachel Slater. Davina Perrin (21, 20) and Amy Jones added 42 in 29 balls before the former lifted Armitage to extra cover.

Amy Jones hoisted Slater straight for six and it appeared it was the England wicketkeeper’s day when she was dropped on 22 and 25, but there was no reprieve when she missed a pull at Sophia Turner (one of the drop culprits) and was lbw.

Fraser added the important wicket of skipper Eve Jones, neatly caught by Dobson at deep mid-wicket in an excellent over which cost just two runs. That over left Sparks under pressure, needing 52 from six overs with two new batters at the crease.

Katie Levick lured George down the track to have her stumped and had Courtney Webb (23, 21) caught at deep cover, and 18 from the last over proved far too many for the Sparks tail to find.

Sparks captain Eve Jones said: “At the halfway stage we were quite happy to have restricted them to the score we did. Our bowlers did an exceptional job to rein them in at the back end.

“We would definitely have backed ourselves to chase that score so it was a disappointing second half but we had a great start to the comp so we are still very much in the mix. Hopefully we can get four wins to make sure we finish in that top four.

“It was great to play at Edgbaston as part of the double header and in front of more people than we usually do. We love playing here and love the atmosphere. We can’t stay around to enjoy the men’s game though because we are straight on the bus to Canterbury for an 11.30am start tomorrow so we’ll get down there tonight and do a bit of recovery and make sure we are ready to go tomorrow.”

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