Charlotte Edwards Cup
Charlotte Edwards Cup Logo Wed 19 June, 11:30

Edgbaston, Birmingham

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Central Sparks

Central Sparks

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Central Sparks

The Blaze

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Report: Sparks v Blaze, Charlotte Edwards Cup

A ninth win in ten games left Blaze top of the final table while the defeat saw Sparks drop to fourth after Southern Vipers climbed above them with a bonus point win over South-East Stars at Hove.

Sparks were restricted to 138 for eight by an impressive Blaze attack led by Kirstie Gordon (4-0-14-2) and Grace Ballinger (4-1-16-1). After solid contributions from top three Amy Freeborn (39, 32 balls), Davina Perrin (37, 33) and Amy Jones (36, 26), the rest folded as Josie Groves and Heather Graham also each took two wickets.

Marie Kelly, on the ground where she learned her cricket, then swept Blaze to victory. Kelly’s classy unbeaten 89 (63) underpinned her side’s progress to 139 for five from 19.2 overs as a Sparks bowling attack which had bowled Vipers out for 98 three days earlier found life much more difficult. It is Blaze who will head to Derby with momentum behind them.

Sparks chose to bat but started slowly as Ballinger opened with a maiden. Gordon conceded just a single from her first over as only 25 runs came from the first six overs.

Perrin then began to climb into some shots and smote Graham over long off for six to raise the 50 stand from 51 balls. The 17-year-old added five fours to her six before going down the pitch to Groves but finding only Ella Claridge at mid off.

Freeborn top-edged a sweep at Sarah Glenn to short fine leg and while Amy Jones settled, she watched a succession of partners find careless ways to get out. Eve Jones and Courtney Webb belted full tosses to fielders and Katie George managed to pull a good-length Graham delivery to mid off.

Amy Jones at least kept the innings moving but fell in the penultimate over when she charged and missed at the excellent Gordon who hit Em Arlott’s leg stump two balls later. When Graham knocked out Charis Pavely’s middle stump with the last ball of the innings, seven wickets had fallen for 49 runs in 43 balls.

Sparks’ innings having started with a maiden, Blaze’s began even more hesitantly with a wicket maiden in which Teresa Graves chipped Em Arlitt to mid off. Kelly and Kathryn Bryce (27, 32) responded perfectly with a measured stand which passed 50 in 47 balls. Kelly had had an unproductive tournament, amassing just 48 runs in seven innings, but more than doubled that tally in one go as she reached her half-century in 37 balls.

The pair added 106 in 86 balls before Kathryn Bryce was stumped at the second attempt by Freeborn off Potts. That triggered a clatter as Sarah Bryce edged Georgia Davis, Pavely hit Graham’s off-stump and Claridge, after striking two important boundaries, sliced Hannah Baker to point, but Kelly saw her side home at her spiritual home.

Sparks captain Eve Jones said: “We had a lot to play for in terms of where we finished in the table so it was disappointing to lose. We took the game really deep and gave ourselves a chance in the last few overs but ultimately we didn’t have enough runs on the board so we will go back and have a look at a few things with our batting.

“We bowled quite well and created a couple of chances that we didn’t quite take but credit to them, they batted really well. 

“Now we have Blaze again in the semi-final on Saturday. We have played them a few times so we know what we are up against. We will have a look at what their side could be and make sure we get our match-ups right and make sure we get our prep done and hopefully will be back to our best on Saturday.”

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