Charlotte Edwards Cup
Charlotte Edwards Cup Logo Thu 30 May, 10:30

Emirates Old Trafford, Manchester

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Central Sparks

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Report: Thunder v Sparks, Charlotte Edwards Cup

Lancashire Thunder achieved one of their best results of the season when they overcame the previously undefeated Central Sparks by three wickets in their Charlotte Edwards Cup match at Emirates Old Trafford

Having won the toss and opted to bowl first, Thunder restricted Sparks to 121 for eight in their 20 overs, with Phoebe Graham taking three for 16 and Fi Morris three for 22. 

Thunder chased down that target with one over to spare, Fi Morris against catching the eye with 43, although Sparks made their opponents fight all the way for their spoils.   

Sparks’ innings got off to a woeful start when Tara Norris bowled Chloe Brewer and Davina Perrin with the second and third balls of the match and those setbacks rather set the tone for the visitors’ effort with the bat.

Abbey Freeborn took the attack to the bowlers but was caught by Fi Morris at midwicket for a 12-ball 15 when she tried to pull a short delivery from Graham. And Morris then took the next two wickets, trapping Courtney Webb lbw for nine and having the Sparks skipper Eve Jones caught at backward point by Sophie Morris for 19 when trying to drive a wide full toss.

The departure of the former Thunder batter left Sparks on 54 for five at the midpoint of their innings but it was followed three balls later by a shower which delayed play for 25 minutes.

On the resumption, Katie George and Charis Paveley took 19 runs off the next three overs but Fi Morris ended their promising stand with another full toss, George driving the full bunger straight back to the bowler and departing for 17.

However, a late boost to the Sparks effort was provided by Emily Arlott who put on 47 in 36 balls with Paveley, a stand which included a huge six over square leg in Norris’s final over. Graham ended this fun in her last set of six when she had Arlott caught by Hannah Jones for 28 when sweeping and Grace Potts taken at deep midwicket by Danni Collins off the final ball of the innings. 

Those dismissals left Sparks very moderately placed and in no respect did 121 for eight resemble a par total, Paveley finished with a useful run-a-ball 27 not out. 

Despite facing an asking-rate only a scrap above six runs an over, Thunder’s pursuit was littered with errors.  Emma Lamb was caught at short fine-leg by Chloe Brewer off Paveley for 10 and when Georgia Davis dismissed Seren Smale and Ellie Threlkeld with successive deliveries, the home side were 42 for three in the sixth over. 

Fi Morris tried to restore some stability but she soon lost Danni Collins, who was bowled for five when hitting across the line in George’s first over. Ailsa Lister then helped Morris add a further 38 in 28 balls but the opener’s luck ran out on 43 when she attempted another pull off Hannah Baker and George took a fine catch at deep midwicket. 

When Lister skied Arlott to Freeborn and trooped off with 23 against her name, 24 were needed off five overs. Norris’s straight six off Baker aided the home side’s cause but she was bowled by Arlott for 10 in the penultimate over and it was left to Graham to all but seal the win with an edged four off her first ball.  

Sparks all-rounder, Katie George, said: “I think the batting side are always favourites if you’re defending 120 but we fought back really well as a team, even when they were building those little partnerships. 

We kept ourselves in the game and you always have a chance in T20 cricket, even when the new batters come in. I felt we were 20 runs below par but we fought like hell and we’ve taken it pretty much to the last over and I think we can be proud of that. 

There is a genuine belief in our side. We know that any of our bowlers can take wickets and we’ve bowled a lot of teams out. As a group, we’re in a really strong place, we were top of the league and I think we’re in a really good position.”

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