It can be difficult to judge where Western Storm and South East Stars fit into the Charlotte Edwards Cup this season. And that was proven again today at Taunton. Both teams went into the fixture with only a win, a piece to their names, looking to finally kickstart their campaigns. It was, however, the Stars that would prevail by five runs with a ball to spare.
South East Stars weren’t helped by the late injury to Kiara Chathli, their wicketkeeper; with no backup in the squad, Alice Capsey was named on the team sheet as the keeper, although on reflection, skipper Bryony Smith donned the gloves, either way, the Stars were down a bowling option.
What didn’t help them was a poor power play where Orla Prendergast and Lauren Flier got the home team off to a great start bowling tight lines and giving the batters no free runs. As a result, Alice Davidson-Richards, who usually likes to get on with things, was frustrated as she found the field regularly.
The top order toppled Prendergast, started the rout, bowling Smith for five, and finished an opening spell of three overs for two for six. At 22 for three, the Stars were going to stage a recovery, and in Davidson-Richards and Phoebe Franklin, they did just that with a fifth wicket stand of 58 that got them back in the game and Davidson-Richards with 43 from 45 balls top scored as Stars finished their innings on 126 for six.
With a top order for Western Storm that included Heather Knight who is ramping up her preparation for the women’s Ashes series that starts in a few weeks’ time.
On a pitch that offered something for the medium pacer, Stars were well sorted in that department, and Western Storm lost wickets at regular intervals; Knight played two shots through the offside that hinted she was in good form before being caught behind by Smith off Paige Scholfield.
As has been expected for Storm, much rested on the shoulders of captain Sophie Luff; even though she was running out of partners, Niamh Holland was run out for 7 trying to get Luff back on strike.
When Filer was caught behind to Freya Davies, Storm had two wickets left with 14 balls to score 17 runs. Sophia Smale was bowled in the next over for one by Franklin.
Chloe Skelton came out to bat knowing she needed to give Luff every chance to get over the line with 11 runs still required going into the final over.
When Luff hit it to ADR with four balls to go, it looked like Luff would be off-strike, but a fumble meant she made it back for two. Luff finished unbeaten on 43 from 46 balls.
Davies held her nerve for the Stars with two for 14 and bowled the final over, ensuring their opponents didn’t make it across the line.