Charlotte Edwards Cup – The Blaze Beat Central Sparks by Ten Runs

Charlotte Edwards Cup – The Blaze Beat Central Sparks by Ten Runs

The Blaze signed off their last visit to Trent Bridge this season with a convincing win against Central Sparks in the Midlands derby. Kathryn Bryce scored her second fifty in successive games and contributed two for 22 with the ball as The Blaze set their rivals 135 to win in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.  

The result became increasingly inevitable as the hosts squeezed a tired Sparks, playing their second game in as many days, and the Blaze won by ten runs to keep their unbeaten run going in the group stages. 

The Sparks were on the last leg of three away games in five days and had fallen to a disappointing loss against Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford only yesterday. The chance to make amends immediately would have been welcome. 

It seemed to do the trick for a while as Tammy Beaumont, returning from England duty, was out on the third ball of the game, pulling Emily Arlott straight to Charis Pavely at mid-wicket for four. 

Sparks were on top when Teresa Graves was caught by a spectacular grab from Eve Jones as the ball seemed destined for the boundary before it stuck in Jones’ hands. 

At 16 for two, it could have sparked another Blaze collapse. However, the Bryce sisters, Kathryn and Sarah, the Scotland internationals who missed the first part of The Blaze campaign, proved just how important they are to their side’s hopes. 

The pair added 55 for the third wicket. The running between the wickets was on it from the start, with ones turned into twos, and Kathryn Bryce was finding the boundary with regularity. 

Charis Pavely, the England Under-19 international, broke the partnership as Sarah Bryce, looking to accelerate, smashed a catch to Katie George that the fielder would never drop.  

With Sarah Bryce gone for 22 for 26 balls, it was up to Nadine de Klerk to partner Kathryn Bryce. The two batted well together at Loughborough on Sunday and they combined again to good effect in the short time they were together. 

Kathryn Bryce’s innings of 61 against Thunder on Sunday was well timed and crafted, and today she looked just as at ease against a Sparks bowling attack that, when at their best, can destroy batting line-ups. 

It didn’t quite happen for Sparks today, although they bowled tidily. Arlott, with two for 23, was the pick of the bowlers, but Grace Potts again proved that she could be destined for higher honours as England continue their search for the next generation of seam bowlers. 

Trent Bridge has a reputation for producing pitches that allow easy runs to be scored, and The Blaze may have felt that 134 for six, while still defendable, was below what they would have liked by 15 to 20 runs. 

A good powerplay for either side was crucial for both sides, with the two sides filling the top positions in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.  

It was Sparks batting in the powerplay that let them down again. Chloe Brewer was the first to go for one from nine deliveries in the first two overs, caught in the deep by Michaela Kirk to give Kirstie Gordon her first wicket of the day. She finished with two for 22. 

Sparks were 20 for three after 4.2 overs, Abbey Freeborn being given out lbw for five. It was not going well for Sparks, and in the sixth over, it looked like they were four down as Eve Jones, on nine, hit a return catch to Lucy Higham, who appeared to snaffle it before it hit the ground. The batter and the umpire weren’t sure, but the game continued. 

Jones would score 26 before being caught on the long-on boundary by Marie Kelly to reward Josie Groves with her only wicket of the game. 

Katie George has been known to get her team out of a hole with her batting, but even her 28 not out would be enough today as the run rate started to climb over two runs a ball. 

The Blaze are starting to find their feet, and a fourth win in a row keeps them going. Although South East Stars are still unbeaten and have more than halfway to go, there is still a lot of cricket to be played. 

While the Central Sparks will be disappointed to have lost this game, there was still hints that they are a very good team, and with a week off until their next fixture, they will be planning hard to put things right and are still in a good position to make finals day at Derby next month. 


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