Charlotte Edwards Cup – Diamonds Beat Sparks by 13 Runs at Edgbaston

Charlotte Edwards Cup – Diamonds Beat Sparks by 13 Runs at Edgbaston

There was some deep soul-searching by Central Sparks after losing at Trent Bridge last Sunday to finish a week of away games with two defeats in two days and a deflating loss the day before at Old Trafford. They would eventually lose today’s encounter against a Northern Diamonds side that had yet to shine by 13 runs. 

With five days off, they brushed themselves off and went into today’s game at Edgbaston fourth in the Charlotte Edwards Cup table and, crucially, the last of the semi-finals spot. 

Games between Sparks and Diamonds have always been tight affairs, and with the news that Amy Jones would be keeping wicket for Sparks, there was renewed enthusiasm. 

That started to evaporate as Sterre Kalis and Hollie Armitage added 97 runs for the second wicket from 75 balls. 

Charis Pavely had made the only breakthrough by removing Lauren Winfield-Hill in the fourth over caught by Sparks skipper Eve Jones for six. 

While the Diamonds were building a significant second-wicket partnership, they never felt they were getting away from their hosts. They would need a big final five overs to reach anywhere near a comfortable total to defend. At one point, it looked like Diamonds were on course for a score over 150. 

The Diamonds were going well with Kalis and Armitage, but when they fell in successive balls, the wheels started to come off. Kalis was bowled by Emily Arlott for 43 after hitting consecutive fours in the sixteenth over. The first ball of the following over, Armitage was bowled by Georgia Davis for a well-earned 62. 

Armitage is the sort of captain who leads by example with bat and ball and runs from just 49 deliveries, including eight fours. Her innings should have been the platform for her team to go on and score quickly; instead, the next 23 balls only went for 17 runs, and Sparks took four wickets, with Hannah Baker finishing with figures of three for 24 and included two wickets in the final over. 

Northern Diamonds, who, coming into this game, had yet to register a win and found themselves stuck firmly to the bottom of the table, would have to bowl and field well to restrict the Sparks from winning. 

The fielding was far from perfect, and Amy Jones was dropped on 22 and 25. It felt like a day when the England wicketkeeper would need to score considerably to keep Sparks in the hunt as Abbey Freeborn was bowled, hitting across the line to a Rachel Slater delivery that knocked out her off stump. 

Despite those two drops in the field, Amy Jones eventually went for 39 from 30 balls. With Davina Perrin, the pair looked comfortable, adding 31 in 32 balls. 

Sparks wouldn’t have worried too much with some players who can hit big still to come out to bat. 

Unfortunately for Sparks, they came and went in front of a decent home crowd. When Courtney Webb was caught by Emma Marlow to give Katie Levick her second wicket of the match for 23, it looked like all hope for the Midlands side had gone and with 18 runs needed from the final over with three wickets left, it was ultimately too much. 

Sparks travel to Canterbury tomorrow against a South East Stars side flying at the top end of the table, whereas Diamonds are at home against top of the table The Blaze. 


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