Charlotte Edwards Cup Match Report: Thunder v The Blaze

Charlotte Edwards Cup Match Report: Thunder v The Blaze

Some players enjoy playing at certain grounds and for Kirstie Gordon that happens to be Old Trafford, especially in the T20 format. Her five for 12 today was a perfect example of a captain leading from the front, as The Blaze won by seven wickets with 26 balls remaining. Her figures were the best in the history of the Charlotte Edwards Cup as The Blaze beat Thunder in the second of the doubleheaders, playing centre stage after Lancashire Lightning and Derbyshire Falcons did battle earlier in the day.

Thunder’s innings never really got started, although a partnership of 43 between Ellie Threlkeld and Danni Collins for the fourth wicket looked to be steadying the ship. Sophie Ecclestone smashed 20 runs from 15 balls towards the end of the innings and took Thunder over the hundred mark.

Gordon struck with her first ball of the game, in the second over, as Fi Morris tried a reverse sweep and was caught by Josie Groves for one. There were only two fours in the powerplay, and Seren Smale, a player of much promise, was bogged down as Emma Lamb looked for some momentum at the other end. Smale was eventually stumped for two from 13 deliveries to see the Bryces, Sarah and Kathryn combine, with Sarah taking the stumping to give her sister her first wicket of the day.

Collins and Threlkeld were industrious and ran well between the wickets and it could have seen The Blaze dampen in the field, but they stuck to their plans and in the last seven overs took six wickets to ensure that their hosts finished on a below par score of 111 for nine.

Lucy Higham, who earlier in the innings saw her first over hit for ten, returned with a three-over spell of three for 14, putting the breaks firmly on the Thunder charge. Golden arm Gordon was tasked with bowling the final over of the innings. Three wickets were to follow from the final four balls. Two of those wickets were partly down to the excellent Sarah Bryce behind the stumps, who completed two stumpings in the over to finish with four in the match. The left-arm spinner Gordon is a big Manchester United fan and to constantly bowl well on the ground with the same name would have been doubly pleasing.

The Blaze have not always made batting look easy this season and with Cross and Ecclestone returning from England duty, there was every chance the game could have been closer than the score at the halfway mark suggested.

Tammy Beaumont showed The Blaze’s early intent, pulling Tara Norris for four through mid-wicket first ball. Along with Teresa Graves, the opening pair put The Blaze well in charge by the end of the powerplay, scoring 46 for 0 from the first six overs. Graves was out in the next over as she continued the attack, but not before the first wicket had brought up the fifty partnership. It was the perfect combination for The Blaze as they could allow Beaumont to bat through while Graves played the more aggressive shots, hitting four fours before being caught by Norris for 29, to give Sophie Morris the first Thunder wicket of the innings.

With the run rate down to four and over, it gave the experienced partnership of Beaumont and Kathryn Bryce the rare opportunity of just taking the singles and waiting for the bad ball. Factor in that Bryce is in good form with the bat and it was looking bleak for Thunder. It wasn’t helped when Collins pulled up at deep midwicket as she chased down a well-struck shot from Kathryn Bryce.

Thunder thought they had the vital breakthrough as Sophie Ecclestone took a catch from the bowling of Fi Morris, only for the umpire to call a no-ball, although Kathryn Bryce was caught by Norris for 21. One Bryce replaced the other and it was Sarah’s turn to hunt down the target. Sarah Bryce pooped up a catch for Smale with four runs to win, but it was a routine chase for the East Midlands side. Nadine de Klerk rounded things off with a four to seal the victory.

Beaumont finished unbeaten on 34 from 45 balls in a much-needed return to form and The Blaze will be hoping she can play more games towards the end of the tournament. They sit at the top of the group, which they did for the entirety of last season, but they know that they have more difficult tasks ahead of them as South East Stars remain unbeaten, having easily dispatched Southern Vipers at The Oval today.

Thunder remain in fourth place and will need to return to winning ways with only two points separating them and Western Storm in seventh.


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