The Blaze vs SE Stars at Beckenham, RHF Trophy

The Blaze vs SE Stars at Beckenham, RHF Trophy

Nothing is more welcome than momentum in sports, which is true for The Blaze as
they looked to get their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign back on track. A trip
to second place South East Stars at Beckenham would not be easy.

Even if they made it look comfortable in the end, winning by 133 runs, they took the
attack to the Stars’ bowling in a match reduced by rain to 44 overs a side.

One of the factors for The Blaze’s poor start to this competition was the absence of
the Bryce sisters. The pair of Kathryn and Sarah Bryce was away on international duty
with Scotland as they were qualifying for the T20 World Cup. Injuries also didn’t help
the Blaze cause.

The return of the Scottish duo coincided with a return to form, and their regional side
grew in confidence as the wins kept coming, with eleven wins from the twelve t20
games following.

Kirstie Gordon’s team knows they have a lot of work to do as they started the day at the bottom of the 50-over table, but they are also aware that a good run could soon
get them back in contention for a semi-final spot later in the season.

The Bryces got The Blaze innings going after the early wicket of Teresa Graves with
the score on 14. The way the sisters bat together gives their teammates breathing
space as they do their business calmly. The pair were instrumental in The Blaze
winning their first silverware.

The pair added 94 for the second wicket as Bryony Smith could not solve the
problem facing her bowlers. The Stars still fielded with purpose even when the
boundaries were coming regularly. Phoebe Franklin was the pick of the lot in the
field, as she made a catch and initiated two run-outs, including the impressive Marie

Kelly, who struggled for form early in the season, looked back to her best as she
scored 52 from 54 balls, and it took a fantastic throw from Franklin to see her

It was one of three fifties in The Blaze innings as Ella Claridge blitzed 71 from 45
balls as the teams reconvened after a rain break took the players off the field for over
an hour.

Nothing could dent the flow of runs from The Blaze, and Alice Davidson-Richards
hobbled off the field, worrying for the Stars. The Blaze batted well in partnerships,
and Michaela Kirk’s 18 from 24 balls were just as important as they allowed Claridge
to keep up the bombardment from the other end.

The South East Stars were always up against it, and when three maidens followed in
the nine-over powerplay, the Stars’ job was more challenging. Kathryn Bryce was, of course, the bowler to deliver two of those as well the wicket of the Stars
captain for just 11.

Given the unenviable task of batting at three, Kalea Moore got stuck and could only
muster 11 from her 27 balls in the middle. It took an outstanding catch from Sarah
Bryce to see the back of the batter.

Sarah Bryce was having as good a day behind the stumps as in front of them. She
took three sharp catches and a stumping as they hunted the bonus point win.
Whereas the Blaze found partnerships, the Stars couldn’t quite find a pair that were
going to propel them towards the target; Tash Farrant batted well for 35, and Aylish
Cranstone, with 33, were the only real contributions before Davidson-Richards, was
able to join the action with a 33 ball 44. Still, by then, the game was done as
Graham, the Australian overseas player, finished with figures of five for 39.

It was the type of result that would give The Blaze the confidence that they can climb
the table while the Stars will be looking to get back to winning ways quickly before
the losing momentum sets in.


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