Central Sparks take on Thunder at New Road on Sunday, in their first game in over three weeks, which will see them return to 50 overs action.
The Sparks ended their T20 campaign with a loss on the road against the South East Stars, and will play again in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy where they find themselves in a strong position.
Fixture: Central Sparks v Thunder
Competition: Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
Date: Sunday 2 July 2023
Game Start: 10:30am
Venue: New Road, Worcester
The Sparks are back in action, for the first time in 25 days as they take on Thunder, who ironically, were the Sparks’ last home game at Sunday’s venue. The T20 campaign didn’t go the way the Sparks would have hoped, but Lloyd Tennant’s team find themselves in a good position in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table, fifth out of eight, so a win can put them right in contention to do something special in the competition.
In the RHFT in the early part of the season, the Sparks gained a record of two wins, two losses and a tie. The tie came in an away game against Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford, but Tennant’s side have proved they can put in a performance good enough to be serious contenders in the competition, most notably when they beat the Southern Vipers at Hove.
Captain Eve Jones is the leading run scorer for the team so far in 2023, and she will be hoping to continue that trend from Sunday onwards. She has scored a few half-centuries already in the RHFT and that has been a theme which has put the Sparks in strong positions in different games thus far.
With the business end of the season upon us, the Sparks will have to swiftly forget about the Charlotte Edwards Cup and focus on succeeding in the 50 overs format. The Sparks can take plenty of positives into Sunday’s return to action though, as they hope to get back to winnings ways and gain ground on the teams above them in the RHFT table.
Thunder have had a mixed season so far in 2023, with them not starting the best, sitting bottom of the table. On the contrary, in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, Thunder made finals day and were narrowly beaten by the Southern Vipers in the semi-final.
Thunder will be without Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone and Emma Lamb, who are playing for England in the MetroBank Ashes series against Australia. Similarly, Sparks will be without Amy Jones and Issy Wong. Ecclestone took ten wickets in the test at Trent Bridge, and those wickets will be something Thunder will be without on Sunday.
Thunder were without the bowling duo for their T20 run-in, but still won three of their last four games to make finals day. The team, coached by Paul Shaw will want to, like anybody, start as they mean to go on in this next block of games. A win is all-but crucial for them if they are to climb the table.
Thunder have troubled teams this season, mostly in the Charlotte Edwards Cup but they will want to improve their 50 overs record, which starts on Sunday in Worcester.
Head-to-head, the Sparks haven’t got the best of Thunder in recent matches, with their last win coming against the North West side back in the 2022 campaign. The sides always seem evenly matched, and this Sunday will be no different in what is sure to be a cracker to return to action.
Player to Watch
With some of Thunder’s key players missing for Sunday’s game, all-rounder Fi Morris was a big component in the team’s success in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, and she became a consistent performer in Cross, Ecclestone & Lamb’s absence.
She is a solid all-rounder, who bats at a good level and contributes with ball in hand too. Morris is a former Western Storm player, who since moving to Thunder has become a key weapon in their armoury, and it seems people only notice her performances when thunder’s England contingent are missing. That is a testament to her going under the radar, and challenging players she comes up against.
She will be hoping to test the Sparks once again at New Road, in a game that has become a must-win for Thunder, who need to kick start their 50 overs campaign.
Sunday’s game is to be held at New Road, one of our great home grounds. The game is a 10:30am start, with entry to the stadium open from 9am.
Tickets can be purchased online from Worcestershire here!