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MATCH PREVIEW | The Blaze v Central Sparks

Central Sparks face a trip to the East Midlands for the opening game of their 2023 campaign, as they face The Blaze at Trent Bridge in Nottingham.

The Sparks’ season opener will be contested in the 50 overs format, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.


Fixture: The Blaze v Central Sparks

Competition: Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

Date: Saturday 22 April 2023

Game start: 10:30am

Venue: Trent Bridge

Central Sparks

As the 2023 campaign is here, the Sparks, led by Head coach Lloyd Tennant, face the Blaze from the East Midlands in their season opener.

The season’s start has come around quickly, and after a good winter, the Sparks are looking forward to getting going, even if it is an earlier start than usual.

After welcoming some excellent names through the door, the Birmingham-based side will be hoping to make a strong start to the campaign at Trent Bridge.

Two of the signings who could feature for the Sparks, Chloe Brewer and Katie George have arrived having had very successful spells elsewhere. Brewer most recently with the South East Stars, with George signing from the Western Storm.

In the beginning of 2023, the Sparks will start with the 50 overs, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, a competition in which they finished 5th out of the eight-team group – winning twice but losing four games.

The Blaze

The Blaze, or Lightning as they’ve been known since their establishment in 2020, will begin 2023 under that new name and upon their rebranding, will be hoping to make a fiery start to the season.

Captained by Kirstie Gordon, the side based in the East Midlands have bought in some new players to line up with Gordon. The most noticeable acquisition for Saturday’s hosts is South African Nadine de Klerk, who has joined having played for Western Province of her home nation, and Brisbane Heat in Australia.

Being the home side, the Blaze, coached by Chris Guest, will hope to put on a show for their fans in the early Saturday morning game, and having players such as, de Klerk, Beaumont and Gordon in the side will only help.

It will also be the first time the Blaze have kicked off a season at Trent Bridge, which is also a boost for the East Midlands regional hub, and the game.


In recent games between Blaze and Sparks, it has been the Blaze who have come out on top, in the only three fixtures the two clubs have played against each other in.

All these 50-over games were won by the Blaze within 60 runs, so Saturday can be a welcome change for Sparks.

Player to watch

Having made numerous appearances for England, rolling back to 2009, also having played overseas for the likes of Adelaide Strikers and the Sydney Thunder, Tammy Beaumont is the player to watch at Trent Bridge.

As well as an outstanding career in Australia and on the international stage, Beaumont has also featured for the London Spirit and Welsh Fire in the Hundred.

The 32-year-old will pose a threat to Sparks fielders with her experience at the crease. In the 2017 Women’s World cup, she and Sarah Taylor scored the highest partnership for any wicket in World Cup history, when scoring 275 against South Africa. Beaumont went onto win the competition with England and was also named the player of the tournament with 410 runs.

Ticketing information

The game is a 10:30am start at Trent Bridge, and you can get your tickets here!


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