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MATCH REPORT: Central Sparks v Southern Vipers

Fighting spirit and character, with an excellent performance from Bethan Ellis proved too much for the Vipers as Sparks win by seven runs.

The Sparks got back to winning ways in front of a strong crowd at Edgbaston, after a near perfect performance with both bat and ball.

After another toss was won by Eve Jones, the Sparks chose to bat first. Eve was partnered with Amy Jones and the pair battered their way through the powerplay and were scoring boundaries with ease.

Sparks captain Jones scored four fours off the first over, then the Sparks number 40 followed up with a few of her own. The captain was dismissed for (19), and frustratingly from a Sparks perspective, the wickets rolled in from the visiting Vipers.

Charlie Dean picked up two wickets in the same over, then a further one to strengthen the Vipers’ grip on the game in the opening exchanges. A fair chunk of runs for the Sparks came from Amy Jones, who clocked up (45) in a solid batting performance.

Abbey Freeborn and Ellis also batted very well, with Katie George hitting a few nice shots to provide a bit of comfort for the hosts, just as the Vipers were on a bit of a roll in the field.

The Southern Vipers closed the good start from the Sparks, and it was looking as though the home side would finish their innings with a lot less runs than they did.

However, number 27 Freeborn provided a healthy (23), then Ellis with (16 not-out) guided Lloyd Tennant’s side to an eventual total of 142/9, which was a pleasing number after their powerful start was halted.

Dean took three wickets for the visitors, while Georgia Elwiss had her share with two.

When the Sparks came out to defend their total, Tennant’s side showed real grit and character to stop the Vipers winning the match.

Ella McCaughan and Danni Wyatt opened the batting for Vipers and while McCaughan was bowled by Ellie Anderson, who grabbed her first senior wicket as a Spark, Wyatt seemed near unstoppable as she was hitting boundaries at a canter.

The Sparks were outstanding in the field, condemning Charlotte Edwards’ side to more singles and two’s as they’d like.

When captain Jones turned to spin, Hannah Baker bowled very well, as she only conceded 20 runs from her four overs. Erin Burns however, picked up three wickets, those of Nicole Faltum, Georgia Adams, and Dean.

Two of Burns’ wickets were caught on the boundary by George, who yet again looked like the Sparks’ sharpest fielder. Another great performance in the field from Davina Perrin saw her make a fantastic catch to get Ellis one of her wickets with the dismissal of Elwiss.

The hosts found themselves a brilliant death bowler, with Ellis taking on the responsibility and that was taken with both hands as Sparks’ number 14 took two wickets in the final two overs, as she finished 4-29, capping off her third full start in the first team.

Needing 12 runs from the final over, the Vipers couldn’t pull off what looked like a win that would have seen the Sparks knocked out of the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

As it was, the Sparks stay alive and pick up a much needed win by seven runs as their team spirit prevailed at Edgbaston.


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