The Sparks made it back-to-back wins in Guildford as half-centuries from Charis Pavely & Issy Wong guide Lloyd Tennant’s side to victory.
As well as scores of (57*) from Pavely and (50) from Wong, with figures of 3-30 from Katie George, and 3-52 from Georgia Davis – the Sparks ended up with an outstanding victory against the South East Stars.
Eve Jones won the toss prior to the game’s start and chose to bat first. A decision which was helped with the sunny conditions, and with the pitch looking a scoreable one, it would probably have been the decision the Stars would have gone with had they have won the toss.
Jones, going in with Bethan Ellis to open the batting, seemed a good partnership but unfortunately, the hosts dismissed the Sparks captain early on. With Abbey Freeborn then coming in, she was soon called out for (7) after a controversial decision.
As further batters came and went for Sparks, Erin Burns (9) & Ami Campbell (10), Ellis scored freely and ended up with a well-made (42) on a day in which she turned 24.
The Sparks found themselves 61/4 before Ellis ran riot, but a further strike on the Stars’ bowling attack would come when Wong partnered Pavely at the crease. The pair would make a 50-partnership, which would move to an 100-run partnership.
In just her second senior start, Pavely scored her maiden senior half-century, an innings where she’d finish (57*). In a game of milestones for Sparks batters, the returning Wong would score her first 50 of the season, helping Tennant’s side reach a huge total of 246/8.
Despite the early pressure heaped onto Sparks by the home side, the visitors stood firm and showed why they have become a more complete side through the season with Friday being the second consecutive game they have scored 230 runs or more.
Giving the Stars 247 to chase for the win, the away side were going to almost always be in the driving seat. However, the Stars have shown they can be a very strong and efficient batting side, so the produced total by Tennant’s side was a healthy one.
Grace Potts and Wong opened the bowling and bowled many of the powerplay overs for Sparks, mounting pressure on the hosts, forcing them into scoring runs early.
The first wicket came through Wong, when the Stars had 29 runs on the board. She would then grab her second after some quite unbelievable fielding by Campbell.
The Sparks number 6 leapt like a salmon to make a great one-handed grab to ensure Sparks saw the back of Stars captain Bryony Smith for (0).
When spin came into play, Davis took a brilliant threefer, as seam bowler George also did the same. Both bowlers are crucial for the side in the first change and they key wickets in key moments.
One of George’s wickets was that of Alice Davidson-Richards, who was just a couple of runs away from a half-century. The Stars all-rounder connected bat to ball well, but waiting on the boundary was Potts, who, like Campbell, made an excellent catch.
Down to the final two overs, Stars needed 19 runs to secure a win, while the Sparks needed two wickets to see the game off before it’s end.
Big moments call for big players, and Burns, along with George took wickets to see the Sparks claim back-to-back wins for the second time this season.
A massive sign of improvement from the Sparks, who have sincerely said goodbye to their 2023 Charlotte Edwards Cup campaign and now sit second in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table, in a commanding position as they claim a win by 21 runs over the South East Stars in Guildford.