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MATCH REPORT: Southern Vipers v Central Sparks

An excellent bowling performance by Erin Burns, and a sterling partnership in the middle between Eve & Amy Jones capped off a terrific day at the office for the Central Sparks.

In the game, Burns took a fifer, as well as a solid batting partnership between captain Eve Jones and the returning Amy Jones, which saw the Sparks captain end on a fine 73 runs.

Central Sparks certainly avenged their three-wicket defeat at the hands of the Vipers with a big win of their own at Hove on Wednesday.

After winning the toss and deciding to bowl in the Sussex sun, Lloyd Tennant’s side started slowly with ball in hand and the Vipers got a few runs on the board. When they eventually got their first wicket, the field adjusted, and Vipers couldn’t get much away other than ones and twos.

Maia Bouchier and Ella McCaughan opened the batting for Charlotte Edwards’ team, but it was quickly goodbye for Bouchier as she was dismissed for four runs, after being caught behind.

McCaughan took some of the strain away from the Vipers by reaching a half century. A feat she got to from 78 balls. Soon after though, she was dismissed after being caught by Issy Wong.

That was where the problems started for the Vipers, as the great start they made, sweeping a few boundaries away, the Sparks’ bowling unit certainly had them where they wanted them.

There were some nice shots on display from the home side, mostly coming from McCaughan before she left the crease. Vipers captain Georgia Adams and Charlie Dean, a partnership which the Sparks failed to break in Wormsley almost two weeks ago was in play at one stage and they clocked up a good partnership until Dean was caught out after a misjudged shot, went right to Arlott at mid-wicket.

Once the Sparks had five wickets in their back pocket, the rest kept coming and it was all about the efforts of Burns. Her fifer was a true spectacle, which ended by getting Georgia Adams out, after a catch from Grace Potts.

Georgia Davis chipped in with three well taken wickets, and Arlott got a brace.

The Sparks usually do perform well with ball in hand, and once they take a couple of wickets, the rest come thick and fast. Tennant will have been pleased with the fielding on display, as the visitors showed some quality with some of the catches taken.

The Vipers were eventually bowled out for 180, with two overs to spare. Giving the Sparks a run total of 181 to win the game.

Chasing a modest total of 181, Sparks didn’t look at all in danger as soon as their captain cut Lauren Bell for four at the start of the innings.

Given that this was the return fixture between the two, the Sparks had one to get back on the Vipers and the confident opening batting partnership of captain Eve Jones and Abbey Freeborn lasted just under 20 overs, as Freeborn was bowled out by Georgia Elwiss for 28 runs.

In to bat came the returning Amy ones, so it was Jones and Jones to continue collecting those runs – and they sure did that.

The Sparks skipper batted excellently, producing another half century performance. Eve Jones hit 73 runs, and was a key figure in guiding the Sparks to victory.

Amy Jones showed her class, and why she has England appearances to her name with some lovely shots, especially a couple of sweep shots which ended up as boundaries.

The Vipers never felt like taking a wicket, even after Elwiss broke the deadlock for them, when she got the wicket of Freeborn. The Sparks number 40 was eventually bowled, as Amy Jones went for 40 runs.

In a change to what has been seen this season thus far, the Sparks seemed in control and didn’t really look like losing.

The game was wrapped up under 50 overs, as the Sparks recorded their second win of the season, in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, getting back to winning ways in style.

Sparks squad: E. Jones (C), Freeborn, A. Jones, Burns, Campbell, Perrin, George, Arlott, Wong, Davis & Potts


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