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SPARKS KEEP UNBEATEN T20 RECORD GOING IN DEFEAT OF DIAMONDS



Central Sparks defeated the Northern Diamonds by 3 wickets (DLS) at Headingley in an 11-over thriller after the game was delayed by over two hours due to rain.


Sparks made it three wins in three Charlotte Edwards Cup games in West Yorkshire on Monday after a late win was sealed by the batting of Georgia Davis.


It seemed for all day that the Bank Holiday T20 clash would not get going due to the weather handed to the sides in Headingley, but eventually at 4:45pm, the match began.


Reduced to an 11 over per side game, Sparks won the toss and elected to bowl first, opting to just chase down whatever score the home side posted. The game was quite the thriller from the off, with Sparks getting the Diamonds two wickets down for just six runs in the first over - dismissing Leah Dobson and Lauren Winfield-Hill at that.


It was the pace bowling duo of Emily Arlott and Grace Potts who got the opening wickets, one caught by Charis Pavely, the other by Davina Perrin.


Arlott's early pressure on the Diamonds top order told as she got her second wicket and Sparks' third in just the second over. Along with Arlott and Potts, Katie George kept up her record of a wicket in every CEC game thus far with the dismissal of Bess Heath.


George's pace was too true for Heath, as she left Erin Burns at the crease and Diamonds were 23/4. Once Diamonds went four down, they had a couple overs where they recovered with Burns and Sterre Kalis.


A few fours from the hosts' pair took them above 40 runs before losing a fifth wicket which was the stumping of Kalis off the bowling of Georgia Davis.


All Sparks bowlers were efficient, with energy in the field - Sparks were flying around Headingley looking to reduce the Diamonds as much as possible.


Former Sparks overseas player Burns stuck in there and made (30), but she was eventually seen off by Potts after a terrific catch off the back foot of Arlott on the boundary line.


The key wicket of Burns fell, and in the final three overs of their 11, the home side made 80 and Sparks finished with nine wickets.


Needing 81 for victory, Sparks sent out Chloe Brewer and Abbey Freeborn to open the chase. Brewer made hay quickly with (14) off 12 before she was dismissed by Katie Levick.


Hitting shots where they could, clocking up the one's and two's in the meantime where there weren't boundaires, Sparks started well. Two quick wickets did then fell and the captain Eve Jones anchored the short innings to keep Sparks within touching distance of the required run rate.


No Sparks batter made more than 10 other than Jones after Brewer's dismissal and the side showed great character with the bat to stay in the fight. Had success in finding two's which kept them ticking over.


Jones ended up finishing (26*) and with Sparks getting it down to 11 runs needed off the final 12 deliveries, the tide turned and the away side became favourites.


Still, the wickets fell around Jones and it was up to spinner Davis to come in and stand up, and stand up she did.


Three balls remaining, Sparks needed two runs. Davis swung and missed twice, but with two required from the last ball, she connected a great strike to ensure Sparks clinched victory by three wickets (DLS method).

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