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MATCH REPORT | SPARKS v SUNRISERS

Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters' Network



A high-class century from Grace Scrivens ensured that Sunrisers continued their strong start to the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy season with a five-wicket victory over Central Sparks at Kidderminster.


Put in, Sparks lost both openers for nought and recovered only partially to post a moderate 213 all out thanks principally to Abi Freeborn’s accomplished 93 (145 balls). Only Freeborn stayed long enough against a disciplined attack led by openers Kate Coppack (three for 26) and Nicola Hancock (three for 34).


It looked a under par total on a decent batting pitch and Scrivens navigated Sunrisers’ pursuit of it to perfection with a stroke-laden unbeaten 118 (123) to take her side to 214 for five with 62 balls to spare.  


A third win from four games strengthened Sunrisers’ place among the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy front runners but Central Sparks need to reboot after following their opening-round win with three successive defeats.


Sparks captain Eve Jones endured a bracing start to the day. At 10am, she lost the toss. At 10.30am, she edged the first ball of the match, an absolute beauty from Coppack, to wicketkeeper Amara Carr.


When Chloe Brewer edged Coppack behind, both Sparks openers had departed for blobs and debutant Courtney Webb walked in to bat with the score at one for two. The pressure on the batters remained high – Coppack opened with 5-2-8-2 and Hancock 5-1-6-0 - but Freeborn and Webb withstood it to add 67 in 20 overs before the latter miscued a straight hit and was caught by Scrivens in front of the sightscreen.


Freeborn completed her second half-century of the season from 99 balls but partners continued to come and go as Davina Perrin and Katie George sent up catches in successive overs from Joanne Gardner.


Freeborn had her good fortune – on 69 she should have been out twice to the same ball from Gardner, stumped at one end then run out at the other as she tried to scramble a bye - but batted selective assertion. The 27-year-old struck 12 fours and was seven short of emulating her century against Sunrisers last season when she top-edged a pull and fell to a fantastic diving catch by Mady Villiers.


Bethan Ellis offered some impetus with a 35-ball 31 which included the only six of the innings, but Coppack and Hancock returned to lop off the tail, supported by more excellent catching.


When Sunrisers replied, the catching bar was raised still further by George’s brilliant, one-handed grab at second slip off Grace Potts as Ariana Dowse became the third opening batter in the day to bag a duck.


The fourth opener filled her boots though. Reprieved on 22 when wicketkeeper Freeborn grassed a tough chance from an edge off Grace Potts, Scrivens played with the freedom and confidence of a batter in top form. She reached 50 from 53 balls and celebrated by lifting Ria Fackrell over long on for six.


Scrivens and Cordelia Griffith (37, 48) added 110 in 19 overs before Fackrell struck twice to retain a Sparks toehold in the game. Griffith belted a full toss straight to a fielder and Jodi Grewcock fell lbw, sweeping. When George took another fine catch, at mid-wicket off Ellis, to end Villiers’ counter-attack, it was 149 for four and Sparks had a glimmer of opportunity.


That glimmer was emphatically extinguished by Scrivens and Carr (26, 35 balls), the former reaching her century from 108 balls in a victory-clinching fifth-wicket partnership of 59 in nine overs.

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