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MATCH REPORT | STORM v SUNRISERS

Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters' Network.



Jodi Grewcock and Nicola Hancock claimed three wickets apiece as Sunrisers launched their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Western Storm at Cardiff's Sophia Gardens.


Seamer Hancock took 3-15 in 5.4 overs and teenager Grewcock bowled unchanged for 10 overs to return impressive figures of 3-28 with her off breaks as Storm were dismissed for a wholly inadequate 114 in 30.4 overs.


Off spinner Mady Villiers weighed in with 2-36, while Esmae MacGregor took a wicket and contributed a run out as Sunrisers produced a disciplined performance in the field after winning the toss. Only Nat Wraith offered meaningful resistance with the bat, top-scoring with 42 as Storm opened this campaign as they finished the last, by suffering heavy defeat.


Sunrisers skipper Grace Scrivens then led by example, compiling a composed innings of 63 and sharing in a reassuring partnership of 59 with Cordelia Griffith for the second wicket as the visitors comfortably overhauled their target with 16.2 overs to spare.


Victorious in their final four matches of last season, Sunrisers have picked up where they left off and will go into their next match against Thunder at Sale in confident mood. For their part, Storm have now been beaten in their last five outings in the 50-over competition and will need to find improvement ahead of their trip to play Northern Diamonds at Headingley on Wednesday.


Put into bat, Storm were unable to recover from the loss of early wickets and were shot out inside 31 overs, only three batters managing double figures in an innings which the home side will no doubt want to forget in a hurry.


Hancock produced a probing new-ball spell to remove Alex Griffiths for two, but fellow opener Sophia Smale responded in positive fashion, helping herself to three leg-side boundaries to advance her score to 16. Calamity then struck, Smale clipping Villiers behind point and setting off for a quick single, only to collide with partner Sophie Luff halfway down the track and be run out by Esmae MacGregor while getting back to her feet.


That unfortunate mishap sparked a dramatic collapse which saw five wickets fall in just 8.1 overs as Storm subsided to 64-6, their top and middle-order batting undermined by spin. Luff played and missed at a delivery from Grewcock that nipped back and was adjudged lbw for seven, while Dani Gibson was also undone by the England Under-19 leg spinner, playing back to a ball that struck her on the pad and departing for three.


Plying her off breaks at the other end, Villiers trapped Katie Jones in the crease and then struck a telling blow, inducing former England international Fran Wilson to drive straight to Jo Gardner at mid-on. Wilson had made 18 and, with her, went Storm's best chance of posting a competitive total.


Fearing she might run out of partners before she was able to do anything to remedy a parlous situation, Wraith adopted a forthright approach and dominated stands of 24 and 26 with Niamh Holland and Amanda Jade Wellington for the seventh and eighth wickets respectively. But Holland eventually offered a return catch to MacGregor and Wellington mis-cued a drive to extra cover as Grewcock continued to deploy clever variation in flight to strike again in her final over.


Attempting to take matters into her own hands, Wraith plundered half a dozen boundaries in carrying the fight to the Sunrisers bowlers, her luck finally running out when she hoisted a ball from the returning Hancock to deep mid-wicket. Her combative innings of 42 spanned 52 balls and at least enabled embattled Storm to realise three figures. 


Hancock required just four deliveries to wrap-up the innings, having Chloe Skelton caught at the wicket, the seventh Storm player to perish either in single figures or without scoring.


Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Storm's bowlers did their utmost to build pressure and new overseas recruit Wellington provided a silver lining when gaining an lbw decision to remove Ariana Dowse with the score on 21 in the eighth over. Making a good first impression on her debut, the Australian international spinner, finished with 1-24 from nine overs and discomfited the top-order batters sufficiently to suggest she is going to make a positive impact in Storm colours this season.


But the implacable Scrivens overcame all attempts to unseat her, playing a captain's innings to ensure her team reached their target without enduring any undue dramas. She found the perfect partner in Griffith, who adopted the role of chief support in an innings of 28 that spanned 48 balls and included a quartet of fours before she holed out to Holland in the deep off the bowling of Skelton.


Unperturbed by that setback, Scrivens went to 50 via 65 balls with her ninth four, a fluent cover drive plundered at the expense of Griffiths. Perhaps fittingly given her performance with the ball earlier, Grewcock hit the winning runs as she finished unbeaten on 15.

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