Match Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network
Sunrisers’ ruthless bowling paved the way for them to climb off the foot of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table after overcoming Western Storm by four wickets at Radlett.
Kate Coppack’s early three-wicket burst reduced Storm to 18 for four after seven overs and, although Emma Corney’s 34 improved their fortunes, Sunrisers’ trio of spinners restricted them to just 143 all out.
Jodi Grewcock finished with three for 24, while Mady Villiers and Grace Scrivens bowled a full allocation of overs for two for 31 and one for 19 respectively.
Villiers then top-scored with 29 from 24 balls as Sunrisers passed their target with 16.1 overs to spare, avenging their six-run defeat to Storm at Cheltenham in July as well as leapfrogging their opponents in the standings.
Having won the toss and unsurprisingly chosen to bat in hot, dry conditions, Storm were left reeling as Coppack and Eva Gray blew away their top order – despite missed opportunities to remove both openers even earlier.
Stand-in captain Scrivens was unable to cling onto a sharp slip catch offered by Alex Griffiths to the first delivery of the match, while Corney was yet to get off the mark when she was put down behind the stumps.
However, Gray had Griffiths taken at point and Coppack (three for 26) sent Storm skipper Sophie Luff’s middle and off stumps flying before dismissing both Fran Wilson and Niamh Holland in her fourth over, a double wicket maiden.
Corney stuck around to launch a mini-recovery with Nat Wraith, who dispatched both Coppack and Gray for boundaries before being tempted into a slog sweep that was neatly pouched by Jo Gardner, running in from deep midwicket.
Sophia Smale helped Corney to add 42 for the sixth wicket, but Sunrisers again struck twice in an over, with Grewcock’s floaty leg-spinners trapping Smale in front, then piercing the opener’s defences.
Nicole Harvey batted sensibly for an innings of 25 that, coupled with Sunrisers’ curious reluctance to bring back their frontline seamers, enabled the visitors to edge up to 143 before they were bowled out with almost five overs unused.
That total looked unlikely to be enough and debutant Ariana Dowse helped to construct a solid platform for Sunrisers’ reply, steering Mollie Robbins for two elegant cover boundaries as she and Scrivens put on 33.
However, Robbins broke the opening partnership by winning an lbw decision against Dowse and left-arm spinner Smale, who was introduced as soon as the eighth over, built pressure on the batters as Scrivens was persuaded to hole out to long off.
Grewcock and Amara Carr displayed patience, waiting for the bad balls to come as they steadied the ship with a stand of 43 – only for both to be washed overboard in successive deliveries.
Grewcock was lbw after missing a full toss from Chloe Skelton and Carr came up short trying to beat Smale’s throw from long leg for a second run as Storm, with 62 still needed, sensed an opening.
Their hopes were dashed by Villiers and Gardner, who batted confidently in a partnership of 48 from 52 and, although Griffiths collected two late wickets, Gardner sealed victory with a single off Smale to finish unbeaten on 24.