Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup - Central Sparks win low-scoring contest
Central Sparks broke their duck at the third attempt in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, winning a low-scoring contest by six wickets with one over to spare as Lightning suffered a third defeat.
Lightning 81/10 (19.1 ov)
Central Sparks 84/4 (19 ov)
Results - Central Sparks won by 6 wickets
Gwen Davies made 31, Eve Jones an unbeaten 27 and Thea Brookes 21 off 14 balls after Lightning had been bowled out for 81 in 19.1 overs.
Off-spinner Georgia Davis, with four for 12, and all-rounder Jones, who took three for 14 with her left-arm seamers, each posted Twenty20 career-bests with the ball.
More than half of Lightning’s total runs were scored by their last-wicket pair as Shachi Pai and 19-year-old Sophie Munro put on 41 in 33 balls, Pai scoring 18 from 21, Munro unbeaten on 20 from 16 deliveries, including two nicely-executed offside boundaries.
Munro then took two for 10 with her right-arm seamers in a Lightning attack that battled hard to contain the Sparks but ultimately had too little to defend.
The 10th-wicket pair apart, only one other Lightning batter made it into double figures, albeit on a slow pitch that made it difficult to time the ball.
Davis’s four dismissals were almost carbon copies as Abbey Freeborn, Teresa Graves, Sonia Odedra and Lucy Higham took it in turn to be out leg before, attempting to sweep.
Jones profited from leading edges as Kathryn Bryce and Michaela Kirk found fielders on the off side, picking up her third success when Kirstie Gordon chipped back a return catch.
Earlier, Issy Wong took a wicket with her second ball and another with her eighth as Beth Harmer and Sarah Bryce were bowled.
With Lightning 40 for nine, Sparks might have envisaged a very early finish but it looked a more even contest once Davis and Jones had completed their stints. Pai eventually fell when she went aerial to Stephanie Butler’s off-spin but failed to clear mid-off.
Sparks found it hard to get going and were six behind Lightning at nine for two from their Powerplay, having lost Marie Kelly and Milly Home in a double-wicket maiden from Munro.
Davies and Jones were patient in adding 46 off 12 overs but when Higham had Davies stumped for 31, a requirement of 30 in as many balls could have been tricky.
However, Brookes launched Gordon through midwicket for four and hit Odedra for six and four to change the picture as the 17th over went for 14 runs. Brookes swung and missed one from Bryce but with eight needed off 16 balls a couple of boundaries from Jones finished the job.