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Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2021 Round 7: All the Match Scores, Results, Reports and Scorecards - Saturday 18th September


Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy 2021 Round 7: All the Match Scores, Results, Reports and Scorecards - Saturday 18th September

Round 7 - Saturday, September 18th 2021


Lightning v Central Sparks 

A brilliant career-best 162 from skipper Kathryn Bryce helped Lightning end Central Sparks’ hopes of avoiding the play-off round in their bid to reach the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Sparks were already sure of finishing in the top three but a win with a bonus point against Lightning could have seen them end as group-stage winners on net run rate depending on the outcome of the Southern Vipers-Northern Diamonds clash in Southampton.

But after Lightning posted a season-high 320 for six in their 50 overs after being asked to bat first, Sparks needed to overhaul that total inside 40 overs if they were to pick up the extra point, awarded if the winning team’s scoring rate is 25 per cent better than their opponents.

Not surprisingly, that proved beyond them and despite half-centuries from openers Eve Jones (60) and Marie Kelly (62) helping them to a season-high 296 for nine, they lost by 24 runs

Vipers, who came out on top at the Ageas Bowl, now go through directly to next Saturday’s final at Northamptonshire’s County Ground, while Sparks and Diamonds must play off on Wednesday to decide who joins them.

Kathryn Bryce shared a 207-run partnership for the second wicket with her younger sister, Sarah, the biggest in this season’s competition among any of the eight teams.

Sarah was dropped on five but made the most of her good fortune, following her unbeaten 136 against Sparks last season with 90 off 104 balls, hitting 11 fours and a six before she fell to a fine one-handed catch by Issy Wong at mid-off.

Having completed her maiden List A hundred from 126 balls, Kathryn - who also captains Scotland Women - added another 61 from the next 30, racking up 21 fours and two sixes, batting for just short of three hours in total.

Lightning lost a wicket in the third over when Bethan Ellis was caught behind, Sarah Bryce having been put down at square leg in the previous over.

The Bryce sisters dominated for the next 36 overs before Sarah’s demise, after which Abbey Freeborn, Beth Harmer and Ella Claridge all fell cheaply.

But Sonia Odedra helped Kathryn Bryce add 63 in the last five overs, including 35 from the final 12 deliveries from Wong (3-61) and Ria Fackrell before Bryce’s magnificent effort ended when she was run out off the final ball of the innings.

Jones and Kelly - dropped on 24 off Odedra - gave the Sparks’ chase the early momentum required, putting on 119 in 23.5 overs before the latter was superbly stumped off Yvonne Graves.

Jones was caught behind off England left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon, who increased her tally to 16 as the competition’s leading wicket-taker. Gwen Davies made 41 off 30 balls with four fours and two sixes but the pressure to score quickly inevitably cost Sparks wickets, Gordon, Odedra and Grace Ballinger picking up to each.

South East Stars v Thunder

Left-arm spinners Hannah Jones and Alex Hartley produced bewitching spells as Thunder ended their Rachael Heyhoe Flint campaign with a 55-run win over South East Stars at Beckenham.

Former England World Cup winner Hartley bamboozled the hosts with turn and bounce in a mesmerizing display taking 2-17 to start Stars’ demise, but if she edged the door ajar it was spin twin Jones who truly kicked it open with 5-33.

It meant the Charlotte Edwards Cup winners never threatened to chase down a target of 186, Kalea Moore top-scoring with 35.

Thunder’s total of 185 all out in 47 overs owed much to Ellie Threlkeld’s unbeaten 70 made off 92 balls with six fours, leg-spinner Dani Gregory bowling beautifully for 2-23 from her 10 overs.

Hartley was almost unplayable from ball one, finding not only prodigious amounts of turn but exaggerated bounce, creating confusion in the minds of all Stars’ batters.

The hosts had already lost Chloe Brewer and stand-in skipper Alice Davidson-Richards with just 23 on the board when Hartley began her mesmerizing spell. It soon proved too much for Alice Capsey, who skied a catch to cover

At the other end, Jones had Grace Gibbs caught, before pinning Kirstie White lbw, but it was Hartley who claimed the crucial wicket of Moore, the ball turning away from the all-rounder who could only poke it into the hands of point.

Phoebe Franklin and Kira Chathli hit some late defiant blows, but Jones continued to pick them off and they came up well short.

Earlier, Threlkeld stood tall while all else fell around after Thunder won the toss and opted to bat.

Coming in at No 3 after the run out of Seren Smale, the 22-year-old produced the only innings of substance all day, successive fours in one over from Moore two of five in a 50 which came up in 71 balls.

While she prospered others came and went, Gregory’s delightful mix of flight and spin accounting for Natalie Brown and Laura Marshall as the visitors slumped from 84-2 to 90-5.

Threlkeld pushed on to 70 not out, but only Liberty Heap who made 19 and Alice Dyson 13 could stay with her for long as Thunder were bowled out with three of their 50 overs left unused.

Dani Gregory South East Stars' leg-spinner who took 2-23 said:

"We ran into two left-arm spinners in top form They got a bit of turn out there, got on top of us and we had a little bit of a collapse. It wasn't our best batting performance and we've had better days.

"Alex Hartley is a very talented bowler, so all credit to her. It was the plan to let Alex bowl her overs and try and attack someone else, but then they had a very talented spinner (Jones) from the other end who was also turning it square, so it was very difficult to deal with.

"We have been a little bit under par the last two performances. We pride ourselves on the performances we put out and they have been below the standard we want to show our spectators.

"It's been a long season and we have tired players in the camp, but that is no excuse.

"I've had a few games where my bowling has been a bit hit and miss, so I focussed today on just being relaxed at the crease and getting through my action and fortunately bowled pretty tightly and picked up a couple of wickets. One was a full toss but it happens that bad balls take wickets.

"On the whole I have been pretty happy with the way I've bowled this year."

Very sorry to say Thunder were asked to send someone for interview, but they left the ground without doing so. Therefore, no quotes from their side today.


Western Storm v Sunrisers (Bristol)

In-form Sophie Luff scored a brilliant career-best 157 not out to propel Western Storm to a 36-run triumph over Sunrisers in an entertaining Racheal Heyhoe Flint Trophy contest at Bristol.

Delivering a timely message to the England selectors, Taunton-born Luff faced 142 balls, accrued 22 fours and shared in a match-winning fourth-wicket stand of 119 with Alex Griffiths, who registered 56, as Storm amassed 313-4 after winning the toss. The pick of the bowlers, Mady Villiers claimed 2-39 from 10 overs to derive credit in what was otherwise an uncomfortable experience for the Sunrisers attack.

Cordelia Griffith top-scored with 49 and Grace Scrivens made 46 in an opening stand of 90 as Sunrisers made a decent fist of chasing, but neither was able to go on and post a really meaningful score and Storm change bowlers Nicole Harvey and Georgia Hennessy helped the home side wrest back control, returning figures of 2-46 and 2-45 respectively, while Nat Wraith completed a trio of stumpings.

Needing to score 60 from the last 10 overs to register their first win in the tournament, Sunrisers ultimately came up short, dismissed for 277 inside 45 overs to end the 50-over campaign without a win in seven attempts.

Their confidence boosted by victory over Lightning last time out, Storm came into the season finale with momentum and elected to bat first on a sluggish surface. Although Lauren Parfitt's demise, pinned lbw by Kate Coppack without scoring, suggested otherwise, it proved a sound decision, Fi Morris trading almost exclusively in boundaries in garnering 30 from 36 balls to give the hosts lift-off. 

The advent of Villiers and spin halted Morris in her tracks, Sonali Patel holding a catch at deep backward square to reduce Storm to 51-2. No matter. Having survived a stern examination at the hands of Coppack, Luff quickly re-established Storm's grip on the game, running hard between the wickets to raise 50 via 77 balls and dominating a partnership of 69 in 17 overs for the third wicket with Hennessy.

Sunrisers skipper Kelly Castle generated late swing to snare Hennessy lbw for 25 with the score on 120 in the 29th over, only for Griffiths to then offer her captain outstanding support in a progressive fourth-wicket alliance of 119 in 16 overs, which effectively carried the game beyond the visitors.

Luff's second 50 occupied a mere 37 balls as she found acceleration to register her first hundred of the summer via 114 deliveries, while Griffiths went to 50 from 56 balls with 5 fours to increase the pressure on opponents rendered ragged in the field. 

Griffiths holed out to Fran Wilson on the square leg boundary off Villiers, but there was no stopping 27-year-old Luff, who required a further 25 balls to move from 100 to 150 before taking off her helmet and punching the air in celebration at reaching that particular milestone for the first time in Storm colours.

Making the most of the platform provided by her skipper, Dani Gibson adopted a high-risk strategy at the death, weighing in with a brace of sixes and a four to finish unbeaten on 23 from 10 balls. Having held sway for three hours in an innings spanning 47 overs and adorned by 22 boundaries, Luff was still there at the end as Storm posted an imposing total in the September sunshine.

Undaunted, Sunrisers mustered a spirited response, Griffith and Scrivens taking advantage of some wayward bowling to stage an enterprising opening stand of 90 in 13 overs. Griffith was just one run short of a half century when she was cramped for space and offered a return catch to Hennessy, while Scrivens, turned a short delivery from Harvey around the corner and was held by Claire Nicholas at short fine leg for 46.

Wicketkeeper Nat Wraith demonstrated dexterous glove-work to remove the former Storm pairing of Alice Macleod and Naomi Dattani, while Harvey claimed the key wicket of England international Fran Wilson, bowled around her legs for a run-a-ball 34. Needing a further 89 from 15 overs to complete a first-ever victory over Storm in 50-over matches, Sunrisers slipped to 226-6 when Wraith completed a third stumping.

Villiers and Castle gave the visitors renewed hope in a seventh-wicket stand of 40, but when they departed in successive overs for 37 and 20 respectively, the game was all but up.

Sunrisers captain Kelly Castle said:

"We fell short in the end, but I'm proud of the way we went about the run chase. We went down hard at the top and had a real go in the face of what was a really big total. In the end, we needed one or two to go on and make big scores and that was probably the single biggest difference in the end. Sophie Luff batted unbelievably well and we can learn from her performance. It says no wins from seven games on paper, which is frustrating, but we have made so much progress this year. Our senior players have led by example and, to have Grace Scrivens opening the batting at 17, shows the fantastic potential we have. When you think, we've only been going as a team barely a year, the progression has been really exciting. We've come a long way and I'm sure we'll be ready to start turning good performances into wins next year."


Storm skipper Sophie Luff said:

"I'm really chuffed and feeling over the moon. When I look back at the start of the season, I wasn't consistent enough with my scoring, so to finish like I have during the back end of the season is pleasing. What's more pleasing, is getting us over the line to a position where we have runs on the board and something to defend. I prefer it when we lose an early wicket and can get in, because that enables me to bat long and put together a big score. I have some great players around me and Alex Griffiths and Dani Gibson gave us real impetus. If it (England call-up) comes, then it comes. I'd like to think that they're looking and that my scores have not gone unnoticed. But I've a responsibility to score runs for Western Storm and that's where my focus lies. I want to be challenging for and winning trophies next season and I hope the other girls want that too."


Southern Vipers v Northern Diamonds (Southampton)

Southern Vipers beat Northern Diamonds by 5 wickets at the Ageas Bowl with 7 balls to spare, to finish top of the table and book a place in next Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final. Georgia Elwiss steered her side home in a tricky chase for the second time in as many matches, following up last week’s century with a magnificent unbeaten 84 (77 balls), after captain Georgia Adams had led from the front with a second consecutive half-century. 

Diamonds had opted to bat first but were bowled out for 256 in 48.3 overs, despite a galloping 71 from 51 balls for Bess Heath and a career-best 49 from Leah Dobson. The Northern side were pegged back early by Lauren Bell, who returned 2 for 29 in her 10 overs including 2 maidens in her opening 4-over spell, and though the middle-order proved resurgent, their slow start cost them. Diamonds, as runners-up in the table, will now host the 2nd/3rd place play-off on Wednesday.

Vipers had been 7 for 1 in the fourth over of their chase after Heath ran out Ella McCaughan with a direct hit from behind the stumps - revenge for McCaughan’s own two run outs in the Diamonds innings, which had seen off both Dobson and Heath herself. 

Maia Bouchier (40) shared a 67-run stand with Adams to steady the ship, punching hard through the leg side, but both were caught on the ring off Phoebe Graham. Graham (3 for 44) also trapped Gaby Lewis LBW for 39, and Emily Windsor was run out with 31 runs still needed.

Elwiss, though - cheered on from the balcony of the Hilton Hotel by the England Women’s football team - finished the job in the 49th over by lofting the ball over the head of Linsey Smith for four.

Earlier, Diamonds had been in trouble at 105 for 4 after 30 overs, after skipper Armitage (21) played on and Bouchier, bowling for only the second time in the competition after her action was cleared in July, had Sterre Kalis (23) stumped off a leg-side wide with her first ball. Bell’s second spell then yielded the wicket of Ami Campbell (26), caught at mid-on.

Even without the talismanic Jenny Gunn, sitting out injured, Diamonds’ middle-order proved resurgent - 84 runs were added between overs 31 and 40, including a quickfire 37 from 42 balls from Smith. Heath grew in confidence, pulling for four to bring up her fifty before whalloping two huge sixes over the leg side. But after she was run out colliding with Smith, Diamonds lost their final 4 wickets for 8 runs, unable to finish with a bang.

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