Georgia Adams’ unbeaten century and Alex Hartley magical four-for were the two standout performances of the day as Southern Vipers and Thunder registered comprehensive victories respectively in the fifth round of Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Sunday (September 13).
Vipers emerged victorious over Western Storm, winning their fifth match on the trot, and qualified for the final with 23 points from five games. Thunder’s win over Lightning was only their second in the tournament while South East Stars and Central Sparks defeated Sunrisers and Northern Diamonds respectively in the other matches of the day.
Sunrisers vs South East Stars
Teen Alice Capsey scored an unbeaten 73 to steer her South East Stars to an easy six-wicket win over Sunrisers. This was Sunrisers' fifth consecutive loss in the tournament. Chasing 199 runs to win, Stars were in a spot of bother after they lost opener Kirstie While for five in the third over. But a 54-run second-wicket partnership between Aylish Cranstone (46) and Chloe Brewer (40) steadied the ship for Stars.
Although both couldn’t reach their half-centuries but laid a perfect platform for Capsey to free her arms later on in the innings to cap in a memorable victory in 37.1 overs. Earlier, Tash Farrant took three wickets while Hannah Jones (2/36) and Danielle Gregory (2/30) also chipped in as South East Stars bowled out Sunrisers for 198 in 48.4 overs.
Electing to bat first, Sunrisers didn’t have the best of the starts losing skipper Amara Carr (six) and Alice Macleod (three) with just 17 onboard, both gifting their wickets to Farrant. Opener Cordelia Griffith (27) and Naomi Dattani (33) took on the mantle thereafter stitching together a 55-run third-wicket stand before the former holed out to Hannah Jones off the bowling of Chloe Brewer.
Gregory gave Stars the upper hand when she dismissed a set Dattani and Kelly Castle in the 21st over but a combined 73 runs lower down the order from Joanne Gardner (30), Grace Scrivens (16) and Katie Midwood (27) helped Sunrisers close to the 200-run mark.
Thunder vs Lightning
Skipper Alex Hartley and Liberty Heap spun a web around Lightning as Thunder clinched a crucial 72-run victory to register their second win in five matches. The spin duo shared seven wickets between them - special mention to Hartley whose magical spell of 10-5-8-4 rattled the opposition batting at Aigburth in Liverpool on Sunday.
Chasing a target of 189 runs to win, none of the Lightning batters could manage even the 30-run mark with seven of them falling to single digits. Only Sarah Bryce (24), Kathryn Bryce (22) and Abigail Freeborn (28) managed to get some runs under their belts. Heap finished with figures 3/34.
Earlier, Natalie Brown scored her maiden half-century of the tournament as her gritty 82-ball 52 helped Thunder post 188 for 9 in 50 overs. Georgie Boyce (31) at the top of the order and Rebecca Duckworth (27) tried their best with their useful contributions but none of the other batters could stand in front of Scottish Kathryn’s fiery bowling who finished with figures 4/38. Alicia Presland (1/40), Bethan Ellis (1/34) and Lucy Higham (1/17) took a wicket apiece.
Southern Vipers vs Western Storm
Half-centuries from skipper Sophie Luff (79) and Natasha Wraith (68) went nit enough as Western Storm fell short by 32 runs against Southern Vipers. Chasing 289 runs to win, Storm were 60 for 3 at one stage in 15 overs. With Luff and Wraith going strong with a 139-run partnership for the fourth wicket, it looked like the duo will take the team over the line.
However, with the duo falling in the space of four overs, all their dreams of a memorable victory went up in smoke as Storm finished at 256 all out in 50 overs, thanks to Charlotte Taylor (4/41) and Charlotte Dean’s (3/50) seven-wicket burst.
Earlier, skipper Georgia Adams continued her rich form as she bludgeoned to an unbeaten 154 helping Southern Vipers to a mammoth 288 for 1 in 50 overs. Teen Ella McCaughan (63) scored her second half-century of the tournament while Maia Bouchier also contributed with exact 50 – her first of the tourney.
Adams, who had scores of 37, 55, 44 and 89 in her previous four outings in the ongoing tournament, looked in sublime touch as she found the gaps with utmost ease with occasional boundaries. The right-hander hit 20 boundaries in her 155-ball knock as none of the seven bowlers used by Western Storm skipper Sophie Luff could really pose a threat to her.
Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks
Evelyn Jones scored her second half-century of the tournament as her 77 coupled with Marian Kelly’s 49 helped Central Sparks defeated Northern Diamonds by six wickets. Chasing 219 runs for victory, Sparks reached the target with 3.2 overs to spare. After the early dismissal of Gwenan Davies, Jones and Kelly struck a 123-run second-wicket partnership, before Poppy Davies (31 not out) and Chloe Hill (23 not out) took the team over the line.
Earlier, Elizabeth Russell took 4/28 while Hannah Baker picked up 3/26 as Central Sparks restricted Northern Diamonds to 217 all out in 50 overs, despite a 115-ball 87 from Sterre Kalis. Opting to bat first, Diamonds lost Hollie Armitage early for 18 before Hopkins and Kalis stitched together 85 runs for the second wicket.
The dismissal of Hopkins triggered the collapse as wickets kept falling at regular intervals but Kalis stood firm at one end ensuring Diamonds to the 200-run mark. Beth Langston scored a 35-ball 26 towards the end to take her team to a respectable total.
Sunrisers 198 all out in 48.4 overs (Naomi Dattani 33; Tash Farrant 3/24) lost to South East Stars 199 for 4 in 37.1 overs (Alice Capsey 73*) by six wickets.
Thunder 188 for 9 in 50 overs (Natalie Brown 52; Kathryn Bryce 4/38) beat Lightning 116 all out in 39.1 overs (Abigail Freeborn 28; Alex Hartley 4/8) by 72 runs.
Southern Vipers 288 for 1 in 50 overs (Georgia Adams 154*) beat Western Storm 256 all out in 50 overs (Sophie Luff 79, Natasha Wraith 68; Charlotte Taylor 4/41, Charlotte Dean 3/50) by 32 runs.
Northern Diamonds 217 all out in 50 overs (Sterre Kalis 87; Elizabeth Russell 4/28, Hannah Baker 3/26) lost to Central Sparks 218 for 4 in 46.4 overs (Evelyn Jones 77, Marian Kelly 49) by six wickets.