Central Sparks come out on top

Central Sparks emerged victorious by 41 runs against Western Storm, thanks to a magnificent innings by Amy Jones to score the highest score in the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy to date.

Jones finished not out on 163*, scoring successive centuries to guide her team into a winning position, despite a good bowling performance from Storm.

With Sparks reaching 295/7, it proved one step too far for Storm, with Ria Fackrell taking 4-34, despite an unbroken partnership of 102 between Heather Knight and Lauren Parfitt who both scored half-centuries.

It was a restrictive start by Storm taking key early wickets, as Sparks reached 44/3 after 13 overs. Lauren Filer took two wickets in her first spell, with Eve Jones caught for five and Marie Kelly caught for seven, and Gwenan Davies run out for 15.

However, from then on Sparks looked comfortable in their innings, as Amy Jones played freely to make successive centuries, having excellent support from the middle order. Milly Home and Jones made a partnership of 80 before Home was caught for 18, bringing Steph Butler to the crease. Herself and Jones put on a partnership of 68, before Heather Knight bowled Butler for 27.

Jones carried on her excellent form from her century in Sparks’ previous victorious game against Diamonds , bringing her century up off 83 balls, including 11 fours and three sixes.

As Sparks reached 200 in the 40th over, the final ten overs saw them reach 295/7, with Jones finishing 163* from 114 balls and two wickets of Glenn and Fackrell falling, caught for seven and 11 respectively.

Western Storm did get off to an illustrious start however, with openers Knight and Parfitt reaching 102 without loss, before Sarah Glenn got the much-needed breakthrough, bowling Knight for 59.

Parfitt then brought up her half-century, from 80 balls, as Sparks began to take command, taking five wickets for 35 runs, and restricting the storm’s order, with Fackrell claiming her first three wickets to put Sparks in the driving seat.

Parfitt was first to fall, bowled for 91, followed by Luff out lbw to Liz Russell for 27 and Hennesey stumped for 4 off Fackrell’s bowling. Wraith was then bowled by Glenn for two, with Gibson the third of Fackrell’s wickets, caught for 18.

Left needing 88 from the final ten overs, wickets continued to fall for Storm, with Emily Arlott taking two wickets in two balls. Shrubsole was caught for 13, and Morris dismissed in the same fashion for 21, with Fackrell claiming her fourth wicket, Gibbons caught for one. The remaining runs proved too much for Storm, as the visitors faced defeat.

Following the match, Heather Knight said: ”It was a frustrating day for us ,but Amy Jones batted amazingly and she took the game away from us at the end as she was set there. That was the difference between the two sides, we got good starts but couldn’t go and kick on like she did but it was a great innings.

“We started well bowling, looked threatening and took wickets in the start but struggled in the middle overs so that’s something to work on

“It was a good wicket to bat on, enjoyed the battle and just frustrated we couldn’t go and make it into a winning performance.”