Georgia inspires Storm to victory

Georgia Hennessy top scored with 47 as Western Storm beat Central Sparks by seven wickets at New Road Worcester in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

However, Sparks are through to finals day at Northampton next Saturday even if they lose top spot to South East Stars, who play tomorrow, as they are the best second placed team

England keeper-batter Amy Jones top scored for the home side with 63 from 46 balls with nine fours.

It was her third fifty in six innings for the Sparks and she is now the leading scorer in the 2022 competition with 245 runs at a strike rate of 141.61.

But Spinners Claire Nicholas and Sophia Smale had joint figures of 8-0-39-3 to help restrict the Sparks total to a gettable 134-4.

Worcester born Georgia Hennessey, with an unbeaten 47 off 45 balls, and some late hitting by Dani Gibson saw the Storm to victory with seven balls to spare.

The Sparks elected to bat on the same hybrid wicket used for yesterday evening’s Vitality Blast  match between Worcestershire Rapids and Birmingham Bears which produced over 400 runs.

They suffered an early setback when Izzy Wong holed out to mid on in the second over, from Dani Gibson. The first boundary was not struck until the fourth over when Eve Jones lofted Gibson to the cover boundary. But her second wicket partnership with Amy Jones gradually flourished and added 65 in 9.1 overs.

Smale broke the stand when Eve Jones went for a mighty blow and was bowled for 27 with the total 70-2 in the 11th over.

Amy Jones reached an excellent half century from 40 balls when she swept Gibson for her seventh boundary. Her classy effort came to an end when she attempted a hit over mid wicket and was also bowled.

Abigail Freeborn struck the only six of the innings over long off against Hennessy before being stumped off Nicholas in the penultimate over.

Fi Morris got the Storm innings off to an ideal start with two boundaries in an opening over from Grace Potts costing 13 runs.

Morris was then bowled by a no ball from the first delivery by Wong but failed to take advantage and was caught at point in Potts’ third over.

Emily Arlott came into the attack and had Sophie Luff caught behind but Hennessy and Fran Wilson added 57 in 8.1 overs.

Eve Jones took a fine catch running back from mid off to break the stand by dismissing Wilson off Emily Arlott. But Gibson came in to strike an unbeaten 24 off just 14 balls including a huge six over mid wicket off Liz Russell and settle the issue.

At the close of play, Hennessy said: “We thought they were just under par with their score. That was the feeling in the dressing room. With their batting line-up, we were really chuffed with that.

“The wicket was a bit slow but played quite well. It was a happy changing room at half-time. We just tried to go out there with the intent we do and luckily it came off and it was lovely to stand at the non striker’s end and see Gibbo (Dani Gibson) finished things off the way she did.

“The spinners (Claire Nicholas and Sophia Smale) did a great job, controlled the game and bowled wicket to wicket and that is something we’ve really been working on and it came off today.

“With our squad and team, the T20 competition is something we could have done quite well in but we’ve just underperformed slightly.”