Georgia Hennessy raised a brilliant hundred at the Bristol County Ground as Western Storm comfortably defeated Sunrisers by 47 runs to finish on a high in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Southern Group. Alex Griffiths smashed 80 and shared in a match-winning stand of 155 in 22 overs for the fifth wicket with Hennessy, who posted a season’s best 105 in an imposing total of 288-6 in 50 overs. Katie Wolfe produced a notable performance with the new ball and at the death to finish with 2-34 from 10 overs, while Alice Macleod returned figures of 2-64, but Sunrisers were made to pay for some wayward bowling and a plethora of elementary mistakes in the field. Star turn Hennessy then weighed in with 2-29 with the ball, took a catch and perpetrated two run outs as Sunrisers were dismissed for 241 in 49 overs, Cordelia Griffith scoring 41 and Grace Scrivens 72 at either end of the innings. Twice beaten by Southern Vipers, Storm registered four wins in six games to finish in second place in the group behind the finalists.
Beaten in all five of their previous fixtures and rooted to the foot of the table, Sunrisers elected to bowl and reduced Storm to 69-4 inside 21 overs on a slow pitch. Wolfe was especially impressive, bowling with aggression and control to remove openers Lauren Parfitt and Fi Morris. Parfitt lost her off stump to one that nipped back, having made 10, and Morris went for a breezy 27 (5 fours) when playing all around a straight delivery.
In-form Storm skipper Sophie Luff made a superb century on this ground eight days earlier, but went for just three on this occasion, lifting Joanne Gardner to mid-wicket in the 13th over. When Nat Wraith was bowled by Sonali Patel for 12, Sunrisers were well and truly in the ascendancy.
Adopting attack as the best form of defence, Griffiths quickly altered the complexion of the match, striking the ball sweetly, putting the bowlers under real pressure for the first time and forcing the field back as Storm made a full recovery. She hit 13 off the 24th over, sent down by off spinner Katie Midwood, and struck a four and a six off successive deliveries to make a mess of Kelly Castle’s figures en-route to a 54-ball half century.
Rather more watchful in her approach, Hennessy was first to that particular landmark, her 50 occupying 75 balls and serving to break Sunrisers’ spirits. Although Midwood and Macleod managed to keep a lid on things by taking the pace off during the middle overs, boundaries flowed when the seamers returned, Hennessy and Griffiths pouncing upon anything short or wide to apply late-innings pressure and force a catalogue of mistakes in the field.
With a hundred there for the taking, Griffiths displayed her annoyance when offering a return catch to Macleod, having faced 68 balls and accrued a six and 11 fours. Hennessy stayed the course though, going to three figures via 107 deliveries, and harvesting 14 fours, before lifting Macleod to long-off three balls later. Danielle Gibson ensured there was no let-up in the tempo, the Bristolian hitting out at the death to raise an unbeaten 33 from 24 balls (5 fours) in a partnership of 49 for the sixth wicket with Hennessy.
Facing an uphill task, Sunrisers nevertheless made a decent start to their chase, Cordelia Griffith posting a run-a-ball 41, striking 6 fours and a six and dominating an opening stand of 55 with Macleod in 13 overs. But it was proving difficult to keep the ubiquitous Hennessy out of the action and, called into the attack, she made the breakthrough, Griffith carving a delivery outside off stump straight to Emma Carney at point. Hennessy then tempted Amara Carr into front foot indiscretion, Wraith completing a smart stumping,, before holding a catch at mid-off to send back Naomi Dattani and present off spinner Morris with a deserved wicket.
With spinners now operating at both ends, the obdurate Macleod, who had chiseled 28 from 56 balls, was bowled by Stephanie Hutchins as Storm further tightened their grip on the game. Lacking Storm’s strength in depth and ability to extract themselves from tight situations, the visitors subsided to 102-5 in the 24th over, Corney’s change of pace accounting for Mia Rogers, pinned in her crease and adjudged lbw for 10. Castle at least proved combative in raising 20 from 22 balls, but she was comprehensively bowled by Naimh Holland.
Thereafter, Gardner and Scrivens made a decent fist of rebuilding, the seventh wicket pair posting 32 and 72 respectively and staging a stand of 69 in 14 overs without ever seriously threatening to challenge Storm’s supremacy. Occasional bowler Luff broke the partnership, Wraith again demonstrating deft glovework to stump Gardner, while Midwood, Scrivens and Patel were all dismissed in the penultimate over. Scrivens displayed defiance aplenty in an attractive innings that spanned 73 balls and yielded 11 boundaries, albeit in a losing cause.