Comment & Analysis
Marie Kelly’s heroics ended Southern Vipers’ unbeaten record in Group A of the Charlotte Edwards Cup; South East Stars closed the gap with victory at Guildford, while Northern Diamonds and Western Storm prevailed in Group B
Last Updated: 25/08/21 11:30pm
Marie Kelly struck a sensational century as Central Sparks ended Southern Vipers’ unbeaten run in the Charlotte Edwards Cup with a convincing six-wicket victory at Hove.
Kelly plundered 19 boundaries in her magnificent 53-ball knock, finishing unbeaten on 100 after Vipers captain Georgia Adams had earlier smashed 88.
Vipers came into the contest with a 100 per cent record in Group A, and they appeared in pole position to record a fourth consecutive victory after posting 162-4 from their 20 overs.
However, Kelly had other ideas, compiling a stunning opening partnership worth 137 alongside Sparks’ skipper Eve Jones (51), who continued her impressive form after starring for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred.
Sparks were cruising at 137-0 in the 15th over, although the wicket of Jones sparked a mini-collapse, as Milly Home, Gwenan Davies and Thea Brookes all departed in quick succession to give the hosts some hope.
Nevertheless, Kelly was the epitome of composure, and she sealed the deal in spectacular style, pulling Tara Norris to the square-leg boundary to bring up her century and secure victory with an over to spare.
Adams made 88 not out from 60 balls for the Vipers, while Charlie Dean – named in England’s Twenty20 squad for the series against New Zealand – added 31, but it wasn’t enough to preserve their unbeaten record.
Elsewhere in Group A, South East Stars closed to within two points of top spot with a 28-run victory over Lightning at Guildford.
17-year-old Alice Capsey – one of the stars of the Hundred – continued her fine form; making 38 from 28 balls as the Stars posted a formidable total of 175-6, having been inserted by the visitors.
Alice Davidson-Richards made an unbeaten 41 from 25 balls, while captain Tash Farrant (35 off 18) struck seven boundaries as the Stars finished with a flourish.
Abi Freeborn remarkably completed four stumpings for Lightning, and she capped off a superb all-round display by hitting 61 from 50 balls.
Shachi Pai (24) and Sophie Munro (17 off 8) also contributed with the bat, yet Lightning were unable to register their first victory of this year’s competition, with Farrant, Capsey and Bryony Smith picking up two wickets apiece.
In Group B, Northern Diamonds remain top of the table after producing a terrific bowling display to defeat Sunrisers by 19 runs at Gosforth.
The Diamonds were floundering at 32-5 at the halfway stage, with Kate Coppack (2-10 off 4) and Naomi Dattani (2-24) inflicting the damage.
Linsey Smith (30) and Beth Langston (46 not out) salvaged the innings however, as the Diamonds set Sunrisers 121 for victory.
Langston (2-19) also delivered with the ball, removing Dattani and Cordelia Griffith in successful deliveries to put Diamonds in the ascendancy.
Jo Gardner (31) top scored for Sunrisers, but the visitors lost wickets at regular intervals and could only muster 101-7 in reply, with Alex MacDonald (2-11 off 4) and captain Hollie Armitage (2-18 off 4) both impressing.
In the other Group B showdown, Western Storm moved level on points with Thunder after cruising to a seven-wicket success in Cardiff.
Storm restricted Thunder to a paltry total of 100-9 from their 20 overs, with Emma Lamb (28) and wicket-keeper Ellie Threlkeld (22) the only two players to make double figures.
Nicole Harvey boasted brilliant figures of 3-13 from her four overs, while Georgia Hennessy conceded just seven runs from her three overs, claiming a wicket in the process.
Hennessy then anchored Storm’s reply with an unbeaten 29, but it was Katie George who provided the fireworks, striking eight boundaries in her unbeaten 47, as Storm wrapped up an emphatic victory with 14 balls to spare.