Charlotte Edwards Cup round-up: Stars reach Final after consecutive wins

Tuesday 31st August 2021


Charlotte Edwards Cup round-up: Stars reach Final after consecutive wins

South East Stars booked their place directly into Sunday’s Final of the inaugural Charlotte Edwards Cup after three straight victories propelled the side, bolstered with a number of Kent Women stars, to the top of the group standings.

Last Wednesday, Abi Freeborn’s heroics with both bat and gloves were not enough to break Lightning’s duck in the Charlotte Edwards Cup as South East Stars triumphed by 28 runs at Guildford.

Freeborn became the first wicketkeeper in the tournament to record four dismissals in an innings, all stumpings, before blazing 61 from 50 balls in the visitors’ total of 147 for seven.

Despite that, they came up well short of Stars’ 175 for six – the second highest score of the competition – as Kent’s Alice Davidson-Richards top-scored with an unbeaten 41 from 25.

Tash Farrant contributed 35 runs respectively to set up the victory, with a partnership of 52 from 31 alongside ‘ADR’.

Farrant dominated the stand, cutting and switch-hitting at will to accumulate 35 from just 18 deliveries before she became the third of Freeborn’s four victims.

Two of those came off medium-pacer Sonia Odedra, the pick of Lightning’s bowlers with two for 20 despite taking some late punishment from Davidson-Richards, who slammed two sixes off the final over from Grace Ballinger.

The 176 target looked a tall order for Lightning, who had only once posted three figures in the competition so far, but Freeborn gave them hope with some fiery powerplay hitting as she flayed Emma Jones for three fours and a six in the same over.

Farrant eventually had Freeborn caught at cover and, despite Pai’s useful 24, Stars closed out the win without difficulty.

On Saturday, the Stars beat Southern Vipers by 20 runs at the Ageas Bowl thanks to a boisterous half-century and a return of two for 9 from 17-year-old Alice Capsey.

Capsey’s 61 from 46 balls, combined with a useful contribution from Kent’s Phoebe Franklin (30 from 29), helpeding the Stars to 167 for four – the most runs conceded by Vipers in the competition.

In reply Vipers sunk to 32 for three in the powerplay, with both openers caught trying to hit out against Capsey – Georgia Adams at short extra cover and Tara Norris at mid-on.

And then on Monday, the Stars racked up their third consecutive 150+ score in the competition, hitting 165/6 in a dominant 26-run win over Central Sparks.

The win means Stars have qualified directly for the Final on 5 September; while Sparks are out of contention.

The match in the Midlands saw Kent’s Ryana MacDonald-Gay involved in first-team professional cricket for the first time, after signing a senior contract with the Stars.

Stars were missing prodigy Alice Capsey through injury, but her replacement 19-year-old Chloe Brewer – playing her first regional match of the season – pummelled 41 from 33 balls. Emma Jones – bumped up the order to 6 – then top-scored with an unbeaten 46 (27 balls), as Clare Boycott’s 3 for 22 proved in vain.

Eve Jones led from the front in Spark’s run-chase with 76 from 68 balls, but by the time she was stumped in the 19th over the result was a formality.

Stars had been 26 for 2 after 4 overs, following a dream debut from right-arm seamer Grace Potts (2 for 23) which saw her remove both openers – Aylish Cranstone was trapped LBW, then five balls later in-form Bryony Smith pulled straight to midwicket.

Leg-spinner Anisha Patel conceded just 25 runs from her 4 consecutive overs, but Brewer picked off runs from the other end, driving beautifully down the ground as she shared a 64-run partnership with veteran Kirstie White (29 from 30).

Boycott’s first over, the 12th, reduced Stars from 90 for 2 to 90 for 4 – White LBW trying the ramp, while Alice Davidson-Richards fell for a golden duck, caught at short third.

Brewer eventually became Boycott’s third victim, edging an attempted ramp behind the stumps in the 16th when she looked on course for a half-century.

But five balls later Emma Jones showed her intent, sending the ball flying over Boycott’s head for the first six of the day. A cameo from Kira Chathli (18 from 10), which included a maximum pulled over square leg, helped Stars finish strongly.

In reply, Sparks reached 69 without loss before Danielle Gregory (3 for 16) made the key breakthrough in the 10th over – Marie Kelly (25 from 21) pulling a full toss to deep square leg.

Izzy Wong was sent out in the pinch-hitting role as Sparks attempted to secure a bonus-point win to keep their Finals Day hopes alive, but she miscued Gregory to long-on in the leg-spinner’s next over.

Emma Jones had been removed from the attack after sending down two head-high no-balls, but Stars’ other young bowlers – including debutant Ryana Macdonald-Gay – kept it tight, and Sparks fell well short.

South East Stars’ final berth comes after contributions from Ryana MacDonald-Gay, Susie Rowe, Phoebe Franklin, Alice Davidson-Richards, Kalea Moore, Grace Gibbs, Alexa Stonehouse and Tash Farrant at the South London/Metropolitan Kent based side.

Elsewhere, Kent’s Kirstie Gordon took on captaincy duties for the Lightning in their final three matches of the tournament, scoring 20 runs and finishing with 2-20 in the Loughborough-based side’s final match against the Southern Vipers.

Kent starlet Grace Scrivens took 1-14 against semi-final-bound Northern Diamonds last Wednesday, before ending with 2-23 against Western Storm on the final matchday.

England Women take on New Zealand Women in the last opportunity to see live cricket at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in 2021 this September.

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