Match Report: South East Stars vs. Central Sparks

Match Report: South East Stars vs. Central Sparks

South East Stars faced Central Sparks in the first of a T20 double-header at The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, a tournament named after the Kent & England legend.

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Emily Arlott took a hat-trick and then hit the winning runs as the Central Sparks beat the South East Stars by three wickets in a Charlotte Edwards Cup thriller at Canterbury.

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Arlott took four for 21 and Katie George two for 31 as the Stars were limited to 122 for eight, Sophia Dunkley, the top scorer with 58 from 49 balls.

16-year-old Canterbury-born spinner Tilly Corteen-Coleman then took three for 14 the Stars, but Sparks skipper Eve Jones looked to have taken the game away from the Stars with a crucial stand of 59 with Courtney Webb.

Two late wickets from Ryana MacDonald-Gay left the Sparks needing eight from the last over, but Arlott hit Tash Farrant’s first two balls for fours to seal the win with four balls to spare, the Sparks finishing on 123 for seven.

It was a poignant occasion for a crowd of 1,277, with six Kent-raised players representing the Stars in their final scheduled appearance at The Spitfire Ground.

The hosts chose to bat but struggled to score early on and collapsed late in the innings when five wickets fell for four runs in the space of nine balls.

Bryony Smith was run out for seven, when Katie George deflected a violent drive from Sophia Dunkley on to the stumps at the non-strikers end.

Paige Scholfield had made a run-a-ball 27 when she tried to pull Charis Pavely and was brilliantly caught by a forward diving George at deep-midwicket.

Dunkley, who might have been run out for four, played the anchor role, pulling Arlott through cow corner to reach her 50 and bring up the Stars 100 in the 16th over.

It was 107 for two at the end of the 17th, but Arlott’s treble dashed any hopes of a surge in the death overs. Dunkley was caught at mid-off by Courtney Webb, Tash Farrant snared by Eve Jones at mid-on and she completed the hat-trick when she bowled Ryana McDonald-Gay.

George then twisted the knife with two wickets in as many balls, bowling Phoebe Franklin for 12 and then bowling Chloe Hill for a golden duck.

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South East Stars’ Ryan MacDonald-Gay said: “It was a tricky wicket at the start when we were batting and we found it quite hard in the powerplay but after that we built quite good partnerships although at the end they bowled quite well. It was quite hard to get runs.”

“I think we put up a good fight to get that close but it wasn’t quite our day. Tilly has been brilliant. With a wicket first ball every time she comes on I think the rest of the team can learn a few things from her but she’s been amazing this season.

“Emily bowled really beautifully so credit to her. I have a job to do when I bowl at the death. I had quite clear plans of what I wanted to do and I just have to execute them. It was all going to plan but we just couldn’t quite get over the line in that last over.

“We definitely fancied our chances (in the last over), I’d always back our bowlers. We’ve done it before but today, it was unlucky with that shot down the ground. We’ve got a great record so far and today was a bit disappointing, but we’ll come back.”

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