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Thunder beat Centrals Sparks by 2 wickets at New Road

Thunder beat Centrals Sparks by 2 wickets at New Road

Central Sparks suffered their first defeat in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy despite an unbeaten century from captain Eve Jones as North West Thunder edged home by two wickets at New Road.

Sparks totalled 203 all out on a used pitch after recovering from 17-3 thanks to a superb effort from Eve Jones who withstood an excellent three wicket spell from spinner Hannah Jones.

Thunder looked to be coasting to victory after openers Emma Lamb and Georgie Boyce put on 73.

Sarah Glenn, allowed to play after her release from the England squad, and fellow spinner Georgia Davis turned the game back in the Sparks favour with combined figures of 5-74 from their 20 overs.

But the Thunder lower order did enough to see their side over the finishing line with two overs to spare – their second win of the campaign.

Sparks were put in and opener Milly Home on one failed to make her ground after Jones played Piepa Cleary to mid on and set off for a single.

Poppy Davies was lbw to Laura Jackson for a first ball duck.

Gwen Davies played the same bowler into the covers, set of for a single but hesitated and was run out by Cleary’s throw to Jackson for nought.

Eve Jones and Steph Butler added 62 until the latter on 25 went down the wicket to Hannah Jones and was stumped.

Clare Boycott helped put on a further 37 before being caught and bowled on 17 by Hannah Jones who dismissed Glenn for a duck when she pulled a delivery to mid-wicket.

The spin of Hannah Jones (10-1-33-3) and Alex Hartley (10-2-26-0) kept a tight grip on proceedings through the middle part of the innings.

Eve Jones completed a 106-ball half century and Issy Wong, with 18, was a valuable ally in a half century stand until she sliced Jackson to short third man.

Eve Jones accelerated despite Ria Fackrell and Georgia Davis falling cheaply but the last batter in Liz Russell was at the crease when she reached three figures.

Her second 50 runs came off only 42 balls and she hit one six and 14 fours and carried her bat after Russell (2) was run out.

Thunder openers Boyce and Lamb laid a solid platform but the wickets started to tumble against Glenn and Davis.

Boyce (26) pushed forward and was bowled by Glenn and Lamb (39) went for a reverse sweep against Davis and suffered the same fate.

Cleary (1) lofted Glenn straight to mid-off and Davis had Natalie Brown lbw for six and Rebecca Duckworth (1) stumped in successive overs.

Glenn and Davis finished with figures of 10-2-32-2 and 10-1-43-3 respectively.

When they came out of the attack the game was evenly poised at 131-5 and a sixth wicket quickly fell when Fackrell had Ellie Threlkeld (31) lbw.

Laura Marshall and Jackson added 39 before the latter on 30 went lbw to Liz Russell at 178-7 and Marshall, with 32, was bowled by Wong with three needed.

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