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The Stars Come to Town



The return to the cricket schedule of the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy

sees not only the stars of Lancashire Thunder returning to Stanley Park

on Sunday 8 July but opposing them will be the aptly named South East

Stars side.

The fortunes of the two sides are quite different in that while both

teams have played seven games, the Stars are in a more healthy

position than Thunder in that they sit in fourth place with four victories

and three losses. Meanwhile, Thunder languish in sixth position with just

two wins as opposed to five losses.

Thunder’s two wins came by a hefty 142 runs against Sunrisers in

their second game when Katie Mack made 100, her sixth List A century,

and she was well supported by Fi Morris with 89 out of their total of 292-

5. Then the bowlers did their job by dismissing Sunrisers for 150 with

Kate Cross, 3-21, and Sophie Ecclestone, 3-40, leading the way.

The only other victory came against The Blaze who were defeated

by one wicket in a dramatic finish. Emma Lamb, 44, and Seren Smale,

58, put on 89 for the first wicket but a middle-order collapse saw

Thunder slip to 161-9 before Phoebe Graham and Hannah Jones put on

15 runs to win the game at 176-9. Prior to that, Blaze had been

dismissed for 174 with Mahika Gaur, 3-33, and Jones, 3-37, the main

wicket takers.

But those two games were Thunder’s only successes. An opening

loss came against Northern Diamonds by nine wickets, thanks to Lauren

Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage, with 69 and 67 respectively, who put

on an unbeaten 106 for the second wicket to secure the win. In

Thunder’s 165 all out, Smale with 32 was the only player to pass 20.

In their third game, Western Storm posted 252-6, with Sophie Luff

making 66 not out, despite Ecclestone taking a parsimonious 3-16 off

her 10 overs. Lamb, 38, Cross 36 and Ellie Threlkeld were the only

significant contributors as Thunder were dismissed for 186 to lose by 66

runs.

Then Southern Vipers overhauled Thunder’s 206-9 with Smale

making a career-best 99 before being unfortunately run out. Tara Norris

replied with 3-45 but could not stop Vipers reaching 208-7 thus winning

by three wickets as skipper Georgia Adams made top score with 51.

And the last two games of their campaign to date went south by

three wickets in a high scoring contest against Central Sparks and by 30

runs against Sunrisers. In the former game, Lamb, with 104 her fourth

List A century, and Smale, 67, put on 140 for the first wicket before the

final total of 284-7 was reached. But a career-best 136 not out, her sixth


century, by Eve Jones led Sparks to victory at 287-7 with two balls

remaining. Then there was a Duckworth/Lewis defeat by 30 runs.

Sunrisers’ innings had ended at 253 all out with Jo-Anne Gardner, 63,

and Grace Scrivens 53, being the main runscorers and Jones with 4-50

taking the bowling honours. Chasing 255 off 48 overs after rain, Lamb

made 48 and there were 30s for Smale, Mack and Naomi Dattani but it

could not prevent Thunder being dismissed for 224 with Sophie Munro

taking 5-25.

On the other hand Stars opened their account with three

successive victories, Vipers being beaten by four wickets, Blaze by eight

wickets and Sparks by 71 runs. In the first match, an opening

partnership of 165 by Bethany Smith, 50, and Tash Farrant, 94, set them

well on their way before Sophie Dunkley’s 48 not out took them home.

Ryana Macdonald-Gay’s 5-31 helped demolish Blaze for 126

before Tarrant’s 68 not out helped take the Stars home and it was 54

from Tarrant and 65 by Paige Scholfield that helped Stars to post 268

before rain intervened and, chasing 191 in 30 overs, Macdonald-Gay’s

4-18 prevented Sparks from progressing past 119-6, which was an

improvement from their 58-6 but was still not enough to win the game.

Three defeats from their last four games did not help their chase

for honours; their one victory came by five wickets against Sunrisers

whose 222 was not enough as Dunkley, 67, and Alice Davidson-

Richards, 50, helped engineer a victory by five wickets at 223-5.

The first defeat was by Western Storm in a close DLS finish by

eight runs, despite making 298-5 in their 50 overs with Scholfield, 74,

Aylish Cranstone, 63 not out, and Davidson-Richards, 50, making the

majority of the runs. Storm’s reply was cut short when they had made

236-5 from 36 overs when it was deemed that they had required 229 for

victory. Fran Wilson with 65 and Luff with 59 were Storm’s main run

getters.

Then in a high scoring game Northern Diamonds triumphed by just

three runs after posting a massive 311-9, Armitage 66, Beth Heath 59

and Sterre Kalis 52 while Phoebe Franklin snared 3-49. Dunkley led the

counter-attack but was run out for 130 with two balls remaining so the

Stars ended on 308 when the ninth wicket fell from the final ball.

Finally, in another DLS game, Blaze defeated the Stars by 133

runs after posting 318-8 with Sarah Bryce making 81, Ella Claridge a

career-best 71 and Marie Kelly 52. In reply Stars fell for 185 from 32

overs having been set 319 from 44 overs. Davidson-Richards made top

score of 44 while Heather Graham took a career-best 6-39 from just six

overs.

So as Thunder take on the Stars, the prospects for the two

sides are quite different. While Thunder will require a bizarre


series of results elsewhere for them to qualify, the Stars will be

looking to improve their chances of reaching the semi-finals; it

is definitely all to play for, so don’t miss the excitement!

Gerry Wolstenholme

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