Beaumont and Bryce Propel The Blaze to Charlotte Edwards Cup 2024 Finals with Victory Over Sparks

The Blaze defeated Central Sparks by five wickets in a thrilling semi-final match at Derby’s Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day, securing their spot in the regional women’s final for the third year in a row.

Hannah Baker and Courtney Webb shine, but Sparks lose in the opening semi-final.

Beaumont and Bryce Propel The Blaze to Charlotte Edwards Cup 2024 Finals with Victory Over Sparks
The Blaze's run chase versus Central Sparks was led by Tammy Beaumont. Getty Images

Central Sparks 140 for 9 (Webb 45*, Graoves 2-16, Ballinger 2-34) lost to The Blaze 142 for 5 (Bryce 44, Beaumont 39, Baker 3-24) by five wickets.

England’s Sparks Hannah Baker, an Under-19 legspinner, took 3 for 24, but The Blaze took control thanks to the experience of England opener Tammy Beaumont (39 off 31 balls) and Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce (44 off 39). Baker’s international captain Josie Groves then made a cameo of 14 off 4 balls to see the runners-up from the previous year cross the finish line.

After Davina Perrin (32 from 17) and Ami Campbell (21 from 14) helped put on 54 in the powerplay, Australian Courtney Webb saved the Sparks innings from 93 for 6. Legspinner Groves, filling in for England’s Sarah Glenn due to injury, had taken 2 for 16 and left-arm pace bowler Grace Ballinger had taken 2 for 34.

Despite appearing relatively green, Sparks openers Campbell and Perrin’s aggressive style paid off as they scored runs despite neither player making it past the first six overs.

Despite giving up 14 in her first over as captain of the Blaze, Kirstie Gordon kept throwing the ball up to Campbell, who was caught at long-on after hitting two fours and a six. After being forced to suffer when Perrin hit her for three fours with the final ball of the sixth over, Ballinger found the proper length and line to dismiss the seventeen-year-old.

A change in momentum was brought about by Perrin’s removal. Sparks went from 75 for 2 in the tenth to 93 for 6 when Lucy Higham made a nice low return catch to dismiss captain Eve Jones. Kathryn Bryce also ran out Abbey Freeborn with her own bowling, and Groves bowled Katie George before stumping Charis Pavely.

Em Arlott hit Heather Graham straight to extra cover to put the score at 114 for 7, but Sparks rallied as Ballinger let up 13 off her final over, even though she had caught Grace Potts at mid-off and then dropped Webb on 41 when she should have been run out on 43.

Also Read: Rachel Slater’s Stellar Performance Propels Northern Diamonds to Victory in Charlotte Edwards Cup 2024

Despite Marie Kelly’s loss—she hit an undefeated 89 versus Sparks in their final points table match last Wednesday—the Blaze amassed 51 runs during their batting powerplay, putting them well on track. Marie Kelly was caught at mid-off for eight runs. The Beaumont-Kathryn Bryce combination added 57 by the midway point, bringing their side to 78 for 1.

After that, seamer George forced a low return catch to remove Beaumont for 39 off 31, giving Sparks their second breakthrough. Jones’ team then momentarily stopped the run of boundaries when they removed Sarah Bryce with a deft catch behind the wicket. But The Blaze only needed 33 off the final five overs thanks to a massive six by Graham off Potts.

After Graham was dismissed for a well-timed catch by Arlott off Webb at long-on, Baker took her third wicket to keep Sparks alive after Kathryn Bryce miscued to mid-on. However, Groves ended any hopes Sparks had by hitting three fours off the reel off George to seal the victory with two overs remaining.

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