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RHF Trophy 2024, CS vs. THDER 34th match report, July 10, 2024

thunder 147 for 2 (Lamb 71*, Mack 52*) beat Central Sparks 144 (Norris 4-18, Morris 3-31) with eight wickets

Thunder kept their slim hopes of qualifying for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy alive with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Central Sparks in Worcester.

The win was made possible by the superb bowling of left-handers Tara Norris (four for 18) and Sophie Morris (three for 31) as Sparks were bowled out for 144 in 42.4 overs, with only captain Eve Jones (38 off 62 balls) threatening to play a match-winning innings for the home side in an error-strewn team batting performance.
Thunder then comfortably made it 147 for two with a comfortable 21 overs lead as third wicket pair Emma Lamb (71 not out, 84 balls) and Katie Mack (52 not out, 69) added an unbroken 122 from 134 balls.

With their victory, the Nordic team overtook their hosts in the table and still has a chance of qualifying. For Sparks, however, the remaining games are just about pride.

Thunder opted to bowl and did serious damage early, helped by the home batters’ reluctance to go on the attack. Sparks stumbled to 52 for 4 after 13 overs, with all the victims bowled or lbw as they remained at the back of the pitch.

Norris struck the first two balls, Chloe Brewer lbw and Abi Freeborn bowled leg stump. Left-arm spinner Sophie Morris struck the next two balls, both bowled when Davina Perrin played down the wrong line and Courtney Webb was indecisive and hit her middle stump.

Captain Jones was an exception to the indecision of the upper order, but failed in her pursuit of her sixth foursome when she chipped Sophie Morris to mid-on.

Katie George and Bethan Ellis made partial amends with a score of 36 in 11 overs before George (23, 43) was bowled through the net by Norris. Emily Arlott soon fell but was brilliantly caught by wicketkeeper Eleanor Threlkeld, who broke away from Naomi Dattani at full stretch to the right.

Norris took her fourth wicket when Ellis (33, 53) played over the line and was bowled at middle stump. Threlkeld struck again when Georgia Davis narrowly beat Hannah Jones and a messy innings ended in chaos when Grace Potts and Hannah Baker disagreed over whether there was a single and the latter was run out by Alice Clarke’s throw.

Clarke was then the victim of a lethal throw from Ellis as she fell in the second over of Thunder’s reply. A beautiful ball from Potts dropped Seren Smale’s off stump and the score was 25 for two, but with such a low score to defend, Sparks needed to keep taking wickets. They didn’t as Lamb and Mack quickly settled down and paved their side’s way to victory.

Lamb hit Ellis over mid-wicket for six runs to reach her half-century in 66 balls, Australian import Mack followed her in 67 and the victory was achieved in the most comfortable and relaxed manner.