Emily Arlott hat-trick powers Central Sparks to victory

Central Sparks 123 for 7 (E Jones 43, Corteen-Coleman 3-14) beat South East Stars 122 for 8 (Dunkley 58, Arlott 4-21) by three wickets

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.

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 spinner Tilly Corteen-Coleman then took three for 14 for 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 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.

Arlott claimed her fourth wicket when she had Alexa Stonehouse caught for three by Davina Perrin off the final ball of the innings.

The target looked low, but 16-year-old Corteen-Coleman, playing at the ground next door to the hospital she was born in, removed both openers in the third over, bowling Perrin for one and Abigail Baker middle stump for 12 four balls later.

Farrant removed Abbey Freeborn for three, caught by Corteen-Coleman and George was stumped by Chloe Hill off Kalea Moore for six, when she mistakenly thought the keeper hadn’t gathered the ball and charged down the wicket.

At 41 for four the Stars were well in the game, but Jones was dropped on 17 and with the run rate never rising above eight she and Webb were able to play cautiously.

Corteen-Coleman revived the Stars when she bowled Webb for 31 and although her final delivery, to Jones was dropped by Stonehouse, the batter went at the start of the 19th, caught by Scholfield off MacDonald-Gay for 43. When MacDonald-Gay then bowled Pavely for a duck the Sparks were left needing eight off the final over, but Arlott drove Farrant’s first ball for four and then brilliantly scooped the second over Hill’s head to clinch the victory and finish on 19 not out.