Sparks fly in the damp to maintain unbeaten run against winless Diamonds

Central Sparks 81 for 7 (E Jones 26″, Slater 2-10) beat Northern Diamonds 80 for 9 (Burns 30, Potts 3-15) by three wickets

Central Sparks made it three wins from three in the Charlotte Edwards Cup with a three-wicket victory from the final ball over winless Northern Diamonds in a rain-reduced match at Headingley.

Despite losing wickets with regularity, Diamonds posted a competitive target of 81 from 11 overs thanks largely to Erin Burns’ impressive 30.

And the hosts looked set to clinch their first win but Sparks captain Eve Jones’ nerveless unbeaten 26 saw her side home, with Georgia Davis striking two from the final delivery to clinch the victory.

Heavy rain in the morning followed by frequent short showers delayed the start from the scheduled 2.30pm, with play eventually getting under way at 4.45pm and the match reduced to 11 overs-a-side.

After winning the toss, Sparks were straight into their stride with the ball, taking wickets in each of the first four overs.

Leah Dobson and Lauren Winfield-Hill were caught for a duck and five respectively looking for early momentum before Em Arlott claimed her second wicket by having Hollie Armitage caught behind for nought.

Katie George bowled Bess Heath for three to leave Diamonds 23 for four in the fourth over.

Erin Burns injected life into the innings with three early boundaries and Sterre Kalis started well to lift Diamonds to 44 for four after six overs.

Davis had Kalis stumped for 17 and bowled Emma Marlow for seven but Burns continued to be aggressive in playing a lone hand for Diamonds.

Her dismissal on 30, well held by Arlott running in from the deep off the bowling of Grace Potts, was key for Sparks.

Grace Hall and Katie Levick came and went quickly but Katherine Fraser delivered late momentum with a four and a six from the final two balls to post 80 for nine. Davis claimed three for 23.

Sparks started their chase strongly, easing to 16 without loss after two overs.

Levick’s introduction brought the breakthrough as Chloe Brewer was trapped lbw for 14.

Rachel Slater then piled the pressure on Sparks with two wickets in the fourth over, bowling Perrin for five and having Abbey Freeborn stumped for six to leave Sparks 26 for three.

Courtney Webb’s dismissal by Burns for two in the next over had Diamonds on top and then Dobson claimed a brilliant boundary catch off Hall to remove George for nine, leaving Sparks 44 for five, needing another 37 from four overs.

Sparks captain Eve Jones, who was dropped on four by Grace Hall, set about eating into that target as 13 runs came from the ninth over, leaving 15 required from the final two.

Burns caught and bowled Charis Pavely for five and Sparks needed five from the final over, bowled by Levick.

Arlott fell and new batter Davis needed two from the final ball, which she achieved with a chip down the ground to make it three wins from three for Sparks.