Skip to main content

Kathryn Bryce continued her outstanding season with a match-winning 62 off 44 balls as The Blaze, who were losing finalists in both regional competitions last season, beat South East Stars by seven wickets to lift the Charlotte Edwards Cup at Derby.

Bryce, who led the Scotland side she skippers to qualification for their first T20 World Cup earlier in the summer, shared a decisive partnership of 79 with her younger sister Sarah, who herself finished with an unbeaten 52 from 46 balls as the Stars total of 141 for nine was passed with eight balls to spare.

It rewarded The Blaze captain Kirstie Gordon for her own strong leadership after the heartbreak of losing both finals to Southern Vipers last year. Her team have suffered only one defeat and avoided Vipers this time after the defending champions were knocked out by the Stars in the semi-finals, in which The Blaze beat Central Sparks by five wickets.

That sole defeat was inflicted by the Stars, who bowled The Blaze out for 84 in a five-wicket win on the same ground last Sunday.

The Blaze conceded 22 in the first over after opting to bowl first, yet bowled with discipline and skill thereafter to restrict Stars to 141 for nine, Australian all-rounder Heather Graham taking three for 16 and leg spinner Josie Groves three for 33.

Georgia Redmayne top-scored with 25 and Alice Davidson-Richards 23 for Stars on what looked like a deteriorating surface

Despite left-arm seamer Grace Ballinger’s expensive first over, Stars were limited to 45 for two in the powerplay. Bryony Smith (17 from seven balls) was leg before sweeping Gordon’s left-arm spin, and Phoebe Franklin bowled by Graham for 10, having not batted in Stars’ semi-final win over Southern Vipers.

More setbacks for the Stars followed as Groves, stepping up in the absence of England star Sarah Glenn, found turn and bounce in a deteriorating surface to have key batters Sophia Dunkley and Paige Scholfield stumped, leaving Stars 62 for four in the ninth.

Emma Jones clobbered Groves for six square on the on side but she was bowled by Graham in the next over. A recovery of sorts by Redmayne and Davidson-Richards ended when mid-on Marie Kelly, having dropped the latter on 19, made amends off the next ball, giving Groves her third wicket.

Having added 31 with her sixth-wicket partner, Redmayne was out when she failed to clear mid-off before Tash Farrant was caught on the square leg boundary off a Gordon full toss in a penultimate over that went for only three, The Blaze skipper finishing as the competition’s leading wicket-taker with 22.

Graham bowled Dani Gregory, her last over costing just two after The Blaze restricted their opponents to 16 in the last four.

The Blaze chase was finely poised at 49 for two after six overs, Kathryn Bryce shaping up nicely again on 29 from 16, although they had lost Tammy Beaumont, run out backing up in a piece of brilliance by bowler Farrant, before Kelly miscued to extra cover. By halfway, she and sister Sarah were still together, with the target down to 58 more.

Kathryn, who had made 44 in the semi-final, edged two slightly fortunate boundaries off Franklin before completing her fifth half-century of the competition from 31 balls.

Her hopes of being there to finish the job were ended when she was bowled attempting to reverse sweep leg spinner Gregory, leaving that privilege to sister Sarah, who completed her own half-century off 45 balls before Graham heaved Ryana MacDonald-Gay over mid-off for the winning boundary.