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Freya Davies’ impeccable four-for set up Southern Vipers’ seven-wicket bonus point victory over South East Stars to cement their place at the top of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table.

Davies hadn’t taken four in an innings since taking four for 23 in a T20 for England against New Zealand in March 2021, and her previously sized haul in 50-over cricket was a six-for for Sussex Women in 2018.

But she extracted great pace to take four for 14 at Falkland Cricket Club, to restrict Stars to 120 – Ava Lee and Charli Knott both grabbing two wickets a piece.

Knott – on her penultimate appearance – then made sure the chase was straightforward with a classy 57.

Vipers chose to bowl, and after a rain delay which knocked the overs down to 46 a side, they ruthlessly took wickets to not allow the Stars to build any momentum.

Mary Taylor made the initial breakthrough when she found Tash Farrant edging a drive behind to Megan Sturge – who was keeping wicket for the first time due to a finger injury to Rhianna Southby.

But Davies was the bigger danger in restricting the Stars to 22 for four as she picked up the wickets of Bryony Smith, Alexa Stonehouse and Kalea Moore for the loss of 10 runs.

Alice Davidson-Richards and Bethan Miles recovered things somewhat by putting on 35 together.

This time it was the Vipers’ spin which took hold as Miles and Aylish Cranstone were undone by the smart spin of Charli Knott, before the Australian incredibly caught Maddie Blinkhorn-Jones in the legside deep.

It was the start of two wickets in an over for Ava Lee – playing on the ground she began playing on at under 11s for Falkland – as the England under 19s spinner had Davidson-Richards caught behind.

Chloe Hill and Ryana Macdonald Gay held things up with a patient 34-run partnership for the ninth wicket before Hill was run out at the non-striker’s end and Dani Gregory was Davies’ fourth victim and Sturge’s third.

The reply was emphatic from Vipers. Where Stars had only scored six boundaries in their entire innings, Vipers, led by Knott, had equalled that inside 14 overs.

Knott and Ella McCaughan put on 46 for the first wicket inside eight overs before the latter was outfoxed by a big turning off spin delivery from Moore.

Georgia Adams, after a 43-run alliance with Knott, and Emily Windsor fell but Knott was graceful in dispatching width to reach a 56-ball fifty – her third half-century and fifth score over 40 for the Vipers.

It was only right that Knott would cut the winning runs as Vipers romped to the target in 23 overs.