CENTRAL Sparks have qualified for Finals Day in the Charlotte Edwards Cup despite slipping to a seven-wicket defeat against Western Storm in their last group game.
Sparks struggled for runs at New Road as they finished their 20 overs on 134-4 with Amy Jones top scoring with 63 off 46 balls.
And Storm chased down the total relatively comfortably to finish on 135-3 in 18.5 overs courtesy of an unbeaten 47 by Georgia Hennessey.
Sparks captain E Jones said: “Mixed emotions really, obviously disappointed with the result today but on the other hand, really happy we’ve made it through to finals day next week.
“We’ve played some really good cricket along the way. We’ve just said that we haven’t played a ‘complete’ game yet so hopefully we are peaking at the right time next week.
“We’ve come a long way in the last year, had a really good winter of training so it is really nice to see all that paying off and we are taking that out onto the park.
“It was a good pitch, just felt it was a little bit slower, we thought 150 would be a good score on there and obviously a little bit under par with the bat.
“We’ve got a great bowling attack, and took the game fairly deep, but we just didn’t have quite enough runs on the board and gave our bowlers just a bit too much work to do.”
The Sparks elected to bat and suffered an early setback when opener Issy Wong was caught for just two runs.
However, Evelyn Jones (21) steadied the ship alongside A Jones who struck nine fours in her knock of 63 to move onto 245 total runs in this year’s competition.
Abigail Freeborn chipped in with 24 before she was stumped as the home side produced a below par score.
And Storm made a strong start to the run chase with Fi Morris (21) supporting Hennessey at the crease whilst Sophie Luff added 11 before she was caught off the bowling of Emily Arlott.
Arlott grabbed her second wicket when Fran Wilson (29) was caught but Danielle Gibson’s impressive 24 not out from 14 deliveries sealed victory for the visitors.
The result means the Sparks end the group stages with four wins from six matches with their only other defeat coming against semi-final opponents South East Stars.
Sparks will play South East Stars in the semi-finals on Finals Day (Saturday, June 11) with the game to begin at 12pm at The County Ground in Northampton.
The winner will advance to the final to play Southern Vipers with the game to begin at 4pm.