Stars squeeze past holders Vipers in thriller

Stars squeeze past holders Vipers in thriller

Stars squeeze past holders Vipers in thriller

South East Stars’ Dani Gregory (L) celebrates a wicket with Phoebe Franklin [Getty Images]

Charlotte Edwards Cup semi-final, County Ground, Derby

South East Stars: 162-5 (20 overs): Dunkley 49; L Smith 1-20

Southern Vipers: 157-9 (20 overs): Dean 43; Corteen-Coleman 2-23

South East Stars won by five runs

Match scorecard

South East Stars’ spinners finally ended Southern Vipers’ grip on the Charlotte Edwards Cup as they squeezed home by five runs in a dramatic semi-final.

Teenager Tilly Corteen-Coleman (2-23), Dani Gregory (2-25) and Bryony Smith (2-32) cut through Vipers’ middle order before seamer Tash Farrant sealed victory, conceding just four from the last over.

It looked as though Charlie Dean’s valiant knock of 43 from 29 balls would rescue the defending champions, but she was run out by Farrant as her side came up short at 157-9 – and Stars will now take on The Blaze in the final this evening.

Earlier, Sophia Dunkley top-scored with 49 from 34 as she and Georgia Redmayne shared a second-wicket partnership of 74 from 57 to usher Stars to 162-5.

Stars had been skittled for just 66 in their final group fixture against the Vipers just three days earlier – but they always looked likely to improve significantly on that meagre total after being put in to bat.

Skipper Bryony Smith gave her side a brisk start, lifting both Linsey Smith and Dean over the fence to reach 20 from 17 before the latter had her caught at cover from a leading edge.

However, that was Vipers’ sole success until the 14th over when Dunkley – on the verge of a third half-century in three games – was lured out of her crease by the wily Smith (1-20) for Rhianna Southby to lift the bails.

Redmayne (39 from 38) soon followed, holing out to deep midwicket off Lauren Bell and a tight spell of 1-23 by seamer Freya Davies, who claimed the wicket of Emma Jones, also helped to stem the Stars’ momentum.

Clean striking by Paige Scholfield, who thrashed successive Georgia Adams deliveries for four and six and finished undefeated on 34 from 22, ensured that they set the champions a competitive target.

Stars initially struggled to find a consistent length with the ball and, although Maia Bouchier fell cheaply, bowled around her legs by Corteen-Coleman, Danni Wyatt and Charli Knott made swift progress in the powerplay.

Knott dispatched Corteen-Coleman for successive fours before she was bowled swinging across the line at Smith and Wyatt – who had been ruthless on anything wayward in her quickfire 34 from 17 – then pulled Gregory to deep midwicket.

Smart glovework by Redmayne behind the stumps accounted for both Freya Kemp and Adams and, when Smith prised out Georgia Elwiss with a ball that spun back at her, Vipers were floundering.

Dean managed the strike shrewdly, collecting enough boundaries to keep her side in contention but, when she was run out at the non-striker’s end with nine still needed, the game was up for the cup holders.

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