ISSY Wong starred with bat and ball as Central Sparks beat holders South East Stars by 34 runs in the Charlotte Edwards Cup at Guildford.
Wong, renowned for her quick bowling excelled in the role of pinch-hitter with 45 in 28 balls and was well supported by England wicketkeeper Amy Jones with 40 as Sparks rattled up 170-6 after being invited to bat, Alice Davidson Richards the pick of the host’s attack with two for 27.
The Chelsea-born speedster returned to the day job, taking one for 14, including three frugal overs at the top of the innings. She was ably assisted by Sparks’ spin twins Hannah Baker (two for 19 ) and Sarah Glenn (two for 22), while Grace Potts (four for 36) mopped up the tail, meaning despite 41 from skipper Bryony Smith Stars finished well short on 136 all out.
Wong said: “We knew we were a good side and back ourselves to play fearless cricket. We did it today and we’re really happy with the win.
“I’ve batted up the top of the order quite a bit in pre-season and I’m enjoying the role to be fair. It gives me a chance to contribute in all sorts of areas to the team. I want to be involved in the game, so I’m really thankful for the opportunity.
“It’s the best time to bowl with the new ball. The powerplay has its challenges,. They got a bit of a flyer in some ways, but a couple of wickets changes everything.
“We have probably got two of the best leg-spinners in the country. You can’t buy what they bring to the middle overs. Bake’s (Hannah Baker)was outstanding today and Sarah Glenn we know what she can do.”
From the moment Wong clubbed Alice Capsey over the scoreboard at mid-wicket in the first over, Sparks were on the charge.
Wong treated Tash Farrant’s bowling with similar disdain and with fellow opener Eve Jones taking heavy toll of Freya Davies at the other end, the 50-stand came off 30 balls.
Davidson-Richards made the breakthrough when Eve Jones top edged to mid-on, but the bowler was out of luck when new batter Jones hoisted her to Emma Jones at deep mid-on only for the fielder to grass the chance.
Emma Jones would partially atone when she caught Wong at cover, but the drop proved costly as England wicketkeeper Jones forged on, driving powerfully to hit six fours before Smith had her caught a cover.
Smith and the impressive Davidson-Richards kept some level of control, but impressive cameos from Ami Campbell and Gwen Davies saw Sparks post an imposing target.
Smith got the chase off to a rattling start with three boundaries off the first over from Potts and Saturday’s half-centurion Aylish Cranstone caught the mood almost hitting an Emily Arlott delivery into the road.
Wong gave Smith a life on 19 when she shelled a catch on the square leg boundary, Arlott the aggrieved bowler, but the boot was on the other foot in the following over when she too dropped Smith off Wong. Wong though wouldn’t be denied, removing Cranstone via a top edge bagged by Amy Jones as Sparks reached 44-1 at the end of the powerplay.
The fielding lapses continued, Abi Freeborn dropping Capsey off an attempted reverse sweep. However, Baker struck twice in four balls as first Smith skied a catch behind and then Jones stumped Capsey who’d given the bowler the charge.
Sarah Glenn followed up with two in two to dispatch Farrant and Emma Jones before Potts cleaned up.