Abi Freeborn’s heroics with both bat and gloves were not enough to break Lightning’s duck in the Charlotte Edwards Cup as South East Stars triumphed by 28 runs at Guildford.

Freeborn became the first wicketkeeper in the tournament to record four dismissals in an innings, all stumpings, before blazing 61 from 50 balls in the visitors’ total of 147 for seven.

Despite that, they came up short of Stars’ 175 for six – the second-highest score of the competition – as Alice Davidson-Richards top-scored with an unbeaten 41 from 25.

Alice Capsey and Tash Farrant, both members of Oval Invincibles’ Hundred-winning side last weekend, contributed 38 and 35 respectively to set up the victory that nudged Stars closer to clinching a semi-final spot.

Bryony Smith set a belligerent tone to the Stars’ innings after they were put in, clubbing Sophie Munro for two boundaries in her 16 from 12.

Munro took her revenge, persuading Smith to miscue to mid-on, but the opener’s departure paved the way for Capsey to launch a spirited assault against Lightning’s attack.

The Stars batter survived two close calls – an on-drive just short of the diving Teresa Graves before she had scored and Shachi Pai’s drop at backward square leg – to rattle up 38 from 28, including four fours and a six.

Although Lucy Higham’s flight accounted for Capsey, who was bowled giving her the charge, Stars skipper Farrant and Davidson-Richards seized the baton with a partnership of 52 from 31.

Farrant dominated the stand, cutting and switch-hitting at will to accumulate 35 from just 18 deliveries before she became the third of Freeborn’s four victims.

Two of those came off medium-pacer and Nottinghamshire stalwart Sonia Odedra, the pick of Lightning’s bowlers with two for 20 despite taking some late punishment from Davidson-Richards, who slammed two sixes off the final over from Grace Ballinger.

The 176 target looked a tall order for Lightning, but Freeborn gave them hope with some fiery powerplay hitting as she flayed Emma Jones for three fours and a six in the same over.

However, the rest of her team-mates struggled to get on top of the Stars’ spinners, with Smith taking two for 18 and Capsey two for 28.

Farrant eventually had Freeborn caught at cover and, despite Pai’s useful 24, Stars closed out the win without difficulty.