Eve Jones ensured her Central Sparks side didn’t suffer an upset against their Midlands neighbours Lightning at New Road with a captain’s innings of 71 from 55 balls,  laying the platform for her side to chase 137, done in fashion when Issy Wong smashed Grace Ballinger down the ground for four with a ball to spare.

Sonia Odedra and Bethany Harmer, the Lightning openers, started with the freedom to swing, and it was Harmer who impressed, hitting Wong out of the attack with consecutive fours and a six in the space of three balls, following it up with two fours off Emily Arlott’s following over.

The pair added 54 before Clare Boycott bowled Harmer for 26. When Odedra was bowled for 22 by Anisha Patel’s first ball, Lightning’s momentum stalled.

Abbey Freeborn, who top-scored with 61 against South East Stars, was again the leading run-scorer for Lightning with 32 from 33 balls. However, a fall of late order wickets ensured a modest total, with Arlott taking two wickets in her final over as Lighting lost their last four wickets for 22 runs.

Jones and Marie Kelly had led to a convincing victory over Southern Vipers in their last outing,  and it looked as if the two meant business again with 17 runs coming from Sophie Munro’s first five balls before the bowler forced Kelly into a mistake and was caught at cover by Harmer.

When Kirstie Gordon caught Milly Home three balls later, Sparks required the calm head of Jones to get them through. With Gwen Davies, the pair added 50 runs for the third wicket, but saw the run rate stay at seven an over, with a tense finish in prospect.

With eight balls left of the innings and six runs to win, Yvonne Graves caught Jones, and the following ball Arlott was bowled by Odedra.

Chole Hill and Wong kept their cool, however, and it was the home side that prevailed.