Captain Bryony Smith shone with bat and ball as South East Stars began their Charlotte Edwards Cup season with a comfortable six-wicket win over Lightning at Trent Bridge.
The 23-year-old, eager to add to her four England caps, took four for 15 with her off-breaks as Lightning were bowled out for 107 in 19.1 overs before launching the run chase with 30 off 14 balls as the Stars cruised home with 41 balls to spare
Lightning struggled against the Stars’ spinners, who claimed seven wickets between them, Smith’s fellow off-spinner Kalea Moore taking two for 20 and leg spinner Dani Gregory one for 22, with only Beth Harmer (34) and Abbey Freeborn (30) making any impression with the bat.
Opting to bat first, Lightning lost Sarah Bryce second ball when she hit Alexa Stonehouse straight to backward point but Beth Harmer, fortunate to survive a fumbled run-out chance on three, gave the Powerplay momentum with back-to-back boundaries off Stonehouse’s left-arm medium pace before pulling right-armer Grace Gibbs for six and four, but Sonia Odedra chopped on to Emma Jones, leaving Lightning 34 for two after six.
But Moore and Gregory reduced them from 43 for two to 54 for five with three wickets in as many overs, Harmer, Kathryn Bryce and Michaela Kirk all beaten by flight and turn.
Freeborn injected some pace with successive fours off Moore and another off Smith but the Stars skipper had her revenge, switching to round the wicket to bowl the Lightning batter.
Smith then held a return catch to remove Kirstie Gordon and had Teresa Graves caught at wide mid-on in the 18th over, Sophie Munro was run out by Aylish Cranstone’s throw from point in the next before Nancy Harman also hit Smith to wide mid-on as Lightning’s last four wickets fell for 11 in 12 balls.
Smith raced to 30 off 13 balls to give the Stars’ chase a flying start, hitting four fours and two big leg-side sixes but was out attempting a third as Kirk leapt to hold a superb catch on the boundary at wide long-on. But the Stars had 64 of the 108 needed by the end of the Powerplay.
Alice Capsey picked up three nice-looking boundaries but mistimed one from Sophie Munro (1-25) to be caught at mid-off, Cranstone skied one to mid-on and Gibbs miscued to point to give Kathryn Bryce a second wicket but Phoebe Franklin's 24 off 29 balls finished the job.