Captain Kathryn Bryce hit a fifty on her return from international duty and Yvonne Graves took career-best figures but the Lightning ultimately fell short in their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy match versus South East Stars.

Alice Capsey crashed 78 off 73 balls to accompany Bryony Smith’s 84 from 73 deliveries in a 105-run stand as Stars totted up 293 for nine at The County Ground, Beckenham.

And despite the Bryce striking 87, Smith took three for 46, with Capsey and Phoebe Franklin both nabbed two wickets each to set up the victory.

“It was a pretty good pitch and I think it was our fielding that probably let us down and gave them 20 or 30 more runs which made the difference with the bat," said Bryce.

“The spinners were fantastic. They didn’t let the pitch do it for them, they were consistent at hitting good areas. It took Kirstie a while to get the rewards for that but the way Yvonne bowled was brilliant.

“It is key in 50-over cricket to get those partnerships. We probably needed another one to get through the middle period to get us through.

“I was really happy to come back [from Scotland duty] like that but I would have liked to have converted to bigger runs.”

The high-quality win keeps Stars in strong contention to progress from the group as they attempt to win the regional double, following their Charlotte Edwards Cup success at the weekend.

Bryony Smith happily chose to bat before producing a breath-taking innings on a pitch that offered bounce, and later significant spin.

She quickly adjusted to the conditions, striking beautifully through the covers before laying into her favoured leg side.

Around her Alice Davidson-Richards and Kirstie White were both caught in the ring having gone through with their shots too early.

Smith, who scored her fifty in 41 balls, was joined by in-form Capsey and the pair flourished with a 105-run partnership as run-scoring was free-flowing.

Smith was bizarrely caught behind after a tickle onto her thigh pad, but Aylish Cranstone continued the momentum with Capsey – who reached her maiden half-century of the season in 50 balls.

Capsey copied Smith’s approach although used sweeps to good effect as the spin took hold.

Cranstone was also caught behind off Yvonne Graves as spin took over and squeezed the hosts – four wickets fell in seven overs – and Capsey was run out.

Phoebe Franklin and Grace Gibbs were both bowled by prestigious turn – Graves celebrating career-best three for 43 and Kirstie Gordon returned two for 37 – and Kira Chathli was caught and bowled.

But the return of pace at the death boosted Stars, with Kalea Moore and Emma Jones adding a crucial 50 in quick time.

Lightning built a good foundation to their chase on partnerships – with 40, 46 and 77 shared between the first three wickets.

Sarah Bryce found going similarly to Smith earlier sweetly collecting 45 off 37 balls, while Beth Harmer was bounced out.

The Bryce sisters kept the visitors above the rate, and when Sarah Bryce departed Abbie Freeborn tagged in.

Kathryn Bryce was the glue to the innings, never truly scoring rapidly but passed her half-century in 64 deliveries.

But the introduction of Franklin stemmed the flow of runs and found the wicket of Freeborn – bowled with a brilliant off-cutter.

Theresa Graves and Ella Claridge were both bowled – by Capsey and Franklin – and Kathryn Bryce was run out as the rate glided out of reach.

Yvonne Graves, Grace Ballinger and Sophie Munro all departed late on to keep Stars unbeaten since the Hundred break.