The Blaze fell to their first defeat of their 2024 Charlotte Edwards Cup campaign as South East Stars took the spoils in a top of the table clash.

In a first encounter between the top two T20 sides of the summer to date, The Blaze battled their way to 84 all out from their 20 overs.

In reply, the London-based visitors made steady progress to their target to inflict a first defeat in nine to Kirstie Gordon’s side and their own top two spot.

At the top of the day, the visitors were quick into their stride with the ball, Marie Kelly, Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Bryce all removed within the first two overs.

Heather Graham would fall at the end of the fifth, before Kathryn Bryce (14) and Ella Claridge (16) led a mini recovery with a 24-run fifth-wicket stand.

Sarah Glenn and Josie Groves (14) would follow their teammates’ blueprint on a tough batting surface, adding 26 for the seventh wicket before the latter was caught and bowled by the impressive Dani Gregory (2-15).

Hometown hero Glenn would eventually be the last batter to fall, bowled by Tilly Corteen-Coleman for 21, The Blaze all out for 84.

Requiring quick wickets to restrict the visitors, Grace Ballinger duly obliged, removing Stars skipper Bryony Smith for 3 in her first over.

Glenn would then turn provider with the ball at the end of the fifth over, Phoebe Franklin caught on the off-side by Claridge for 12.

Aylish Cranstone would also fall for 12, caught by Kelly off Graham, but Australian Georgia Redmayne (23) and Emma Jones’ 32-run stand took the visitors to the brink of victory.

Not content with her wicket and top score in The Blaze’s innings, Glenn returned to remove Georgia Redmayne, courtesy of a fine catch off her own bowling, and Alice Davison-Richards in the same over, to finish with figures of 3-14.

However it proved too little too late to affect the overall result, Emma Jones hitting the first six of the contest to secure a bonus point victory for the Stars.

The Blaze head to Edgbaston on Wednesday, to take on Central Sparks, in the first round of matches, looking to secure top spot ahead of Finals’ Day back in Derby next Saturday.