Nadine de Klerk and Ella Claridge’s unbroken 139-run seventh-wicket stand guided The Blaze to victory over Western Storm in a thrilling Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy tie at Trent Bridge.

Coming together at 136/7, de Klerk (106*) and Claridge (64*) bludgeoned the visiting attack to all parts, the South African superstar eventually securing the victory with a six with two overs to spare.

The victory, the second of the summer for The Blaze, sends the side off into the ten-day break ahead of the beginning of the Charlotte Edwards Cup with renewed confidence having had a tough start to the 2024 campaign.

At the top of the day, skipper Kirstie Gordon won the toss and elected to bowl first, Sophie Munro striking with just her second delivery, Alex Griffiths caught at slip without scoring.

Sophie Smale and Fran Wilson then came and went to the left-arm spin Gordon, before Sophie Luff and Nat Wraith raced along to a half-century stand for the fourth wicket, taking drinks with the score on 134/3.

They had progressed their partnership to 93 before Gordon returned to remove Luff for 37 and the experienced Nadine de Klerk bounced out Wraith for a 54-ball 73. 

Katie Jones (3) and Niamh Holland (17) then both fell in one Gordon over, The Blaze’s skipper ending with figures of 4/40 from her ten overs, taking her tally to 11 for the season.

Amanda-Jade Wellington (17) and Mollie Robbins (7) both lost their middle stump to de Klerk and Munro respectively, but the visitors kept coming at The Blaze’s attack in the closing overs.

Chloe Skelton (29*) and Ellie Anderson (14) produced some fine late innings hitting to lift the visitors total to 275, the latter last out, stumped off Teresa Graves’ first delivery.

Needing 5.5 runs an over from the off, Tammy Beaumont and Graves made the most of the powerplay to put on a 50 run stand in nine overs.

Just as the pair looked to be heaping the pressure on the visitors, the Storm’s spin duo of Wellington and Smale combined to dismiss both openers, Beaumont for 41 and Graves for 24, Marie Kelly (3) and Bethan Gammon (4) across a 12-over period.

Gordon (16) and de Klerk steadied the ship with a 29-run stand but further Storm spin, this time in the form of Skelton, made the breakthrough, The Blaze’s skipper trapped in front for 16.

Griffiths then got her revenge from earlier in the day, bowling Munro for six, bringing together the match-winning combination.

At first consolidating, both batters would later unleash their full array of strokes, de Klerk bringing up just the second century for the side under The Blaze moniker.

At the other end, Claridge’s career-best knock of 64* came at quicker than a run-a-ball and included a maximum of her own, alongside seven fours.

The Blaze now head into the Charlotte Edwards Cup on the back of two victories in three games, with the first game of the T20 competition coming on Saturday 18 May against Southern Vipers.