Charlotte Edwards Cup final between The Blaze and Southern Vipers abandoned for the day after storm

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Lightning and heavy rain interrupted the Charlotte Edwards Cup final at New Road, Worcester
The match was finally abandoned for the day after around 90 minutes of teeming rain
Charlotte Edwards Cup final, New Road, Worcester
The Blaze 53-4 (9.3 overs): Boyce 21; Shrubsole 2-18, Adams 1-3
Southern Vipers: Yet to bat
Play abandoned for the day
Scorecard

The Charlotte Edwards Cup final between The Blaze and Southern Vipers was abandoned for the day because of relentless rain at New Road, Worcester.

Stormy conditions suddenly replaced the glorious sunshine, as lightning forced the players to leave the pitch with The Blaze struggling at 53-4.

Thunderous rain followed, leaving the pitch waterlogged in places, and play was abandoned at around 18:10 BST.

A reserve day has been scheduled for Sunday, and plans are being finalised.

Vipers had earlier won a thrilling semi-final against Thunder to secure their place in the final.

Warmed-up Vipers turn up the heat on The Blaze

The Blaze's Tammy Beaumont ponders her early dismissal against Southern Vipers bowler Anya Shrubsole
The Blaze’s Tammy Beaumont (right) ponders her first-over dismissal for just four as Anya Shrubsole celebrates

The weather spoiled a match that was developing into a thrilling final in which the all-conquering Blaze were finding their 100% record in grave danger.

Any feeling that The Blaze had the advantage having sat out the semi-final while Vipers tired themselves out in the baking Worcester sunshine was soon put to bed.

Anya Shrubsole, having taken 2-30 in the semi-final, struck in the first over, trapping Tammy Beaumont lbw a ball after the England opener had carved her former international team-mate backward of point for four.

And she claimed her second victim in her second over, Sarah Bryce perishing for 13 from nine balls when a mis-timed shot resulted in a leading edge that was easily gathered by wicketkeeper Nicole Faltum.

With the double breakthrough slowing the rate to just five runs an over after five overs, Georgie Boyce and Kathryn Bryce tried to up the tempo and justify the decision to bat first.

But although they put on 28 in decent time, Boyce was caught behind and Bryce missed a straight one from spinner Linsey Smith to leave the favourites struggling at 53-4 halfway through the 10th over.

Lightning strikes as the weather wins at Worcester

Lightning and heavy rain interrupted the Charlotte Edwards Cup final at New Road, Worcester
Lightning and heavy rain interrupted the Charlotte Edwards Cup final at New Road, Worcester

A dramatic change in the weather brought relief to The Blaze as the wind whipped up, ominous looking clouds replaced the sun-drenched backdrop and lightning stopped play. The rain soon followed, with the downpour ultimately ending the day’s play.

A mouthwatering final between defending champions the Vipers and The Blaze, the only professional side in the country – in men’s or women’s cricket – not to have tasted defeat yet in 2023 was beginning to take shape.

The Blaze’s unbeaten record started to look under serious threat, but the only winner was the weather.

In the previous two editions of the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the team that finished top of the group stage has gone on to lift the trophy – South East Stars in 2021, and Southern Vipers a year ago.

Vipers, chasing the chance to lift their fourth piece of silverware in three years of regional cricket and buoyed by their stunning 18-run semi-final win over Thunder, are hoping to buck that trend.

Blaze are desperate to showcase the stunning form that saw them win seven from seven to finish first this time around, a place ahead of their opponents.

But both sides will get the chance of glory when play gets under way on Sunday.

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