WESTERN Storm lost out by 41 runs in their second match of the 2021 season, as Central Sparks' Amy Jones blazed her way to the highest score in the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy to date.

Jones finished unbeaten on 163* at Edgbaston, guiding her team into a winning position despite a good bowling performance from Storm.

With Sparks reaching 295-7, it proved too tall an order for Storm, with Ria Fackrell taking 4-34, despite an opening partnership of 102 between Heather Knight and Lauren Parfitt.

The visitors had started well with the ball, reducing their opponents to 44-3 after 13 overs, with Somerset's Lauren Filer (2-21) taking two wickets in her first spell.

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DANGEROUS: Lauren Filer celebrates taking a wicket (pic: Zac Goodwin/PA Wire)

But Sparks looked far more comfortable from that point in, as Jones played freely for her second successive century and there was fine support from the middle order.

Jones had a partnership of 80 with Milly Home (18), and then a stand of 68 with Steph Butler (27), as she brought up her century off 83 balls and finished on 163* from 114 balls.

Knight and Parfitt made an excellent start to the reply, before Sarah Glenn got the much-needed breakthrough, bowling Knight for 59.

Sparks then took control, taking five wickets for 35 runs, with Parfitt bowled for 91, Sophie Luff (27) trapped lbw and Georgia Hennessy (4) stumped off Fackrell’s bowling.

With Nat Wraith (2) and Danielle Gibson (18) following, Storm needed 88 from the final 10 overs.

The resistance of Anya Shrubsole (13) and Fi Morris (21) was broken when Emily Arlott took two wickets in two balls, and that was game over, as Storm finished on 254-9.

Knight said afterwards: 'It was a frustrating day for us, but Amy Jones batted amazingly and she took the game away from us at the end as she was set there.

"That was the difference between the two sides; we got good starts but couldn’t go and kick on like she did.

"We started well bowling, looked threatening and took wickets in the start, but struggled in the middle overs so that’s something to work on.

"It was a good wicket to bat on, we enjoyed the battle and were just frustrated we couldn’t go and make it into a winning performance.''

Storm take on South East Stars at the Kia Oval next, on Saturday (June 5), before they welcome reigning champions Southern Vipers to the Cooper Associates County Ground, Taunton, on June 12.