Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy Logo Sun 30 June, 10:30


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Northern Diamonds

Northern Diamonds

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Northern Diamonds

Central Sparks

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Report: Diamonds v Sparks, RHF Trophy

Davina Perrin and Katie George’s half-centuries were not enough to thwart high-flying Northern Diamonds in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy at North Marine Road.

The pair helped Central Sparks reach 239/8, but the calmness of Beth Heath, making an unbeaten 58, led the hosts to their fifth win in the competition with four wickets to spare.

In a back-and-forth opening innings at Scarborough, the Sparks total looked competitive, but as they game momentum, Diamonds fought back with wickets, with Katie Levick (4/46) leading the charge.

Diamonds’ chase started off well, with opener Lauren Winfield-Hill attacking in the powerplay to give the hosts a good platform. 

It was backed up by the excellent Emma Marlow who made 55, while Heath and Erin Burns combined well to help take the Diamonds over the line with six overs to spare.

Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Sparks made a terrible start as Diamonds’ overseas star Burns bowled the visitors’ skipper Eve Jones for one in the first over.

Sparks fired back though as Chloe Brewer, who looked in good touch, hit back-to-back fours from a Rachel Slater over easing the pressure on the visitors after a tough start.

Brewer’s innings didn’t last much longer with Levick getting the Sparks opener LBW for 37.

Phoebe Turner then got in on the act for Diamonds as Abbey Freeborn pulled one to a diving Katherine Fraser at fine leg for 19. 

Courtney Webb and Perrin combined well and guided the visitors past the 100 mark, with some good rotation of the strike in the middle overs. 

The impressive Webb then departed with Turner bowling her for 37 to give the Diamonds a vital breakthrough after a 71-run stand for the fourth wicket.

Despite losing her partner, Perrin continued to enjoy her day at the seaside, reaching her half-century from 68 balls, but she was then Levick’s second victim of the day, caught behind for 50. 

The wickets then continued to come with Bethan Ellis departing at the hands of Fraser for a five-ball duck. 

Coming in at six, the fluent George counter-attacked, regularly finding the boundary.

Levick then struck again, removing Emily Arlott, but the positive George got her fifty from 53 balls.

Levick got her fourth of the innings, trapping George in front of her stumps for 52 in the penultimate over and Sparks set Diamonds 240 to win.

Diamonds started their chase in solid fashion, chipping away at the total, but Lauren Winfield-Hill picked up the pace with a delightful four straight over the bowler’s head. 

Emma Marlow was dropped in the slips on five and struggled to get going, while her opening partner Winfield-Hill nutmegged bowler Arlott with a beautiful straight drive for four.

The England international was attacking a Sparks bowling attack that offered plenty of width, regularly finding the offside boundary during the powerplay. 

Much to the relief of the Sparks bowlers, Winfield-Hill departed for 46 after being caught by mid-off from the bowling of Hannah Baker.

The loss of Winfield-Hill checked the Diamonds progress slightly, but skipper Hollie Armitage and Marlow made sure they rotated the strike as much as they could. 

The pair took Diamonds past the 100 mark in assured fashion, then Armitage went on the attack with two fours in an Ellis over, leaving the hosts in a good position at the halfway mark.

Armitage was then removed by Georgia Davis for 28, but that didn’t halt the progress of the Diamonds with Marlow passing 50 from 70 balls.

Sparks fought back through a two-wicket over from Ellis, bowling the impressive Marlow for 55, before getting Sterre Kalis LBW for seven.

Heath and Burns then came in and rebuilt well, with Burns producing an eye-catching reverse sweep for four to make further inroads into the target.

The experience of Burns, who made 34, and the boundary-hitting ability of Heath helped see the Diamonds over the line for a vital win.

Central Sparks’ Katie George, who made 52 today said: “I don’t think it was the easiest surface to bat on and I think we got ourselves in a good position. I think we played the surface quite well, there were a couple of balls that misbehaved”

“If we’re being honest and reflecting well, which we’ll do, every time we built a partnership we lost a wicket.”

“We tried very hard to push towards 250, because the boundaries aren’t that small and we knew once it got a bit of sun on it, it would be a better wicket.”

“Something to look back on is how we can extend those partnerships and give ourselves the foundation to kick on a little bit, as we’d lost wickets earlier I had to sit in a little bit when I came in and I had to get us in a place where we could kick on and get a decent total.”

“Personally I was happy with my own plan and how I read conditions and how I went about it, but I think Dav’s (Davina Perrin) performance was the way to go about things and if we’d stayed together for around five overs longer, we’d have got 20 or 30 more runs.”

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