Alex MacDonald, Katie Levick help Northern Diamonds make it four-in-four; hand Thunder their second loss

Alex MacDonald in action for Northern Diamonds.

Alex MacDonald’s 92 and a three-wicket haul by leg-spinner Katie Levick helped Northern Diamonds down Thunder by 73 runs on Thursday (September 10) at Aigburth in Liverpool in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. The win was their fourth in as many games in the North Group as they extended their lead at the top, handing Thunder their second loss in four matches.

The clash was pretty much about MacDonald. Diamonds, who were inserted to bat by the hosts, had lost skipper Hollie Armitage (ten) and Sterre Kalis in the space of three balls in the eighth over. Ami Campbell (15) was just bowled after she failed to dig out a pin-point yorker on off by Natalie Brown, leaving Diamonds three down for 45 in the twelfth over.

MacDonald walked in and soon saw Rachel Hopkins being dismissed for 16, leaving Diamonds four for 57. The southpaw then began rebuilding the innings in the company of Jenny Gunn, who had scored an unbeaten half century in the last game. The pair took their time and added 67 for the fifth wicket, before Gunn was undone by one that stayed low to be trapped in front of the stumps for 29.

However, MacDonald was going steadily at the other end. She soon got to her half century, executing a powerful sweep through backward point. She measured her attack to the opposition. She added 39 with Bess Heath (23), before her 51-run alliance with Phoebe Graham (29 not out) pushed Diamonds close to 250. But the 28-year-old couldn’t get to the coveted mark as she perished in a bid to accelerate.

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For Thunder, Alice Dyson, who made early inroads, finished with a couple of wickets as did Laura Jackson (two for 23), who dismissed MacDonald and captain Alex Hartley (two for 41).

The hosts were never in the hunt as they started very slowly. While Georgie Boyce fell in the third over, the other opener Laura Marshall scored 20 in 39 balls before becoming Levick’s first victim. Eleanor Threlkeld was the next to fall as she was pinned in front of the sticks by the leggie. Her third wicket was Natalie Brown, who nicked one behind.

Even as wickets continued to fall, Jackson painstakingly held one end. She eventually was cleaned up by Beth Langston for 22 runs that took 91 balls coming. It was nowhere an indication of how the track played and had more to do with the disciplined lines and lengths of the Diamonds bowlers.

A slow start notwithstanding, the middle and lower middle order failed to contribute much as Thunder ended up well short. Apart from Levick’s three, Armitage (2/16) and Langston (2/21) returned with more than one wicket.

Brief Scores: Northern Diamonds 248/8 in 50 overs (Alex MacDonald 92, Phoebe Graham 29*, Jenny Gunn 29; Laura Jackson 2/23, Alice Dyson 2/38, Alex Hartley 2/41) beat Thunder 175/8 in 50 overs (Laura Jackson 22, Laura Marshall 20; Katie Levick 3/22) by 73 runs.