Northern Diamonds, Southern Vipers score three-in-three; Western Storm, Central Sparks emerge victorious

© Getty Images/ Women's CricZone

Northern Diamonds and Southern Vipers registered their third consecutive victories in the ongoing Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Saturday (September 5). While Diamonds clinched a narrow two-wicket win against Lighting, Vipers overpowered South East Stars. The other winners on the day were Western Storm who defeated Sunrisers and Central Sparks who won against Thunder. Diamonds and Vipers lead the North and South group standings respectively.

 

Western Storm vs Sunrisers

© Getty Images

Fi Morris (R) celebrates a wicket with her teammates. © Getty Images

Fi Morris took 5 for 26 while Sophie Luff hit a majestic half-century to send Sunrisers packing by 86 runs against Western Storm in their third match on Saturday. This was Sunrisers’ third loss on the trot after defeats against South East Stars and Southern Vipers in their first two matches. Morris’ fifer was the second in the tournament after Katherine Brunt’s 5/20 on the opening day for Northern Diamonds.

Chasing 266 for victory, Sunrisers were in a spot of bother when they had lost half of their side for just 70 runs in the 18th over. Joining hands with Grace Scrivens (26), Joanne Gardner tried to pull the sinking ship with a 76-ball 54 but once the former was out, Sunrisers lost wickets in regular intervals to be all out for 179 in 45 overs.

Earlier, skipper Luff led from the front with a majestic 115-ball 85 as Storm piled up a mammoth 265 for 6 in 50 overs. With no Heather Knight (who scored 91 not out and 67 in the first two matches), it was Luff’s time to take up the responsibility and she passed with flying colours. With all her partners departing at the other end after getting starts, Luff batted cautiously averting the danger against every bowler that came on her way.

Sunrisers captain and wicketkeeper Amara Carr used as many as nine bowlers on the day but none could really cause any damage as Luff was the last batter to be dismissed, stumped off the bowling of Katie Wolfe. Alex Griffiths also contributed with a quickfire 43 from 34 balls.

 

South East Stars vs Southern Vipers

© Getty Images

Ella McCaughan (L) in action for Southern Vipers. © Getty Images

Seventeen-year-old Ella McCaughan (50) scored her maiden half-century of the tournament while skipper Georgia Adams continued her good form with the bat scoring a 69-ball 44 to help Southern Vipers to a 111 runs victory over South East Stars. The departure of the England opener Danielle Wyatt (who scored consecutive 50s in the first two matches) to England’s bio-secure bubble, seemed to have no effect on the skipper as she along with her young colleague stitched up an 84-run opening wicket partnership.

Adams was the first one to go lofting a simple catch to Tash Farrant off Amy Gordon before McCaughan perished soon after reaching her 50. The dismissals cost Vipers dearly as the rest couldn’t continue the momentum with wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Maia Bouchier and Charlotte Dean contributed with 28 each to take Vipers to 209 for 8 in 50 overs. Farrant was the pick of the Stars picking 2 for 28.

In reply, the Stars were never in the chase. They lost both the openers Kirstie White (10) and Alice Capsey (12) early in the innings before Aylish Cranstone tried to steady the ship. However, Cranstone was run out for 50-ball 28 which started the landslide. As many as six Stars batters were out for single digits losing four wickets in the space of four overs to be eventually all out for 98 runs. Tara Norris starred with the ball for Vipers with 3 for 27.

 

Northern Diamonds vs Lightning

© Getty Images

Jenny Gunn scored a vital half-century. © Getty Images

A brilliant unbeaten 50 off 72 balls by Jenny Gunn helped Northern Diamonds clinch a narrow two-wicket victory over Lightning. Chasing 227, Diamonds lost two wickets with just seven runs on board. However, skipper Hollie Armitage (30) and Ami Campbell (43) steadied the ship with a 55-run partnership for the third wicket.

The Diamonds were in dire straits when they lost Campbell, Alex MacDonald (one) and Bess Heath (11) to totter at 119 for 8. But Gunn had other plans as she along with Beth Langston (37) frustrated the opposition bowlers with an 81-run partnership for the eighth wicket.

Earlier, Sarah Bryce continued her stellar form bringing up her second half-century of the tournament while Abigail Freeborn (34) and Teresa Graves (37) also pitched in useful contributions leading Lightning to a respectable 226 all out in 49.1 overs. Bryce started in her usual form stitching in a useful 51-run opening wicket stand with fellow opener Bethan Ellis (21) before being a part of another 56-run third-wicket partnership with Abigail Freeborn (34).

However, the dismissals of both Bryce and Freeborn within a space of 12 runs derailed the momentum. Teresa Graves chipped in with 37. The score could have been better had their last three batters able to manage double digits. Armitage (2/24), Langston (2/48), Gunn (2/45) and MacDonald (2/31) took two wickets apiece.

 

Thunder vs Central Sparks  

© Getty Images

Evelyn Jones plays a delightful cut shot. © Getty Images

Evelyn Jones scored a brilliant 113-ball 90 to lead Central Sparks to an emphatic eight-wicket victory over Thunder in the third round on Saturday. The skipper shared a 114-run opening wicket stand with Gwenan Davies (37) before stitching a 50-run second-wicket partnership with Marie Kelly (21 not out) to take her team close to victory.

Earlier, Clare Boycott was the star of the day for Central Sparks as her spell of 10-0-40-4 completely rattled the Thunder batting lineup. None of the Thunder batters could really pose any threat as Boycott with Anisha Patel (1/22) and Thea Brooks (2/43) a company restricted the opposition to 166 for 8 in 50 overs. Georgia Boyce (27) top-scored for Thunder.

Brief Scores:

Western Storm 265 for 6 in 50 overs (Sophie Luff 85, Alex Griffiths 43; Katie Wolfe 1/25) beat Sunrisers 179 all out in 45 overs (Joanne Gardner 54; Fi Morris 5/26) by 86 runs.

Southern Vipers 209 for 8 in 50 overs (Ella McCaughan 50, Georgia Adams 44; Tash Farrant 2/28) beat South East Stars 98 all out in 36.5 overs (Aylish Cranstone 28; Tara Norris 3/27) by 111 runs.

Lightning 226 all out in 49.1 overs (Sarah Bryce 51; Hollie Armitage 2/24) lost to Northern Diamonds 229 for 8 in 48.5 overs (Jenny Gunn 50*; Lucy Higham 3/38) by two wickets.

Thunder 166 for 8 in 50 over (Georgia Boyce 27; Clare Boycott 4/40, Thea Brookes 2/43) lost to Central Sparks 167 for 2 in 38.1 overs (Evelyn Jones 90, Gwenan Davies 37) by eight wickets.