Centuries from Sarah Bryce, Georgia Hennessy and Evelyn Jones headlined the sixth and final round of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Saturday (September 19). Northern Diamonds also booked their place in the final with a convincing win over Thunder and will face Southern Vipers, who maintained their unbeaten run with a win over South East Stars.
Northern Diamonds v Thunder
Sterre Kalis' half-century coupled with a combined effort from the bowling attack meant Northern Diamonds thumped Thunder by six wickets at Headingley to book their place in the final of the competition from the North group with five wins from their six matches.
Chasing only 144 runs to win, Diamonds looked at ease throughout the chase with skipper Hollie Armitage (36) and Jenny Gunn (26*) lending support to Kalis, who overcame her horror start to the competition to post her second consecutive fifty. The Netherlands' star batter remained not out on 55 when they reached the target in 29.5 overs.
Earlier, batting first Thunder got off to a bad start losing three wickets to Diamonds’ opening bowlers Beth Langston and Phoebe Graham inside the first ten overs with just 31 runs on the board. Georgie Boyce (29) and Natalie Brown (32) tried to resurrect the innings with a 60-run partnership, but once they were dismissed in quick succession Diamonds ran through the line-up to reduce Thunder to 109 for 8 in the 33rd over with Katie Levick and Gunn accounting for two wickets each. Langston then came back to finish the innings to bundle them out for 143 in 42.5 overs. She finished with figures of 3 for 18.
South East Stars v Southern Vipers
Southern Vipers made it six wins from six ahead of the final after getting past South East Stars with a four-wicket win at The Oval in London. Vipers chased down the target in 47.2 overs with collective effort from their batters after Lauren Bell’s inspired second spell helped them restrict Stars to 227. Emily Windsor top scored for the Vipers with an unbeaten 47 and Georgia Adams scored 41.
Vipers started the chase well with Adams and teen Ella McCaughan putting on 52 runs for the opening wicket. Useful contributions from Charlotte Dean (24) and Paige Scholfield (31) took the score to 139 in 30 0vers. Stars had a small ray of hope when both batters fell in quick succession with the Vipers still needing 87 runs to win. Windsor and Carla Rudd with a 62-run partnership got the Vipers within 15 runs of the target. Even though skipper Tash Farrant managed to bowl Rudd with one that came in, it was too little too late for the Stars. In the 48th over, Windsor hit the winning boundary to make sure the Vipers entered the final undefeated. Stars' leg-spinner Danielle Gregory finished with figures of 3 for 44.
Earlier, having opted to bat, Stars were bowled out for a moderate score of 227 from 48.3 overs. Only opener Chloe Brewer (79) tried to bat through the innings, notching up a maiden half-century, as others failed to capitalise on their starts. But once Bell came back to dismiss Brewer in a spell that read 5-0-17-4, Stars struggled to string together any sort of partnerships and was reduced from 145 for 3 to 186 for 8 in 42.4 overs. Grace Gibbs (30) played a 19-ball cameo smashing a couple of fours and sixes at the end to take Stars to their eventual score of 227.
Western Storm v Sunrisers
Hennessy’s magnificent hundred, and a 155-run partnership with Alex Griffiths helped Western Storm finish the competition on a high as they got the better of Sunrisers by 47 runs at The Bristol County Ground.
Put into bat by the Sunrisers, Storm got off to a decent start with Fi Morris hitting a flurry of boundaries at the start. However, they soon found themselves reduced to 69 for 4 in the 21st over. Griffiths joined a solid looking Hennessy and the duo started counter attacking in no time with Griffiths leading the charge. The duo brought up their 100-run partnership from 108 balls.
Once Griffith was dismissed for an enterprising 68-ball 80 with the score reading 222 for 4 in 42.3 overs, Hennessy, who took 75 balls to get to her first fifty, upped the scoring rate with Danielle Gibson (33*) keeping her company. In the 48th over, Hennessy brought up her 107-ball century, with her second fifty taking only 32 balls. Even though she was dismissed in the next over, Storm eventually finished at a mammoth total of 288 for 6 from their 50 overs. Katie Wolfe was the best bowler on display for Sunrisers finishing with figures of 2 for 34 from her 10 overs.
After her knock, Hennessy came to the rescue of Storm with the ball when the Sunrisers put on 55-run opening partnership. Sunrisers struggled from there on and soon found themselves at 128 for 6 in the 30th over. Grace Scrivens tried valiantly with a 73-ball 72 and was the last wicket to fall, even as her side looked out of the game with an ever-climbing required run rate. Sunrisers were eventually bowled out for 241 from 49 overs. Hennessy took two wickets while six others claimed one wicket each.
Lightning v Central Sparks
Sarah Bryce continued her rich vein of form scoring an unbeaten 136 to help Lightning to a massive score of 303 for 5 in 50 overs - the first 300+ score in the competition. It was a total that was built on her 127-run stand with Teresa Graves (65) for the fifth wicket.
Put in to bat by the Sparks, Sarah was her usual solid self sharing half-century stands with fellow opener Bethan Ellis and then Abigail Freeborn. She looked in pristine touch from the start reaching her fifth fifty of the competition from 59 balls. She kept finding the gaps and ran hard between the wickets. In the 44th over, she pushed Emily Arlott for a single to get to the coveted milestone from 116 balls. Once past hundred, she opened up even further in the company of Graves helping Lightning score 104 runs in the last ten overs with 79 runs coming from the last six overs. Young Issy Wong suffered the most from the onslaught going for 57 runs from her seven overs. The leg-spinning duo of Hannah Baker and Anisha Patel offered some respite for sparks in the middle overs, Patel finished with 2 for 46 from her ten overs.
Chasing a huge score, Sparks looked the part when the openers Evelyn Jones and Gwenan Davies put on an aggressive 107-run partnership from 17.4 overs. Kirstie Gordon provided Lightning with the breakthrough when she had Davies caught behind by Freeborn. Jones and Marie Kelly shared another useful partnership for the second wicket to take the score to 176 in the 35th over. But once Kelly was dismissed by Lucy Higham, the chase fell away leaving Jones to do all the work. The skipper fought in vain reaching her century from 123 deliveries, but the target was out of reach for her. Sparks eventually finished on 248 all out in 49.4 overs, with Jones staying unbeaten on a 138-ball 115. Ellis and Kathryn Bryce took three wickets each.
Thunder 143 all out in 42.5 overs (Natalie Brown 32, Georgie Boyce 29; Beth Langston 3/18, Jenny Gunn 2/18) lost to Northern Diamonds 144 for 4 in 29.5 overs (Sterre Kalis 55*, Hollie Armitage 36; Liberty Heap 1/27) by six wickets.
South East Stars 227 all out in 48.3 overs (Chloe Brewer 79, Grace Gibbs 30; Lauren Bell 4/36, Charlotte Taylor 2/38) lost to Southern Vipers 230 for 6 in 47.2 overs (Emily Windsor 47, Georgia Adams 41; Danielle Gregory 3/44, Hannah Jones 2/47) by four wickets.
Western Storm 288 for 6 in 50 overs (Georgia Hennessy 105, Alex Griffiths 80; Katie Wolfe 2/34) beat Sunrisers 241 all out in 49 overs (Grace Scrivens 72, Cordelia Griffith 41; Georgia Hennessy 2/29) by 47 runs.
Lightning 303 for 5 in 50 overs (Sarah Bryce 136*, Teresa Graves 65; Anisha Patel 2/46) beat Central Sparks 248 all out in 49.4 overs (Evelyn Jones 115*, Gwenan Davies 48; Bethan Ellis 3/25, Kathryn Bryce 3/54) by 55 runs.