Northern Diamonds caught in Charlotte’s web
Charlotte Taylor’s incredible figures of 6 for 34 and Georgia Adams’ fourth fifty plus score in the tournament headlined Southern Vipers’ 38-run triumph over Northern Diamonds in the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint trophy at Edgbaston on Sunday (September 27). The side thus maintained their clean slate in the tournament, winning all seven games to finish as deserved champions.
Bolstered by the return of their skipper and England international Lauren Winfield-Hill, Diamonds inserted Vipers in to bat on a bright morning. The team in orange made full use of the conditions, with their openers, Adams and teenager Ella McCaughan adding 100 runs for the first wicket.
The skipper, who finished the competition as the highest run getter with 500 runs, bossed proceedings while she was in the middle. She was particularly severe on anything short, strong on the pull and the cut, striking as many as 11 boundaries through her 102-ball innings. Meanwhile McCaughan, who was happy to play second fiddle to her skipper, compiled a patient 61-ball 35 before she was caught behind off the bowling of Linsey Smith.
The 18-year-old’s dismissal brought Maia Bouchier to the crease, and the right-hander was at her free-flowing best from the very start. She struck five boundaries on her way to 28 off 30 deliveries, including a pair of glorious off-drives off Phoebe Graham. Her 50-run stand with Adams in under eight overs, gave Vipers the upper hand. However, against the run of play, Hollie Armitage’s (2-33) leg-spin triggered a collapse.
First Bouchier was caught by Alex McDonald off a short ball from Armitage before Katie Levick (3-49) ripped through the middle order. She combined with Armitage to dismiss Adams as Diamonds picked up four wickets in the space of four overs to reduce Vipers to 172 for 6.
The skipper’s dismissal seemed to spread panic within the side, but Vipers’ hero in the previous game, Emily Windsor put her hand up and played a useful knock to salvage the situation. Alongside the tail, she navigated her side through a tricky situation and guided them to a position of strength. Her 37 off 48 balls, saw Vipers reach a total of 231 in 49.5 overs.
While it may not have been the total they were after, it was important runs on the board in a pressure game.
In the chase, Diamonds got off to a steady start with the experienced pair of Armitage and Winfield-Hill milking runs off the bowling of Tara Norris and Lauren Bell. Once again, it was Bouchier who shifted the momentum in Vipers’ favour, dismissing the skipper for 20.
It was just the opening Vipers needed to get their foot in the door. Armitage and Sterre Kalis shared a solid 38-run second-wicket partnership which saw the pair collect four fours and a six. However, the introduction of off-spinner Charlotte Dean turned the game in favour of Vipers.
She first had Armitage (26) caught by Charlie Dean, before Ami Campbell was run out by Lauren Bell, following which Alex MacDonald (0), Jenny Gunn (9) and Bess Heath (0) fell to Taylor in quick succession. Diamonds were floundering at 110 for 7 in 26 overs with Kalis and Beth Langston at the crease.
Like she had done against Lightning earlier in the tournament, Langston held her own under a tremendous amount of pressure. As Kalis searched for the ones and twos, Langston took the lead in the eighth wicket partnership as Diamonds inched closer to the target. The pair shared an important 49-run stand before Taylor returned to the action removing Langston for a 23-ball 21 to pick up her fifth wicket.
The departure of Langston meant Kalis was forced to ‘open up’. The Netherlands international struck two boundaries to bring up her third consecutive half-century in the tournament, but fell in the next over – caught at mid-on off Taylor for 55 off 101 balls.
Although the last wicket pair of Graham and Levick made Vipers work for the last wicket, it was quite fitting that Adams was the one to claim it. The skipper had Graham caught by Schoefield to seal the win for her side.
Brief scores: Southern Vipers 231 in 49.5 overs (Georgia Adams 80, Emily Windsor 37; Katie Levick 3-49, Hollie Armitage 2-33) beat Northern Diamonds 193 in 42.2 overs (Sterre Kalis 55, Hollie Armitage 26; Charlotte Taylor 6-34) by 38 runs.