The inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy started in full earnest today. The women’s 50-over tournament is named after the former England captain Rachael Heyhoe Flint, Baroness Heyhoe-Flint, who died in 2017. The tournament comprises of 8 teams, pooled into two groups – North Group and South Group with the winners of the respective groups progressing to the finals.
Central Sparks and Northern Diamonds are two teams comprising the North Group. They faced off against each other in their opening game at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
A few centrally contracted players joined the squads ahead of the West Indies tour of England next month. Amy Jones and Sarah Glenn joined the Central Sparks side while Laura Winfield, Nat Sciver, and Katherine Brunt were playing for the Northern Diamonds. Evelyn Jones, the captain of the Central Sparks, won the toss and opted to bat first and set the tone for the competition.
However, things did not go as per plan. The Central Sparks were rocked early, with the experienced Katherine Brunt took out the skipper with the score on 30. They lost their second wicket on 41 runs with the departure of Marie Kelly. Amy Jones and Gwenan Davies looked to steady the ship but the untimely wicket of Amy Jones dashed their hopes, just as she was beginning to get comfortable. She departed for 26 with the side struggling at 75/3. Gwenan Davies was, unfortunately, run out for 33 with the score now a 108/4.
What followed was a procession of wickets with the side going from 123/5 to 144 all out. Jenny Gunn took out Thea Brookes and sparked the collapse, with Katherine Brunt returning for another spell and mopping up the lower order, picking up a total of 5 wickets for 20 runs in her 9 overs. For Central Sparks, Gwenan Davies, Amy Jones, and Sarah Glenn got starts but no one could go on to anchor the innings and get their side to a reasonable score.
Chasing 145 for their first win, Northern Diamonds started aggressively with openers Lauren Winfield stamping her authority and Hollie Armitage showing her class. They reached half their target in just the 14th over without much trouble. Both were going along well and were in the 40s together. However, after Winfield reached her half-century in the 21st over bowled by Sarah Glenn with a boundary, she smashed 2 sixes and 1 four in the very next over bowled by Anisha Patel. Suddenly, Winfield’s score ballooned to 71 off 68 deliveries and The Diamonds were going at a run-a-ball.
Hollie Armitage got to her half-century in the next over amidst the carnage before Winfield was dismissed for 72 with the score on 139. Nat Sciver joined Armitage and hit a boundary before Armitage finished the game, taking a single the very next ball.
Northern Diamonds ended up winning comprehensively overhauling the Central Sparks’ target of 145 in under 25 overs and winning the game by 9 wickets and picked up 5 points.
Northern Diamonds next face Lightning in Chester-le-Street on the 31st of August while Thunders face the Central Sparks next on the same day.
Central Sparks: 144/10
Northern Diamonds: 145/1 (24.1 overs)
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