The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, a 50-over women’s tournament organized by the ECB, culminated in the finals held on 27th September at Edgbaston, Birmingham. Named after renowned English cricketer Baroness Rachael Heyhoe Flint, this tournament aimed to provide game time to England women’s domestic cricketers.
After an interesting round-robin stage, in which 2 groups comprising 4 teams each played each other twice, the top team from each group secured a place in the finals. Northern Diamonds was the top team in the North Group securing 5 wins out of 6 games with 23 points, 10 points clear from Central Sparks. In the South Group, Southern Vipers won all of their 6 games, 3 with a bonus point, to register 27 points, and ended up as their group’s best-placed team.
Amidst a used pitch, Northern Diamonds’ captain Lauren Winfield-Hill won the toss and elected to field first. Her opposite number Georgia Adams opened the batting for the Vipers along with Ella McCaughan and got the team off to a promising start with a century-opening partnership with Georgia Adams reaching a half-century in 69 balls. Ella McCaughan fell immediately after the team’s hundred for 35. Maia Bouchier struck a few blows to make a 30-ball 28 to forge a partnership of 50 runs of 44 balls and take the score to 150 with a healthy run rate of just under 5. However, she lost her wicket to Hollie Armitage soon after. Katie Levick took the wicket of Charlotte Dean before accounting for the dangerous Georgia Adams and Carla Rudd while Armitage also dismissed Paige Scholfield. The result was a slide from 150/2 to 172/6 in a span of 5 overs to halt the momentum. Tara Norris and Alice Monaghan were also dismissed cheaply owing to the brilliant fielding and bowling of Beth Langston to have the Vipers on the ropes at 191/8 in 43 overs. Emily Windsor stuck with the tail to haul Southern Vipers to 231 all out in 49.5 overs. Katie Levick was the pick of the bowlers taking 3 wickets for 49 runs while Hollie Armitage took 2 wickets.
In reply, the Northern Diamonds’ openers could not convert their start into a big score as both Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage got out in their 20s to reach 74/2 in the 15th over. They continued to lose wickets and plunged further to 110/7 in 26 overs, with Charlotte Taylor picking up the wickets of Alex MacDonald, Jenny Gunn and Bess Heath in addition to the dismissal of Hollie Armitage earlier. Sterre Kalis, the Netherlands batter, held one end together as she forged a 49-run partnership with Beth Langston. Charlotte Taylor returned to dismiss Beth Langston for 21 runs and Sterre Kalis for 55 runs to get the Vipers closer to victory before the captain, Georgia Adams, claimed the wicket of Phoebe Graham to win the game for the Vipers. Northern Diamonds were dismissed for 193 as Vipers won the game by 38 runs. Charlotte Taylor was the stand-out bowler for her side, claiming 6 wickets for 34 runs.
With the victory, Southern Vipers remained unbeaten throughout the tournament as they lifted the inaugural Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. Charlotte Taylor was the Player of the Match with a superb bowling performance.
The only undefeated team in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy – Southern Vipers claim the inaugural title.
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 28, 2020
Southern Vipers: 231 all out in 49.5 overs (G Adams – 80, K Levick – 3/49, H Armitage – 2/33)
Northern Diamonds: 193 all out of 42.2 overs (S Kalis – 55, C Taylor – 6/34)
Southern Vipers won by 38 runs
Player of the Match: Charlotte Taylor