Hollie Armitage knows her Northern Diamonds side have a mountain to climb in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, but the captain is refusing to let go of their Finals Day hope just yet.

The Diamonds have lost their opening five group matches, marking the halfway point in the competition.

A top-four finish in the eight-team table would secure Finals Day cricket at Derby on June 22, and they are nine points adrift of Lancashire Thunder, who currently hold the final qualifying spot.

With a maximum 25 points to play for, it’s clear to see that the Diamonds remain in the hunt. However, equally, it could be that even five wins wouldn’t be enough.

Whatever the situation, batting all-rounder Armitage wants to attack the remaining five matches, starting with Central Sparks at Edgbaston on Saturday (11.30am). 

If an upturn in form brings qualification, fantastic. If it doesn’t, it will leave the Diamonds in a good spot ahead of the resumption of their 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign at the end of this month.

In that competition, they are nicely placed in fourth place, eight points clear of fifth, having won four of their first six fixtures.

Armitage said: “We have to treat every game like a final now and come out fighting. 

“This group’s been really good at that over the last three or four years.

“There are a few things we’re not doing very well at the minute. But, as long as we keep improving, turning up and showing character, that’s all I’m bothered about. Then, once we start winning, we know how to win having done it before. Hopefully then, that momentum will carry us forwards.

“If we can still have a crack and put teams under pressure in this T20 comp, we absolutely will do. 

“Whether that will put us in contention for Finals Day, I’m not sure.

“If not, that momentum and the way we go about our cricket – our attitude to our own individual games as well as the team – can put us in a good stead heading into the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.”

“It was the opposite way around last year. 

“We started really well in T20 cricket and finished poorly. Now, we’re going to start poorly and finish well, hopefully.”

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