Central Sparks v Northern Diamonds

Charlotte Edwards Cup

Saturday June 8, 2024, 11.30am


Toss: Sparks won it and elected to bowl. 

Sparks: Davina Perrin, Abbey Freeborn, Amy Jones w, Eve Jones c, Courtney Webb, Katie George, Charis Pavely, Emily Arlott, Georgia Davis, Grace Potts, Hannah Baker. 

Diamonds: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Leah Dobson, Hollie Armitage c, Erin Burns, Bess Heath w, Sterre Kalis, Emma Marlow, Katherine Fraser, Sophia Turner, Katie Levick, Rachel Slater.

Match Summary: The Northern Diamonds are up and running in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, winning their first match at the sixth attempt – by 13 runs defending 138. 

Captain Hollie Armitage led the way with an excellent 62 off 49 balls having elevated herself up to open the batting. She underpinned a 137-7 total, finding valuable support from busy Sterre Kalis, who added 43.

Diamonds survived a late collapse of six wickets for 17 in the final 25 balls of the innings, falling from 120-1. 

They were superb with the ball as Sparks, including England wicketkeeper-batter Amy Jones with 39, faltered. Armitage struck once with her leg-spinners and affected a run out as they finished on 124-8.

Armitage and co need to win their remaining four games to have any realistic chance of reaching the top four places for Finals Day qualification.

Hollie Armitage

Picture courtesy of Central Sparks. Hollie Armitage was excellent with bat, ball and in the field in leading her side to victory at Edgbaston today.

Report: Diamonds rejigged their batting order to begin the second half of the group stage, with Hollie Armitage replacing Leah Dobson at the top of the order.

And it worked to put themselves in an excellent position going into the latter stages of their innings at 120-1 in the 16th over. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to make the most of the early good work.

Lauren Winfield-Hill fell early before Armitage and Sterre Kalis shared 97 inside 13 overs for the second wicket – from 23-1.

Both played nicely on a good pitch with a short leg-side boundary towards the Raglan Stand side of the ground which was hosting a T20 double header with the men’s sides of Birmingham and Durham.

Armitage drove nicely early on, while Kalis did similar. Her drive over cover off Emily Arlott’s seam two balls before she was bowled by the same bowler (120-2 in the 16th) was the shot of the day.

Her departure started the late-innings collapse. Armitage, who had reached her fifty off 41 balls – her first of this T20 campaign, was also bowled by the spin of Georgia Davis.

Wickets then fell in a flurry, including three for leg-spinner Hannah Baker, who bowled Erin Burns, and had Leah Dobson and Emma Marlow caught in the deep off successive deliveries in the final over.

Bess Heath

Picture courtesy of Central Sparks. Bess Heath watches from behind the stumps as England’s Amy Jones cuts at Edgbaston today.

Katie George’s diving catch at deep mid-wicket to remove Dobson was a superb piece of fielding.

Then, the Diamonds set about a successful defence, which saw all six bowlers used strike. 

Diamonds gained success early when Rachel Slater bowled Abbey Freeborn – 6-1 in the second – before Armitage’s leg-spin accounted for Davina Perrin caught at cover, leaving the score at 48-2 in the seventh.

Amy Jones, playing her first regional match of the summer, was then dropped on 22 and 25. Jones had hit Slater’s left-arm seam for a straight six moments after the first drop, taking the score to 44-1 in the seventh over.

Thankfully, though, Sophia Turner, who couldn’t hold one of those catches at mid-wicket, removed the England star lbw for 39 as she attempted to pull – 79-3 in the 12th over.

The Sparks’ other Jones, left-handed captain Eve, followed – caught at deep mid-wicket off Katherine Fraser’s off-spin, for 13, leaving the score at 84-4 in the 13th.

The target became 45 off five overs at 93-4 after 15, with things edging the way of the Diamonds.

That theory was strengthened in the 17th when Levick had fellow Katie, George, stumped (102-5).

From there, wickets fell in a hurry as Sparks tried to go big. Charis Pavely was run out by action woman Armitage, Courtney Webb fell to Levick and Erin Burns, defending 18 off the last at 120-7, removed Georgia Davis.

Magic moment: That winning feeling. Up to this point, it hadn’t happened  for the Diamonds, who had lost all five games. So getting on the board will do wonders for the confidence.

This group still believe they can qualify for Finals Day at Derby on June 22. Why not! 

Turning point: Getting both Amy Jones and Eve Jones out within the space of five runs, reducing the Sparks from 79-2 in the 12th over to 84-4 in the 14th, was crucial. England’s Jones fell for 39 and Sparks captain Eve for 13. They are the Sparks two best players. 

Stat of the match: The second-wicket stand of 97 between Hollie Armitage and Sterre Kalis is the second highest partnership ever posted by the Diamonds in this competition. 

The pair came together at 23-1 in the fourth over and united for 12.3 overs.

Armitage was involved in the highest, sharing 139 for the second wicket with Lauren Winfield-Hill against Western Storm at Headingley last May. Both Armitage and Kalis posted their season’s best scores in this competition.

Sterre Kalis

Picture by Alex Whitehead/ Sterre Kalis was excellent at Edgbaston. 

What they said – Sterre Kalis: “To finally get over the line has given us a huge confidence and energy boost going into the next game tomorrow. It’s a quick turnaround, so we’re definitely taking that momentum into the game against Blaze.

“The other games have been really close, and we just haven’t been nailing the little moments. It was really good to get over the line this time. 

“I thought 137 was a pretty good score. Spin today was quite effective. That’s why we used it a lot, and we bowled pretty well. 

“I got the opportunity today to bat at three, and I wanted to take it with both hands. I executed my plans and got a good score. In the end, it helped us to a good total and a win. 

“Hollie batted fantastic from the start as well.

“Getting Amy Jones was a big moment for us, Sophia Turner got her. She looked like she was effortlessly cruising through the innings. To get her and Eve Jones so quickly was great for us.”

What’s next: The Diamonds are back in action within 24 hours, facing league leaders Blaze at Headingley tomorrow (11am), as part of another T20 double header – this time with Yorkshire’s men. 

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