Northern Diamonds crushed Western Storm by 105 runs as they began the defence of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in emphatic style at Headingley. 

Half-centuries from Lauren Winfield-Hill (75), Bess Heath (71) and South African debutant Chloe Tryon (63) took the Diamonds to a commanding total of 290-8 from 36 overs following morning rain, with the target always looking likely to prove too much for the Storm.

And there was also joy for leg spinner Katie Levick who claimed 4-36, including her 300th senior career wicket, as Storm were bowled out for 185.

After rain fell throughout the morning, the players finally took to the field at 1pm and Storm’s hopes were immediately raised when Lauren Filer bowled Sterre Kalis for one in the second over. When Filer followed up with the wicket of Diamonds skipper Hollie Armitage, also bowled for one, the hosts were 33-2 and looking in trouble on a damp, green pitch.

Winfield-Hill was at her pugnacious best, however, and quickly counter attacked to take the score to 71 when a mix up with Phoebe Turner led to the latter’s run out for three.

If the visitors thought they were back in the game, what followed was a brutal statement of intent from England hopeful Heath who proceeded to smash Storm’s bowlers around Headingley as she bludgeoned 71 from 38 balls including nine fours and three sixes in a fourth wicket partnership of 109 off just 67 balls with Winfield-Hill.

When Heath was caught behind by off Chloe Skelton the score was 180-4 and the stage was set for another superb knock as Winfield-Hill was joined by Tryon.

The former’s departure for 75, bowled by Alex Griffiths, left the South African with some work to do, but she marshalled the tail superbly to be last out for 63 off 36 balls in a Diamonds total nearing 300.

Chloe Tryon

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com – New signing Chloe Tryon

Storm got off to the worst possible start losing both openers inside the first two overs as Griffiths (nought) and Emma Corney (two) were bowled by Jess Woolston and Lizzie Scott respectively.

Sophie Luff and Fran Wilson staged a good recovery as they took the visitors to 97 before both were dismissed in successive overs, with Storm never looking likely to make it a contest after that.

Levick, who earlier had Luff stumped for 33, took another when she trapped Danielle Gibson in front for 17 to claim her 299th career wicket before Niamh Holland was run out for six.

Levick’s 300th in List A and T20 cricket combined came soon after with the stumping of Natalie Wraith and she was quickly celebrating her 301st when Sophia Smale was lbw for 0.

Scott returned to bowl Filer before Tyron took a stunning catch off Abi Glen to remove Skelton, wrapping up the innings in the 34th over and ensuring the Diamonds started the summer in champion style.

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