South East Stars v Northern Diamonds
Charlotte Edwards Cup
Friday May 25, 2023, 1.45pm
The Kia Oval
Toss: The Diamonds won it and elected to bowl.
Teams – Stars: Bryony Smith c, Sophia Dunkley, Alice Capsey, Tash Farrant, Paige Scholfield, Phoebe Franklin, Alice Davidson-Richards, Kiera Chathli w, Freya Davies, Claudie Cooper, Dani Gregory.
Diamonds: Leah Dobson, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Bess Heath w, Chloe Tryon, Katherine Fraser, Lizzie Scott, Abi Glen, Katie Levick, Grace Hall.
Match summary: The Northern Diamonds took a significant step towards next month’s Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day as Lizzie Scott hit the last ball of the match for four when three were needed to beat South East Stars by two wickets at the Oval. Hollie Armitage hit a brilliant career best 82 off 59 balls to anchor a pursuit of 139 before falling late on as the target became six off the last over with three wickets left. A further wicket fell before Scott carved the last ball from Alice Davidson-Richards over point to maintain the Diamonds 100 percent winning record. Earlier Grace Hall impressed with 3-18 as the Stars were restricted to 138-7.
Report: Scott, Armitage and Hall all contributed significantly to a nerve-jangling victory in South London, with the Diamonds finishing on 140-8.
Scott bowled three brilliant overs of seam, 1-11, before coming in to bat with nine balls remaining and adding a crucial six not out off five balls, including the winning hit.
Armitage had that Friday feeling after scoring her second fifty in three Charlotte Edwards games.
After posting a T20 career best 74 in the opening game of the competition against Western Storm at Headingley last Friday, she usurped it exactly a week later, hitting 11 fours and a straight six.
Hall claimed 3-18 with her seam, including the key wicket of England star Sophia Dunkley for 12.
Alice Capsey stood out for the Stars with an excellent 71 off 48 balls, but it wasn’t enough for a Stars side who have now lost three games from three at the start of this competition.
The Diamonds bowled and caught well to build pressure on a Stars batting line-up who were rescued by Capsey’s eye-catching innings as they recovered from 33-3 to 138-7.
Captain Armitage used six bowlers inside the first 10 overs having won the toss, and her chopping and changing contributed to preventing the hosts from getting into rhythm.
Scott was outstanding in bowling three overs for 11, including Tash Farrant caught in the deep by Leah Dobson as the Stars fell to 33-3 after six overs.
But fellow Academy graduate and seamer Hall stood out with her trio of wickets; Dunkley, Paige Scholfield and Davidson-Richards all caught on the leg-side.
Five of the six bowlers used struck, with Scott, Chloe Tryon, Katie Levick and Abi Glen all claiming a wicket apiece.
No other Stars batter made it to 20, but Capsey was particularly strong down the ground and through and over the covers as she warmed up for the Ashes in grand style.
She hit seven fours and two sixes, her two sixes hit straight down the ground off the spin of Levick and Tryon as 88 runs came off the last 10 overs from 50-3.
The Diamonds then fell into trouble at 6-2 in the third over of the chase, losing openers Leah Dobson run out and Lauren Winfield-Hill caught at mid-off against the bowling of off-spinner Claudie Cooper.
But Armitage and Sterre Kalis (18) shared a steadying 49. The former then added a more aggressive 38 with fourth-wicket partner Bess Heath (19) from 55-3 after nine overs.
However, Cooper kept her side alive by getting Heath caught by Capsey and then Tryon stumped.
Seamer Freya Davies then had Armitage, who had reached her fifty off 46 balls, stumped off a wide in the penultimate over to tighten the game up at 131-7 with nine balls remaining.
Davidson-Richards had Glen caught behind with the first ball of the last over, with the target six off five balls at 133-8. But Levick and Scott saw the Diamonds over the line to the delight of their team-mates.
Magic moment: As good as Hall and Armitage were, you can’t look beyond Scott’s winning blow, cut over point for four off the last ball against Davidson-Richards.
Turning point: The third-wicket partnership of 49 inside seven overs between Armitage and Kalis was vital after the Diamonds had fallen to 6-2 in the third. They took the sting out of any Stars revival.
Stat of the match: The Stars’ batting card had an unusual look about it. Capsey with 71 was the only player to pass 15 as the on-point Diamonds maintained pressure on the hosts in good batting conditions.
What they said – Hollie Armitage: “That feels great. It was a really good performance. The bowlers set the tone, and then luckily we were able to finish the game off.
“It was my job to score as many runs as I could, and I wanted to finish the game off. Luckily I put it in a position for others to finish it off, and thankfully the lower order did that for us.”
On using six bowlers in the first 10 overs, she said: “It was a little bit to do with match-ups. But we’ve also got a lot of bowlers who can bowl in the powerplay. It was just about going with the flow, going with my gut and seeing what works on the day.”
The Diamonds are back in action against Sunrisers at Headingley on Sunday, and she added: “Momentum’s key in this competition because the games come so fast. We’ll go out fighting again, and hopefully we can get another win on the board.”
What’s next: The Diamonds face Sunrisers in the second part of Sunday’s T20 double header at Headingley, starting at 3.30pm.