Northern Diamonds v Lancashire Thunder

Charlotte Edwards Cup

Wednesday June 19, 2024, 11.30am

Seat Unique Riverside, Durham

Toss: Diamonds won it and elected to bowl. 

Diamonds: Emma Marlow, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Erin Burns, Bess Heath w, Rebecca Duckworth, Katherine Fraser, Sophia Turner, Katie Levick, Lizzie Scott, Rachel Slater.

Thunder: Emma Lamb, Fi Morris, Katie Mack, Seren Smale, Ellie Threlkeld c&w, Kate Cross, Liberty Heap, Grace Johnson, Tara Norris, Phoebe Graham, Sophie Morris. 

Match summary: Northern Diamonds rounded off their T20 campaign with victory – by five wickets with 6.2 overs remaining – over arch-rivals Thunder in a low-scoring affair in bowler-friendly conditions at Durham.

Thunder were bowled out for a record-low 61, the lowest ever total in the four-year history of this competition, as Rachel Slater struck three times with the new ball, added to two for Lizzie Scott and Erin Burns.

But the Diamonds chase wasn’t entirely straightforward. England quick Kate Cross struck twice, while spinners Sophie Morris (2-13) and Fi Morris shared the other three wickets.

Still, Thunder had left themselves an almost impossible task after their batting disaster, and Rebecca Duckworth – against her former side and birth region – top-scored for Diamonds with 21 to see them over the line to a bonus point (five points) victory. 

Lizzie Scott

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Lizzie Scott celebrates making the breakthrough today, dismissing Fi Morris.

Report: You won’t see many games like this. In truth, it was a batter’s nightmare, as Diamonds won for the third time in 10 CEC group games.

The pitch was green, and there was prodigious seam and swing movement on offer for the seamers in a fixture which started with both sides playing for just pride. 

No doubt, Thunder’s was severely dented. 

It told you everything that our former Thunder batter Rebecca Duckworth’s 16 not out was the highest individual score of a match which started with neither side able to qualify for Finals Day at Derby this coming Saturday.

And Rachel Slater and Lizzie Scott made perfect use of the conditions. 

Thunder slipped to 19-4 inside the opening five overs.

Bess Heath

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Bess Heath finishes off Emma Marlow’s good work to run out Ellie Threlkeld.

They lost key trio Emma Lamb, Australian Katie Mack and in-form Seren Smale, the England A batter who hit an unbeaten 88 in Thunder’s last match. 

Scott had Fi Morris and Mack caught, the latter brilliantly by a diving Katherine Fraser at backward point, and left-armer Slater bowled Lamb and Smale.

Things continued to go south for Thunder, whose number nine Tara Norris was their top-scorer with 13. 

Captain Ellie Threlkeld was run out from cover at the striker’s end before debutant all-rounder Grace Johnson chipped Slater to mid-off – 24-6 in the seventh over.

Kate Cross was bowled by Australian Burns before Norris was bowled on the pull at Scotland off-spinner Katherine Fraser and Liberty Heap was stumped off Katie Levick’s leg-spin, 58-9 in the 14th. 

And when Sophie Morris chipped Burns to cover, Thunder were all out inside 15 overs for a record low total.

Kate Cross

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ England seamer Kate Cross gave Diamonds something to think about with two wickets in their defence of a 62-target.

Left-arm spinner Morris and new ball seamer Cross then both struck twice apiece to give Diamonds something to think about at 37-4 after eight overs, 25 runs still needed. 

England’s Cross trapped Emma Marlow lbw and had Bess Heath caught behind to finish with figures of 2-14 from four overs. 

At that stage, you were thinking, ‘It couldn’t happen, could it’.

Thankfully, no was the answer, as Preston-born Duckworth hit three back-foot boundaries to seal the deal.

Magic moment: Take your pick. There were a number of them. But Katherine Fraser took a stunning diving catch, going to her left at backward point, to help Lizzie Scott remove Katie Mack and leave Thunder 13-3 in the fourth over. For us, that was the standout. 

Turning point: Diamonds reduced Thunder to 21-5 inside the first six overs, with key batters Fi Morris, Emma Lamb, Katie Mack, Seren Smale and Ellie Threlkeld all departing. It was a long, long way back for the Red Rose from there. 

Katherine Fraser

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Katherine Fraser, immediately to No.2 Lizzie Scott’s left, celebrates her superb catch to help dismiss Katie Mack.

Stat of the match: Make no mistake about it, this was a crazy fixture. Fifteen wickets fell for 123 runs across the two innings. 

What they said – Rachel Slater:  “I feel good at the minute. I said this before the game, I feel like I’ve bowled pretty well throughout the comp. The last four or five games, I’ve gone and looked at how I can be a bit more dangerous and take wickets, and I feel like I’ve done that really well. It’s obviously come off.

“I’m really happy with how I’m bowling at the minute, and it’s good to get another win. 

“You’re always going to be surprised when a team’s five or six wickets down in the powerplay, but we bowled really well. It didn’t look like the easiest pitch to bat on.

“Even with our fielding, run outs, catches, we made it difficult for them.

“We were trying to keep the pressure on all the way through. When you take a few wickets, it can be easy to let them get away with it and get a bit of a score. But I thought we kept the pressure on really well.”

Rebecca Duckworth

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Rebecca  Duckworth top-scored with 21 to see Diamonds over the line.

Coach Dani Hazell: “We are disappointed with our T20 comp, but winning the last two games has been good. We’ve spoken a lot about momentum heading back into the 50-over stuff. 

“Now we have a bit of a break before we head back into a format where we sit in a pretty comfortable position.”

What’s next: Diamonds are next in action in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Sunday June 30, against Central Sparks at Scarborough. 

Diamonds are encouragingly placed in that competition having won four of their opening six matches, sitting fourth in the table with 17 points, eight ahead of fifth-placed Thunder with eight still to play and a maximum of 40 points available.

The top four teams in that competition qualify for the semi-finals.

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