Six-wicket star Beth Langston had one of the best days of her career after undoubtedly the worst two years as the Northern Diamonds seamer strengthened her side’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy semi-final bid with an entertaining, low-scoring win over Sunrisers at York today.

Langston has had an injury nightmare since August 2022, when she ruptured her right ACL playing in the Hundred. 

Surgery followed, as did further complications to set her recovery back. 

But today, in only the fast bowler’s second appearance since her initial injury, she was the hugely popular star of the show with a regional best return of six for 24 from 10 overs as Sunrisers, invited to bat, were skittled for 109 inside 31 overs.

It was a performance which set the Diamonds up for a four-wicket win achieved with 25.2 overs remaining, their seventh success in nine games in the ongoing RHF Trophy. 

They had to recover from 32-4 chasing, but Hollie Armitage made 33 and Erin Burns 35 not out. 

Beth Langston

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Beth Langston successfully appeals for the wicket of Sunrisers’ Jodi Grewcock today

This victory, achieved with a bonus point – five in all, moves the Diamonds to 30 points. They will end the day in at least second place and, with five games remaining, are on course for the semi-finals. 

It’s now difficult to see how they don’t qualify, especially after beating a Sunrisers side who were level on 25 points but just above them in the table before the game started this morning.

Langston was outstanding in recording the best figures by any bowler in regional cricket this season – 50-over or T20. 

She made the absolute most of helpful conditions – grey skies and some damp after overnight and light morning rain. There was also a 20-minute delay for more rain after only 19 balls of play.

The 31-year-old’s performance ensured a seamless return.

She underwent surgery in September 2022 and missed the RHFT final victory over Southern Vipers at Lord’s as a result.

Beth Langston

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Beth Langston leads her side off after taking six wickets.

The six-time England international played one T20 match for the Diamonds last summer. 

Before today, she hadn’t taken a 50-over wicket since September 2021.

Langston, across all forms of cricket, now has two hauls of six wickets or more to her name. 

Ironically, in 2012, she played for a team called the Diamonds in the ECB’s Super Fours competition against the Sapphires at Loughborough, and she claimed 7-23 from seven overs in a big win. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill played in that game, as did Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Heather Knight, Charlotte Edwards and Langston’s current coach Dani Hazell. 

Today, Armitage elected to bowl upon winning the toss.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Wicketkeeper Lauren Winfield-Hill claimed three catches today and affected a run out.

After new ball seamer Lizzie Scott bowled visiting captain Grace Scrivens in the second over, Langston came into the attack for the fifth.

She had opener Jo Gardner caught behind in the ninth for 21 and Jodi Grewcock lbw in the 11th, leaving Sunrisers at 43-3.

Mady Villiers was run out following a mix-up with Lissy MacLeod as they thought about three out to deep cover before MacLeod was caught behind off Phoebe Turner’s seam.

And then Langston really excelled. 

Late away swing did for Flo Miller caught behind before Amara Carr was bowled next ball offering no shot – 54 for 7 in the 15th over.

That was the last of Langston’s first six-over spell, which yielded 4-9. 

Hollie Armitage and Katie Levick

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Before play, Katie Levick presented Hollie Armitage with the player-of-the-month award for June.

But she wasn’t out of the attack – or the wickets – for long. Armitage brought her back to bowl the 23rd over, by which time Sunrisers were 85-7 and showing the shoots of a recovery.

Langston wasn’t having any of it.

She bowled Eva Gray, offering no stroke, and then Amu Surenkumar, leaving the Sunrisers at 90-9 in the 25th.

Sunrisers just about limped beyond 100, with only opener Gardner passing 20. 

Along with seamers Scott and Turner, Australian off-spinning all-rounder Burns also struck once.

But wickets continued to fall, leaving the home dressing room on edge at 32-4 in the ninth over of the chase.

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Erin Burns steered the Diamonds away from choppy waters in their chase with 35 not out. 

New ball seamer Kate Coppack led the way for the visitors.

She had Lauren Winfield-Hill caught behind before bowling the other opener, Emma Marlow. Eva Gray then had Sterre Kalis caught at point on the cut before Rebecca Duckworth was trapped lbw by a Coppack delivery which kept low and jagged back.

Thankfully, Armitage and Burns showed all their experience to settle things with a 43-run stand, to which the former contributed 33.

Armitage fell with the job still to be completed – caught at mid-on off Sophie Munro’s seam – 75 for five in the 18th.

Langston also fell for eight, but Burns was still there and hit the winning runs to cap a memorable day.

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