Northern Diamonds v The Blaze

Charlotte Edwards Cup

Sunday June 9, 2024, 11am


Toss: Diamonds won it and elected to bowl.

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

Blaze: Tammy Beaumont, Teresa Graves, Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce w, Heather Graham, Ella Claridge, Marie Kelly, Sarah Glenn, Kirstie Gordon c, Lucy Higham, Grace Ballinger. 

Match summary: Runaway leaders Blaze won their seventh straight game to qualify for Finals Day, defending a target of 160 to win by 13 runs in a contest which swung back and forth.

Scotland international all-rounder Kathryn Bryce starred with 54 off 39 balls and added two wickets with her seamers as Blaze posted 159-7 and fought back to defend it.

The Diamonds now have a mountain to climb having suffered their sixth defeat in seven. They must win their remaining three games and hope for a miracle to join the Blaze at Derby on June 22.

But they showed plenty of spirit here in front of a 2,221 crowd. 

Blaze were 89-1 in the 10th over and were limited as Erin Burns struck three times. Bess Heath then crashed 59 off 32 balls to recover the chase from 18-2. But, they were bowled out for 146 off the penultimate ball.

Bess Heath

Picture by John Clifton/ Bess Heath slog sweeps en-route to her vibrant fifty.

Report: The Blaze innings was one of two halves. They dominated during the first 10 through Kathryn Bryce and England opener Tammy Beaumont, who dynamically advanced the score from 11-1 in the second over. Beaumont hit 45 off 33 balls.

They shared 78 inside eight overs for the second wicket following the early departure of Teresa Graves stumped by Bess Heath of Erin Burns’ off-spin. 

Both players hit sixes down the ground, Bryce over long-on against Katie Levick and Beaumont straight off Rachel Slater’s seam.

England legend Beaumont hasn’t had things all her own way in T20 cricket recently. This, for example, was her highest score since hitting a century in the Hundred for Welsh Fire last August. 

But she was excellent here alongside the more inventive Bryce – also superb.

When Beaumont swept Sophia Turner’s seam to Levick at short fine-leg, Blaze were 89-2 in the 10th.

And that brought about an impressive recovery from the Diamonds, who claimed five more wickets – all to spin, as Burns, Levick and Katherine Fraser found success. 

Katie Levick

Picture by John Clifton/ Katie Levick celebrates the departure of match-winner Kathryn Bryce.

Sarah Bryce miscued the off-spin of fellow Scot Fraser to mid-off before Burns bowled fellow Australian Heather Graham – 125-4 in the 15th. 

Following Kathryn Bryce’s fifty coming up off 34 balls, wickets continued to fall.

Levick accounted for two wickets in the 16th – Bryce caught at short third on the reverse sweep and Ella Claridge bowled. And Burns had Sarah Glenn smartly caught by Lauren Winfield-Hill in the last over, leaving Blaze 154-7.

It was an excellent fight back on a slate grey double header Headingley day, which was delayed by 15 minutes because of rain. But the hard work was about to start.

Despite their encouragement late on with the ball, the Blaze total of 159-7 was still a very commanding one.

And, unfortunately, it was made to look even more so inside four overs of the chase with openers Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage back in the pavilion, at 18-2, for eight and three respectively.

Winfield-Hill drilled Grace Ballinger’s left-arm seam to cover and Armitage was bowled by the leg-spin of Glenn, the player she replaced as a concussion substitute in March when she made her England debut in New Zealand.

Heath and Kalis

Picture by John Clifton/ Sterre Kalis and Bess Heath celebrate their half-century stand.

But Heath wasn’t about to give up.

She crashed five of her first 11 balls to the boundary.

She hit 10 fours in her fifty off 28 balls, with her famed switch hit on show alongside brute power, and shared 76 for the third wicket inside nine overs with Dutch international Sterre Kalis, who played confidently for 41.

They took the score to 94-2 in the 12th, putting the Diamonds in a very healthy position.

Unfortunately, however, things changed again. Kalis fell caught behind off Glenn, and Heath was caught at deep square-leg off Kathryn Bryce, as two of four wickets to fall for 26 from 94-2 in the 12th over to 120 for six in the 15th.

Realistically, that was game over. 

So it proved. Glenn later struck for a third time and Bryce for a second as Blaze wrapped things up. Aussie Graham struck twice in the last as she defended 18 successfully, bowling the Diamonds out.

Erin Burns

Picture by John Clifton/ Erin Burns bowls as Tammy Beaumont looks on.

Magic moment: Bess Heath strode to the crease at 18-2 in the third over of the chase. The Diamonds were on the ropes. But she hit five boundaries in her first 11 balls to revive things and set up an engaging finish.

Turning point: The Diamonds losing four wickets for 26, from 94-2 in the 12th over of their chase to 120-6 in the 15th. 

Stat of the match: The Blaze are on for the perfect 10. They have won seven and could still head into Finals Day later this month on one heck of a roll. 

What they said – Bess Heath: “It’s a little bit bittersweet, yes.

“We know it’s a good batting wicket here and we had to play strong shots. With rain around, we knew we had to keep close to DLS and we could get somewhere near. It just wasn’t to be.

“I think their score was around par, maybe just over. They had a great powerplay, but we managed to claw it back. 

“Myself and Sterre built a good platform having steadied the ship in that middle. I was happy with how I played, but unfortunately we didn’t quite get there.

Rob Burrow

Picture by John Clifton/ Both teams observe a minute’s silence in memory of Rob Burrow.

“From here, we’ve just to put our all into it, and you never know what happens. The way of cricket, anything can happen. Let’s just see where we are at the end of it.”

What’s next: The Diamonds face defending champions Southern Vipers at the Utilita Bowl in Southampton on Friday, 3pm.

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