Scorecard 

The Northern Diamonds were on the wrong end of a low-scoring thriller at Scarborough today, losing to last season’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy finalists the Blaze by two wickets with two balls to spare in defence of a 189-target.

The momentum swung this way and that at North Marine Road, where unfortunately a 54 from hometown girl Leah Dobson wasn’t quite enough. 

Katie Levick was outstanding with the ball, claiming 1-13 from 10 overs of leg-spin, while fellow twirler, the Australian overseas all-rounder Erin Burns, claimed 3-40.

Ultimately, however, the winning contribution came from Welsh international Bethan Gammon, who hit a nerveless 39 off 52 balls from number seven. She led the recovery from 105-6 after 33 overs, the visitors gaining five needed off the last over to end a run of three straight defeats at the start of this competition.

The Diamonds have won two and lost two of their four games so far. 

Blaze had fallen from 43-0 in pursuit and 98-3 to give the Diamonds the initiative going into the final hour of the fixture. 

But Gammon, who has benefited from a number of injuries and international call-ups to play, shared 61 for the seventh wicket with wicketkeeper Ella Claridge, who finished 26 not out on a used pitch.

Gammon also doubles as the Pathway Talent Manager with the Trent Bridge based region.

Leah Dobson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Abi Glen congratulates Leah Dobson (r) on her half- century today.

Scarborough-born Dobson, aged 22, was one of only four Diamonds who made double figures; Abi Glen with a valuable 38 late on, Emma Marlow with 29 at the top of the order and Rebecca Duckworth with 19 in the middle.

Seamer Sophie Munro was the pick of the Blaze bowlers with 3-28 from 8.4 overs. 

Captain Kirstie Gordon also had a good day for the visitors with two wickets, two catches and 19 opening the batting for a side who hadn’t posted a total above 135 in their first three games. 

The Diamonds opted to bat first, looking more at the used pitch rather than the misty overhead conditions. 

Marlow led the way as they reached 32-0 in the ninth over – both her and opening partner Lauren Winfield-Hill hitting boundaries through the covers.

But the Blaze were about to divert the game in their favour with four quick wickets, two of them going to Gordon, the left-arm spinner who made six appearances for England in Test and T20 cricket in 2018 and 2019.

In all, she had a hand in three of the first four wickets to fall – 54-4 in the 16th over.

She caught Winfield-Hill for eight running back from mid-off, left-arm new ball seamer Grace Ballinger with the wicket.

Bethan Gammon

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. The Diamonds celebrate the late wicket of match-winner Bethan Gammon.

Gordon then bowled Hollie Armitage for six with a beauty which pitched on middle and leg and took off-stump before getting Marlow stumped.

And when Munro uprooted Burns’ off-stump, for three, the Diamonds were on the back foot at 54-4.

Rebecca Duckworth and Dobson, who scored her second fifty in regional cricket, steadied the ship somewhat for the next few overs, the former even pulling Munro for six high over mid-wicket.

But, as the innings reached its halfway point, she miscued Lucy Higham’s off-spin to mid-off, where Gordon took another catch – 82-5 in the 25th.

Phoebe Turner was bowled by Higham, leaving the score at 100-6 in the 31st over, but Dobson’s presence maintained home hopes of a recovery.

While pulling with authority a couple of times and driving well down the ground, Dobson played the situation perfectly to tip the balance back in favour of the Diamonds. 

There was no panic as she lost partners and managed to get her side up to a total the bowlers could work with.

Sophia Turner skewed South African seamer Nadine de Klerk to backward point – 120-7 in the 36th. 

Diamonds

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. The Diamonds get ready to go out and defend 189 today.

Then came the key partnership between Dobson and Glen, with the latter taking the lead role as she settled quickly. 

She was leg-side dominant in hitting six boundaries and ran well between the wickets to ensure the Blaze had to chase a total they had got nowhere near in the opening three games. 

Dobson reached her fifty off 76 balls, but she was then one of three wickets to fall in 11 balls as the innings ended. Munro bowled Glen and Jess Woolston, while Dobson was trapped lbw by Teresa Graves in between.  

Blaze then built a solid platform with the bat through Graves and skipper Gordon, the pair sharing 43 inside 11 overs.

It was always likely that, with the pitch having shown signs of turn in the first innings, the introduction of spin would prove an important moment for the Diamonds.

It was, therefore, no surprise when Levick struck with her second ball, getting Gordon caught behind down leg.

The off-spin of Burns was also successful, bowling Graves for 33 and getting Daisy Mullan caught and bowled off the leading edge as the score slipped to 74-3 in the 22nd.

And, soon after, Phoebe Turner had Marie Kelly caught behind for 20 with 98 on the board.

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns takes a catch from her own bowling to dismiss the Blaze’s Daisy Mullan.

The hosts were in charge – a theory strengthened when Munro was run out and de Klerk caught at short fine-leg off new ball seamer Woolston – 105-6 after 33.

However, Gammon and Claridge calmly picked off the runs.

When Gammon fell caught at cover off Sophia Turner’s seam at 166-7 in the 47th over, the hard work had seemingly been done. But Burns struck again, and the target became five off the last over from Sophia Turner with two wickets left. Higham hit the winning run.

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