Northern Diamonds had a day to forget in their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy match against The Blaze today, suffering a four-wicket defeat at the Seat Unique Riverside in Durham.

After losing the toss, the Diamonds reached 20 in the third over, but Nadine de Klerk struck to dismiss Lauren Winfield-Hill, beginning a difficult morning for the hosts. 

Hollie Armitage’s team were reduced from 30-1 to 62 all out as South African seamer De Klerk produced an excellent spell of bowling to claim figures of 7-33, while Grace Ballinger was effective at the other end with 3-22. 

No Diamonds’ batter was able to surpass double figures as Bess Heath top-scored with nine.

Defending a target of 63, Chloe Tryon did her utmost to drag the Diamonds into the game with four wickets, including a double-wicket maiden to remove Tammy Beaumont and Georgie Boyce. 

Fellow spinner Katie Levick was also on point with two strikes, but the Blaze were able to nudge their way over the line to reach their victory target inside 19 overs. The Diamonds innings had also been wrapped up inside 19 overs. 

The Blaze won the toss and elected to bowl. 

De Klerk’s first over was certainly eventful as Diamonds were handed the perfect start when her first ball evaded Sarah Bryce behind the stumps and stuck the helmet to earn five penalty runs. 

Winfield-Hill then chanced her arm as an outside edge was put down by Boyce at first slip and travelled to the boundary.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by John Clifton/ Lauren Winfield-Hill

However, De Klerk soon found her rhythm and removed Winfield-Hill for only seven as she lifted a drive to Kathryn Bryce at cover. De Klerk claimed another big wicket to make inroads into the Diamonds’ line-up finding Hollie Armitage’s (eight) outside edge and allowing Sarah Bryce to claim the catch. 

Sterre Kalis (six) tried to remain stoic to see out the opening burst from De Klerk and Ballinger, but the latter ended her 24-ball stay by pinning Kalis lbw. 

Phoebe Turner attempted to swing the momentum against The Blaze with two boundaries, pulling De Klerk to the fence. 

But, the right-armer produced another quality delivery to hit Turner’s front pad. Umpire Neil Pratt had no choice to but to raise to the finger. 

Tryon lasted only one ball to put De Klerk on a hat-trick, and Ballinger backed up the efforts of her team-mate at the other end by skittling Katherine Fraser. 

Everything the Blaze did in the field continued to work as Beaumont pulled off a sensational catch at gully to dismiss Heath, allowing De Klerk to claim her fifth – 53-7 after 15. 

De Klerk celebrates

Picture by John Clifton/ – 06/05/2023. Nadine de Klerk celebrates

There was no let-up from Ballinger at the Lumley End. 

She was on point with a swinging delivery to dismiss Abi Glen to notch her third wicket. 

De Klerk ended the Diamonds’ innings in a hurry as Levick lobbed the ball up to Sarah Glenn before Lizzie Scott edged behind to Sarah Bryce leaving the hosts all out for 62 as the South African claimed career-best List A figures.

The Blaze appeared to want the chase over and done with quickly as Marie Kelly scored 14 from Scott’s first over in reply. 

However, Tryon’s introduction into the attack forced the visitors to work for a third win, which strengthens their position at the the top of the table after four games. 

Kelly lofted an attempted shot over the top straight to Jess Woolston at mid-off. 

Beaumont and Boyce fell in a similar manner as Turner and Woolston claimed good catches to hand Tryon a double-wicket maiden. 

Levick’s leg-spin also caused problems for the visitors as she dismissed Sarah Bryce and De Klerk cheaply to send a little bit of tension into the Blaze dressing room. 

But, the Blaze were able to secure their win through Glenn and Lucy Higham to claim a bonus-point victory at Chester-le-Street.

The Diamonds have now won two and lost two of their first four games. They are back in action against South East Stars at Scarborough on Wednesday (10.30am).

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