Northern Diamonds v Western Storm

Charlotte Edwards Cup

Sunday June 16, 2024, 11am


Toss: Storm won it and elected to bowl.

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

Storm: Dani Gibson, Emma Corney, Nat Wraith w, Fran Wilson, Sophie Luff c, Amanda-Jade Wellington, Issy Wong, Sophia Smale, Chloe Skelton, Lauren Filer, Ellie Anderson.

Match summary: Hollie Armitage was the key contributor with a stunning 97 off 64 balls as Northern Diamonds clinched their second CE Cup win, beating Storm by 28 runs.

Armitage opened up with 14 fours and two sixes in a scintillating innings, falling just short of her maiden career T20 century. It was just a minor frustration, though, in the wider context, as her region comfortably beat a Storm side who had also only won once in this competition heading into this fixture.

Diamonds posted 146-3 – not as many as they should have posted on the back of Armitage’s career best exploits. But it was enough against a Storm side who have only won one game.

Rachel Slater struck twice in the opening over of the defence, and Storm failed to recover, finishing on 118-7. Seamer Slater finished with two wickets, a return matched by fellow seamer Sophia Turner and leg-spinner Katie Levick.

Diamonds jumped off the bottom of the table as a result.

Hollie Armitage

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Well played, skip! Hollie Armitage is congratulated by Storm’s Australian overseas spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington.

Report: The Diamonds dominated the vast majority of this fixture, their ninth and penultimate in this competition – only put under pressure for brief stages.

Hollie Armitage was clearly the leading light.

She set the tone perfectly by driving the first ball of the match, off Issy Wong, through the covers for four and didn’t let up during an incredible hour’s batting.

The 27-year-old hit boundary after boundary, piercing that run with a couple of sixes – one slog-swept over mid-wicket off Amanda-Jade Wellington’s leg-spin and the other hoisted down the ground off Chloe Skelton’s offies.

Emma Marlow only contributed nine to a 97-run opening partnership inside 12 overs. But rather than being slow out of the blocks, she was just starved of the strike. She only faced 16 balls out of the first 68.

Marlow top-edged a catch behind off left-arm spinner Sophia Smale. By this time, Armitage had long since reached her fifty off 30 balls and was en-route for a much bigger score on a true Headingley pitch with a typically fast outfield.

She raced through the nineties as rain started to fall, and unfortunately miscued a return catch to Skelton to fall three short of what would have been her first ever T20 century for any team. No Diamond has ever reached a century in this format, with Lauren Winfield-Hill making 98 in this fixture last May.

Hollie Armitage

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Hollie Armitage leaves the field after being dismissed for 97 against Western Storm.

Diamonds were now 124-2 in the 16th over.

Rain briefly interrupted the innings at the 16-over mark, and when the Diamonds returned they struggled for acceleration. Sterre Kalis, for 22, was bowled by Wong, who matched Smale’s 1-23 from four overs.

It was a skilful fightback from the visitors, no question.

But, quickly, they were under the cosh again.

Left-arm Scotland seamer Rachel Slater had Dani Gibson caught behind with the first ball of the chase before uprooting Nat Wraith’s middle stump with a superb in-swinging yorker to leave the Storm at 1-2 after one over.

Again, they recovered, with opener Emma Corney and Wilson sharing 50 for the third wicket. But the former holed out for 17 to long-on off Sophia Turner’s seam, leaving the score at 51-3 in the ninth. It was a strike which came for the Diamonds at just the right time.

From there, Storm were scrambling.

Rachel Slater

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Rachel Slater strikes early and is congratulated by Bess Heath.

Off-spinner Katherine Fraser, Slater’s fellow Scot, was excellent and had Wilson caught at long-on, leaving the score at 80-4 after 14 overs.

Katie Levick had captain Sophie Luff stumped in the next over, and Diamonds all but had this game in the bag. Turner and Levick, the latter defending 33 off the last over, then both struck again.

Magic moment: Hollie Armitage hit five fours in the fifth over, off seamer Ellie Anderson, moving to 42 out of 48-0.

If you want two, Rachel Slater uprooting Nat Wraith’s middle stump with an almost perfect in-swinging yorker to leave Storm at 1-2 after one over of their chase was up there as well.

Turning point: You could look at the first 10 overs of the match, which were dominated by Hollie Armitage as the Diamonds reached 90-0. But Storm dragged things back impressively to leave themselves chasing a manageable 147 target.

However, when England’s Dani Gibson was caught behind off the first ball of the Storm chase – Rachel Slater with the wicket – Diamonds were in total control.

Stat of the match: Captain Hollie Armitage was outstanding en-route to the highest score by any batter in this season’s Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Katherine Fraser

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Katherine Fraser was excellent with her off-spinners.

What they said – Hollie Armitage: “I think we’ve got to thank Robbo (Richard Robinson, Yorkshire’s head of grounds) for creating a pretty flat track.

“We’re very pleased we’ve got another win on the board. We keep talking about our character and showing up. Today, for me, it came off with the bat. I kept things very simple. But, more importantly, we’re very happy to get another win.

“I’ve been working really hard on my game. When the track is flat and you can trust your hands, it helps massively.

“I did come off the field thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s just happened’. I didn’t feel natural in that sense – I don’t know how to explain it. I’m just happy to have contributed a match-winning performance.”

Storm batter Fran Wilson: “Hollie was brilliant for them. She can’t be far off winning an England call-up (what would be her second cap).

“You can tell she’s a brilliant leader, and I don’t see why she couldn’t go on to do that for England as well. She always gets runs against us, and I’d love to see her in an England shirt more.”

What’s next: The Diamonds wrap up their CEC campaign with a trip up to Durham on Wednesday morning to face rivals Lancashire Thunder (11.30am). Thunder are also out of contention for Saturday’s Finals Day at Derby.

Sophia Turner

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Sophia Turner celebrates dismissing opener Emma Corney.

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