Northern Diamonds continue their preparations for the 2021 season with a 50-over friendly against England Academy at Weetwood tomorrow.

The fixture, which will be played behind closed doors due to the current restrictions, will provide a further opportunity for the Diamonds squad to test their skills ahead of the opening Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy game at Emerald Headingley on Saturday 29 May.

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The Northern Diamonds almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in an entertaining 45-over friendly against the England Academy at Weetwood.

A rain-affected fixture saw the Diamonds bowled out for 176 inside 44 overs, with Bess Heath hitting a brisk 30 and Beth Langston a more measured 31.

A strong England development side, at 10-1 in the chase, then had their target revised to 140 in 29 overs before slipping from 57-1 to 117-7.

Contracted duo Hollie Armitage and Phoebe Graham struck twice apiece, only for Southern Vipers all-rounder Charlie Dean to steer the national side home with an unbeaten 40, winning by three wickets with five balls to spare.

Earlier, Dean struck twice in five overs of off-spin to begin the 20-year-old’s memorable day out.

The fixture started as a 50-over affair, only for rain to reduce that by five overs per side.

The majority of the Diamonds top seven got starts without going on; captain Armitage 19, Leah Dobson 20, Heath 30, Ami Campbell 17, Jenny Gunn 18, Langston 31.

Heath hit four fours and the only six of the match – pulled off Danielle Gibson – in her 30 off 20 balls, while Langston hit 31 off 55 before taking a wicket with the new ball.

Naomi Dattani claimed three wickets with her left-arm seamers for the Academy.

A 27-year-old who plays for the Sunrisers in the new regional set-up, Dattani featured on University Challenge in December of last year, representing Loughborough alongside ex-Test spinner Monty Panesar.

North West Thunder’s Emma Lamb hit 38 from number three to give England’s Academy a healthy start following an afternoon rain delay.

But she holed out off Armitage’s leg-spin as the visitors struggled against spin. Katie Levick and Helen Fenby also struck important blows.

Unfortunately, Dean dominated the crucial, game clinching 23-run unbroken partnership with Emily Arlott for the eighth wicket, securing victory.

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Northern Diamonds squad to take on England Academy

Hollie Armitage (Captain)
Ami Campbell
Leah Dobson
Helen Fenby
Phoebe Graham
Jenny Gunn
Bess Heath (Wicketkeeper)
Beth Langston
Katie Levick
Lucy Lindley
Emma Marlow
Rachel Slater
Phoebe Turner

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