Northern Diamonds v Western Storm
Charlotte Edwards Cup
Friday May 19, 2023, 6.30pm
Teams: Diamonds – Lauren Winfield-Hill, Leah Dobson, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Bess Heath w, Chloe Tryon, Katherine Fraser, Abi Glen, Lizzie Scott, Katie Levick, Grace Hall.
Storm – Nat Wraith w, Danielle Gibson, Orla Prendergast, Fran Wilson, Sophie Luff c, Alex Griffiths, Niamh Holland, Katie Jones, Sophia Smale, Lauren Filer, Chloe Skelton.
Match summary: The Northern Diamonds made the perfect start to their bid for Charlotte Edwards Cup glory as records tumbled in a high-scoring T20 clash at Headingley, which they won by 32 runs. Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage posted career best scores of 98 and 74 as the hosts amassed a mammoth 218-3 – a competition record total – before a quartet of bowlers, including debutant Grace Hall, struck twice in the Storm’s response of 186-8.
Report: This was some night at Headingley, a thrilling way to open the programme of T20 fixtures here – both women’s and men’s matches.
Winfield-Hill was at the centre of everything good about the Diamonds’ batting, the side of their game which set this victory up against a Storm side missing England captain Heather Knight.
Winfield-Hill dominated a 58-run opening stand with encouraging Leah Dobson (25) before sharing 139 inside 12 overs for the second wicket with her skipper, Armitage.
After inviting the Diamonds to bat in excellent batting conditions, the writing was on the wall for the Storm pretty quickly as Winfield-Hill took Lauren Filer’s seam for four fours in as many balls in the second over, moving the score to 21-0.
That was the first of 13 double-figure overs, including eight in a row from the start of the 10th over and two of them over 20.
Ireland all-rounder Orla Prendergast was the pick of the visiting bowlers as her seam returned one for 32 from four overs, with Armitage caught at deep mid-wicket late on.
Shortly before, Winfield-Hill fell in similar fashion, caught at deep mid-wicket off Chloe Skelton’s off-spin.
Storm kept themselves in the race until just after the midway point in their chase, as opener Danielle Gibson impressed with 52 off 30 balls. They stayed up with the rate, but lost wickets at regular intervals.
Lizzie Scott claimed two with the new ball, including Prendergast caught behind – 35-2 in the fourth.
Katie Levick trapped reverse sweeping former England batter Fran Wilson lbw in her first over and had Sophie Luff caught at backward point shortly afterwards.
But Gibson was keeping her side in with a shout with some crisp striking.
However, when she was the subject of a brilliant running catch at long-on by Chloe Tryon off debutant Hall’s seam, it was all but game over at 121-5 after 13 overs.
Further wickets fell to Abi Glen twice and Hall again as the Diamonds comfortably rounded things off.
Magic moment: Fifty seven runs came off overs 13-15. One of those overs went for 20 from Nat Wraith as Armitage hit back-to-back sixes. Another went for 23 off Niamh Holland as the skipper clattered another six. That took us to 166-1 from 15.
Turning point: It came pretty much straightaway. As Winfield-Hill took four boundaries in as many balls off Lauren Filer’s seam, taking the score to 21-0 after two overs, it was difficult to see the Diamonds not getting a score which would be too much for the Storm.
Stat of the match: The Diamonds eclipsed the previous highest total in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the 186-1 Thunder scored against Sunrisers at Emirates Old Trafford last season.
Go on then, why not have two stats?
Winfield-Hill reached 50 for the 13th time in 25 innings for the Diamonds, both in 50-over and T20 cricket combined. That runs includes two centuries in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
What they said: Lauren Winfield-Hill – “It was a fantastic way to start. Getting put in on this surface, we knew we had to get a big total because it’s so hard to defend. To go out and do that was awesome.
“Everybody that came out played nicely, Leah Dobson at the top. Then, the way Hollie (Armitage) came in and struck it from the get-go was so destructive.
“With the ball, the youngsters bowled nicely – Grace Hall, Lizzie Scott. It was a good all round team performance. I think we’ve made a few statements. We did it in the first 50-over game here against the Storm and now tonight. We’ve put our mark on it, and that’s great.
“I’ve jibbed another hundred, haven’t I!
“I need to get in the gym and get as big and strong as Hollie so that I could have hit it for six.
“Looking for a hundred isn’t the way you play the game now, you’re trying to get as many as you can. Personal milestones are great, but you don’t want them at the expense of Chloe Tryon and Bess Heath, who are waiting to come in. I was looking to take the game on.
“I think a lot of people underestimate us from last year to this year, with a lot of changes. We’re a lot younger. But what we do is do our roles really well. We’ve got a great blend.”
What’s next: The Diamonds are back in action against Central Sparks at Edgbaston on Tuesday morning at 11am. The Sparks won their opening game against Sunrisers last night.
PHOTOS: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.