Lauren Winfield-Hill scored 63 and Phoebe Turner picked up 3-48 – but Northern Diamonds had their winning start to the season ended by Southern Vipers at Utilita Bowl in Southampton.

Vipers scored 287-9 in their 50 overs, led by Ella McCaughan’s 83 and Charli Knott’s 40, with Turner’s three-for backed up by Erin Burns and Sophia Turner taking two apiece. Australian Burns also hit 45 in the chase.

Having been 42-3 at the start, Winfield-Hill and Burns put on 82 to get Diamonds back on track, but another four wickets going down for 37 runs and then rain ended Diamonds’ hopes, them losing by 70 runs on the Duckworth Lewis Stern method.

They were 162-7 after 30 overs when play was halted just before 4.15pm and then called off just before 5pm.

Hollie Armitage guessed right at the toss and chose to bowl first, presumably with one eye on the heavy rain forecast for later in the afternoon – DLS calculations tend to favour the side batting second.

Diamonds were forced into one change from the side which beat Western Storm on Wednesday, with Sterre Kalis – now with the Netherlands for the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Abu Dhabi – replaced at the top of the order by Emma Marlow.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Lauren Winfield-Hill top-scored for the Diamonds in defeat.

Vipers got off to a flying start as McCaughan and England’s winter star Maia Bouchier got the ball racing across a quick outfield to the boundary with regularity.

Their 50 came up in the eighth over before Katie Levick joined the attack and slowed things up. The leg-spinner’s first three overs only went for three runs.

Bouchier fell after a 72-run opening stand when Phoebe Turner’s shorter ball stuck in the pitch and the batter skied straight up for Winfield-Hill to take a comfortable catch with the gloves.

In form Australian overseas Knott picked up from where Bouchier had left off with a run-a-ball 40, as McCaughan picked up her fifty in 57 balls.

Knott departed when she guided Sophia Turner to Marlow at point to end a 93-run stand before McCaughan was leg before to Phoebe Turner in the following over.

The two quick wickets, in the 28th and 29th overs and on 165 and 168, pushed the momentum towards the Diamonds and provided a more even second half to the innings.

Phoebe Turner

Picture by John Heald. Phoebe Turner claimed another three wickets.

Burns started to find some sharp turn out of the dry pitch, and that accounted for Emily Windsor – who was lbw – and Freya Kemp – who was stumped by Winfield-Hill off a floaty tempter outside off stump, leaving the score 226-5 in the 40th over. 

Vipers skipper Georgia Adams, batting lower due to a dislocated finger suffered in their opener against South East Stars, gave Phoebe Turner her third – and second three-for in a row – when she tickled behind.

The last three of the wickets to fall all went down in the last two overs.

Charlie Dean inexplicably took on Armitage’s arm at cover to be comfortably run out, before Linsey Smith spliced Sophia Turner to her namesake Phoebe and Rhianna Southby top-edged a sweep to short fine- leg.

The start of the chase of 288 didn’t began strongly, as Marlow was bowled by a Smith ball that went on with the arm before Dean got the quick double of Armitage lbw and Bess Heath stumped (42-3 in the 13th over).

But the danger of a deep collapse subsided with Winfield-Hill and Burns combining in an 82-run partnership – which got them closer to the DLS target.

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Overseas star Erin Burns claimed two wickets and hit 45.

Winfield-Hill, who scored 69 not out against Thunder last week, showed all her class with authority against all the Vipers bowlers.

She cut Davies away, slammed Smith over the covers, delicately placed Mary Taylor to the boundary and reverse swept Dean. The former England star brought up her 50 in 54 balls with a perfect sweep.

Burns showed her experience to up the run-rate with a run-a-ball 45, but she was brilliantly caught at short third to bring a second, more terminal stumble.

Winfield-Hill swung to deep mid-wicket, Leah Dobson was bowled by Dean – giving her a fourth wicket – before Phoebe Turner had her leg-stump pinned back by Smith.

Soon after the players were taken off for rain, with Diamonds 70 runs adrift of the DLS par.

Diamonds are next in action against the Blaze at Scarborough on Wednesday.

Utilita Bowl

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