The Blaze v Northern Diamonds 

Charlotte Edwards Cup 

Thursday May 23, 2024, 6.30pm 

Trent Bridge 

Toss: Diamonds won it and elected to bowl

Blaze: Teresa Graves, Marie Kelly, Kathryn Bryce, Sarah Bryce w, Nadine de Klerk, Ella Claridge, Michaela Kirk, Josie Groves, Kirstie Gordon c, Lucy Higham, Grace Ballinger.

Diamonds: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Leah Dobson, Hollie Armitage c, Bess Heath, Erin Burns, Sterre Kalis, Emma Marlow, Katherine Fraser, Grace Hall, Katie Levick, Rachel Slater. 

Match summary: The Diamonds lost a thriller to Blaze by four runs, narrowly failing to chase a target of 137, finishing on 132-7.

Australian overseas all-rounder Erin Burns starred with a career best 5-25 from four overs of off-spin and hit 22 with the bat. But her best efforts went unrewarded as she was part of a slip from 94-2 in the 16th over of the chase.

They failed to get 19 off the last over, falling to a second successive defeat after losing to Lancashire Thunder on Sunday.

Burns also claimed her 200th wicket in senior cricket. 

Captain and spinner Kirstie Gordon starred with 3-20 from four overs for the hosts. 

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Erin Burns had a superb day out at Trent Bridge. Unfortunately, the only thing missing was the result. 

Report: This was a topsy-turvy affair, with both sides letting positions of strength slip. 

In the first innings, Blaze were 80-3 in the 14th over before falling to 84-6 in the 15th, only for the hosts to recover late on to near 140 as Josie Groves hit a powerful unbeaten 24, including a huge six over the long mid-wicket boundary towards the Fox Road side of the ground.

Only Kathryn Bryce made it to 30, her 31 coming off 29 balls, and the hosts were kept in check by spin.

Burns and Levick were outstanding for the Diamonds, sharing eight wickets. 

The game started with Hollie Armitage ringing the changes with the ball. Through the first nine overs, which saw the Blaze reach 53-3, no Diamonds bowler bowled more than a one-over spell. 

Burns bowled the first and last over. She bowled Marie Kelly with the third ball of the match and had Lucy Higham caught and Grace Ballinger stumped with the last two balls of the innings.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Katie Levick was excellent with the ball. 

Sandwiched in between, she also bowled Teresa Graves and had Sarah Bryce well caught at mid-off by Grace Hall, the first of two excellent catches for the seamer.

Levick was central to the Blaze losing three wickets for four runs in six balls in the 14th and 15th overs. She claimed the latter two, Nadine de Klerk bowled and Ella Claridge well caught and bowled. 

From 86-6 after 15, it would have been a frustration for the Diamonds that the Blaze got another 50, and that was due mainly to Groves, who played an excellent hand.

The Diamonds then made an encouraging start to their chase.

Winfield-Hill drove the first ball through the covers for four off de Klerk, and the Diamonds reached 39-1 after six overs, losing only Leah Dobson.

Winfield-Hill and Armitage shared 49 for the second wicket from 9-1 in the third over, including the latter pulling Kirstie Gordon’s spin for six in 28.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Hollie Armitage – at Derby with England by day, captaining the Diamonds by night.

Unfortunately, Armitage, who had been with England’s senior squad at Derby earlier in the day as illness cover, then fell lbw playing the reverse paddle later in the ninth over, 58-2.

Diamonds reached the 10-over mark at 65-2, needing 72 more, with Burns now alongside Winfield-Hill, who had 26. 

The pitch seemed to quicken up under the lights as the Diamonds set about their chase. But, unfortunately, the visitors were about to stumble.

Winfield-Hill was bowled advancing at the medium pace off Kathryn Bryce for 28 and Burns was run out for 22 coming back for two to square-leg, the Diamonds slipping from 94-2 to 94-4 in the space of three balls in the 15th over.

Bess Heath’s presence at the crease kept Diamonds’ hopes high. But when she was caught at long-on off South Africa de Klerk for 15, the Diamonds were 113-5 late in the 18th over with 24 still needed.

From there, the Blaze were able to close out the victory as Sterre Kalis was run out and Emma Marlow bowled. 

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Katherine Fraser gave the Diamonds late hope with a six off the first ball of the last over. It wasn’t to be, however. 

With 19 needed, Katherine Fraser hit the first ball of the final over from Scotland team-mate Kathryn Bryce for six over long-on. But she and Hall had just been left with too much to do as they finished on 132-7.

The Blaze won their second game in succession.

Magic moment: Grace Hall took a stunning diving catch on the boundary at deep square-leg to help Rachel Slater get rid of Michaela Kirk, leaving Blaze at 118-7 in the 18th over. 

Turning point: The Diamonds lost Lauren Winfield-Hill bowled by Kathryn Bryce and Erin Burns run out two balls later, falling from 94-2 to 96-4 in the 15th over. It left the visitors with a mountain to climb in the latter stages. 

Another key point was that the Diamonds conceded 18 extras compared to Blaze’s six. 

Stat of the match: In 326 career appearances across both List A and T20 cricket, never before has Erin Burns returned better figures than her 5-25. This was her third career five-wicket haul. Two of them have come in regional cricket, including one for the Central Sparks last season. She also reached 200 senior career wickets. 

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Coach Dani Hazell remains confident of the Diamonds chances in this season’s CE Cup. 

What they said – Diamonds coach Dani Hazell: “There are areas we want to continue to get better with. There were things we did really well, but credit to Blaze. They bowled really well in the middle and shut down two of our in batters (Winfield-Hill and Burns). When you get so close, you nitpick a bit.

“There’s still plenty to work on, and there’s a long way to go in this competition. There’s more games to come, and we’re looking forward to getting on with them.

“We’ve got to continue to get better at not bowling so many extras. Fifteen or 16 wides don’t help when the game comes down to four. That’s been a bit of a trend over the last few games, and something we need to improve on.

“We had the firepower, but the game kept getting further away.”

What’s next: Diamonds return home to Headingley on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon (2.30pm, May 27) to take on a Central Sparks side who have won their opening two group matches. 

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