Thunder v Northern Diamonds 

Charlotte Edwards Cup 

Wednesday June 7, 2023, 11.30am

Blackpool Cricket Club, Stanley Park 

Toss: The Diamonds won it and elected to bat.

Teams – Thunder: Naomi Dattani, Liberty Heap, Fi Morris, Deandra Dottin, Ellie Threlkeld c&w, Danielle Collins, Seren Smale, Tara Norris, Mahika Gaur, Olivia Bell, Sophie Morris. 

Diamonds: Lauren Winfield-Hill, Leah Dobson, Hollie Armitage c, Sterre Kalis, Bess Heath w, Chloe Tryon, Lizzie Scott, Katherine Fraser, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Grace Hall.

Match summary: The Northern Diamonds suffered a seven-wicket defeat after being bowled out for 96 to all but end their chances of reaching Finals Day on Saturday.

Sterre Kallis (24) and Chloe Tyron (22) produced the only innings of note for the Diamonds, with 19-year-old Thunder slow left-arm spinner Olivia Bell taking 3-9 in just her third senior regional game.

Fi Morris, with an unbeaten 42, led the Thunder to a convincing victory with five overs to spare, and the five-point win also clinched a place at Finals Day for the hosts, who leapfrogged the Diamonds in the table.

The Diamonds are now all but out of the race for qualification for Finals Day.

It would take a miraculous size of victory for Sunrisers over Southern Vipers this evening to reprieve them. 

Report: The Diamonds innings never recovered from a poor start after the top order were blown away by Thunder left-arm opening duo Mahika Gaur and Tara Norris to be 19-4 one ball into the fifth over.

Norris accounted for both Leah Dobson and Hollie Armitage to catches at mid-on and backward point respectively in the second over, while Lauren Winfield-Hill, having taken two fours from Gaur’s opening over, holed out to long-on for 12 off the tall left-arm seamer attempting to go big again in the third.

When Bess Heath had both off and middle stumps knocked back by Gaur, heaving across the line at the start of the fifth over, the Diamonds were in early trouble.

Chloe Tryon and Sterre Kalis brought some respite with a 27-run partnership, Tryon sweeping the first delivery from off-spinner Fi Morris nicely for four.

Morris responded with a well flighted delivery to bowl Tryon for 22 and off-spinner Bell followed with the wicket of Beth Langston for 2 to put the Diamonds on the back foot once more; 49-6 in the ninth over.

Kalis and Katherine Fraser added a steadying 25 before Kalis holed out to long-on for 24 at the end of the 14th over to give Morris a second wicket.

The innings fell away quickly from that point with Bell having Fraser caught in the deep for 17 and Katie Levick caught at extra cover before the innings ended on 96 with the run out of Grace Hall in the 19th over.

The Thunder, needing to chase down their target of 96 in 16 overs in order to qualify for Finals Day with a five-point victory, made the best possible start with Naomi Dattani hitting the first two balls of the innings from Lizzie Scott for four with 11 runs taken from the opening over.

That got the hosts up and running immediately, and they never really looked back.

Liberty Heap fell for 12 to a great tumbling catch by Kalis at backward point off Fraser in the fourth over and Dattani sliced Beth Langston to Levick at short third for 20.

But, by that point, the Thunder, on 64-2 in the 10th, had their target well in sight.

That was largely due to an attacking innings by Fi Morris who finished unbeaten on 42 off 34 balls, and the loss of Deandra Dottin for nine to a smart stumping by Bess Heath off Levick when seven runs were required, mattered little.

It was left to Thunder skipper Ellie Threlkeld to hit the winning run off the last ball of the 15th over.

Magic moment: It was great to see Beth Langston back on the field for the first time since suffering an ACL injury in The Hundred last August. She returned 1-22 from three overs of pace. 

Turning point: It’s hard to look past the Diamonds powerplay. The adage that you don’t win many T20 games with three or more wickets down early held true today. The Diamonds were 29-4 after six overs and never recovered from that poor start.

Stat of the match: Unfortunately, the Diamonds total of 96 is the lowest in the Charlotte Edwards Cup this season.

What they said – Assistant coach Kyle Coetzer said: “It’s going to hurt, and it hurts everyone in the group – and all those watching. It’s a tough one to take for us. But sometimes cricket throws these hurdles in front of you.

“Losing three wickets in the powerplay is a tough way to set your innings off. We’ve got some fine batters in the line-up, and we could probably play that game again 10 times over and not be 15-3.

“We were looking to put a big total on the board, but it didn’t quite go our way today.

“We understood there were a few mathematical equations in there today, but we came to take the brave option. For our very high standards, we played a very low level of cricket from what we expect of ourselves.

“We can’t look much past the fact we seriously underperformed, and we’re going to have to live with that and move on.

“If you don’t take the opportunity to try and learn from it or find a path to improve as a player or coach, it will be an opportunity wasted.

“It was so great to see Langers back. That was the chat in the group after the game. That’s the first time I’ve seen her out on the field, and it was exceptional to see. That’s something we can take away from a tough day.”

What’s next: The Diamonds resume their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign with a trip to Beckenham on July 2 to play the South East Stars. The Diamonds, the defending champions, have won three of five games so far. 

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