Jess Woolston’s stunning maiden five-for set the Northern Diamonds on the way to what proved a nervy three-wicket DLS Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy win over South East Stars at Scarborough today, a match in which England’s Sophia Dunkley scored an unbeaten 101 for the visitors.
Woolston, 20, put the skids under the Stars top order by taking all five wickets as they slipped to 55-5 inside 11 overs having been inserted.
However, Dunkley showed her international class to recover her side to 223 all out inside 45 overs with a run-a-ball century – her fifth in senior cricket.
A wet outfield had delayed the start by an hour until 11.30am, reducing the contest to 46 overs per side before some afternoon rain revised the target to 178 in 36.
Sterre Kalis then hit a superb and calm 66 not out off 98 balls, and she survived a Diamonds wobble as they fell from 146-2 to 150-5 and later started the final over at 174-6, needing four to win off Bryony Smith’s spin.
Lizzie Scott hit the winning runs with two balls to spare, sealing a four-point haul.
Hollie Armitage’s side have now won three and lost two out of five and have moved up to third in the table as the competition now breaks for the start of the Charlotte Edwards (T20) Cup next week. The Stars have won three and lost two.
The regional 50-over champions showed their mettle to recover from being bowled out for 62 in defeat to the Blaze on Saturday, enjoying early success with the ball on a surface offering extra bounce, particularly as Woolston bowled from the Peasholm Park End.
They caught superbly early on before allowing Dunkley a couple of lives on 85 and 100 in the deep.
Credit to Dunkley for the way she settled things down for her side who were losing wickets at a dangerous rate before becoming more expansive as she ran out of partners late in the innings.
Woolston struck first when she had Aylish Cranstone caught by Leah Dobson running around to short mid-off following a leading edge, leaving the Stars 9-1 in the third over.
Captain Bryony Smith and fellow England all-rounder Alice Davidson-Richards both then fell in identical fashion off Woolston, pulling her out to Abi Glen at deep midwicket. The first catch was an excellent effort at head high following a particularly well struck shot.
Sandwiched in between opener Kira Chathli edged the same bowler behind.
The Davidson-Richards wicket was the first of two wickets to fall in the 11th over, with in-form Paige Scholfield caught and bowled by Woolston off a leading edge. Scholfield has scored two hundreds already this season.
It was 55-5 and Woolston was on a roll in her sixth senior appearance in blue.
Kalis then took a superb low catch at backward point to help seamer Glen dismiss Phoebe Franklin for a settling 26, ending a 45-run stand with Dunkley (100-6 after 19 overs).
Woolston’s new ball partner Scott struck twice – Tash Farrant and Ryana Macdonald-Gay caught in the ring – as the score fell to 154-8 in the 31st.
And that was Dunkley’s cue to expand her innings to the kind of things we see regularly from her in an England shirt.
Having reached 50 off 60 balls with only three fours, she went on to pepper the leg-side boundary with a pulled six off Armitage and three more boundaries.
She reached her century off 100 balls and dominated a ninth-wicket stand of 68 with international team-mate Freya Davies, who she tried to shield from the strike.
Lauren Winfield-Hill (46) and Kalis shared 88 for the first wicket, with the former chopping on to Macdonald-Gay almost immediately the players went off for rain just before 4.15pm.
When play resumed at 4.40pm, the target was set. From 89-1 in the 22nd, the Diamonds needed another 89 more in 14.4 overs.
Armitage fell quickly, but Bess Heath’s aggressive 33 further strengthened the home position.
However, she was the first of three quick wickets to fall, including Chloe Tryon’s run out for a golden duck, as the score fell to 150-5 in the 31st over.
Dobson later fell, as did Glen stumped at the start of the last over. But Scott came in and lofted Smith over the top to win the game, while Kalis’ first fifty of the summer came at the perfect time.