Bess Heath and Northern Diamonds now set sights on Trophy Finals Day

Northern Diamonds booked a knockout spot in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy after hammering Thunder by 105 runs in their clash at Emirates Riverside.

Bess Heath of the Northern Diamonds hits out against Thunder. Picture: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

The Diamonds put forward a brilliant effort with the bat as Bess Heath top scored with an unbeaten 78, but there were also half-centuries for Beth Langston and Sterre Kalis along with a score of 48 from Ami Campbell in their innings of 294-5.

Although Georgie Boyce offered resistance with a knock of 67, the chase always appeared too much for the visitors amid miserly bowling from Hollie Armitage and company. Katie Levick claimed four wickets, while Armitage notched two herself to allow the hosts to ease over the line ahead of a crucial contest next week against table-topping Southern Vipers.

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The Thunder won the toss and inserted the home side in cloudy conditions at Chester-le-Street. Armitage was unable to build on her impressive knock in the Diamonds’ win over the Western Storm on Friday.

She picked out Natalie Brown at point off the bowling of Alice Dyson for only seven. Kalis calmed proceedings alongside Rachel Hopkins, producing a stand worth 47 for the second wicket.

Hopkins took her time to settle, and just when she appeared to be finding her rhythm Brown found her outside edge, allowing Eleanor Threlkeld to make a sharp grab.

Kalis pressed forward in her innings and found the boundary with ease on her way to a fine half-century from 57 balls.

The Netherlands international was dismissed by a great catch by Sophia Turner at cover, but Campbell and Heath ensured the Diamonds maintained their momentum.

Campbell took the attack to Hartley dispatching two straight sixes over the head of the left-arm spinner in her knock of 48.

The left-hander tried to go for another maximum to reach her half-century, but was caught on the boundary by Laura Marshall. Heath and Langston launched an assault on the Thunder bowlers late in the innings, putting on a stand of 91 for the seventh wicket.

Heath provided the platform before Langston powered a quick-fire fifty from 28 balls to usher the Diamonds to a strong total.

The visitors made a measured start to their replay as Georgie Boyce found the boundary off the bowling of Ella Telford. Phoebe Graham entered the attack at the Finchale End to end the opening stand, removing Seren Smale for 12.

Threlkeld and Daisy Mullan were unable to time the ball amid tight bowling from the hosts and paid the price with their wickets. Boyce held the key for the Thunder, and although she was dropped on 49 by Ella Telford, she capitalised by reaching an 84-ball fifty.

The chase was all but over for the Thunder when Armitage removed Boyce for a solid 67 as she attempted to find the boundary before the Diamonds skipper ran out Brown at the non-strikers end.

The Thunder’s required rate soared above 15 runs per over as the hosts continued their stranglehold of the contest, despite a stand worth 55 from Marshall and Laura Jackson. Levick notched late wickets to claim figures of 4-34 to ensure the hosts closed out a comfortable win at Emirates Riverside.

Diamonds star Heath: “It was an excellent win for us and we’re very excited for our game 
against the Southern Vipers next week.

“It’s going to be an important game for us as it decides who is going to go straight into Finals Day.

It’s definitely going to be one to watch and we have to be up for the challenge. We’ve managed to bounce back from our disappointing T20 Finals’ defeat and we’re looking to take that momentum into next week.”

Thunder captain Alex Hartley said: “No we didn’t get going in our chase. We talked about trying to play shots down the ground and build partnerships, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that.

“It is just one of those days. We’re a young squad and we’re learning, but we were just not good enough today.

“They shouldn’t have scored nearly 300, we were not good enough with the ball or or in the field. Chasing almost 300 was always going to be a big ask,” she added.

“I felt as though I didn’t have the right field set because they always had a set batter and always able to find the boundary. We didn’t have that in our batting innings other than Georgie Boyce.”