Hollie Armitage and Northern Diamonds sharpen focus on Rachael Heyhoe Flint 50-over Trophy

Two regional trophies completed, two final appearances. The Northern Diamonds are now bidding to ensure it is third time lucky for them over the next two-and-a-half weeks.

Last summer’s beaten finalists in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint 50-over Trophy suffered the same fate last Sunday in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl when South East Stars claimed the honours by five wickets chasing 139.

Now, attentions turn to the resumption of this season’s 50-over Heyhoe Flint Trophy, in which the Diamonds are handily placed after four of their seven group fixtures.

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“We’ve got another trophy in sight now,” said defiant captain Hollie Armitage.

Northern Diamonds Hollie Armitage during the Charlotte Edwards Cup Finals Day Final match at The Ageas Bowl, Hampshire. last week (Picture: PA)

“We park the T20 and move on to our next challenge, which is getting to this 50-over final.”

That bid starts up again today against Western Storm at Durham’s Emirates Riverside (10.30am). It is the first match of this competition since June 12 when Diamonds beat the Stars by three wickets chasing 251 at Emerald Headingley.

The Diamonds are second in the eight-team table with three wins from four games and 13 points, one behind leaders Southern Vipers and level on points but ahead of third-placed Central Sparks courtesy of a marginally better net run-rate.

The top team advances directly to the final at Northampton on September 25, while the second and third-placed teams face off in a semi-final eliminator clash at the team in second’s home venue on September 22.

Hollie Armitage bats for Northern Diamonds in the nets (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

There was obvious disappointment on Sunday, but that can be used as a positive, believes Armitage: “It gives us extra motivation, definitely,” she said.

“We had our eyes on two trophies at the start of the year, and we’ve got really close to getting one of them. It wasn’t to be, but hopefully we can go one better in the second.

“Credit to our girls, they fought really hard on Sunday. But you also have to credit the Stars for the way they played in chasing that target (139).

“They are a young and talented side, and I think they are one to watch out for.”

Today’s fixture is the first of two games in three days, with Thunder also visiting Durham on Sunday.

The Diamonds will make a late call on the fitness of one of their stars of the aforementioned last RHF Trophy win – against the Stars – Beth Langston.

Seam bowling all-rounder Langston missed the Diamonds last four fixtures in the Charlotte Edwards Cup with a quad 
injury.