Northern Diamonds v Lightning: Katie Levick calls on Diamonds to retain sparkle ahead of Hundred-enforced break

Katie Levick has urged no let up from the Northern Diamonds as they bid to keep their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy fate in their own hands when they travel to Durham on Saturday.

The Diamonds have won three from three to start their bid for a third straight 50-over final but a first trophy.

They sit second in the eight-region table on 13 points, a point behind back-to-back champions Southern Vipers.

After the seven-game group stage, the top team qualifies directly for the Lord’s final on September 25, while second and third in the table play off in an effective semi-final a few days earlier.

Northern Diamonds' Katie Levick Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The Diamonds are three points clear of South East Stars in third and, more importantly, have a four-point cushion over Western Storm in fourth. They have both of those two still to play.

Today they face Loughborough-based Lightning at the Seat Unique Riverside (10.30am), the last game before the near seven-week break for the Hundred.

The Diamonds have qualified for the last two RHFT finals without too much fuss, though they have experienced drama in the last two Charlotte Edwards campaigns.

Last season, they had to rely on another result going their way to qualify for Finals Day, and this season they missed out with a defeat in the final round of group games.

Northern Diamonds Katie Levick is congratulated by team-mates Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

“Ultimately, you don’t want to be relying on other results going your way,” said Levick.

“We weren’t happy with that, so we want to try and keep things in our hands.

“To be three from three is brilliant, but we want to be four from four before we break for the Hundred.

“You always look at the calendar to see how it falls. Last year we made it more difficult for ourselves with the T20 break. We went into the Hundred break on the back of a couple of losses, and you’re always fighting hard when you come back.

“If we can get the fourth win this weekend, it would put us in a really good place when there might be a few tired bodies after the Hundred.

“We’ve put in some really strong team performances, and that is the main thing – it has been a team. Someone different is standing up for us each week.

“We’ve backed ourselves in 50-over cricket right from the start of this competition given our record, and it’s worked for us.”

After beating Thunder and Sunrisers - now the bottom two sides – arguably the Diamonds’ most impressive win came against this season’s CE Cup finalists Central Sparks at Worcester last Saturday when they won by five wickets with 10.4 overs to spare chasing 215.

Off-spinner Emma Marlow led the way with 2-37 from 10 overs having taken the new ball before Lauren Winfield-Hill made 50 and Hollie Armitage 60 not out in a routine chase.

“Sparks are a really good team, so we were definitely pleased with that one,” said Levick.

“Losing the toss on a hot day like it was can be tricky, but we put in a great performance with the ball and in the field.”