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Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Latest news, Scores and Updates from today's matches - August 31st

Nat Sciver  (Northern Diamonds)
Nat Sciver (Northern Diamonds)
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Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: All the Latest news, Scores and Updates from today's matches - August 31st

South East Stars v Sunrisers

South East Stars vs Sunrisers, South Group

After their disappointing loss in the opening round of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, South East Stars came back strongly in their second outing to defeat Sunrisers by 77 runs at Beckenham, thanks to a hard-hitting 97 from England’s Sophia Dunkley.

Dunkley fell agonisingly short of bringing up the first century of the competition, but nonetheless successfully set up victory for her side, sharing a 123-run partnership for the fourth wicket with her England teammate Alice Davidson-Richards (61) to take Stars to a total of 289-8.

With Sunrisers requiring a record-breaking effort - no side has ever chased down more than 280 in women’s List A cricket in England - captain Amara Carr tried valiantly to overcome the odds, but eventually faced double disappointment, falling for 99 as her side were bowled out for 212 in 45.5 overs.

Stars had put a dent in the Sunrisers’ hopes early on in their chase - captain Tash Farrant beating Katie Midwood for pace with her third ball of the day to take out her middle stump, leaving them 0-1.

While Fran Wilson and Carr then shared a fifty-run partnership for the second wicket, they were consistently behind the required rate, and Wilson’s departure in the 11th over - caught at midwicket for 29 trying to push the score along - signalled the start of a slow but steady collapse. Along the way Dunkley (2-34) added two scalps to her day’s account, while Bryony Smith finished with 3-25.

Carr continued to battle away at one end, gradually coming out of her shell as her innings progressed, with the highlight an audacious scoop for four to take her into the nineties. Unfortunately for Sunrisers, she was eventually stumped coming down the track to Smith in the 42nd over, and there was no one to take up the mantle. Sunrisers sorely missed batter Cordelia Griffith, one of their three full-time professionals, who was unavailable for selection due to injury.

Earlier, having won the toss and chosen to bat first, Stars had initially found themselves in trouble, with the scoreline reading 4-2 after the first three balls of the day had been bowled. Bryony Smith, having sent Katie Wolfe’s first delivery sailing through the off side for four, then bottom-edged the next one to Carr behind the stumps, while Aylish Cranstone was clean bowled by an inswinger from the 19-year-old, bagging a golden duck.

However, Dunkley successfully faced down Wolfe’s hat-trick ball, and - after the further loss of Alice Capsey in the sixth over - was able to marshal an effective recovery. Stars ended the first 10-over powerplay with 55 runs on the board, doubling their scoring rate from Saturday’s first-round match, and setting the groundwork for a total of almost 300 - the highest in the competition from any team so far.

Dunkley was ably supported by England teammate Davidson-Richards, who hit a 74-ball 61 before spooning up a straightforward catch to Wilson at cover in the 28th over - becoming the first of 4 scalps for seamer Sonali Patel (4-52). Former England star Susie Rowe yet again proved her mettle for Stars, with an aggressive cameo of 39 to ensure the innings finished strongly.

But it was Dunkley who was the real star of the show, combining sensible defence with the ability to send anything wide of the stumps flying towards the boundary - the kind of innings which Stars had so lacked in their opening match on Saturday.

Though she eventually fell in the 40th over 3 runs short of her century, nervously pulling Jo Gardner straight to midwicket, Dunkley - who has not played an international since March 2019 - will be hopeful that she has done enough to convince England coach Lisa Keightley (who was present at Beckenham) that she is raring to go in the forthcoming series against West Indies.

Southern Vipers bowler Tara Norris said: "That was a really emotional win for us. When Heather Knight was going well, it didn';t look as though 261 was going to be enough. She's a world class player and someone who can win a match from any position. When I got her out, I knew it could be a turning point. I was pleased and surprised by the way I bowled, but I had great support from the others. Storm are a top team and that's a really big win for us. We're playing well and feel we can go all the way."

 Western Storm skipper Sophie Luff said: "Losing those wickets in the middle phase of the innings proved the difference. I've not had much chance to bat with Heather this year, but we were going really well and had got ourselves ahead of the rate. It all changed when I got out and, perhaps the situation got the better of one or two of the younger girls thereafter. I thought we did really well to pull the game back after they made such a good start and, with Danni Wyatt and Georgia Adams at the crease, I think I would have settled for chasing 250 or 260. Our spinners brought us back into it, but we couldn't follow it up with the bat. We now lose Katie (George), Heather (Knight) and Anya (Shrubsole) to England, so there will be an opportunity for some of our other young players to make their mark in the remaining games."

Sparks v Thunder Report

Thunder vs Central Sparks, North Group

Thunder 135/10 (46.1) 
Central Sparks 136/6 (44)

Sparks won by 4 wickets

Central Sparks secured their first win of the tournament against North West Thunder by … wickets, thanks to an all-round performance, especially from the bowlers that saw them chase down 144 in 44 overs. 

Issy Wong excelled once again, taking three wickets (3-26), whilst Marie Kelly paced the chase brilliantly against some tough Thunder bowling, top scoring on 59*.

Thunder won the toss and elected to bat, but couldn’t put the decision to good use as they were succumbed to an excellent team performance by the hosts, a close game in the end but Sparks went away with the victory.

Wong set the tone for the match, sending Laura Marshall’s middle stump flying first ball, before next over Emily Arlott got the wicket of Georgie Boyce, who also went without scoring. 

The opening bowlers continued to be dominant, bowling very tightly, allowing Thunder just four runs off first five overs. Wickets then began to fall again, as Wong bowled Ellie Threlkeld for 7 and Emma Lamb was caught at fine leg to give Wong her third wicket, with Thunder reduced to 18/4.

Thunder couldn't manage to salvage a partnership, with Clare Boycott taking the next two wickets,  as Sophie Ecclestone skied a catch to point, for 14, followed by Natalie Brown being bowled for 35. 

Sarah Glenn was introduced into the attack, making an impact, getting Sophie Turner to edge behind, as Thunder reached 75/7 at the halfway stage. 

However, Kate Cross and Olivia Thomas helped Thunder reach a more respectable total, putting on a partnership of 56 to deny Sparks a quick finish to the innings. 

Georgia Davis had other ideas, taking the final three wickets, as Thunder were bowled out for 135 in 46 overs.  The first, removing Cross on 45, who went for a long shot but was caught at mid on, then Alex Hartley edged behind without scoring and Hannah Jones went for 3, caught at mid on also. 

As Sparks came out for the chase, Thunder ensured they didn’t make light work of it, with Brown bowling Amy Jones out for 12 and Hartley trapping Eve Jones lbw for 27. 

Hartley carried on her restrictive bowling, alongside Sophie Ecclestone, as Davies was out lbw for 1 Hartley. 

MIlly Home and Marie Kelly came out to the middle and saw Sparks through a tough period of bowling as they began to up the run rate in the chase. They put on a partnership of 45 before Cross dismissed Home lbw for 17. Three balls later, Ecclestone bowled Glenn for 0, as Sparks reached 101/5 after 30 overs. 

Thunder fought their way back in well, as Boycott was caught and bowled by Ecclestone for 5, and the game got a lot tenser than Sparks would have liked. Sparks denied Thunder a nervy finish as Kelly passed her half century from 89 balls, finishing unbeaten on 59 to see her team home. 


Western Storm v Southern Vipers

Western Storm vs Southern Vipers, South Group

Western Storm 239/10 (47.5)

Southern Vipers 261/7 (50)

Vipers won by 22 runs

Tara Norris played a starring role, claiming 4-45 in eight overs as Southern Vipers staged a brilliant fightback to beat arch rivals Western Storm by 22 runs in a high-calibre Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy South Group encounter at the Bristol County Ground. Put into bat, Vipers raised a competitive 261-7 from 50 overs thanks to half centuries from Georgia Adams, Danni Wyatt and Charlotte Dean. Heather Knight and Sophie Luff threatened to make light work of that when scoring 67 and 60 respectively in a hundred partnership for the second wicket, only for Storm's chase to hit the rocks in the face of an inspired spell from Norris, who was ably supported by fellow seamers Lauren Bell, Maia Bouchier and Paige Scholfield. Handily-placed on 149-1 in the 26th over, the hosts suffered a dramatic collapse, losing seven wickets for 31 runs in 11 overs and, despite the best efforts of tailenders Claire Nicholas and Lauren Parfitt, were bowled out for 239 inside 48 overs. Victorious in their opening two fixtures, Vipers are top of the group and, with four matches to play, have put themselves in with a decent chance of making the final at Edgbaston on September 27.

Storm appeared to be cruising to victory when Knight and Luff staged an increasingly authoritative partnership of 130 in 22 overs, the second wicket pair both registering half centuries to put their rivals firmly on the back foot. When Knight was caught behind off a Bouchier no ball on 23 and then dropped by Scholfield at mid-wicket off the same bowler on 52, it looked like being Storm's day.

But Scholfield atoned by catching Luff at mid-on off the bowling of Adams, an interjection that proved a defining moment in the game, sparking an unexpected collapse in which the hosts slipped from 149-1 to 180-8. Left-arm seamer Norris was at the heart of the turnaround in fortunes, claiming four wickets in a devastating 19-ball burst, including the prized scalp of Knight, who was bowled for 67 via a bottom edge, at which point Storm were required to score a further 102 from 20 overs with their batting inspiration back in the changing room. Having already had Georgia Hennessy caught at the wicket, Norris again struck twice in quick succession to remove Katie George and Alex Griffiths, both held by the ubiquitous Scholfield.

Bell then bowled Nat Wraith to finish with 2-41 from nine overs and Scholfield accounted for Emma Corney, after which Nicholas and Parfitt did their best to make a game of it, staging a spirited stand of 47 in eight overs for the ninth wicket. But Adams, who finished with 3-23, claimed the wickets of Nicholas and Niamh Holland, leaving Parfitt unbeaten on 33.

Having posted a match-winning opening stand of 111 in Saturday's seven-wicket triumph over Sunriders, Adams and Wyatt picked up where they left off to provide Vipers with the perfect start, staging an assured alliance of 105 in 19.4 overs on a surface that held few demons for batsmen. Taking advantage of the fielding restrictions and some wayward bowling, these two proved adept at rotating the strike, running hard between the wickets and scoring primarily behind square to plunder 90 runs from the first 15 overs.

England one-day star Wyatt established herself as the senior partner, taking few risks in cutting and pulling her way to a 54-ball half century which included half a dozen boundaries. Demonstrating sound shot selection, Adams realised the same landmark from 70 balls as runs came easily against a Storm attack that lacked express pace and penetration.

Quickly realising that it was difficult to hit down the ground and that taking the pace off the ball would generate additional bounce, Luff called upon her triumvirate of off spinners in an attempt to change the dynamic, a strategy that paid dividends when Wyatt uncharacteristically gave Fi Morris the charge and saw her middle stump knocked back. Attempting to make the most of the platform afforded by the openers, Bouchier went aerial. only to play one shot too many, loft a flighted delivery from Knight straight to mid-off and depart for 16 in the 27th over. When Adams was called through for an ill-advised single by Dean off the bowling of Knight and comprehensively run out for 55 by Luff's smart pick-up-and-throw from backward point, Vipers had lost two wickets in 10 balls and, at 149-3, were in danger of losing crucial mid-innings momentum. Scholfield succumbed to Nicholas for nine, top-edging a sweep to Parfitt at short fine leg, and Emily Windsor was caught behind for 14 off an arm ball from Knight, who extracted extra bounce to finish with 2-36 from 10 overs to help Storm wrest back a degree of control.

Ella McCaughan attempted to open up the off side and was bowled by a ball that nipped back at her from George, while Carla Rudd was lured onto the front foot by Hennessy and fell prey to a smart stumping from the exemplary Wraith as Storm's death bowlers continued to turn the screw. Determined to make amends for running out her captain, Dean remained unperturbed by the fall of wickets at the other end, putting fielders under pressure with clever placement and hard running in a stabilising innings of 60 not out from 70 balls, with four boundaries, to haul the visitors to respectability. 

Southern Vipers bowler Tara Norris said: "That was a really emotional win for us. When Heather Knight was going well, it didn';t look as though 261 was going to be enough. She's a world class player and someone who can win a match from any position. When I got her out, I knew it could be a turning point. I was pleased and surprised by the way I bowled, but I had great support from the others. Storm are a top team and that's a really big win for us. We're playing well and feel we can go all the way."

 Western Storm skipper Sophie Luff said: "Losing those wickets in the middle phase of the innings proved the difference. I've not had much chance to bat with Heather this year, but we were going really well and had got ourselves ahead of the rate. It all changed when I got out and, perhaps the situation got the better of one or two of the younger girls thereafter. I thought we did really well to pull the game back after they made such a good start and, with Danni Wyatt and Georgia Adams at the crease, I think I would have settled for chasing 250 or 260. Our spinners brought us back into it, but we couldn't follow it up with the bat. We now lose Katie (George), Heather (Knight) and Anya (Shrubsole) to England, so there will be an opportunity for some of our other young players to make their mark in the remaining games."

Northern Diamonds vs Lightning

Northern Diamonds vs Lightning, North Group

Northern Diamonds 226/9 (50)

Lightning 217/7 (50)

Diamonds won by 9 runs

Natalie Sciver scored a century and claimed two wickets in a fine all-round performance to guide Northern Diamonds to a nine-run victory over Lightning in their Rachael Heyhoe Flint clash at Emirates Riverside.

Sciver starred with the bat, scoring the first hundred in the competition from 106 balls, allowing the Diamonds to post a competitive total of 226 from their 50 overs, recovering from 24-4.

Lightning skipper Kathryn Bryce claimed five wickets and scored a half-century, but it was not enough to prevent the visitors from slumping to their second defeat in a row. Sciver, Jenny Gunn and Linsey Smith notched two wickets apiece to clinch Diamonds' second win in the competition, leaving them in a strong position in the North Group.

Lauren Winfield was the key player in the Diamonds' victory over Central Sparks in their opener. However, she lasted only four balls as Bryce got the breakthrough in the second over, sneaking her second ball of the day through the gate.

The Scotland captain struck again through the clever work of Sarah Bryce, stumping Hollie Armitage after she stepped out of her crease. Kathryn was on a roll notching two further scalps to remove Sterre Kallis and Katherine Brunt to leave the hosts reeling.

Sciver and Gunn turned the momentum with a stand of fifty for the fifth wicket from 82 deliveries. However, Bethan Ellis dismissed Gunn and Bessie Heath to put the pressure back on the home side.

The England international kept her composure despite the loss of wickets around her and was able to reach her half-century from 62 balls, passing the milestone with a strike over the top. Sciver was aided by Alex MacDonald (24), adding a half-century for the seventh wicket guiding the Diamonds past the 150-run mark.

The 28-year-old was rewarded for her exploits in the middle with a century, reaching the milestone with a quick single. Bryce returned to claim her fifth wicket of the innings, bowling Sciver for 104, although the Diamonds were able to post a competitive total of 226.

The Lightning began well in their reply without taking a great deal of risk. Tammy Beaumont and Sarah Bryce brought up their fifty partnership in the 10th over. Both players were able to manoeuvre the ball around the field to make inroads into their target.

Beaumont deployed the sweep to great effect and she brought up the visitors' hundred with two runs down to fine leg, while Sarah Bryce then worked her way to her second half-century of the competition from 80 balls.

Beaumont followed suit in recording her fifty, but was then bowled by Smith, breaking the opening stand at 117. Smith then had Sarah Bryce caught behind for 57 to make further inroads. Once the openers were gone the Lightning struggled to score, and Sciver ramped up the pressure by removing Ellis and Lucy Higham cheaply, completing a fine all-round display.

Kathryn Bryce held the innings together for the visitors, notching a vital 66-ball fifty. She upped the ante by dispatching a four and a six from back-to-back deliveries. However, it was not enough for the visitors, who fell short of their victory target.

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