Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Armitage leads Diamonds into play-offs, plus round-up

Hollie Armitage
Hollie Armitage hit a six and 10 fours in her 131-ball innings for Northern Diamonds

Hollie Armitage hit an unbeaten 131 as Northern Diamonds beat Western Storm to reach the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy play-offs with two games to spare.

Armitage’s score was the highest in this year’s competition and her side’s 334-6 set a record competition total.

Southern Vipers maintained their 100% record against Thunder and South East Stars defeated Central Sparks.

Scotland’s Kathryn Bryce made 104 as Lightning defeated Sunrisers by 70 runs in their bottom of the table game.

The previous round of fixtures on Friday had been postponed following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

And all eight teams wore black armbands and observed a minute’s silence before play got under way on Sunday at the four grounds.

Southern Vipers v Thunder
Southern Vipers and Thunder players observe a minute’s silence at the Ageas Bowl

Armitage and England’s Lauren Winfield-Hill gave Diamonds – who had won all four of their previous matches – a flying start at Taunton with a second-wicket stand of 125 in 21 overs.

Winfield-Hill was caught at long-on off Chloe Skelton for 74 but, with the score on 169-4, Armitage was given aggressive support by Bess Heath, who raced to 50 from only 31 balls.

Armitage’s maiden century came up from 110 balls with a quick single off Claire Nicholas and, although Heath was caught at short fine leg for 70 from 46, the skipper stayed to the end as they surpassed the 324-7 by Stars against Sunrisers last summer.

Western Storm struggled to 37-3 and 80-5, with Armitage taking two catches, before Danielle Gibson and Sophia Smale shared a stand of 106.

Armitage broke the partnership when Gibson was caught for 76 off 59 balls at cover off a wide long hop, and also added the wicket of Katie George for figures of 2-27.

Smale was last to go, caught at slip off Katie Levick (4-41), as Storm were all out for 230 in 45.4 overs to lose by 104 runs.

Left-armer Tara Norris took three wickets with the new ball for Vipers after Thunder had chosen to bat first at the Ageas Bowl, but opener Emma Lamb added exactly 100 with Ellie Threlkeld before she skied a catch to mid-on off Paige Scholfield and departed for 63.

Threlkeld reached 50 off 55 balls but her scoring rate slowed and she eventually fell for 79 as Thunder were dismissed for 203 in the 49th over.

Vipers were soon in trouble on 29-3 and later 100-5, but Emily Windsor and Chole Hill put the innings back on track by adding 89 before Windsor was caught for 59 from a leading edge to mid-off.

Hill finished on 41 not out as Norris completed a four-wicket win with a boundary at the end of the 47th over to take them to 204-6, and secure their play-off place.

Stars are likely to join them following a comfortable win at Beckenham, which left them 10 points clear of Lightning and Storm in fourth and fifth.

Their total of 254-9 was built on half-centuries by Chloe Brewer (57 off 76 balls) and Alice Davidson-Richards (50 off 64), while Liz Russell took 3-44 for Sparks.

But Sparks then lost wickets at regular intervals, struggling to 84-7 – with Eva Gray taking 3-28 – before Georgia Davis and Grace Potts (30) shared a stand of 66.

Davis reached 50 off 99 balls with two runs to mid-wicket at the start of the final over and was 52 not out when the innings ended with her side 195-9, and Stars the winners by 59 runs.

Kathryn Bryce
Kathryn Bryce has played 26 T20 internationals for Scotland

Bryce’s century for Lightning at Chelmsford, which included nine fours, was her second of the competition following 109 not out against Thunder in July, and led her side to a score of 230-9.

The winless Sunrisers began the run-chase well as Grace Scrivens (54) and Jodi Grewcock (35) put on 97, but they then lost four wickets for one run, and Kirstie Gordon claimed 4-31 as they were all out for 160 with nine overs left in their innings.

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