Southern Vipers beat South East Stars to reach Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final

Southern Vipers
The Southern Vipers are aiming for three titles in a row

Southern Vipers will defend their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy title for the second straight season after beating South East Stars in the semi-final eliminator by six wickets.

Vipers will face Northern Diamonds in the final at Lord’s on Sunday in a repeat of the 2020 and 2021 finals.

Tara Norris claimed 3-29 as the Stars were ousted for just 139 at Beckenham.

England’s Maia Bouchier (51) and Ella McCaughan (47) then steered the Vipers to 143-4 after 34 overs.

The Stars finished second in the table to secure home advantage in the eliminator and won the toss at Beckenham. They chose to bat but were floundering at 12-3 after five overs with Chloe Brewer, Kira Chathli and skipper Bryony Smith all falling in single figures.

Jemima Spence provided the only real resistance as she compiled a dogged 45 not out from 102 deliveries, batting for nearly two-and-a-half hours and finding the rope only three times.

Phoebe Franklin (15) and Alexa Stonehouse (11) were the only other batters to reach double-figures as Spence saw partners falling at regular intervals.

Alongside Norris’ three wickets, Mary Taylor and Finty Trussler took two wickets apiece as the hosts were eventually bundled out with more than seven overs to spare.

Bouchier, who had been released by the England ODI squad to play in the match, joined McCaughan to open the reply and the pair put on a breezy 98 inside 25 overs to bring the finishing line in sight.

Bouchier was bowled by her international team-mate Freya Davies, who has also been released by England to play in the game, before McCaughan followed her back to the pavilion soon after, caught by Davies off the bowling of Smith.

Georgia Elwiss and Paige Scholfield scored 11 apiece before Emily Windsor came in to hit the only ball she faced for four to secure victory with 16 overs to spare.

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