Ami Campbell was understandably delighted after picking the ideal time to post a season’s best 76, guiding the Northern Diamonds into Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final.
The Diamonds saw off Central Sparks in today’s semi-final eliminator clash at Scarborough, chasing 176 to win by six wickets with 17.1 overs remaining.
Left-handed Campbell came in with the chase at 42-3 after nine overs and went on to hit three sixes in her superb 78-ball knock.
Campbell and co will now face old foes Southern Vipers in the final at Northampton’s Wantage Road this weekend.
The Vipers are the defending champions and beat the Diamonds in last season’s final at Edgbaston. But the Diamonds beat the Vipers in the semi-final of the Charlotte Edwards (T20 Cup) earlier this month and will be hoping for a repeat at Wantage Road.
“It just feels great to have come off the back of a fairly poor season for me and to do something good,” said Newcastle-born Campbell.
“To get us over the line and into the final is superb.
“I felt very nervous when I went in. I knew I had to stay there and was quite defensive at the start. That’s not my usual game, but it’s something I’m getting better at and am working on.
“There were a couple of pace bowlers who came on, and that’s what I prefer. Issy Wong was putting them outside off for me to drive. That gave me a bit of confidence, and I was able to then dab the spinners around.
“We have such a strong batting side, so we can afford to make a few mistakes. Hopefully myself, Bess, Linsey or Langers can come in later on and see the team home if that’s the case. Thankfully it paid off.”
Campbell went on: “I’d say we are a better side now than we were 12 months ago, definitely. We have played some really good cricket this year and won plenty of games.
“We have reached all three finals, but we want to win one. It’s our time to shine. We’ll be giving it all we’ve got.
“We want to beat the Vipers, especially after losing to them the other day! (last group game at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday).
“That was really disappointing. But we have been playing some good cricket and have a lot of momentum going into the final.”