Report: Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks


Scorecard


A superb century from Central Sparks' Amy Jones and an unbeaten 71 from Sarah Glenn broke Northern Diamonds' hearts as Emerald Headingley welcomed back crowds to cricket for the first time since September 2019.


Basking in the long-awaited sunshine, home fans watched Sparks pull off an incredible run chase to beat the hosts in a thrilling opener to both sides' Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy campaign.


A century from Lauren Winfield-Hill had ensured Diamonds posted a formidable total of 279 all out which looked to be enough until first Jones and then Glenn carried Sparks over the line with eight wickets down and ten balls to spare.


Earlier, Winfield-Hill had reached three figures off 123 balls, but her efforts were in vain as Sparks went on to snatch a scarcely credible victory.


Diamonds' innings saw Issy Wong pick up an impressive 5-49 from her ten overs, but only Glenn could offer any meaningful support as a scrappy performance in the field saw Sparks drop catches and concede 22 extras, including 18 wides.


Wong and Emily Arlott had kept things tight early on with the teenage quick picking up the early wicket of Hollie Armitage, bowled with a vicious yorker for 13, before Natalie Sciver hit one straight to Eve Jones at midwicket for seven, to leave Diamonds 38 for two.


From then on it was all about Winfield-Hill as she began to feast on Sparks' supporting bowlers and together with Sterre Kalis constructed a third wicket partnership of 112.


When Kalis was out lbw to the impressive Glenn, Katherine Brunt took over and the England legend was there to witness Winfield-Hill bring up her century with a towering six into the Western Terrace off Ria Fackrell.


Winfield-Hill eventually fell in the 42nd over to a good catch from Fackrell off Steph Butler but Brunt's 46 and useful cameos from Jenny Gunn, Alex MacDonald and Beth Langston ensured Diamonds' total was more than adequate.


Sparks got off to the worst possible start, losing both their opening batters without scoring as Brunt and Langston picked up a wicket each.


But Jones and Marie Kelly sparked a recovery as they compiled a partnership of 103 for the third wicket before Kelly holed out to Brunt off Linsey Smith for 31 with the same bowler then forcing Milly Home to edge behind for one.


A stunning one-handed catch from Gunn accounted for Butler for three but Jones stood firm and brought her own century up from 106 balls with three sixes and 11 fours.


When Jones was caught by Amy Campbell for 114 the writing was on the wall for Sparks but Glenn had other ideas as she smashed a quick-fire 50 from 38 balls as an unbeaten ninth wicket partnership of 87 with Arlott saw the Sparks home with Smith's 3-54 the pick of the Diamonds' figures. When Kalis was out lbw to the impressive Glenn, Katherine Brunt took over and the England legend was there to witness Winfield-Hill bring up her century with a towering six into the Western Terrace off Ria Fackrell.


Winfield-Hill eventually fell in the 42nd over to a good catch from Fackrell off Steph Butler but Brunt's 46 and useful cameos from Jenny Gunn, Alex MacDonald and Beth Langston ensured Diamonds' total was more than adequate.


Sparks got off to the worst possible start, losing both their opening batters without scoring as Brunt and Langston picked up a wicket each.


But Jones and Marie Kelly sparked a recovery as they compiled a partnership of 103 for the third wicket before Kelly holed out to Brunt off Linsey Smith for 31 with the same bowler then forcing Milly Home to edge behind for one.


A stunning one-handed catch from Gunn accounted for Butler for three but Jones stood firm and brought her own century up from 106 balls with three sixes and 11 fours.


When Jones was caught by Amy Campbell for 114 the writing was on the wall for Sparks but Glenn had other ideas as she smashed a quick-fire 50 from 38 balls as an unbeaten ninth wicket partnership of 87 with Arlott saw the Sparks home.

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