Beth Langston, Sterre Kalis and Jenny Gunn were the stars as the Diamonds beat the South East Stars in a thriller at Emerald Headingley to go top of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table with a third win in four games.
The Diamonds won by three wickets with four balls to spare chasing 251 and took advantage of the Central Sparks losing to North West Thunder to overtake them at the summit.
This was a nail-biting win which looked in serious doubt at 70-5 in the 16th over of the chase after Kirstie White’s 73 off 90 balls underpinned the Stars’ 250-6.
But Langston, Kalis and Gunn all scored crucial half-centuries, with the former hitting the winning runs in the final over when she clubbed Freya Davies over mid-wicket.
Dutch international Kalis top-scored with 75 off 106 balls, while Gunn made 50 off 70. They set the recovery wheels in motion with a 90-run sixth-wicket stand before Langston held her nerve as tensions increased, finishing 59 not out off 53.
The Diamonds have now won two thrillers in this season’s RHF Trophy and lost another - the opening game here against the Sparks by one wicket.
Sarah Taylor’s return to professional cricket after two years away ended in a victory she will savour.
The England legend kept impressively as she warms up for the Hundred before hitting two off five balls with the bat. She was the fifth wicket to fall.
This was a crucial win for the Diamonds given that, before the game, they were level on nine points with the Stars in second and third.
There is now a break in this competition as the Regional T20 begins later this month and then the Hundred.
The Diamonds looked set to slip to defeat when they lost four wickets for 12 as they slipped from 58-1 in the 11th over. But this team has a never say die attitude to call upon, first displayed this season in beating the Lightning at Kibworth.
White’s 15th career half-century in List A cricket advanced the Stars after they had elected to bat in front of a couple of hundred crowd in the Emerald Headingley sunshine.
She was supported by a series of valuable contributions, including Aylish Cranstone’s 42 not out. White set the platform before Cranstone gave the innings late impetus with half a dozen boundaries in 31 balls.
The Diamonds dropped three catches of varying difficulty in good batting conditions. The pitch was true and the outfield fast.
Taylor was responsible for the first behind the stumps in the second over of the match when Alice Davidson-Richards edged Phoebe Graham behind on one.
Taylor, a replacement signing for England’s Lauren Winfield-Hill and injured Bess Heath, went to her right one-handed and could only parry a chance which would have been classed as a stunner.
Gunn struck twice for the Diamonds, but White harnessed power and invention to put Stars in a commanding position.
That position was significantly strengthened inside 14 overs of the chase as the Diamonds slipped to 65-4, bringing Taylor in as she prepares for the Hundred with the Welsh Fire.
England seamer Freya Davies had Hollie Armitage caught behind and Grace Gibbs trapped Rachel Hopkins lbw and had Alex MacDonald caught at cover.
And Taylor was bowled off an under-edge pulling at Dani Gregory’s leg-spin - 70-5 in the 16th over. Like Gibbs, it was the spinner’s second wicket.
Gunn and Kalis confidently rebuilt in a 90 stand, both reaching 50 before Gunn fell to Bryony Smith at 160-6 after 36 overs.
Kalis took the target to 44 off six overs before being run out from deep midwicket at the non-striker’s end - 209-7 in the 45th over - turning for, and then opting against, a second run
Langston, however, held her nerve to seal a nail-biting success, hitting her ninth boundary to seal a victory that will rank amongst their best in the short history of the Northern Diamonds.