Thunder v Northern Diamonds
Charlotte Edwards Cup, Group Two
Monday August 30 2021, 2.30pm
Chester Boughton Hall Cricket Club
Toss: Diamonds won it and elected to bowl.
Teams: Diamonds - Heath w, Dobson, Winfield-Hill, Armitage c, Kalis, Gunn, Hopkins, MacDonald, Slater, Levick, Smith.
Thunder - Boyce, Mullan, Threlkeld w, Marshall, Cross, Collins, Jackson, Dyson, Jones, Hartley c, Turner.
Match summary: The Diamonds won a one-sided clash with Thunders by eight wickets as they chased down the modest target of 91 in just the 13th over.
The victory secured Diamond’s spot at the Charlotte Edwards Cup finals day after they finished top of Group B.
Veteran bowler Jenny Gunn was outstanding as she took four for 15 while Bess Heath hit a brilliant unbeaten 58 off 40 balls, including 10 boundaries.
Diamonds now qualify for Finals Day at Southampton on September 5.
Report: Thunder had got off to a decent start with an opening partnership of 20 between Georgie Boyce and Daisy Mullan hinting at better things to come before Rachel Slater struck with the wickets of Boyce (14) and Threlkeld (1).
Laura Marshall helped progress the score to 47 until she was bowled by Linsey Smith for 14 with Mullan falling to Katie Levick for the same score in the same way soon afterwards.
From then on it was all about Gunn as the former England seamer decimated the Thunder middle order with the dangerous Kate Cross proving the vital wicket after she had scored successive boundaries off Alex MacDonald.
Laura Jackson fell to a sharp caught and bowled chance for Gunn for eight with Alice Dyson finding skipper Hollie Armitage at long on off the very next ball.
Gunn’s next delivery was hit for four by Danielle Collins but the veteran bowler made it three wickets in four balls when Collins was caught by Slater off her second delivery faced.
Thunder’s fight was done and they quickly subsided to 90 for nine with Smith claiming her second wicket when Alex Hartley was stumped without scoring.
The home side’s fortunes failed to improve with the ball as Diamonds’ openers Leah Dobson and Heath set about the Thunder attack in powerful fashion.
The pair had eased their way to 46 off 39 balls when Dobson offered an easy chance to Laura Jackson off Dyson and departed for 20 which brought the ominous figure of Lauren Winfield-Hill to the crease.
With the hosts looking increasingly ragged in the field the victory never looked in doubt and despite Hannah Jones bowling Winfield-Hill for just five, Heath was able to reach her half-century before the eight wicket win was secured in the 13th over.
Turning point: England bowler Kate Cross can be a dangerous player with the bat and when she hit successive boundaries off Katie Levick it looked like Thunder maybe about to put their foot down. On came Jenny Gunn who dismissed her old England colleague with her second ball and nipped any sign of a recovery firmly in the bud.
Magic moment: Skipper Hollie Armitage hit a towering straight six off Alex Hartley to win the game in a one-sided duel of the two opposing skippers.
Stat: Jenny Gunn, who took 4-15, remains England's all-time leading wicket-taker in ODIs with 136 scalps between 2004 and 2019 and showed all that international class once again.
What they said: Bess Heath - "It was good to finally get some runs under my belt as it has been a long time coming after having an injury at the start of the season.
"It felt good to hit it out of the middle but for me it was all about feeling calm out there, relaxing into the shots and not forcing it too much. I felt confident and happy out there.
"Me and Dobbo have batted together for years so we're very comfortable opening up top with each other and we set ourselves a target of 40 runs to make together and we achieved that.
"Hopefully we can take some momentum into finals day and keep the feeling of winning. We went out there with energy knowing we needed to get this bonus point and I thought we put in a really good shift. We have been trying to step our fielding up to the next level and we want to be the best in the field."
What’s next: Diamonds head to Finals Day and will play Southern Vipers at The Ageas Bowl on Sunday afternoon for the right to face South East Stars in the early evening final.