The season in advent - day 17 - RHFT final defeat, but plenty of hope for future

A final defeat, maybe. But this performance gave plenty of encouragement for the future.

The Diamonds were beaten by three wickets with two balls to spare as, at Northampton, the Southern Vipers retained their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy crown in thrilling fashion.

It was a third straight final defeat for a Diamonds side who were left shell-shocked by an impressive comeback by the South Coast side after slipping to 109-7 in pursuit of 184.

Emily Windsor and Tara Norris staged a dramatic late rally with 47 and 40, sharing an unbroken 78.

However, the Diamonds showed equal fight earlier in the match when they dragged themselves from 116-8 to a 183 total.

Ami Campbell (60) scored a half-century for the second time in four days.

There were plenty of standout performances in this highly entertaining game which, realistically, neither side deserved to lose.

Vipers looked like they had come up short in pursuit when Katie Levick (1-20) and Jenny Gunn (3-31) contributed to reduce them to 109-7.

While the batting exploits of Norris added to two earlier wickets, Windsor was named player of the match. Their captain Georgia Adams also claimed 4-35 with her part-time off-spin.

Diamonds promoted Linsey Smith to open, and she solidly made 31 before becoming the first victim for Adams, the first of three wickets for one run - 73-4 in the 23rd over.

Another collapse of four wickets for four runs followed.

At 116-8, Diamonds were on the ropes. But left-handed Campbell had other ideas, striking four boundaries to reach 50 in 63 balls. By the time she holed out in the final over, the last two wickets had accrued 67 and regained valuable momentum.

The 183 total looked worth more when Beth Langston bowled Adams and Ella McCaughan for ducks to leave Vipers 6-2.

Maia Bouchier pulled the game’s first six, but Phoebe Graham removed in-form Georgia Elwiss caught behind for 14. Bouchier reached 33 before being stumped by Bess Heath off Levick’s leg-spin, who strangled the rate with Smith’s help.

With pressure mounting, Gunn castled Gaby Lewis, before having Paige Scholfield brilliantly caught by Hollie Armitage and trapping Carla Rudd first ball.

But Norris saved the hat-trick and then her side’s skin.

With two seasons now complete, the Diamonds have reached all three regional finals and played some brilliant cricket along the way, leading you to think that rewards in the form of silverware will not be too far away.


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