A game which caught the headlines because of England legend Sarah Taylor’s return to professional cricket after two years in retirement was won by three wickets in stunning fashion by the Diamonds.
Taylor was drafted into the home team at Headingley for this mid-June Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash with South East Stars, and the classy keeper ended up celebrating a comeback victory. But only just!
Sterre Kalis, Jenny Gunn and Beth Langston were the heroes of a tense, topsy-turvy game, though Linsey Smith was particularly impressive with 1-31 from her 10 overs of left-arm spin.
Kirstie White’s measured 73 underpinned the Stars’ 250-6 in their 50 overs. The wickets were shared around.
Taylor accepted an offer to return to pro cricket a touch earlier than expected following a hip injury suffered by regular wicketkeeper Bess Heath.
She was originally due to return for the Welsh Fire in the Hundred, but this was the perfect chance to get back in the groove ahead of that event a month later.
Taylor kept impressively without taking a catch or stumping. She did not concede a bye and nearly took an early one-handed stunner off Phoebe Graham with the new ball.
Unfortunately, batting at six, she only made two as the Diamonds slipped into peril at 70-5 in the 16th over.
But Dutch international Kalis shared in half-century stands for the sixth and seventh wickets, laying the platform for a recovery with a 76 made in similar manner to White for the Stars.
Having united with Gunn (50) and Langston, she fell at 209-7 in the 45th, leaving the game in the balance again.
But Langston hit a superb unbeaten 59 off 53 balls, including nine fours, to seal victory with four balls remaining.