Comment & Analysis
Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Vipers stay top, Diamonds, Sparks and Stars also triumph
Southern Vipers defied a spirited performance from Kate Cross to defeat Thunder and maintain top spot in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table; Northern Diamonds, Central Sparks and South East Stars also prevail
Last Updated: 11/09/21 8:13am
Defending champions Southern Vipers prevailed in a low-scoring affair against Thunder to retain top spot in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table.
Vipers were beaten by South East Stars in last week's Charlotte Edwards Cup final, but they responded to their T20 disappointment by wrapping up a hard-fought three-wicket win at Sale CC.
Thunder were indebted to a terrific all-round display from England international Kate Cross, who made a spirited 57 and registered figures of 2-34 from her ten overs, although it wasn't enough.
The hosts were in turmoil at 59-6, with Tara Norris (4-14), Paige Scholfield (3-16) and Lauren Bell (2-33) inflicting the damage.
Cross' half-century kept Thunder's slender hopes alive, but Emma Lamb (17) - who made her England debut in the first T20 against New Zealand - was the only other player to register double figures.
Thunder were eventually bowled out for 110 inside 33 overs, although Vipers were floundering at 68-5, after Cross accounted for their captain Georgia Adams and England team-mate Georgia Elwiss.
Ella McCaughan (41) top-scored until she was trapped lbw by Alex Hartley (2-28), before Emily Windsor's unbeaten 26 guided Vipers home with more than 16 overs remaining.
Diamonds sparkle against Storm
Hollie Armitage and Linsey Smith produced superb displays to inspire Northern Diamonds to a comprehensive seven-wicket success against Western Storm.
Storm were left to rue an extraordinary mid-order collapse as they slipped from 109-2 to 112-6, despite impressive cameos from Fi Morris (30) and Alex Griffiths (36).
Storm skipper Sophie Luff (65) top-scored with a classy half-century, sharing a seventh-wicket stand of 61 alongside Chloe Skelton (30), although the visitors were dismissed for 183 after left-arm spinner Smith produced career-best figures of 5-34.
England opener Lauren Winfield-Hill (16) succumbed to Georgia Hennessy in the sixth over of Diamonds' reply, but a second-wicket stand of 61 between Armitage and Sterre Kalis (32) put the hosts in total control.
Steph Hutchins (2-27) was the pick of Storm's attack, but Armitage (68 no) anchored the innings, and an unbeaten partnership of 54 with Bess Heath (32) completed a sparkling display from Diamonds, who stay second in the table.
Sparks fly past winless Sunrisers
Central Sparks remain two points adrift of top spot, courtesy of an emphatic win over Sunrisers, who are still searching for their first victory of the competition.
The game was reduced to 42 overs per side following rain earlier in the day, but a fine knock of 69 from Cordelia Griffith helped Sunrisers post a respectable 204-7 at Northwood.
Lissy MacLeod (46) and Griffith led the hosts to 144-1 at one stage, but their momentum was halted by a flurry of wickets in the closing stages, with Ria Fackrell (3-30) and Sparks' skipper Evelyn Jones (2-31) among the wickets.
In reply, Jones (31) and Marie Kelly (58) launched the visitors' response with a terrific opening stand worth 84, as Kelly continued her fine form with an enterprising half-century.
Gwen Davies also made 50 to take Sparks to the cusp of victory, and an unbeaten 22 from Thea Brookes saw them wrap up proceedings in the 38th over, to prevail by six wickets via the DLS method.
Smith, Capsey shine for Stars
Fresh from lifting the Charlotte Edwards Cup last weekend, South East Stars came out on top by 28 runs in an entertaining affair against Lightning at Beckenham.
Bryony Smith (84 off 73) and 17-year-old Alice Capsey (78 off 73) continued their prolific form with the bat, before a quick-fire innings from Kalea Moore (39 off 35) helped the Stars post a formidable 293-9 from their 50 overs.
Yvonne Graves (3-43), Kirstie Gordon (2-37) and captain Kathryn Bryce (2-50) were among the wickets for Lightning, who posted their highest total of the competition in reply.
Bryce (87) produced a superb innings before being run out just 13 runs short of her century, while her sister Sarah (45 off 37) set the tone with a destructive knock.
Abi Freeborn (24) and Gordon (24) also provided spirited resistance for the visitors, but they were bowled out for 265 with four balls of their innings left, as they remain fifth in the table.
Stars' skipper Smith capped off a superb all-round display with figures of 3-46 from her ten overs, while Capsey, Alice Davidson-Richards and Phoebe Franklin picked up two wickets apiece as Stars kept up the pressure on the chasing pack.