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Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy recap: Beth Langston shines in lowest scoring round

The Cricketer reviews the best action from the final round of the 50-over competition in 2024

Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy recap: Beth Langston shines in lowest scoring round

York: Sunrisers 109, Northern Diamonds 111-6 – Northern Diamonds win by four wickets

Six-time England fast bowler Beth Langston made a dream return from her injury nightmare with stunning figures of 6/24 as Northern Diamonds continued their march towards the semi-finals of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with a thrilling four-wicket win over Sunrisers in York.

Before this game, Langston had played only once for the Diamonds since the end of July 2022 and had not taken a 50-over wicket since last September due to a cruciate ligament tear and the resulting complications.

However, she returned to Clifton Park and ended the Sunrisers’ defeat, being bowled out for 109 after 31 overs, paving the way for a home victory that saw the Diamonds fall to 32 for 4. Australia’s Erin Burns sealed the win with an unbeaten 35.

With their seventh win in nine games, the Diamonds overtook their rivals and moved into second place in the table, virtually guaranteeing them a place in the semi-finals with five games left to play.

Sunrisers have lost their third of nine games but remain comfortably in the top four.

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The Blaze won the competition with the highest score of the round (Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Worcester: Central Sparks 144, Thunder 147-2 – Thunder wins by eight wickets

Thunder kept their slim hopes of qualifying for the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy alive with a comprehensive eight-wicket victory over Central Sparks in Worcester.

The win was made possible by the superb bowling of left-handers Tara Norris (4 for 18) and Sophie Morris (3 for 31) as Sparks were bowled out for 144 in 42.4 overs, with only captain Eve Jones (38 off 62 balls) threatening to play a match-winning innings for the home side in an error-strewn team batting performance.

Thunder then comfortably made it 147 for 2 with a whopping 21 overs lead as third wicket pair Emma Lamb (71 not out) and Katie Mack (52 not out) added an unbroken 122 from 134 balls.

Falkland: South East Stars 120, Southern Vipers 121-3 – Southern Vipers win by seven wickets

Freya Davies’ flawless four-pointer enabled the Southern Vipers to secure a comfortable seven-wicket, bonus-point victory over the South East Stars, cementing their place at the top of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy table.

Former Stars fast bowler Davies had not bowled a four in an innings since her T20I for England against New Zealand in March 2021, when she took 4 for 23, and her previous major haul in 50-over cricket was a six-fer for Sussex Women in 2018.

But she set a great pace and took 4/14 at the Falkland Cricket Club, restricting the Stars to 120 – with local favourite Ava Lee and Charli Knott taking two wickets each.

Knott – in her penultimate appearance – then made the comeback easy with an elegant 57, and the defending champions Vipers avenged their semi-final loss to the Stars in the Charlotte Edwards Cup in style.

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Charli Knott starred in her penultimate appearance on Vipers (Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Cheltenham: Western Storm 217, The Blaze 220-5 – The Blaze win by five wickets

Lucy Higham and Ella Claridge produced a superb unbroken match-winning partnership of 105 in 22.3 overs to lead The Blaze to a five-wicket victory over Western Storm in a closely contested Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy contest at Cheltenham.

The visitors had set a modest victory target of 218 and made a great start to their comeback thanks to opener Sarah Bryce’s blistering 61 in 54 balls. But the outcome was uncertain as the Blaze slipped to 115 for 5 and they ultimately had their sixth wicket pair to thank, Higham and Claridge hitting unbeaten knocks of 62 and 43 respectively to seal the win with 7.3 overs remaining.

Fran Wilson had earlier top-scored with 67 and added 62 for the third wicket with Sophie Luff after Storm were bowled out on a flat pitch. But Luff’s dismissal, bowled out by Kathryn Bryce for 31 runs, sparked a collapse that saw the home side fall from 133 for 2 to 217 runs in 16.2 overs, with their last eight wickets yielding just 84 runs. Kathryn Bryce finished with 4 for 20 from 8.5 overs as Storm were bowled out inside 47 overs.

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