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Report: Northern Diamonds vs Sunrisers, Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

Scorecard

Six-wicket star Beth Langston had one of the best days of her career after undoubtedly the worst two years as the Northern Diamonds seamer boosted her team’s chances of reaching the semi-finals of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with an entertaining but low-scoring win over Sunrisers in York today.

Langston has been enduring an injury nightmare since August 2022, when she tore her right anterior cruciate ligament during a game at the Hundred.

Surgery followed and further complications delayed her recovery.

But today, in only her second appearance since her initial injury, the fast bowler was the hugely popular star of the show, taking a regional best of 6 for 24 from 10 overs as the Sunrisers, asked to bat, were bowled out for 109 in 31 overs.

This performance secured the Diamonds a four-wicket win with 25.2 overs to spare, their seventh win in nine matches in the ongoing RHF Trophy.

They had to recover from a 32-4 deficit, but Hollie Armitage managed 33 and Erin Burns was not out on 35.

Beth Langston

Image by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Beth Langston successfully appeals for the wicket of Sunrisers’ Jodi Grewcock today

This win, which came with a bonus point (five in total), takes the Diamonds to 30 points. They will finish the day in at least second place and are on course for the semi-finals with five games remaining.

It is now difficult to understand why they failed to qualify, especially after beating a Sunrisers side who were level on 25 points before this morning’s game but were just ahead of them in the table.

Langston was the standout, having achieved the best 50 over or T20 scores of any bowler in regional cricket this season.

She took full advantage of the favourable conditions – grey skies and some damp after the overnight rain and light rain in the morning. There was also a 20-minute delay due to further rain after only 19 balls had been played.

The 31-year-old’s performance ensured a smooth return.

She underwent surgery in September 2022 and missed the RHFT final victory over the Southern Vipers at Lord’s.

Beth Langston

Image by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Beth Langston leads her side after taking six wickets.

The six-time England international played one T20 game for the Diamonds last summer.

Before today, she had not taken a 50-over wicket since September 2021.

Langston has now taken six or more wickets in cricket twice.

Ironically, in 2012, she played for a team called the Diamonds in the ECB Super Fours competition against the Sapphires in Loughborough, taking a comfortable victory of 7-23 in seven overs.

Lauren Winfield-Hill played in that game, as did Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Heather Knight, Charlotte Edwards and Langston’s current coach Dani Hazell.

Today, after winning the coin toss, Armitage decided to go bowling.

Lauren Winfield Hill

Image by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Wicketkeeper Lauren Winfield-Hill caught three balls and caused one run out today.

After new ball seamer Lizzie Scott bowled visiting captain Grace Scrivens in the second over, Langston went on the attack in the fifth over.

She had opener Jo Gardner trapped for 21 in the ninth innings and beat Jodi Grewcock lbw in the eleventh innings, leaving Sunrisers 43-3.

Mady Villiers was thrown out of the game after a confusion with Lissy MacLeod as they considered getting three outs into deep cover before MacLeod was caught behind Phoebe Turner’s seam.

And then Langston really stepped up.

A late away swing ended Flo Miller’s catch behind before Amara Carr was bowled out with no chance on the next ball – 54 for 7 in the 15th over.

This was the last of Langston’s first six-over matches, which ended 4-9.

Hollie Armitage and Katie Levick

Image by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Before the game, Katie Levick presented Hollie Armitage with the Sportsbreaks.com June Player of the Month award.

But she wasn’t out of the attack – or the wickets – for long. Armitage brought her back to bowl in the 23rd over, by which time the Sunrisers were 85-7 and showing signs of recovery.

Langston didn’t want to hear anything about it.

She bowled Eva Gray without allowing a hit and then Amu Surenkumar, leaving the Sunrisers 90-9 in the 25th innings.

The Sunrisers barely made it over 100, with only opener Gardner scoring over 20.

In addition to seamers Scott and Turner, Australian off-spin all-rounder Burns also struck once.

But the wickets continued to fall, and the home dressing room was in an uproar in the ninth over of the chase with the score at 32-4.

Erin Burns

Image by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns steered the Diamonds out of troubled waters as they came back with 35 points.

The new ball seamstress Kate Coppack led the visitors.

She had Lauren Winfield-Hill caught behind before bowling the other opener, Emma Marlow. Eva Gray then had Sterre Kalis caught at point on the cut before Rebecca Duckworth was caught lbw by a coppack throw that stayed low and was thrown backwards.

Fortunately, Armitage and Burns showed all their experience and decided the matter with a 43-run stand, to which the former contributed 33.

Armitage retired with the job still to be done – caught mid-on by Sophie Munro’s seam – with the score at 75 for 5 in the 18th inning.

Langston also retired with eight runs, but Burns was still there and scored the decisive runs to cap a memorable day.