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RHF Trophy 2024, ND vs SUNR 33rd match, match report, July 10, 2024

Northern Diamonds 111 for 6 (Burns 35*, Coppack 3-35) beat sunrise 109 (Langston 6-24) with four wickets

Six-time England fast bowler Beth Langston made a dream comeback from her injury nightmare with a stunning six for 24 as the Northern Diamonds continued their march towards the semi-finals of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with a thrilling four-wicket victory over the 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 torn cruciate ligament (knee) and the resulting complications.

However, she returned to Clifton Park and ended the rout of the Sunrisers, who conceded 109 from 31 overs, paving the way for a home victory that saw the Diamonds slip to 32 for four points. 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.

Langston, 31, was part of the victorious England team that won the 2017 World Cup on home soil without actually playing this season.

She suffered a tear of her right anterior cruciate ligament at the Hundred 2022 (Northern Superchargers) and has been struggling with fitness issues ever since.

She played just one T20 match last season, but this was a seamless return, with her wickets spread across six overs and four overs from the Pavilion End.

After Hollie Armitage chose to bowl on a humid, wicket-rich day at Minster City, Langston made the most of the favourable conditions – a sideways movement was clearly evident – to set up her team’s fifth consecutive 50-over victory.

After Lizzie Scott, who also plays as a pacer, bowled visiting team captain Grace Scrivens in the second over, Langston went on the attack and bowled the fifth.

She quickly got into her stride, trapping opener Jo Gardner for 21 in the ninth innings and Jodi Grewcock lbw in the eleventh innings, leaving Sunrisers at 43 for three.

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 turned it on, producing the best scores of any bowler in regional cricket this summer.

A late away swing ended Flo Miller’s catch behind before Amara Carr was bowled out with no chance off the next ball – 54 for seven in the 15th over, the last of Langston’s first six-over scenarios that yielded four for nine.

But she was not out of the attack – or the wickets – for long.

Armitage brought her back to bowl the 23rd over, at which point the Sunrisers were 85 for seven.

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

The Sunrisers struggled to reach 100, with only opener Gardner scoring over 20. Alongside seamers Scott and Turner, off-spin all-rounder Burns also struck once as the Diamonds shone.

But the spirited Sunrisers were not finished yet. Like Langston, their seamer Kate Coppack also impressed.

She took three wickets from four as the Diamonds fell to 32 for four inside nine overs of their chase, removing openers Lauren Winfield-Hill and Emma Marlow from the game, in addition to Rebecca Duckworth’s scalp.

Armitage and Burns returned the favour by sharing 43, with the former making 33 before hitting Sophie Munro’s seam to mid-off – 75 for five.

Langston also lost by eight, but the presence of the experienced Burns was significant, taking the win with 25.2 overs remaining.