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    A nerveless Hollie Armitage gives the Northern Diamonds a thrilling one-run win
A nerveless Hollie Armitage gives the Northern Diamonds a thrilling one-run win
Hollie Armitage produced a sensational final over to derail Central Sparks. Source: PA Images via Getty Images

A nerveless Hollie Armitage gives the Northern Diamonds a thrilling one-run win

Northern Diamonds edged Central Sparks by one run in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy in a thrilling match that produced one of the most sensational finishes at Edgbaston.

Chasing 216, Sparks went into the final over, bowled by Diamonds captain Hollie Armitage, needing just four to win with three wickets in hand, but lost all three to be bowled out for 215.

Armitage finished with three for 40 after bowling an icy final over to secure her side's third win of the competition this season.

The Diamonds elected to bat but were bowled out for 216 by a disciplined attack that saw six bowlers take wickets. Former Sparks player Erin Burns offered the most resistance with a 63-ball 49, supported by a late cameo from the in-form Abi Glen (31 not out, 27).

The second-wicket century stand between Eve Jones (65, 98) and Abi Freeborn (49, 70) then provided a strong platform for the Sparks chase, but the last nine wickets fell for 103 - and the last five for just 15 - as Diamonds squeezed home in memorable fashion.

Diamonds openers Lauren Winfield-Hill (28, 47 balls) and Emma Marlow (20, 38) gave their side a solid, if unspectacular, start with a stand of 45 off 74 balls. Both were skilfully uprooted by Katie George, who shaped one away from Winfield-Hill to find the edge and bowled Marlow with an inswinging yorker.

Armitage and Bess Heath also made a start but didn't develop it. Armitage edged Hannah Baker to mid-off and Heath was brilliantly caught one-handed by Eve Jones in the same position off Grace Potts. Leah Dobson smacked Potts over mid-wicket for six but followed the get-in-then-get-out trend when she was yorked by Charis Pavely.

As Jones juggled her attack to keep the batsmen thinking, Phoebe Turner chipped Pavely to mid-off before Ria Fackrell struck twice in an over. Sophie Turner clipped one to mid-wicket and Burns was caught at mid-off. The latter departed having held the innings together with an industrious 49 that included just two fours alongside six twos and 29 singles.

Glen came to the crease averaging 92 with the bat this season and returned with an average of 123 after hitting two sixes in three balls off Issy Wong in a powerful ninth-wicket stand of 38 with Jess Woolstone.

Burns soon damaged Sparks' reply when she took a simple return catch off Pavely in the second over. Jones and Freeborn added 105 in 25 overs to put their side in a promising position, but the departure of Jones, who drove Sophie Turner to cover, triggered a collapse.

Freeborn, bowled by Courtney Webb for a quick single, was run out by Sophie Turner's throw. Katie Levick then struck twice in the space of four balls. Ami Campbell reverse-swept her first ball for four but chipped the third back to Levick. Webb fell lbw to sweep and from 112 for one, Sparks had reached 145 for five.

George (35, 55) and Bethan Ellis (23, 40) added 56 in the 14th over but Ellis was caught behind with 16 needed and the final over arrived with four required. Armitage had George caught at backward point off the first ball and, after a wide and a single, trapped Fackrell lbw in the fifth before Potts was run out of the last attempting to scramble a bye to draw the side level.


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