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    First win of the season for The Blaze as Bethan Gammon digs in
First win of the season for The Blaze as Bethan Gammon digs in
Kirstie Gordon had a hand in three of the first four wickets. Source: Getty Images

First win of the season for The Blaze as Bethan Gammon digs in

Welsh international Bethan Gammon's 39 from No7 helped last year's finalists Blaze win their first Flint Trophy match of this season at their fourth attempt, chasing down 189 to beat Northern Diamonds by two wickets with two balls to spare at Scarborough.

The Blaze were boosted by a number of valuable contributions in the thriller, including captain Kirstie Gordon who took two wickets, two catches and added 19 to open the batting.

But Gammon's 52-ball knock was the most important in only her second appearance for the region, where she is also a Pathway Talent Manager and has been called up due to injury and unavailability.

Despite failing to reach 200, the Diamonds would have been confident at the halfway stage as the Blaze had been bowled out for 135, 126 and 87 in their first three 2024 matches. But Scarborough-born Leah Dobson's 54 from 82 off 5 wasn't enough for the hosts.

The Blaze undoubtedly had the better batting conditions, despite the pitch being used. The morning mist was replaced by afternoon sunshine. Nevertheless, they played the far better cricket throughout, with Gammon and Ella Claridge - 26 not out - putting on 61 in a stand of 105 for 6.

Halifax-born Blaze all-rounder Teresa Graves also had a good day back in the county of her birth. She opened the batting with a 33 not out after being bowled once by her seamers. Diamonds now have two wins and two losses from their first four matches.

Diamonds elected to bat first, looking down at the pitch rather than up at the sky. But they stumbled badly from 32 not out, losing four for 22, including single figures for star pair Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage.

Left-arm spinner Gordon took three of the first four wickets. She trapped Winfield-Hill running back from mid-off when new-ball seamer Grace Ballinger struck, before bowling Armitage with a beauty that hit middle and leg and clipped off stump. She then had Emma Marlow stumped for 29.

Dobson curbed her natural attacking instincts during her 85-ball innings to take the Diamonds to a defendable target. It was her second regional fifty. She put on 62 for the eighth wicket with in-form all-rounder Abi Glen, whose 38 off 31 balls helped the Diamonds recover from 120 for 7 in 36 overs.

Six of skipper Gordon's seven bowlers struck on a pitch that showed signs of uneven bounce and turn.

Seamer Sophie Munro was excellent with figures of 3 for 28 from 8.4 overs, while off-spinner Lucy Higham took two wickets.

Munro bowled Erin Burns, Glen and Jess Woolston, the latter two part of a late Diamonds collapse in which the last three wickets fell for just 11 runs.

Graves and Gordon put on 43 for the Blaze's first wicket in 11 overs, laying a solid foundation for the chase.

Spin was always going to be the Diamonds' biggest weapon, and the fabulous Katie Levick's 1 for 13 from 10 overs of leg-spin and the wily off-spin of Burns' 3 for 40 gave them hope.

Levick made the breakthrough with her second ball, trapping Gordon behind leg before Burns bowled Gordon and caught and bowled Daisy Mullan off the leading edge as the score fell to 74 for 3 in the 22nd over.

And when Phoebe Turner had Marie Kelly caught behind for 20 with 98 on the board, Blaze's nerves were on edge.

These were compounded when Munro was run out and Nadine de Klerk was caught at short fine-leg by Woolston.

But Gammon and Claridge calmly chipped away at the runs. When 23-year-old Gammon was caught at cover by a seam from Sophia Turner in the 47th over at 166 for 7, the hard work seemed done.

But Burns struck again and the target was five from Sophia Turner's final over with two wickets to spare. Higham hit the winning run.

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