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The Blaze 133 for 4 (S Bryce 67*) beat Northern Diamonds 129 for 7 (Winfield-Hill 40, de Klerk 3-31) by six wickets
Sarah Bryce starred with an unbeaten 67 as The Blaze booked their place in the Charlotte Edwards Cup semi-finals after easing past Northern Diamonds at Seat Unique Riverside by six wickets.
Bryce took the attack to the Diamonds bowlers, using both power and guile to propel her team ahead of the required rate. She notched her first fifty of the competition and ended the contest unbeaten after scoring six four and three sixes. The Blaze can now prepare for their last four fixture, while Diamonds still have work ahead of them after suffering their first defeat.
Diamonds won the toss and elected to bat in the bright sunshine at Chester-le-Street. The Blaze's opening bowlers made life difficult for Winfield-Hill and Leah Dobson, restricting them to just one run off the first two overs as Grace Ballinger sent down a maiden.
Winfield-Hill had trouble timing the ball in the early stages before finding her range in the fifth over, taking de Klerk for two boundaries. Dobson was given a life when she was dropped by Kathryn Bryce for 14 on the boundary, but the visitors still had control of the scoreboard as Diamonds mustered just 26 from the Powerplay.
Gordon made the breakthrough as the drop proved costly as Dobson fell for 19. Hollie Armitage offered a semblance of power as she found the rope three times in a bid to up the run rate. Armitage provided the foundation of the innings with Winfield-Hill with a stand worth 47 before the Diamonds skipper was caught on the fence presenting Gordon with her second wicket.
Winfield-Hill manoeuvred the hosts into a decent position after working her way to 40, but Sophie Munro ended her knock with her first ball of the innings. Bess Heath and Chloe Tryon added quick runs in the closing overs with 19 and 20 respectively, but de Klerk ensured the Diamonds couldn't push towards 140 removing Heath before prising out Tryon and Lizzie Scott with the final two balls of the innings.
The Blaze had no issues getting off to a strong start in their chase of 130. Marie Kelly put the pressure on the Diamonds bowlers from the off, scoring four boundaries to work herself to 19 before Scott produced an inswinger to prise out the opener.
Sarah Bryce kept up the intensity and struck Katie Levick for the first two sixes of the game over long-on. She followed that with further sublime striking to take 16 off Scott's third over, putting the visitors almost halfway to their victory target at the end of the powerplay. Bryce was in full flow at the crease, easily finding the gaps in the field.
The 23-year-old notched her first fifty of the season from 30 deliveries, whittling down the required total. Abi Glen gave Diamonds a glimmer of hope by skittling Kathryn Bruce and Michaela Kirk in successive balls. De Klerk survived the hat-trick ball and with Bryce extinguished the hosts' hope of a miraculous comeback. The Blaze cantered over the line, securing their win with 4.2 overs to spare.