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Northern Diamonds 184 for 3 (Armitage 68*) beat Western Storm 183 (Luff 65, Smith 5-34) by seven wickets
Northern Diamonds produced a clinical performance with bat and ball to defeat Western Storm by seven wickets in their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Emirates Riverside.
Hollie Armitage led from the front in the Diamonds' run-chase. The skipper blasted a half-century from 53 balls, and was unbeaten at the end on 68 alongside Bess Heath to guide their side over the line with ease, earning their fourth victory in five games in the competition.
After being inserted, the Storm made a solid start through Fi Morris, who scored a brisk 30. However, Beth Langston dismissed Georgia Hennessy for 5 before notching a second wicket in her first seven-over burst to remove Morris.
The visitors were able to settle into a rhythm with Luff and Alex Griffiths at the crease. The two players put on fifty in just 46 balls to put the Diamonds under pressure, and the hundred was brought up at the end of the 18th over. Jenny Gunn was forced to leave the field after pulling up before bowling her second over, and was replaced by Katie Levick.
Smith earned her reward for a fine spell to remove Griffiths for 36, breaking a partnership of 65 for the third wicket. Storm collapsed after Griffiths' dismissal, falling from 109 for 2 to 112 for 6 in the space of three overs. Luff was defiant amid the clatter of wickets, scoring a half-century from 57 deliveries.
She shared a stand of 61 with debutant Chloe Skelton for the seventh wicket to propel the visitors towards a score over 170, but Smith returned from the Finchale End to surge through the tail. She removed Luff for 65 with the final wicket of the innings.
The Diamonds enjoyed a rapid start to their chase aided by wayward bowling from the visitors. Lauren Winfield-Hill and Armitage were able to calmly see off the early overs to settle their team into the innings.
Hennessy prised out Winfield-Hill with a delivery that kept low for 16. However, the home side were not deterred as Armitage and Sterre Kalis took the game away from the Storm to whittle down the total with ease. Kalis and Leah Dobson were both dismissed by Stephanie Hutchins, but it was too little too late for the visitors.
Armitage completed a deserved half-century to allow the hosts to close in on victory. She and Heath produced an unbeaten stand of 54 to deliver the win, with Armitage dispatching the winning runs with a boundary through the leg-side.