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The Blaze 63 for 6 (Tryon 4-16) beat Northern Diamonds 62 (de Klerk 7-33) by four wickets
Nadine de Klerk claimed career-best figures of 7 for 33 to guide The Blaze to a narrow win over Northern Diamonds in their Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash at Seat Unique Riverside.
De Klerk was relentless with the ball from the Finchale End and after removing Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage in the early stages, the South African was able to tear through the Diamonds line-up, supported by Grace Ballinger with three wickets, dismissing the home side for 62 in just 18.1 overs.
Although The Blaze, required only 63 to win, the Diamonds put the pressure on a slow wicket through the left-arm spin of Chloe Tryon, who claimed 4 for 16, along with Katie Levick. The two bowlers were miserly and ensured that The Blaze edged over the line rather than cantering to their third win of the season. The result still lifts the Blaze to the top of the standings after four matches.
On a sunny morning in Chester-le-Street, The Blaze won the toss and elected to bowl. After a wayward first over from de Klerk where the South African conceded five penalty runs from her first ball, she quickly found her rhythm and removed Winfield-Hill and Armitage to halt a bright start from the Diamonds.
Sterre Kallis held out for 24 balls, but could not find a way to score off Ballinger and de Klerk. Eventually, Ballinger found a way through Kallis and struck her pad to remove the Diamonds batter for six. From there onwards it was a procession of wickets from the home side as de Klerk and Ballinger were rampant, producing a devastating spell of bowling to surge through the line-up.
Phoebe Turner scored two boundaries against de Klerk, but never seemed comfortable at the crease. She survived an early lbw shout, but was then pinned in front for eight. De Klerk had two in two when Tryon fended her first ball behind to Sarah Bryce to reduce the hosts to 42 for 5 at the end of the 11th over.
Bess Heath offered a semblance of resistance as she top-scored for the Diamonds with nine. It took a moment of brilliance in the field from Tammy Beaumont to dismiss Heath as she produced a brilliant diving catch at gully to de Klerk her fifth wicket. The Blaze had the end in sight and were able to run through the Diamonds tail with ease.
Ballinger bowled Abigail Glen with another super delivery, paving the way for de Klerk to notch her sixth and seventh wickets by dismissing Levick and Lizzie Scott.
The Blaze wasted no time in their chase as Marie Kelly took Scott's first over for 14, whittling down the required target to only 48. Tryon halted the visitors' progress by removing Kelly for 15 as she was caught at mid-on by Jessica Woolston. The South African returned to dismiss Beaumont and Georgie Boyce with a double-wicket maiden to put the pressure on The Blaze.
Levick claimed another two wickets, while Tryon notched her fourth to put the clamps on. But, Sarah Glenn and Lucy Higham were able to work their side over the line with four wickets in hand, ensuring there was no late drama.