Charlotte Edwards Cup: Linsey Smith’s clinical bowling helps Northern Diamonds to victory as Central Sparks secure Finals Day spot

Elsewhere South East Stars beat Western Storm by three wickets and Central Sparks claimed victory over the Sunrisers by just three runs

Last Updated: 01/06/22 7:27pm

Linsey Smith took a pivotal wicket in the final over to help secure victory for Northern Diamonds (Getty Images)

Northern Diamonds kept their Charlotte Edwards Cup hopes on course by holding their nerve to defeat Lightning by five runs at Seat Unique Riverside whilst Central Sparks victory over Sunrisers confirmed their place at Finals Day on 11 June.

Smith stars for Diamonds | Scorecard

The home side set an imposing total of 146 after Bess Heath led the way with a great knock of 60, sharing a partnership of 93 with Sterre Kalis. Kalis and skipper Hollie Armitage scored 39 and 30 respectively to lay down a challenge for Lightning.

Ella Claridge and Bethany Harmer gave Lightning real hope of chasing down the target, but the Diamonds’ bowlers held their composure under pressure led by Armitage with figures of 4-27. Linsey Smith and Emma Marlow were also on point to edge out a narrow victory, taking the race for finals day into the last game.

Sophie Munro ensured the game would have a tense finish with a quick-fire 16 from 10 balls. Armitage remained composed when it mattered the most to dismiss Munro, Graves and Cleary, but Sarah Bryce still kept Lightning in the game, requiring 10 runs from the final over.

But, Diamonds held their nerve under pressure as Smith bowled Higham and had Ballinger caught by Phoebe Turner to guide her side over the line.

Central Sparks secure Finals Day spot | Scorecard

Central Sparks captain Eve Jones struck her first half-century of the season to lead her side to a thrilling three-run victory over Sunrisers at Wantage Road and almost certainly book themselves a place at finals day.

Jones struck 69 from just 62 balls as she rediscovered the form which saw her voted PCA Player of the Year last season. She shared an opening stand worth 92 in 12 overs with Issy Wong as Sparks posted 145-5.

In reply Jo Gardner (41) and Amara Carr (37 not out) led a late spirited fightback with a partnership of 82 in nine overs, coming together after Sunrisers stuttered to 55-5. They needed 14 from the final over, but when Gardner was caught in the deep attempting to clear the ropes, Sunrisers fell just short.

The result cements Sparks’ spot at the top of the table ahead of finals day which is also being played at Northampton on 11 June.

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