Source: Julian Thompson

Bess Heath Hits Her Second ‘Fifty’

  • +1

Northern Diamonds v Loughborough Lightning at Chester-le-Street, Durham (SEAT Unique Riverside) on June 1 (14h30)

Keeper Bess Heath (pictured) hit her second ‘Fifty’ of the contest for Diamonds: the match later decided by the final ball. Partnered by Sterre Kalis (NL), Heath and Kalis shared a record opening stand for Diamonds, of 93 runs. Despite the wafer-thin win, neither Diamonds or Lightning can make progress beyond this year’s group stage after five rounds, with one match left to play. Weather was relatively cool for the time of year, without the threat of rain to curtail the match.

The match was played as a ‘dead rubber,’ each side aware of insufficient points needed at the group stage to qualify for third place in the play-off on finals day; for the ECB’s Charlotte Edwards Cup. Fixed camera TV coverage came from Durham Cricket (please see below.) Also broadcast live stream by social media (including ESPN-cric-info.) Having travelled to the far north of England, some cricket fans were disappointed not to see England batters Lauren Winfield-Hill playing for Diamonds; or Tammy Beaumont playing for Lightning.

*Previously, (thanks mainly to Beaumont’s ‘fifty’ and Piepa Cleary’s 3-Fer) Lightning had one single win to their name, when they played Ellie Threlkeld’s Thunder.

*Diamonds also have Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver, and veteran Jenny Gunn on their books, but again, none of them played.

*Openers Bess Heath 60 runs (from 46 balls) and Sterre Kalis 39(34) set a new season’s record for Diamonds’ first wicket stand, with lucky some escapes.

*Bess Heath was almost ‘run out’ scampering ‘one’ during Kathryn Bryce’s first over: Bryce lying flat-out at the bowler’s end.

*Partner Sterre Kalis played a hook-shot to ‘square leg’ and was dropped by Teresa Graves, off Sophie Munro

*After six overs of power play, Diamonds’ openers reached 41/0 – boosted by two ‘fours’ from each player but mainly scored from ‘ones’ and ’twos’

*A change of bowling from Marie Kelly gifted nine runs to Sterre Kalis, chalking-up ‘fifty’ for Diamonds in just forty balls

*Australian Piepa Cleary, partnered by Lucy Higham stifled the run rate, with two ‘fours’ coming from three overs. *By mid-way, openers took their score to 75 without loss. *Bess Heath stuck two more ‘fours’ when Marie Kelly returned to bowl her second over.

*Breakthrough for Lightning’s bowlers came just after Bess Heath’s ‘fifty,’ when Sterre Kalis went aerial, caught at ‘cover’ by Ella Claridge off Lucy Highham.

*With eight overs remaining, skipper Hollie Armitage joined Heath to steer Diamonds toward 100-runs (13.4 overs), separately pausing for drinks.

*Australian Piepa Cleary (2/24) offered-up two chances to Sarah Bryce who fumbled the first chance without back-up from ‘square leg’, when attempting to run-out Bess Heath. *During the same over Bryce as keeper made no mistake the second time, as Heath slipped-up, unable to get her bat behind the crease.

*After 100 balls (16.4 overs) Diamonds had what turned out to be three wickets advantage at 117/2 (vs 116/5.)

*Last three overs saw three more Diamonds wickets fall including Linsey Smith (2) who top-edged to Marie Kelly, at ‘extra cover’ from Piepa Cleary.

*Sophie Munro’s (2/25) final ‘death over’ took two more wickets. After Leah Dobson(6) was caught-and-bowled, Munro’s final ball skittled Hollie Armitage’ stumps. Diamonds closed on a defendable score of 145/5.

*Disaster struck Lightning as soon as opener Marie Kelly went aerial and was caught by Beth Turner off Emma Marlow, for a second-ball duck.

*At the power play, Beth Harmer and Ella Claridge placed Lightning back on equal terms at 46/1 (vs 41/0) their ‘fifty’ partnership coming from 40 balls.

*During the tenth over, Beth Harmer 35(28) was trapped ‘leg before’ by skipper Hollie Armitage.

*After ten overs, Lightning were 76/2 (vs 75/0)

*Katie Levick picked-up a wicket as top scorer Ella Claridge 41(36) swept straight to skipper Armitage at ‘mid-on’ *The Bryce sisters’ partnership lasted ten balls until Kathryn (6) saw her off-stump skittled by Emma Marlow. *At that point, Lightning needed 54 runs from 40 balls. *Eight balls later, Bethan Ellis (2) was trapped ’leg before’ to Linsey Smith, coming around the wicket to the right-hander.

*After 100 balls (16.4 overs) Lightning were level-pegging on 116/5 (vs 117/2.)

*During the 20 balls that remained, following the 100-ball benchmark, Sophie Munro played a short cameo (16 from 10) until her bales were sent flying after Hollie Armitage switched to bowling around the wicket. *At that point 18 runs needed from 2 overs with 4 wickets in hand.

*Two pairs of wickets fell in each of the final overs, making for a cliff-hanger ending. *Bowling the penultimate over from over the wicket, Armitage tempted Teresa Graves to come down the wicket.

*Graves missed a sweep shot and was smartly stumped by Bess Heath.

*Armitage then reverted to bowling around the wicket. This time, Piepa Cleary (4) lost both bales flying upwards, leg-side: an unusual sight, following the same direction as the spinning ball.

*Lightning’s last two bowlers-turned-batters made similar errors of judgment, this time to Linsey Smith’s spin. *Lucy Higham came down the wicket, missed a sweep shot, as her off-stump was flattened.

*Finally, needing ‘six’ from the two balls to tie the match, play was paused for Grace Ballinger to consult with non-striker Sarah Bryce 23*(22.) Eventually, Ballinger took strike, finally lobbing a ‘dolly,’ caught leg-side by Phoebe Turner, that ended the match.

Result: (group A) Northern Diamonds Women 145/5 (20 overs) beat Loughborough Lightning Women 140/10 (19.5/20 overs) by 5 runs and one ball remaining.

Diamonds 145/5 (20 overs, 7.25 runs-per-over): Bess Heath 60(46), Sterre Kalis 39(34), Hollie Armitage 30(30); Lightning bowling: Piepa Cleary 2/24 Sophie Munro 2/25; Lucy Higham 1/21; Fow 1-93, 2-115, 3-129, 4-144, 5-145;

L’boro Lightning: 140/10 (19.5/20 overs, 7.05 runs-per-over): Ella Claridge 41(36), Beth Harmer 35(28), Sarah Bryce 23(22), Sophie Munro 16(10); Diamonds bowling: Hollie Armitage 4/27, Linsey Smith 3/18, Emma Marlow 2/19, Katie Levick 1/33; Fow 1-0, 2-72, 3-86, 4-92, 5-98, 6-122, 7-128, 8-132, 9-138, 10-140.

Scorecard and statistics at

Entire match, is free-to-view courtesy of Durham Cricket live stream via Youtube and Smart TV (3h27m56s starting from 38m) at URL youtube