Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy: Northern Diamonds begin title defense with win, Sunrisers stun Southern Vipers | Cricket News

Northern Diamonds began their defense of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with an emphatic 105-run victory over Western Storm at Headingley.

Half-centuries from Lauren Winfield-Hill (75), Bess Heath (71) and South African debutant Chloe Tryon (63) took Diamonds to a commanding total of 290-8 off a rain-reduced 37 overs.

In reply, Storm were bowled out for 185 in 33.3 overs, with leg-spinner Katie Levick claiming 4-36, including her 300th career wicket. Former England batter Fran Wilson top-scored with 43.

In the shock result of the opening round of fixtures, Sunrisers finally won a first RHF Trophy match at the 21st time of asking as they thrashed two-time champions Southern Vipers by 126 runs.

England U19s captain Grace Scrivens struck a superb 67 at the top of the order, while Mady Villiers top-scored with 70 and Jodi Grewcock (69) also hit a half century as Sunrisers managed 288-7 from their 50 overs.

Despite Maia Bouchier getting the Vipers run-chase off to a flier with 57 off 48 balls, Charlotte Edwards’ side ultimately crumbled to 162 all out in 35.2 overs as Scotland leg-spinner Abtaha Maqsood claimed 5-30. Villiers also took 3-52 to cap a fine all round display.

It’s Sunrisers’ second victory as a team, following a solitary success in the Charlotte Edwards Cup in 2021.

Elsewhere, a debut century propelled by Paige Scholfield South East Stars to a record equaling score of 334-5 in a convincing 131-run victory over Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford.

Scholfield, playing her first game for the Stars after signing from the Vipers, blasted an unbeaten 111 from just 90 deliveries, hitting five sixes and 11 fours. She shared in a 143-run partnership for the fourth wicket with Alice Davidson-Richards, who contributed a classy 73 off 58 balls.

The Stars’ total equaled the highest score made in just over three seasons of regional cricket and the Thunder never threatened to chase down the required runs as they were bowled out for 203 in 42 overs.

At Trent Bridge, off-spinner Lucy Higham played the starring role with career-best figures of 5-19 as The Blaze made a winning debut in regional women’s cricket, launching their RHF Trophy campaign with a 59-run defeat of Central Sparks.

Opener Tammy Beaumont top-scored with 60 for The Blaze, backed up by England colleague Sarah Glenn (38) and Georgie Boyce (28), though the newly-formed East Midlands team were ultimately bowled out for 212 in 46.4 overs.

England quick Issy Wong was out of sorts with the ball for Sparks, bowling five wicketless overs for 28 runs, but Emily Arlott (3-41), Grace Potts (3-46) and spinner Georgia Davis (3-33) all chipped in with three wickets apiece.

In reply, no one could produce the stand-out performance required with the bat. Katie George top-scored with 31 at number eight as Higham rattled through the order to bowl Sparks out for 153 in 48.2 overs.