At 105-4 at the end of the 30th over of their de-facto “semi final” against Southern Vipers, Northern Diamonds looked to be heading for a gently undulating total of around 175, with Bess Heath on 0 off 1 ball, having entered the fray at the fall of the 3rd wicket two overs before.
Ten overs later, things were looking very, very different, with Heath on her way to a 51-ball 71, which included eight 4s and two huge 6s, turning that gently undulating slope into an imposing cliff for the Vipers batters to climb.
It was 20-year-old Heath’s 3rd significant score in regional cricket since the end of The Hundred, following knocks of 58* and 78*, both against Thunder, in the CE Cup and RHF Trophy respectively, which will have been noted by those on the look-out for England’s next wicket-keeper, who will inevitably be a “batter who can keep” rather than just a wicket keeper.
It was going to take a significant performance from someone for the Vipers to scale “Heath’s Cliff” and that someone was Georgia Elwiss. Out of favour with England’s cricketing management, but with some vocal support from the national women’s football team, watching on from balcony of the Hilton Hotel, where they were staying following their 8-0 thrashing of North Macedonia in Southampton last night, Elwiss carried the Vipers on her shoulders for the second time in a week, hitting 84* to see them home.
In the last two matches, Elwiss has now accumulated 196 runs without being dismissed, after her 112* versus Sunrisers.
“I literally just bat,” said Elwiss after the game. “I don’t even look at the scoreboard. I know that if I can rotate the strike then runs will come. I’ve had a lean run of form over the summer so I felt like I needed to repay the Vipers a little bit, and it’s amazing what happens when you give yourself a chance.”
The chance Vipers have now is to retain the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, having won the inaugural competition last year. Whoever they face in the final – Sparks or Diamonds – won’t make it easy for them; but with Elwiss in great nick, Georgia Adams coming off the back of two consecutive half centuries, and Maia Bouchier back from England duty, they have the batting to climb the wuthering heights of any cliff – Heath’s.. or anyone else’s!