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Armitage stars as Diamonds end winless start

Hollie Armitage led from the front as Northern Diamonds ended their winless start to this year's Charlotte Edwards Cup with a 13-run win over Central Sparks at Edgbaston.

The Diamonds captain hit 62 from 49 balls, sharing a partnership of 97 with Sterre Kalis to put her side in a strong position before a late collapse restricted them to a total of 137-7.

Sparks, who have now lost three games in a row, looked on course to chase that down when England’s Amy Jones struck 39 from 30 on her first appearance of the season.

But Armitage took 1-20 and fellow spinner Katie Levick claimed 2-32 to seal Diamonds’ first victory in six games as the home side came up short on 124-8.

Diamonds were put in to bat and, despite the early loss of Lauren Winfield-Hill, Armitage and Kalis quickly built a partnership, with the skipper dispatching Grace Potts to the fence to bring up her half-century from 41 balls.

Kalis (43 from 39) looked set to follow suit, drilling Emily Arlott for consecutive off-side fours but she attempted to cut the next delivery and chopped on, triggering a dramatic collapse in the final four overs.

Armitage fell to Georgia Davis at the start of the 17th, while Hannah Baker had Leah Dobson and Katherine Fraser caught in the deep from successive balls as the Diamonds’ middle order disintegrated, with six wickets falling for 15 runs.

Although Sparks suffered an early setback when Abbey Freeborn was bowled swinging across the line at Rachel Slater, Davina Perrin (21 from 20) and Jones got the chase back on track.

Jones slammed Slater over the top for the first six of the match, following up with another straight drive for four but once she was given out leg before to Sophia Turner, the home side lost their way.

Courtney Webb (23 from 21) did her best to retrieve the situation before Levick had her caught at point, with Fraser and Erin Burns picking up a wicket apiece as Diamonds closed out the win.