Yorkshire Diamonds captain Lauren Winfield’s excellent 56 followed by a polished bowling and fielding display under pressure secured a thrilling Kia Super League win by nine runs over Lancashire Thunder at Liverpool.
Winfield hit seven fours and a six in a 45-ball knock which underpinned 151 for six and took her beyond 500 career Super League runs.
The Diamonds then soaked up a Lancashire fightback from 83 for four in the 14th, including the loss of India star Harmanpreet Kaur (37), to bowl their hosts out for 142.
Leg-spinner Katie Levick had Ellie Threlkeld caught behind with the first ball of the last over, defending 10, to secure a first victory in three.
The Thunder, for whom Emma Lamb impressed with a late 32 off 14 balls, have now lost four from four.
Winfield, having won the toss, and Alyssa Healy (30) shared an excellent opening partnership of 68 inside 10 overs.
Winfield was particularly strong down the ground in her third fifty since the KSL started in 2016.
By the time she reached her latest milestone, off 42 balls, she had lost Healy – bowled by Sophia Dunkley’s leg-spin having played on trying to reverse sweep.
Lancashire, despite a bright 33 from Hollie Armitage, fought back well, with Ecclestone and Lamb’s off-spin both striking added to two wickets for Kate Cross.
After Ecclestone had uprooted Winfield’s middle stump (106 for two in the 15th), Cross bowled Armitage and had Indian Jemimah Rodrigues superbly caught at deep mid-wicket by Sune Luus.
Twelve then came off Ecclestone in the last over.
The start of Lancashire’s chase was eventful as Australian Tahlia McGrath and fellow overseas Luus, the South African, both hit boundaries as 10 came off Linsey Smith’s first over.
Then, in the third, Helen Fenby bowled a head high full toss before McGrath hit the free hit for six. But the leg-spinner gained revenge towards the end of over by uprooting McGrath’s leg-stump (20 for one).
The Thunder then lost their second wicket in the fourth, leaving them 23 for two, when Luus miscued excellent left-arm seamer Katie George to mid-off.
And that was when the Diamonds, chiefly with spin added to George (two for 16 from three overs), started to turn the game in their favour.
Smith, New Zealand off-spinner Leigh Kasperek and leg-spinner Katie Levick all bowled tidy overs as the scored moved to 41 for two after seven.
Kaur, key to home hopes, launched Kasperek over long-off for six in the eighth over and they reached halfway at 62 for two, needing 90 more for victory.
Kaur then lost Dunkley caught at mid-off as medium pacer Alice Davidson-Richards struck, leaving the score at 69 for three in the 12th.
Kaur was caught on 35 off a Smith no ball before, having added two more runs, falling to Davidson-Richards when she sliced a catch to compatriot Rodrigues at deep cover – 83 for four in the 14th.
Lamb’s superb 32 included a six off Davidson-Richards to keep the game alive, taking the target to 28 off three overs. But wickets continued to tumble, including herself caught at point off Smith (124 for seven with 17 balls left).
Ultimately, wickets falling proved to be the issue for Lancashire, who lost Georgie Boyce and Cross to run outs.
Both sides are next in action on Thursday. Lancashire face Southern Vipers at Hove (7pm), while Yorkshire host Western Storm at York earlier in the day (2.30pm).
What they said…
Yorkshire captain Lauren Winfield
“It wasn’t a clean and clear win, but it’s enough, and we’re over the line. That’s the important thing.
“I think we were 10-15 runs short with the bat. From the position we were in, we could have got a few more. The flurry at the end of our innings helped.
“They also had a big over towards the end, which kept it interesting. But it was good to get a win on the board.
“We were disappointed to lose to Surrey in the first game and then performed really poorly against Loughborough in the second. We don’t hide from that.
“But the squad we have this year, I have a huge amount of believe that we can be at Finals Day.
“Winning and losing is a habit, and hopefully this gets us moving and we can take the momentum into the Storm at York on Thursday.”
Lancashire captain Kate Cross
“I thought we’d probably given them 10 too many runs – their tail-end batted well to get them to 150, with a bit of luck.
“But I was still confident at halfway.
“We said 140-145 was par, and we’d played on that wicket last week. We knew it was slow, but we knew best how to hit our boundaries.
“Emma Lamb came in and gave us an opportunity which I didn’t think we had with seven overs to go.
“I can take a lot of heart from how Emma batted, and that will have done her the world of good.
“When you’ve only got one way to play, you’ve almost got nothing to lose.
“We’re just going to have to love forward to playing at Hove on Thursday (Southern Vipers), and we’ve got nothing to lose now. We can hopefully go out and play some free cricket.”