Charlotte Edwards Cup: South East Stars beat Northern Diamonds by five wickets in final

By Adam WilliamsBBC Sport at the Ageas Bowl
Kirstie White and Alice Capsey celebrate South East Stars winning the Charlotte Edwards Cup
Alice Capsey (right) added another memento to her already memorable summer in women's domestic cricket
Charlotte Edwards Cup final, Ageas Bowl, Southampton
Northern Diamonds 138-4 (20 overs): Armitage 59*, Gunn 22*; Gibbs 1-13
South East Stars 139-5 (18 overs): Capsey 40*, Smith 37, Cranstone 35;Levick 2-19
Stars beat Diamonds by five wickets
Match scorecard

South East Stars won the first Charlotte Edwards Cup as they chased 139 to beat Northern Diamonds by five wickets in the T20 final.

Alice Capsey, the find of the women's domestic summer, once again produced a match-winning performance with an unbeaten 40 off 26 balls.

Stars won with 12 balls to spare after Bryony Smith (37) and Aylish Cranstone (35) put on 71 for the first wicket.

Hollie Armitage (59 not out) earlier top scored in Diamonds' 138-4.

Having posted 135-6 in their eliminator win against Vipers, Diamonds produced an almost-identical effort again batting first.

While England batter Lauren Winfield-Hill failed to replicate her 65 off 49 balls as she was dismissed for a third-ball duck by Grace Gibbs, it was her captain Armitage who stepped up to play the anchor role on this occasion.

Her 59 not out off 48 balls included four fours and partnerships of 43 for the fourth wicket with Sterre Kalis (18) and an unbroken 50 with Gunn for the fifth which came from the last ball of the innings as they mustered three more runs to finish 138-4.

Capsey takes headlines once again

But Stars soon put that score into stark context as Smith and Cranstone raced to 50 without loss in the powerplay and continued to plunder boundaries in the middle overs to break the back of the chase.

Bryony Smith of South East Stars
South East Stars captain Bryony Smith (right) struck seven fours in her 25-ball innings of 37

There seemed to be nothing stopping left-hander Cranstone batting through the innings until she trod on her own stumps off Alex MacDonald to be hit wicket for 35 after an opening partnership of 71 in eight overs.

Her partner Smith (37) fell the next over when she chopped Linsey Smith on to her stumps and then the wickets of Grace Gibbs and Phoebe Franklin were gifted in the space of four balls off Katie Levick to leave Stars teetering at 85-4.

But having leapt onto the domestic stage with her performances for Oval Invincibles in The Hundred earlier this summer, Capsey yet again showed how her composure for the big stage is far beyond her 17 years.

She and Alice Davidson-Richards (18) added 51 for the fifth wicket to calm any mid-innings nerves in the Stars camp and take them to the brink of victory.

It was Capsey who fittingly hit the winning runs with a leg glance for two off MacDonald to take her regional team home and add another honour to her CV in an already-memorable summer.

Her innings included four fours and a six, with a boundary off her first ball, as she added more weight to calls for a first international call-up.

Reaction - 'Everyone put in a shift'

South East Stars win the Charlotte Edwards Cup
South East Stars qualified automatically for the final after finishing as the best of the three group winners

Player of the match Alice Capsey:

"It feels really good, we've played some really good cricket since coming back from The Hundred and today we showed it.

"We've got a really long batting line-up and everyone put in a shift today to chase it down and it feels great.

"To play with this team, it's a great environment and everyone backs each other up off the field too.

"It was great to contribute with the bat, but it feels even better to be part of a winning team."

South East Stars captain Bryony Smith:

"I'm absolutely buzzing. I'm so proud of all the girls, I think we really deserved this one.

"We put in some strong performances over the last few weeks and before The Hundred.

"We were really positive chasing that score, we knew it was a good pitch and the outfield was rapid too.

"I was a bit nervous at 85-4 but we knew we had the depth to do it. We haven't quite fired as an opening partnership before today, but myself and Aylish (Cranstone) were really positive and hit the ball well."

On Alice Capsey's performance: "She's a bit of a superstar. She's a legend and I think she's going to be around for a very long time yet.

"If she keeps doing that, I'm sure she'll be in an England shirt really soon."

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