Those inside Emerald Headingley started to pack up their remaining sandwiches and look for the Exit when Issy Wong was bowled for a duck, with 84 runs needed at over seven an over and only two wickets in the shed.
Up stepped Sarah Glenn, the Central Sparks allrounder, with Emily Arlott in support. Glenn dealt in sixes, six in total. The run-rate started to tumble and soon it was under a run a ball, and then the boundaries began to leak.
Lauren Winfield-Hill had set the Diamonds up with a knock of real class. Her of 110 was an essential part of their substantial total. In previous years, it would have been enough to seal a comfortable victory. 279 was a total Diamonds would have been pleased with.
Especially at 38 for 2, Central Sparks were in command. Wong, also looking to break into the England side, grew in confidence the longer her first spell went on. Emily Arlott, at the other end, also bowled tightly.
It took Nat Sciver some time to find the middle of the bat. When she did, it disappeared quickly to the boundary, straight past the bowler, narrowly missing the stumps at the other end. It should have signalled the start of an innings of real intent.
It didn’t last long as the next ball, Sciver managed to guide the delivery straight to Eve Jones at mid-wicket.
Sterre Kalis, the Dutch international, joined Lauren Winfield-Hill and together they set a platform for Diamonds to record their highest total in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
Scoring became easy for Diamonds and they built partnerships along the way, all in support of Winfield-Hill, who accelerated as her innings went on.
Wong struck with four wickets at the death, as Diamonds looked to propel their total skyward of 300. It was Wong’s first five-wicket haul in List-A cricket as she finished with figures of five for 49.
An opening blast from Diamond’s opening bowlers, where a run wasn’t scored from the bat in the first four overs. Only four byes and a couple of wides, leaving the Sparks on a score of 6 for 2.
Amy Jones and Marie Kelly calmed things down with a partnership of 104. Once Kelly had departed, it would rest on Amy Jones to make a substantive contribution – and run a ball 114 was just that.
Linsey Smith and Jenny gunn came into the attack and tightend things up. It meant Sparks had to take risks.
Gunn took an outstanding catch as it looked to have gone past her. Smith took three wickets. From there it looked a long way back for Sparks.
Sometimes cricket can surprise, and although Sarah Glenn’s ability with the bat is often talked about, until now, it has been hit and miss. Glenn is always a calm looking individual, and that shone through her. Sparks never gave up, and the longer they did so, it frustrated an experienced attack.
This is a victory that shows just how exciting this tournament can be.
The nervous cheers from the Sparks players on the sidelines became confident shouts of support. Sparks won with ten balls to spare after looking down and out for much of the game. Lucky for Diamonds, they go again on Monday, and there is plenty for them to build on.
Afterwards Amy Jones, Central Sparks, said: “It was unbelievable. It just seemed out of reach but (Sarah) Glenn and (Emily) Arlott held their nerve and that was some of the biggest hitting I’ve ever seen from Sarah.
“I can’t really believe what’s just happened. All of a sudden it was getting closer and it was so exciting and brilliant to watch.
“I’m very happy as it’s been a while since I scored a hundred so personally it’s a great feeling to get there. The hundred partnership was brilliant and we soaked up a bit of pressure after two early wickets. We really needed that partnership.”