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The Northern Diamonds have beaten the South East Stars by three runs in an all-time classic in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy at Beckenham, despite a stunning century from Sophia Dunkley.

Sophia Dunkley made 130 from 136 balls, but she was run out by the bowler Erin Burns in an excruciatingly tense final over.

Bethan Miles was then unable to hit a boundary off the last delivery, meaning the Stars fell agonisingly short.

Earlier Hollie Armitage hit 66, Bess Heath 63 and Sterre Kalis 52, but a spell of three wickets for three runs in six balls from Phoebe Franklin limited the Diamonds to 311 for nine.

The visitors chose to bat on what looked like a typical Beckenham road and despite the early loss of Lauren Winfield-Hill, who was bowled by Tash Farrant for 19, they built an ominous platform, with the first five wickets all yielding hefty partnerships, taking advantage of a Stars’ attack weakened by the loss of Alice Davidson-Richards, who went off injured after bowling two overs.

Armitage and Emma Marlow put on 65 for the second wicket before the latter was brilliantly run for 32 by a direct hit from Bethan Miles.

Kalea Moore then had Armitage caught by Bryony Smith, before Dani Gregory bowled Erin Burns for 23 in the final over of her spell.

A stand of 63 between Heath and Kalis was broken when the former was stumped by Chloe Hill off Miles, but the Diamonds then stuttered. Leah Dobson was the first of Franklin’s victims when she went for six, caught by the sub fielder Claudie Cooper.

Kalis went to Franklin’s next delivery, caught on the boundary by Sophia Dunkley and Phoebe Turner followed in almost identical fashion when she holed out to the last ball of the over.

When Sophia Turner was caught by Aylish Cranstone off Stonehouse for four the Diamonds were 290 for nine, but an aggressive, unbeaten 23 from Jess Woolston that included a huge six of Stonehouse took them past the 300 mark.

The Stars suffered an early blow when Farrant went for just seven, victim of a sharp, diving catch by Dobson off Woolston and Smith had made 19 when she got a leading edge to Phoebe Turner and was caught by Burns.

Dunkley and Stonehouse steadied things with a stand of 52, but the latter was caught behind off Sophia Turner for 21, victim of a smart take by Heath who was standing up to the stumps.

Phoebe Franklin made 24 at a run a ball, but she fell in Armitage’s first over, slicing her to Woolston at backward point.

Hill was looking useful until she was caught by Kalis off Sophia Turner for 23 but with the run rate steepening Aylish Cranstone’s 41 dragged the Stars backed into the contest with some calculated aggression that brought up the Stars’ highest ever sixth wicket partnership.

When Dunkley reached three figures with a single off Sophia Turner the tie was right back in the balance, but Cranstone fell in the 46th over, chipping Burns to Armitage and Davidson-Richards was forced to bat with Farrant as a runner.

Sophia Turner’s 47th over went for just four, leaving the Stars needing 33 from the last 18 balls.

The equation titled back in the Diamonds favour when Heath stumped Davidson-Richards off Katie Levick for two.

Kalea Moore hit the first ball off the penultimate over, bowled by Sophia Turner for four, took a bye of the next and watched as Dunkley smashed a six over long on. The next went for four and two singles left the Stars needing 11 from the last over.

Burns limited them to singles off the first three balls and then ran Dunkley out after she failed to ground her bat, after apparently giving up on a second run.

Moore hit the fifth ball for three, leaving Miles needing four off the final delivery, but she was caught at cow corner by Sophia Turner, ending an exhilarating contest.