Put you hands up in the air... you've won the title! PHOTOSPORT

Armstrong career best as Hearts clinch title

The Auckland Hearts became the first team to claim the historic Hallyburton Johnstone Shield since its reintroduction after a dominant win against Northern Spirit saw them sweep the title with a round to spare.


Spirit won the toss at St Paul's Collegiate and elected to bat first, Arlene Kelly (2-22) picking up an early wicket to give the front-running visitors an ideal start.

Joy as Arlene Kelly gets the big wicket of Bernadine Bezuidenhout. PHOTOSPORT

Impressive young Bella Armstrong (4-31) came into the attack and bamboozled the Spirit's batsmen, the 18-year-old right-armer taking wickets at regular intervals to leave the Spirits in dire straits and bag her first four-fa at this level.

Young Bella Armstrong snaffled her one-day career-best. PHOTOSPORT

Spirit simply had no answers for Armstrong, or the rest of the Hearts, some excellent fielding continuing to squeeze the hosts who limped to 104 all out.

The loss saw the Spirit sink to last on the table. PHOTOSPORT

That left the Hearts with a small chase to claim the Shield outright.

They had a wobble early on, losing both openers and, with the total at 35 for two, the Spirit still had a sniff in the season's penultimate one-dayer.

However, the odds were against it as captain Maddy Green (20*) and Maia Bouchier (49*) joined forces and steadied the ship, putting on 70 runs for the third wicket to seal a dominant eight-wicket victory for the Hearts.

The Hallyburton Johnstone Shield will be in the Hearts' trophy case heading into next season, the fourth time in three seasons that the Aucklanders have claimed the national one-day title.

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