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RHF Trophy 3 min read

The best bits of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy so far

Three rounds of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy are in the books, with a fourth taking place this weekend before a break for some T20 cricket.

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The best bits of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy so far

The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy has provided great action to spectators

The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy moves into its fourth round this weekend, and the final round before the Regional T20 competition gets underway.

We've seen some incredible action in the 50-over format so far, with new and established England players making their mark and young talents making their name in a competition that has thrown up some excellent encounters.

Here are some of the talking points so far.

Amy Jones smashes two centuries

We've seen five centuries in the first three rounds of competition, but England star Amy Jones has stolen the show with two sublime knocks including an unbeaten 163 in round two.

She started her season with a run-a-ball 114 as her Central Sparks team overcame the loss of both openers for ducks to chase down Northern Diamonds' 269 with two wickets to spare - a chase that also featured an inspired cameo by Sarah Glenn, who smashed six sixes in her unbeaten 71.

Jones continued her fine form in stunning fashion, hitting 17 fours and six sixes as she reached 163 not out from just 114 balls, scoring over 55% of her team's total of 295 to put the game out of reach of Western Storm.

England players will miss this fourth round of fixtures, with the multi-format series against India starting on Wednesday, but Jones's heroics have set the Sparks up nicely as they sit top of the table on 13 points.

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Amy Jones scores 163 not out in Central Sparks' win over Western Storm

Central Sparks star Amy Jones hit the highest score of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy so far with a stunning 163 not out against Western Storm

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Emily Arlott gets a hat-trick and an England call-up

Emily Arlott said she was "shocked" to receive an England call-up for the series against India. but looking at her performances in the first three matches of the RHF Trophy it's not so much of a surprise.

Only two bowlers have taken more wickets than her eight so far - fellow England squad members Katherine Brunt and Tash Farrant - and she can claim both the best bowling figures (5/29) and the first hat-trick of the competition.

The hat-trick came as the Central Sparks blew away the Southern Vipers' batting lineup, with Arlott taking four wickets in the sixth over. Maia Bouchier fell to the first ball; Georgia Elwiss to the fourth; Charlie Dean to the fifth and Ella McCaughan to the sixth as the Vipers collapsed to 17/5.

It was Issy Wong who started the collapse just two balls before Arlott's first scalp, bowling Georgia Adams with the perfect away-swing delivery, which straightened to hit off stump. 

England stars on form

It's a busy summer for England Women, with India and New Zealand touring these shores in the coming months, and several of the team's stars showed they're more than ready for the return of international cricket.

Captain Heather Knight is leading from the front, scoring three 50s in her three innings, including a fluent 91 in the opening round win over the Thunder. Danni Wyatt has also passed 50 on three occasions, while Lauren Winfield-Hill started strongly with a century in the first match.

The evergreen Katherine Brunt and the resurgent Tash Farrant lead the way in the bowling charts with nine wickets each, with England's leading spinner Sophie Ecclestone picking up eight.

The international summer starts with a Test match, so a change of pace from the white-ball games they've played so far, but hopefully the squad will have confidence in their form going into the series.

Starting with a bang

The first round of this year's Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy will live in the memory for a long while thanks to the plethora of great performances, high-scoring matches and close finishes.

Over 2,000 runs were scored across the four matches, including four centuries - from Amy Jones, Lauren Winfield-Hill, Sophia Dunkley and Emma Lamb. But the batters didn't have it all their own way, with 67 wickets falling over the course of the day, including five-wicket hauls for Issy Wong and Tash Farrant.

And two of the matches featured tight finishes, with Western Storm claiming a one-wicket victory over Thunder thanks to a 43-run tenth-wicket partnership between Anya Shrubsole and Lauren Filer. Shrubsole hit 61 from 41 including 25 from the final two overs to win the match.

Here's to more of the same in round four!

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