This year, Northern Diamonds will be looking to go one better in the Charlotte Edwards Cup and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophies. They have finished runners up in each edition of the T20 and 50 over competitions losing out to Southern Vipers in the longer form and South East Stars last year in the inaugural outing of the shorter format.
While it is disappointing to get so close and yet so far to lifting the silverware, it is built on a steady foundation. It also sees an upward trend in their former incarnation as the Yorkshire Diamonds, who languished most seasons of the Kia Super League at the bottom end of the table.
They have strengthened well over the winter by recruiting Yvonne Graves from Lightning and securing the services of New Zealand international Leigh Kasperek. The Off-spinner was unlucky to miss out on her adopted country’s World Cup squad over the winter. Having spent many years playing county cricket for Yorkshire, it seems an excellent time for both parties to join forces, especially with the Commonwealth games coming up.
How many games Katherine Brunt and Natalie Sciver play, could be another significant factor for the North-East side; they won’t be available for the first game of the Charlotte Edwards Cup as they have yet to return to training. Brunt’s place in the England side came under some scrutiny during the World Cup, and while she has been written off, she is still a competitive player who will give everything she has to ensure Diamonds and England are a success.
There is plenty of international experience in the Northern Diamonds squad; Jenny Gunn, the allrounder, has more than one World Cup medal. Beth Langston was part of the 2017 England squad that lifted the World Cup and Linsey Smith, a left-arm spinner, played T20 cricket for England.
Captain Lauren Winfield-Hill will be expected to score runs at the top of the order, and Sterre Kallis, the Netherlands international, has continued to improve and look the class act she always has the potential to be.
Ones to watch
Bess Heath may only be 20-years-old she has been on the women’s domestic circuit for some time, making her Derbyshire debut in 2014. She has become a quick scoring top-order batter and a more than capable wicketkeeper. Having played second fiddle to Sarah Taylor at Northern Diamonds in 2021 will be hoping to kick on and prove that she can be a force within the Diamonds squad. Pre-season has gone well, and an exciting time lies ahead.
At the start of the year, Rachel Slater made her T20 international debut as part of a Scotland side looking to qualify for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. While she didn’t take a wicket, Slater did confirm that she is one to watch this season. On the back of a 2021 season, she saw her break into the Diamonds’ side, taking two for 16 on her Charlotte Edwards Cup debut against Western Storm.
Opening fixture: 14 May, Lightning, Loughborough