Hollie Armitage is expecting a much more open regional summer in 2022.
The Northern Diamonds captain is confident her side can challenge for silverware once more, even going one step further than three runners-up finishes across two seasons so far.
But she believes the competition from elsewhere will be extremely strong.
Across two years of regional cricket, the Diamonds, Central Sparks, South East Stars and Southern Vipers are the only regions of the eight who have qualified to play knockout cricket, with the Stars and Vipers sharing the silverware.
However, that could very well change over the next six months.
“I think all teams are going to be strong this year, so every game is going to be key,” said Armitage.
“It’s been two years of the regional structure now, and this is really the first winter where all teams will have had a proper pre-season with all the Covid stuff that has been going on.
“I don’t expect there to be any particular team which stands out. I think every team will step up at different times throughout the year.
“That’s good for the development of the domestic game.”
With just under six weeks to go until the start of competitive action for the Diamonds, Armitage is in confident mood.
They have a number of friendlies pencilled in, while the majority of players will be playing county cricket for Yorkshire amongst others later this month.
“We have lost a few key players, but we still have a strong squad. That just shows the the depth we have here,” continued Armitage, who has trained at home for the majority of the winter either side of a month’s holiday in Australia.
“My trip to Australia was an extended break, which I’m very fortunate for.
“But the training we’ve had at home has been very good. We’ve had a very productive pre-season, and I think all the girls would say the same.”
Last year was Armitage’s first as full-time captain of the Diamonds, an experience she relished.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” she added. “It was challenging at points, but we have an experienced squad who know what they’re doing and make my life a lot easier.
“Form is something you can’t control, and I just hope this year brings me more runs than it did last (338 in 17 appearances).”
The Diamonds begin competitive action with a Charlotte Edwards (T20) Cup clash with Lightning at Loughborough on Saturday May 14.