Bess Heath excited to be part of the star-studded Superchargers

Bess Heath is relishing the prospect of playing her part in a star-studded Northern Superchargers batting line-up during the Hundred, starting next week.

The Northern Diamonds wicketkeeper batter will be placed alongside overseas trio Alyssa Healy, Jemimah Rodrigues and Laura Wolvaardt plus England all-rounder Alice Davidson-Richards and new captain Hollie Armitage.

Heath will be looking to continue the form which has earned her England A recognition this summer.

And if she can, the Superchargers will have a great chance of improving on last year’s near miss with knockout qualification.

In all cricket for the Diamonds, Yorkshire and England’s second string side in 2022, the soon to be 21-year-old has scored 505 runs at an average of 45.09 with a best of 84 not out. She has added five catches and five stumpings, though has not been keeping in the most recent Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

“We definitely have a very strong team with the ability to put some big scores on the board,” she said of the Superchargers. “It’s going to be exciting, and we’re all very confident.

“The atmosphere around the Hundred last year was amazing. I was injured beforehand, and my first game back was one of the Hundred games. The crowds were so good, and it lifts your energy. Hopefully it will be bigger and better this year. I can’t wait.”

Heath is one of seven Diamonds in the Headingley based Superchargers squad. Armitage, Jenny Gunn, Beth Langston, Katie Levick, Rachel Slater and Linsey Smith are the others.

The Diamonds have won their opening four games in the 50-over RHF Trophy, putting them on course for a third straight final in that competition.

“With the T20, we didn’t quite get off to the start we wanted,” continued Heath, referring to the early season Charlotte Edwards Trophy, which ended in a group stage exit.

“But we have come into our own with the 50-over stuff. We bat all the way down, and we have confidence in each other to always put on a good score.

“We’re hopefully on the right track to get a trophy at the end of it.

“We got some learnings from the T20s. It’s not to nice lose, but we have bounced back well.

“The last two games showed how much confidence we have in every single member of our team. Lev getting us over the line with her shot through the covers against Lightning at Durham, for example.

“This is the dream scenario for us. To go into the Hundred knowing that we’ve done all we can, win four games, and put ourselves in a great position.

“It’s relieved a little bit of pressure at the back side of the competition. But we won’t be taking our foot off the pedal. We definitely want to get straight into the final.”

When talking to Heath, born in Chesterfield, it is clear she is well grounded. Her first comment when asked to reflect on her own development as a player indicates she is the ideal team player.

“I don’t really know what to say about myself if I’m being honest,” she admitted with a chuckle. “But I’ve managed to put a couple of scores on the board, which is great.

“Experience is always great. To have the games, performances and the experiences I’ve had this summer has hopefully progressed me.

“I’ve loved my chance with England, but any game you play - whatever level that is - is a chance to learn. The Diamonds games have been just as important.

“I have goals to aspire to, but to achieve them I know I have to keep a level head.

“I push myself as much as I can to be the best I can, and it’s all about making sure I can control what I can control.”

Heath, who turns 21 on August 20, is in her first year as a contracted player with the Diamonds. But that hasn’t stopped her from helping out with the family tree surgery business when time allows.

“With it being a family business, I want to help out when I’m at home,” she said. “It’s what I’ve always done, and it’s nice to be able to click back into that mindset.

“I’m not a person to just be devoted to one thing. I quite like having other bits and bobs to work on. It might sound weird, but I like change. So being able to have different things going on is something I really enjoy. I think it’s helped my cricket.”

That work meant she didn’t watch Sunday’s Euro 2022 football final between England and Germany, which the Lionesses won in extra time at Wembley.

Like the two World Cup triumphs at Lord’s in 2017 and 2019, for England’s women and men, it is a success which will do wonders for inspiring the next generation of sporting talent.

“I’m more of a rugby fan,” said Heath. “But I did catch the highlights. What an achievement! The buzz around it was amazing, and it’s going to go down in history.”

Only yesterday it was revealed the Lionesses have written to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, the two candidates to be the next prime minister, urging them to give all young girls access to a minimum of two hours per week of PE.

Heath agrees: “There will be so many little girls - and boys - wanting to get out and play sport because of what they achieved, and it is so important we try to get as much sport as we can into primary schools so they can aspire to achieve that kind of thing.

“Hopefully we see a certain knock-on effect with the Hundred as well.

“Speaking to people last year who weren’t cricket fans, they got into the Hundred. I’m sure we’ll see more of that this time.

“It’s going to be a great competition.”

The Superchargers open their account against the Oval Invincibles, Lauren Winfield-Hill’s new team, at the Oval next Thursday.