Hollie Armitage has been appointed as the full-time captain of the Northern Diamonds, and the in-form all-rounder can’t wait to get started.
The 23-year-old Huddersfield star takes on the role she shared last season with England’s Lauren Winfield-Hill as the Diamonds reached the final of the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
Over the last few months, Armitage has captained both Yorkshire’s women and Clarence CC during a winter in Tasmania, winning a 50-over competition with the latter and scoring a century in the final.
Diamonds director of cricket James Carr has described her as the “prime candidate” for the role.
“As part of the whole professionalisation of the game, we’ve got to give opportunities,” he said. “Hollie did a really good job last year.
“She’s still relatively young and not that long out of University. But she’s a very experienced cricketer for a 23-year-old.
“Hollie is the prime candidate to be our leader, personality wise, skill wise, experience. So you want to give her that chance. Otherwise, how do people develop?
“She had Lauren around at times, but she can’t develop as a captain if she’s only doing it for six games and then hands over the reins.
“It’s like our plan to bat people in certain positions or bowl people at certain times. We have to accept that it won’t be rosy every day, but we’ll be better and stronger at the end of it.”
Armitage said: “I’m really proud. It’s a fantastic squad - a really good bunch of girls with a lot of experience. That will make my job a heck of a lot easier.
“I like the responsibility. But whether I’m captain or not, I’d still want to be leading from the front as a player.
“Having the role is an exciting opportunity, and I’m really grateful for the chance.
“I want the girls to play with freedom. I also want them to know they can come to me at any time. While I might be younger than a lot of them, I’ve still got a lot of experience.”
Armitage will lead a side including England stars Katherine Brunt, Nat Sciver, Winfield-Hill and former World Cup and Ashes winner Jenny Gunn.
“That’s a little bit daunting in a way,” she admitted before talking about what kind of captain she believes she will be.
“But they respect that I’m still learning and will be helping me along the way.
“I’m someone who’s not going to change. I’m still going to be Hollie Armitage, one of their mates who won’t shy away from the social stuff. I still want to enjoy playing with my friends.”
Armitage captained the Diamonds on four occasions in last season’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy and hopes the side will be able to go one step further than beaten finalists when this year’s competition begins on May 29.
“We have an absolutely fantastic squad this year,” she added.
“From last year and making the final, we’re striving to come back with two trophies this summer. And we’ve got the talent and experience in the squad to do that.
“As long as we go out and play with freedom, we can achieve that.”
Armitage is currently in standout form.
A winter Down Under produced runs, wickets and a trophies. This summer, for the Yorkshire women, she has scored 290 runs in five county T20 games, also adding eight wickets with her fast improving leg-spin.
She is definitely a player who could progress to England honours.
“You just have to take each game as it comes,” she said. “It’s not something that I particularly think about.
“I just want to concentrate on the moment, the here and now. That is trying to score runs and take wickets to get the team into winning positions.
“If anything came on top of that, fantastic.”
Secure tickets to watch the opening Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy game, Northern Diamonds vs Central Sparks, at Emerald Headingley on Saturday. They cost just £5 adults and £1 juniors/seniors.