Katie Levick has revealed how her recent spell playing with the Northern Diamonds has put the spark back into her cricket.
The Yorkshire leg-spinner, 29, admitted that the early summer lockdown had her contemplating her future in the game in which she has excelled at domestic level for more than a decade.
But, after playing an integral part in the Diamonds run to the final of the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy from late August to late September, she is now looking forward to a few more successful years.
Sheffield-born Levick has just been retained by the Northern Superchargers for next summer’s inaugural Hundred campaign.
She had been signed up to start this year before the competition was cancelled due to Coronavirus, but she has taken up the option to go again in 2021.
It could be in that competition that she passes the 250-wicket mark in her domestic career – she currently sits on 226 (186 for Yorkshire women, 29 for Yorkshire Diamonds and 11 for Northern Diamonds).
“I put out a tweet earlier this year where I said, ‘I’m getting to the stage where I’m thinking my career is winding down’,” she explained.
“People within, or who follow, the men’s game keep saying they think I’m still young, but it’s different as an amateur.
“Getting close to 30 and you don’t necessarily want to keep giving up your spare time for not much reward.
“Then, through lockdown, I was thinking, ‘Am I really missing cricket that much?’
“But the Diamonds gave me that love for the game again.
“Being around that team and environment, with the players and staff we had, it has really given me the taste to have a few more years out of this.”
While the Northern Superchargers, the Yorkshire women and the Northern Diamonds are all different teams, Levick believes they can feed off one another and build a strong structure in the North.
“We had the makings of a good Hundred team last year, and hopefully we carry as many players over as possible,” she said.
“Playing the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy this year gave a lot of girls a good case to pick up a Hundred gig having maybe not had one before.
“The Diamonds certainly put on a good show with a few girls impressing who hadn’t played in the Kia Super League beforehand.
“Fingers crossed, that carries over into the Hundred and we can keep a core squad together.
“Even though the Diamonds just missed out this year, it’s a good place to build from.
“The final (against the Southern Vipers at Edgbaston last month) was a frustrating day.
“I didn’t feel like we were beaten, it was more of a case of us losing it.
“We let ourselves down in a couple of departments, particularly the batting.
“It was a final which was there to be won, which is annoying.
“But, overall, to get to the final having won the North Group as comprehensively as we did, we have to take that positive and realise everyone is in a good place moving into the winter.
“This summer, I think pretty much all of the girls had it in their heads, ‘We’re not going to play any cricket this year’. I certainly did.
“Then, suddenly, it moved very quickly in terms of a new squad thrown together and a competition starting.
“It can be quite difficult to hit the ground running in that scenario, but we did and it’s a massive plus for us. We certainly got a lot out of the summer.
“We put ourselves on the map as a team to be reckoned with and one who can break that southern dominance that the Super League and the County Championship has had over the last few years.”