They really are putting the Northern into the Diamonds this week!
The Diamonds next two Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup games are being played in the North East, the first against Sunrisers at South Northumberland CC on Wednesday before Western Storm visit Durham’s Emirates Riverside on Saturday. Both are 2.30pm starts.
Usually Emerald Headingley based, the Diamonds are not only representing Yorkshire, but Durham and Northumberland too.
The best players from across the three counties form an enviable talent pool for the likes of Durham-born head coach Dani Hazell, Academy coach Courtney Winfield-Hill and director of cricket James Carr to choose from.
“We always wanted to take our games to all three counties,” said Carr.
“Durham had a couple of our games last season, but South Northumberland lost out on a Hundred game right from the original planning stage of that competition pre-Covid.
“It’s smack, bang in the summer holidays, and there will be plenty of engagement with South North. They have got a substantial girls’ section there, which is really cool.”
The Diamonds head to South North for their first game since July 10, when they beat Western Storm at Taunton in a one-wicket T20 thriller.
As Carr says, “It’s the business end of the season”.
With three games remaining in Group B in the Charlotte Edwards Cup, the Diamonds have eight points with two wins. They are a point behind group leaders Thunder, their final round opponents at Chester on August 30.
The top team in each of the two groups qualifies for Finals Day at the Ageas Bowl on September 5, with the best of the group winners advancing directly to the final.
The best second-placed team also qualifies and will face the other group winner in the semi-final.
Since losing their opening game to Thunder at Emerald Headingley at the end of June, the Diamonds have beaten lowly Sunrisers at Chelmsford and Storm at Taunton.
“I’ve kind of given up on the maths!” laughed Carr.
“We’ll certainly need a couple of wins to get to Finals Day, and then it depends who we beat. In essence, we probably need to win all three.”
Sunrisers have only won one of 13 games as a region over the last two seasons. That win came at the start of this competition, against Storm.
The Diamonds have beaten them twice already this season. The first was by nine wickets chasing 54 at Cambridge in a June Rachael Heyhoe Flint 50-over Trophy game, while the second was by eight wickets chasing 117 in a Charlotte Edwards game at Chelmsford at the start of July.
“The outsiders looking in will think we are the favourites,” said Carr. “I would be disappointed if we lost, but we won’t be taking them lightly - absolutely not.
“Look at the players they’ve got. They’ve got some very good players on that team sheet and have had some tough games.
They have a couple of good batters up front, Naomi Dattani in particular. She is a very experienced cricketer. I think they are a better T20 side.
“I’ve said this a few times. Each of the eight regional programmes are ever-evolving. Whatever the roster may be, the eighth-placed team could go to one very quickly and visa versa.
“That makes for exciting competition.
“If the Sunrisers girls have weathered well through the Hundred, they could be in some very good form.”
The Diamonds reconvened as a full squad for the first time today (Monday) following the break for the Hundred and were assessing availability.
Captain Hollie Armitage added: “We are all desperate to be making the finals of both competitions. We just have to hit the ground running and carry that momentum through until the end of September.
“If we’re honest, we haven’t put our best performance together yet this season, which is really exciting for us.
“Once we can marry the performances of bat and ball and fire as a top order, including myself, we’ll be looking good as a team.”