Rachel Slater eyes trophy success

“It has already been a good week for me, but playing and helping the Diamonds win a trophy would top it off.”

It’s safe to say that Rachel Slater is loving life on a cricket field at the moment.

The Northern Diamonds seamer, aged 19, has taken to regional cricket like a duck to water, claiming four wickets in her first two games and helping the side qualify for Sunday’s Finals Day in the Charlotte Edwards Cup.

Nothing is certain, of course, but the left-armer has given herself one heck of a chance of playing after eye-catching displays in group games against Western Storm and Thunder over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“I feel like I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to show what I can do,” said the Yorkshire women’s star who played one game for the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred last month. “And I’m just glad that I’ve been able to help the team out and contribute to getting us to Finals Day.

“Obviously all focus is on that now, and hopefully there’s more of the same to come on Sunday.

“I feel confident at the minute and feel like I’m bowling well - even before the weekend. It’s nice to see that has come through on the pitch and I’ve been able to take a couple of wickets in each game.”

Handed her Diamonds cap by close friend Bess Heath ahead of the Storm game at Durham on Saturday, Slater bowled Fi Morris with her second ball and added the wicket of Dani Gibson via the same method in her second over.

“It settled the nerves a bit, that’s for sure!” said Slater of her first wicket.

“It’s always going to be nerve-wracking, but I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

“Out of all the wickets you take, there’s no better feeling. I want to be hitting the stumps and bowling people out. For both my wickets to be like that was very pleasing.”

Slater debuted for Yorkshire women in 2019 having captained the county’s age-group teams at Under 13s, 15s and 17s level.

She has enjoyed some special days in the game, including once taking 6-7 for the Under 17s.

But success at Southampton on Sunday, starting with a semi-final win over home side Southern Vipers, would surely top everything.

“It would definitely be up there,” she said. “I’m hoping to play, but we have a very strong squad with a lot of good bowlers. We’ll just have to see.

“There’s a few days of training to work hard at and nail a few things. Hopefully it comes off on Sunday.”

The Diamonds certainly seem well placed for success, especially on the back of Monday’s thumping eight-wicket bonus point victory over Thunder at Chester when they chased 91 in double quick time to seal qualification.

“We knew it was a big game and what we had to do,” said Slater.

“We spoke after the game that it was probably the first time in the T20 comp that everything has come together and it’s clicked. It was a complete performance, and luckily other things went our way.

“That gives us momentum heading into Finals Day.

“It was the perfect time for us to click and have that momentum as a team - as a batting unit and a bowling unit, even in the field. It was one of our best performances in the field.

“And we know we can still get better. That is really exciting.”

Slater has a brilliant story to tell, not just from what has happened over the last week but about her life so far. And she tells it well.

An affable character - “laid back and quite calm” by her own description - here is a teenager with a distinct Yorkshire accent who has spent much of her life living in Leeds and learning her cricket at Collingham and Linton Cricket Club.

But note the use of the word ‘much’.

“I was born in New York State and lived there until I was two and a half ish before moving over here to Leeds,” she said. “I’ve been here ever since.

“My dad moved there for work, and we were born out there.

“I’m a triplet with a brother (Euan) and a sister (Lindsay).

“None of my family play cricket. They used to, but not any more. They like it and watch it, but I’m the only one who plays at the minute.”

So that leaves Slater eligible to represent the US at international level if she ever wanted.

“I guess, in theory, yes,” she added. “I’m only 19 and wouldn’t close any door. But I very much have hopes that one day I can play for England.”

Some more wickets and a piece of silverware on Sunday, and that dream may just move a step closer.


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