Sibling Rivalry On Saturday For Graves

Yvonne Graves is hoping Saturday’s clash with her old side Lightning will provide her with the picture perfect start to her Northern Diamonds career.

But she might not be able to share it if that is the case.

That is because her twin sister, Teresa, with whom she shares an Instagram account, will be on the opposition side when the Charlotte Edwards Cup kicks off at the Haslegrave ground, Loughborough.

The pair’s account (y_t_graves) shows personal and cricketing photos.

“We do have the same account,” chuckled all-rounder Yvonne, when looking ahead to a potential debut and the start of her time with the Diamonds.

“And it was only recently that we said, ‘What are we going to do now?’

“It would be nice if we can get a photo together before the game to put on. But I’m not sure what else we’ll do from there.”

The pair, Halifax-born 23-year-olds, started their cricketing journeys with Yorkshire before playing the majority of their county careers with Nottinghamshire. They still do, and represented Notts at Sunday’s County T20 Finals Day at Northern CC.

If both play on Saturday, it won’t be the first time they have faced each other in a competitive match.

“When I first moved to Notts in 2017, Teresa was still at Yorkshire. We played against each other then,” continued off-spinning all-rounder Yvonne.

“It was a tight game which Notts won. I scored 40, but she bowled me out.

“Saturday will be a big moment for us. We played that one game against each other, but since then everything’s been together.

“We’ve never thought about playing against each other.

“I know her inside out, but it feels strange to be even thinking of bowling plans against her. It’s an odd situation to be in.

“We’ve always had that competitive edge against each. We used to do swimming and athletics. There were some disciplines she was better at than me and me her. We always wanted to beat each other and have that one step up.

“If we were at home and playing backyard cricket, or whatever, it was always who could come out the best.

“We’re so comfortable and confident around each other, so just to look across and see her in different kit will be weird.

“But it has to go to one side. I’m sure that will be the case after we’ve seen each other in the warm-ups. We have to focus on our jobs.”

The Diamonds signed Graves, who played nine times for Lightning last summer, to add variety alongside fellow off-spinner Leigh Kasperek to their bowling department.

“I was playing out in South Africa over the winter, and they signed me whilst I was out there,” she explained. “It was really nice to get the email from Dani (Hazell, coach).

“When I was coming back home, that was when they got all the papers through officially. And it’s been good to be training with everyone for the last month.

“I played all my age-group at Yorkshire, so it’s like coming home for me.

“I played quite a few games with Hollie Armitage, Leah Dobson and Abi Glenn. Away from that, I played a lot of club cricket with them as well, so I know a lot of the older girls.”

As well as adding variety to the bowling, Graves is also hoping to bolster the middle order batting of the Headingley side.

“My role at Lightning had become a very bowling dominant one and batting down the order,” she said.

“But when I spoke to Dani, she was really keen to develop my batting as well.

“I’m keen to bat a bit higher up in the middle order rather than just having me as a bowler.”

Graves, who nearly pulled last season’s corresponding fixture out of the fire for the Lightning with a handy 19, is only too aware of the dangers her former side possess.

Led by a new coach in Chris Guest and director of cricket James Cutt, they have signed in-form all-rounder Marie Kelly from Central Sparks, who hit the headlines recently due to her ambidextrous spin bowling.

“They’ve also got the Bryce sisters, though I don’t know whether they’re available with being at the Fairbreak tournament,” added Graves.

“Beth Harmer has done brilliantly for Derbyshire in the county games at the start of the season. She scored a 70 against Yorkshire.

“It will be tough, but we’re looking forward to it.”