Sterre Kalis started the summer with the Northern Diamonds by spending her quarantine period celebrating her beloved football team Ajax’s Eredivisie title success. Now she is ending the 2021 campaign hoping to win a trophy of her own.
Kalis, the classy Dutch international batter, has been a key figure in the Diamonds progression through to Saturday’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final against Southern Vipers at Northampton.
The football mad 22-year-old is their leading run-scorer in the competition with 272, including two fifties. Only five players around the country have scored more.
In Wednesday’s semi-final eliminator win over Central Sparks at Scarborough, her unbeaten 41 anchored their successful pursuit of 176, helping recover from 42-3 to win by six wickets.
“My time in isolation was filled with watching a lot of Dutch Sports,” she said back in May. “I love watching football. Ajax became champions recently, so it was a lot of fun to see.”
Kalis’ use of the word fun is also an apt description for her second season with the Diamonds.
She came over to play the shortened Covid season last August as an overseas player and now qualifies as a local.
The right-hander admits it has been a challenge to spend an extended period away from her family, whose time visiting Yorkshire has been restricted due to all the travel restrictions surrounding Coronavirus.
But the welcoming environment created by the Diamonds off the field, plus their success on it, has definitely made it worth it for a rapidly developing young player.
“The girls and all the backroom staff have been so good to me,” she said. “They have welcomed me with open arms.
“It’s always hard to leave your family and friends behind in Holland and come overseas to play cricket. But all I want to do at the moment is get my performances to the next level.
“I want to play as many games as possible, and doing it at a high standard of cricket like this is really important for me.
“My boyfriend came over to do my quarantine with me at the start of the season and came back again with my dad around three weeks ago.
“But, with the Covid stuff, it’s been hard for my family to come over for long periods.
“The girls have been my family. I do a lot of things away from cricket with them. I love being here.”
Kalis has played her part in the Diamonds run to all three finals at the start of the regional era in English women’s cricket - both RHF Trophy showpieces as well as the final of the Charlotte Edwards (T20) Cup earlier this month.
“We’re really happy with that achievement, but we want to win it this time,” she continued. “We want to win trophies. Let’s hope Saturday is third time lucky.
“We feel really good, especially after a strong performance against the Sparks.
“It was a brilliant team performance. To keep them to 175, I thought was a brilliant effort. Then it got a bit easier for the batters.
“Hol (Hollie Armitage) gave us a really good start, which helped us get into the innings and chase down their total.
“I’m so proud to be a part of this team.”
Kalis is yet unsure whether she will take part in the Netherlands’ 50-over World Cup qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe in November, when Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the West Indies will all compete.
“If I do play, it will be a huge opportunity to step up and play against full nations like the West Indies and Pakistan,” she said. “To take my cricket to that next level, I want to score big runs in the big games.”
Talking of big runs in big games, that brings us back to Saturday.
She added: “We played the Vipers and took them close last week. Hopefully we can go one step further this weekend and bring a trophy back to the North.”