The season in advent - day 24 - Slater on Diamonds prospect & importance of keeping county structure

Rachel Slater believes the Northern Diamonds can use the disappointment of losing both regional finals to their advantage next summer.

The newly contracted fast bowler is confident silverware is just around the corner for herself, Hollie Armitage and co.

“As disappointing as it was to lose two finals this summer, we still have a lot of good momentum heading into next year,” said the 20-year-old left-armer.

“We learnt a lot this summer, so I’m pretty confident we can go on and get some trophies pretty quickly.

“There’s been a little bit of movement with a couple of players, but we have a really strong group.”

2021 was Slater’s breakthrough year.

She battled against injury during the first part of the summer - recovering from a New Year knee operation and then suffering an ankle issue shortly after regaining fitness - and only made her senior regional debut in late August.

She claimed seven wickets in as many Diamonds appearances and earned one of four new professional contracts early last month.

“I’m really excited,” she continued. “The contract is something new for me, and it just makes me want to work harder and harder and make the most of it.”

Slater’s huge encouragement came after that aforementioned disruptive first half of the year.

So the chances are that even more will be delivered by the New York State-born, Leeds-raised youngster next summer.

She will, fingers crossed, have had a full winter’s training under her belt, while there is also the likelihood of some early summer appearances for Yorkshire women.

“Unfortunately I just missed out for Yorkshire through injury,” she confirmed. “I was due to play the last game as a batter, but it was rained off.

“I would definitely like to play for Yorkshire in the early part of the summer. Playing for your home county is always something really special.”

Yorkshire women have six county T20 fixtures scheduled across three early summer match days next year; April 18, April 22 and May 2.

They are due to play North East Warriors, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, a Northern Representative XI and Lancashire, with venues still to be confirmed.

And even though regional cricket has now taken precedence on the English domestic landscape, Slater feels the importance of a strong county structure should not be underplayed.

“For me personally, county cricket still has a huge role to play,” she added.

“There are still plenty of girls who aren’t in a regional set-up.

“If girls reach the age of 20 or 21 and they are not in a regional Academy or senior squad, there needs to be somewhere for them to go and make their name. Everyone peaks and progresses at different ages, and we don’t just want them falling out of the system.

Keeping county cricket strong, age-groups and senior teams, is going to play a massive part in improving the game over the next five years or so.”


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