Lauren Winfield-Hill has been bitten by the Hundred bug.
Winfield-Hill is captaining the Northern Superchargers in the inaugural edition of the ECB’s new 100-ball competition.
“It helps when the team’s performing well, for sure,” said the Northern Diamonds wicketkeeper-batter. “But it’s just really exciting.”
The Superchargers have won three of five games so far, including two on home turf at Emerald Headingley.
They also had a rainy No Result against Manchester Originals at Emirates Old Trafford and lost their only game against London Spirit at Lord’s on Tuesday.
They are on course for finals cricket.
But Winfield-Hill’s enjoyment stems largely from the clear benefits for the progression of the women’s game in this country.
“It’s completely exceeded my expectations. It’s been unreal,” said the England star from Stamford Bridge.
“To be honest, in the first game (Welsh Fire at Headingley), I was quite overwhelmed with the atmosphere, the entertainment factor, the music, the crowds.
“We had a review and everyone was getting into it. It’s been fantastic.
“I know the overseas players have loved it as a competition in terms of how much interest we’re getting and the crowds we’re generating.
“I’m loving it!”
The competition started with a host of sceptics, but are they starting to be won over by, most importantly, the quality of cricket in both the women’s and men’s competitions and also the wider entertainment at venues?
“I reckon so,” said Winfield-Hill, next in action against table-toppers Southern Brave at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday.
“It’s human nature - we don’t like change. But the feedback we’re getting has been great.
“I’ve had my mate from the golf course, who’s got a little son, get in touch. I’ve played ample internationals and she’s never been bothered to come.
“But she’s been like, ‘What’s this new Hundred about? I might bring the little one along’.
“It’s just everywhere. It’s on billboards, on your TV. It’s marketed so well. Even in my small circle, it’s bringing in a new audience which wouldn’t have been bothered by watching me play otherwise.”
The crowds at all venues have been healthy, with 5,000 plus in at Headingley for both women’s games so far against Welsh Fire and Oval Invincibles, the latest on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s completely trailblazing for women’s cricket,” she said.
“It shows that there is a different audience when you’re still getting good numbers when people would otherwise usually be playing cricket on a Saturday.
“That obviously suggests it’s a younger audience with families and more girls in the crowd.”
Winfield-Hill’s experience of the Hundred has been made all the more special for her because the women’s side are playing all home games at Emerald Headingley.
“For me, there’s nothing better than coming in on day one and being at Headingley because I’ve grown up and played all of my cricket in Yorkshire,” she said.
She also believes the Superchargers success stems from the good form of the Northern Diamonds in regional cricket over the last 12 months.
“There are a lot of players who have played a fair bit of cricket together now,” she said.
“The preparation period was the best I’ve been involved in. I sort of liaised with Dani Hazell at the start of the competition and talked a lot about where we felt we could really benefit.
“We needed to be pretty specific with how we were preparing, and we had some long slog days in the heat at the start. But we ticked all the boxes.
“We’re in a really good position, and there’s a great vibe around the team.”