Winfield-Hill On Valuable Winter Experience


For us to have a Regional Academy Festival at this time of year, as we did last week at Millfield School in Somerset, was a hugely valuable experience for everyone involved.


We won five of the six games we played - three outdoors and three indoors.


But, regardless of the wins, the actual win was seeing the girls’ transfer of learning from the winter into the start of the summer.


When looking at the summer schedule, it was the intention of all the regions to get something in place early so that we could see how much of our winter work could be transferred to games.


We were incredibly lucky with the weather. Being Northerners, we hadn’t actually been outdoors much. Personally, I’d have just liked it to be that little bit warmer.


We played the indoor games as eight-a-side.


And that’s probably where I was most proud of our girls across the week.


It could have been really easy for them to perhaps not place as much importance and priority on those games because it’s not realistic to what we usually play.


You don’t catch many balls one-handed off the roof outdoors, do you. Not unless we go to Melbourne and play at Marvel Stadium, I guess.


But I asked them to consider what skills we could transfer to outdoors.


Those were things like communication, planning tactically.


We were just lucky that we won a couple of games along the way.


There were a number of important individual contributions across the squad. Lizzie Scott was one of those who contributed both runs and wickets and did really well.


I would definitely say she is one of our most genuine all-rounders, so genuine that she doesn’t know whether she’s a bowler who bats or a batter who bowls.


But, rather than placing too much emphasis on results and performance, we prefer to look at this stage of their careers as developmental.


There might be one game here and there that we place a bit more importance on in terms of performance. But the majority of the summer is about progress.


A lot of the girls are busy with their studies at the moment and had their heads down in the books whenever they could.


I had a look over Emma Marlow’s shoulder when she was doing her maths, and I quickly walked away.


Poor things. I’m glad I’m not back in year 11, 12 or 13 maths!


This was the first of two Regional Academy Festivals taking place this summer, with the other coming later on at Shrewsbury School.


But there is plenty to keep the girls occupied before then.


Some of them will be playing their first games of senior cricket over the next couple of weeks in the County T20 competition, and we will certainly celebrate those milestones with them along the way.


They will come across World Cup winners in the likes of Alex Hartley or England Academy players of the past like Linsey Smith and Hollie Armitage, who in their eyes are role models. But they are not far off being team-mates.


I would like to think they aren’t too fazed by it and are ready to compete because they certainly have what it takes skill wise.


Once the county stuff is done, four weekends of it, we have some regional internal games - what we are referring to as the Hazell/Brunt Cup.


That will be a three-game, internal batting between Yorkshire and the North East Warriors.


Also, we have Academy fixtures against all the other regions. Away from the Academy Festival, we have a fixture against each of them. That could be two T20s in a day or a 50-over game.


Most of our players will also play county age-group girls cricket, under 18s or 15s. Some will also play men’s and women’s club cricket, or under age boys' cricket.


I hope they don’t ever say they’re bored this summer.

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