Winfield-Hill refocusing on success with Northern Diamonds

Lauren Winfield-Hill will enjoy a couple of days of ‘r and r’ before refocusing her eyes on success with the Northern Diamonds.

Winfield-Hill, along with a host of other Diamonds stars, completed their commitments with the Northern Superchargers in the Hundred competition last night.

Unfortunately, in terms of success in that competition, it wasn’t to be as the Superchargers lost their last four games to slip out of the top three in the table, missing out on Finals cricket.

A win against Birmingham Phoenix at Emerald Headingley would have qualified them, but they suffered a 14-run defeat chasing 148. Winfield-Hill opened the batting and hit a brilliant 64, but things went downhill once she was out.

But there remains plenty to get excited about, with the Diamonds firmly in contention for both 50-over and T20 silverware.

After more than a month’s break for the Hundred, the Diamonds return to action in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup when they host Sunrisers at South Northumberland CC in Gosforth next Wednesday afternoon.

Winfield-Hill and co are second in Group B, a point behind cross-Pennine rivals Thunder after three of six games.

The top team in each of the two groups qualifies for Finals Day at Southampton on September 5, as does the best second-placed finisher.

Winfield-Hill described the eight-game Hundred competition as hugely enjoyable but “intense”.

“She said:“We’ve not achieved what we set out to achieve. But you have to get over things quickly in sport. That’s the way it is.

“We need a couple of days to get away from the game and refocus on the Diamonds stuff because we’ve got a lot of cricket to go.

“We’re only halfway through the season. It seems crazy that we’re in the middle of August and there’s still so much cricket to play.”

As aforementioned, the Diamonds are firmly in the mix for silverware on both fronts.

They are also second in the table in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy with three games remaining.

They are a point behind leaders Southern Vipers, who have 14 points. The top team advances directly through to next month’s final, with the second and third-placed teams playing off in an effective semi-final.

The Diamonds and Central Sparks both have 13 points and are four clear of fourth-placed Lightning.

Winfield-Hill continued: “You know what, it’s about time we brought some silverware back to the north. I’m sick of the southern teams always winning these competitions!

“We got to the (RHF Trophy) final last year, and we have to go one better. That’s got to be a huge goal for us.

“It would be really nice to do the double and put a marker down to say, ‘We’re here to be taken seriously, we’re up there as title contenders consistently’.

“We have a core group of players, and we’re getting better all the time.

“It takes time to grow, which we saw from the last Super League in 2019 with the Yorkshire Diamonds. We didn’t get through to Finals Day, but we were getting better all the time. We’re getting in and amongst it as challengers.

“Nobody is an overnight success. It’s about getting better each year. And that’s what we’ve done.”

Winfield-Hill’s 64 against Phoenix was a superb innings and her highest score of the Hundred.

Hopefully, the England batter is hitting form at just the right time, with some late summer limited overs internationals against New Zealand another major aim for the just turned 31-year-old.

“I’ve had a quiet Hundred tournament. I’m not hiding from that,” she said.

“I feel like I had some poor dismissals at the start, and the last few I haven’t really done much wrong. It’s just the game. I had a decent ball and a catch off my glove down leg-side.

“But I feel like my mind’s been in a good place.

“It wasn’t quite enough against Phoenix, but I was pleased to be able to finish things the way I wanted to play. I’’m really looking forward to what’s to come.”

And on the wider success of the Hundred, she added: “We’ve won people over.

“I’ve had lots of messages off friends and family, even people I played cricket with years ago that are like, ‘We want to get back into it. We want to come along and watch.’

“They’ve come out of the woodwork from nowhere, if you like, and it’s been great to see.

“That’s what it’s all about. The Hundred is doing its job, and hopefully we’ve given our fans something to enjoy.

“The Superchargers want to be better as a team going forward, but we’ve got something to build on.

“I’m proud of the way we’ve played our cricket.”


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