Headingley is gearing up for a sparkling day’s cricket tomorrow when Yorkshire Diamonds raise the curtain on the inaugural season of the Kia Women’s Cricket League by taking on Loughborough Lightning.
The first match in this Twenty20 competition has a 2.30pm start and Diamonds captain, Lauren Winfield, and head coach, Richard Pyrah, are both urging spectators to turn up in large numbers to support their star-studded team comprised of Yorkshire, England and overseas players.
York-born Winfield is part of a Diamonds’ squad of 15 which comprises four England players, three overseas stars, two academy players and six players who have been selected through a county talent identification process.
The trio of top international cricketers who have now joined Diamonds for the campaign are Beth Mooney and Alex Blackwell from Australia and Shabnim Ismail from South Africa. Home-grown Diamonds talent includes 2005 Ashes winner Laura Spragg and Katie Levick, the country’s leading wicket-taker in last season’s women’s county championship.
Yorkshire and England fast bowler, Katherine Brunt, knows the game inside out, having played in 10 Tests, 87 one-day internationals and 57 T20s, and the Barnsley-born seamer commented:
“There has been a massive build-up for this new competition over the last six months and we want to give this tournament everything we have got because the England and Wales Cricket Board have worked so hard to get it underway. I think it very difficult to pick out who will be the winning team because every team has been balanced out perfectly, but I think our bowling may give us the edge.
“A lot of the other sides have very strong batting line-ups but the Diamonds have a really strong bowling attack and in this format bowlers have to do a lot of hard work to get the ones and the dots into the scorebook. If we can do that on a consistent basis that could give us the edge. Cricket fans should come and watch the Diamonds. It is better that you watch it live because you can then see how much skill is involved and I am sure every game will go down to the wire and be very competitive.”