A few scores of One Hundred and Eeeeeiiiiiggggghhhhhtttttyyyyy will certainly help Yorkshire’s cause this summer, there’s absolutely no doubt about that.

But they will also help the players over the next couple of weeks, given they have been pitted against each other in a post training squad darts competition.

Lead strength and conditioning coach Harry Booker is the man behind the hotly contested event which, you never know, could find the next Luke Humphries or Luke Littler. 

Assistant coach Ali Maiden explains all…..

“Harry has got a real bug for organising stuff at the minute, which is fantastic,” said Maiden. 

“Pre-Christmas, he organised a mini training camp in Stirling, where he used to work with British Curling at the Scottish Institute of Sport. He arranged for us to do some curling with a gold medalist, we did a park run the next morning and a hike as well.

“He’s also had the lads in with a body builder in Leeds as something else different – teaching them how to pose with tops off and everything! 

“He works them really hard and then comes up with something completely different after training every Thursday to have a bit of fun. The lads just love it. 

Harry Booker

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Yorkshire’s lead strength and conditioning coach, Harry Booker.

“Anyway, this week out of the blue, we get a darts tournament schedule through on our phones. I’m playing our other S&C, Alex Donnelly, who has just joined us to work alongside Harry.

“This is just a bit of fun after training.”

Maiden snuck through his opening round fixture against Donnelly, who has come in to Headingley to replace Matt Anderson. He has taken on the lead S&C role with the Northern Diamonds. 

“It was the highest quality you’ll ever see,” continued Maiden. “We were on five and three at one point.

“I got through, but more out of luck than judgement. Adam Lyth was coaching me on what numbers to go for, so I had a little bit of help there.”

And of the runners and riders, Maiden added: “Lythy’s a favourite I’d say, Coady too. Ben’s always a dark horse at that sort of stuff.”

Hollie Armitage is enjoying an impressive spell of T20 cricket with Central Districts in New Zealand, the Northern Diamonds captain in the runs with the bat and her team in a handy position to play finals cricket later this month. 

Armitage is playing in the women’s Super Smash competition as an overseas player.

She has helped CD to three wins from seven matches, and they are third in the six-team table with three to play. The top three teams qualify for the finals, running from January 26-28. 

Armitage has been opening the batting and has scored 144 runs with a top score of 47, the sixth best haul in the competition and the best for her side.

Central Districts play their latest game tonight (11.30pm UK) away at league leaders Wellington. 

Hollie Armitage

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Diamonds captain Hollie Armitage.

Meanwhile, Diamonds team-mate Lauren Winfield-Hill continues her stint in Australian state cricket with Queensland. So far, she has played four Women’s National Cricket League 50-over fixtures, helping her side to sit top of the table with six wins from eight matches.

Winfield-Hill has not batted in two matches and has posted scores of 48 and 11 in the other two. Her top score of 48 came earlier this week batting at four in a win over South Australia in Brisbane.

That competition concludes with a final on February 23. 

Queensland next play against Tasmania in Hobart, starting 11.30pm UK on Sunday evening.

Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson has travelled to the United Arab Emirates to resume his assistant coach’s duties with the Gulf Giants team in the ILT20 event, starting next Friday.

Gibson helped the Giants win the inaugural event this time last year as an aide to head coach Andy Flower, and he has taken up the same role again having recovered from knee replacement surgery in October.

The Bajan left on Tuesday, and – as he did last year – has taken a couple of Yorkshire bowlers out with him to be around the squad and take part in an effective mini training camp.

Seamers Matt Milnes and Ben Cliff have both travelled. For clarification, neither are in the Giants squad, and will be in the Gulf for close to the next fortnight.

Ben Cliff

Picture by John Heald. Ben Cliff bowls on first-class debut against Glamorgan last September.

The competition runs from Friday through until February 17. The Giants face Sharjah Warriors in Sharjah in the opener (2.30pm UK). Matches are televised in the UK on Zee TV – Sky channel 709 or 809 on Virgin Media. 

Ali Maiden is overseeing the running of winter training until Gibson returns to Headingley.

Jordan Thompson is a fully fledged squad member in the same competition for the MI Emirates team, returning to them for the second year running. 

Dawid Malan and Adil Rashid, meanwhile, are both involved in the South African T20 competition, which started earlier this week. 

Malan is playing for defending champions Sunrisers Eastern Cape, while Rashid has returned to the Pretoria Capitals.

Malan had his opener washed out against Johannesburg Super Kings on Wednesday, while Rashid’s campaign begins today when the Capitals face Jos Buttler’s Paarl Royals at 3.30pm UK. 

That competition, running to February 10, is being televised by Sky Sports.  

Dom Bess has returned to Zimbabwe to play for the Southern Rocks team.

Yorkshire’s off-spinning all-rounder featured in two first-class and as many List A fixtures for them from late November through to mid-December, enjoying success with bat and ball. 

They currently sit top of the four-day Logan Cup table after four matches. In his last appearance – a win over the Tuskers – he hit a pair of half-centuries batting at three and took a second-innings 4-8.

The Rocks resume their campaign next week.

Dom Bess

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Dom Bess snares a caught and bowled chance during the 2023 season-ending win over Worcestershire.

Matthew Revis claimed five wickets, including a first-innings 4-41, for Gold Coast Dolphins in their two-day clash with Ipswich upon the resumption of club cricket in Australia after Christmas.

Their clash took place last weekend, with Revis enjoying more success with the ball than the bat in a defeat. 

Northern Diamonds all-rounder Leah Dobson continues her spell in women’s cricket with the same club this Sunday.

James Wharton has been back in action for Wanneroo in Perth, scoring 11 in a 50-over defeat against Scarborough last weekend. They return to two-day action this weekend.

Matthew Revis

Picture by John Heald. Matthew Revis walks off at Cardiff last season with a maiden first-class five-for to his name. He is in the wickets again in Australia.

Meanwhile, George Hill has travelled to New Zealand to spend the second half of his winter playing club cricket in Christchurch.

Are you after some January reading? If so, it might be worth getting stuck into John Fuller’s latest book on club cricket in Yorkshire.

With his Dales, Bails and Cricket Club Tales book, Fuller is back with a travel-writing style collection of articles from his CricketYorkshire.com website, be it the weird or the wonderful, picturesque grounds and teas to die for.

He is the author of previous titles Last of the Summer Wickets and All Wickets Great and Small.

This one was published before Christmas, with Fuller saying: “Fortunately, we’ve got incredible choice in Yorkshire so whatever setting or standard you like, there’s something for everyone.”

This self-published book is available via Amazon at £7.99 paperback or £4.99 Kindle.

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