By Hollie Armitage

An early Christmas present came on Sunday in the form of a big win for Clarence in a 50-over game and my first hundred of the winter.

We defeated Greater Northern in a high-scoring game with three centuries. It was an absolute road.

Myself and Emma Thompson, Clarence’s captain who I opened with, scored 107 and 151 not out and put on 202 in a score of 331-4. In reply, they made 237-4 with one of their girls also scoring a hundred.

It was the first time myself and Emma had batted together. She plays for the Tasmanian Tigers, and she is so level-headed. It was great to bat with her.

After three scores either side of 20 in my first three games over here, all T20s, maybe I was itching to score runs a bit too much in the first few games and went a bit hard at the ball. But on Sunday, it just clicked.

The game in all formats is built on partnerships, both with bat and ball, so it was great to get that.

More importantly, it was our second successive win and a great start to the 50-overs schedule, which runs through until the end of January with a two-week break for Christmas in between.

It has been a pretty special couple of weeks having also had confirmation of my full-time contract with the Northern Diamonds back home.

Being a professional now takes away a lot of external pressures. You don’t have to think about other things like jobs elsewhere, and that just allows you to go out there and play. Maybe that helped me on Sunday, I’m not sure.

The way I look at it is that it will be a bit like having an only child as a parent. You can concentrate all your efforts on them instead of having to look after two or three. Maybe parents out there will disagree with that analogy!

The Diamonds had a fantastic summer in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, and there’s so much potential within our group, not just the five of us who have been contracted.

The other four girls – Phoebe Graham, Jenny Gunn, Beth Langston and Linsey Smith – thoroughly deserve their contracts. They contributed significantly to our performances, and I’m sure they will be as happy as I am.

There is also a significant amount of talent below us as well, and they will only improve at a much quicker rate from now on with the new regional structures in place.

Before, training for a county every Sunday between 8 and 10, you’re not going to progress as quickly.

Contracted or not, now we’ve all got a lot of contact time with Dani (Hazell, head coach), Isaac (Leung, strength and conditioning coach) and Courtney (Winfield-Hill, talent manager).

Hopefully that means the number of contracts will move from five to 10 and then 10 to a full squad of 15 in the not too distant future. Then everyone in the Diamonds squad will be fully fledged professionals.

I’ve seen there is a bit of surprise on social media about Jenny getting a contract having been pretty much retired at the start of the summer.

She may be 34, but age is just a number. She has contributed so much to us in the last few months, both playing wise and helping others. That will only increase. The younger players will progress a lot by just being around her and benefitting from her knowledge of everything she’s done in the game. She’s there as a role model as well as a player.

Phoebe as well. She’s not a youngster at 29, but she’s got so much development in her. She’s got pace, height and a really good work ethic. It’s the perfect combination. Why wouldn’t you give her a contract? Beth is in almost the exact same situation.

Linsey. Well, she definitely deserves a contract given I’ve just taken delivery of a bunch of Christmas presents from her!

They are under the tree myself and Maisy, my partner, have put up. Not with much success I must report. It’s already fallen down twice and is on a tilt even now because we’ve had a struggle with the bucket and stones underneath.

I wasn’t too popular the other day having put up a sunny photo on Instagram.

It’s been very hot here in Tasmania recently. It was 26 degrees when I woke up on Tuesday.

So I put a picture on my instagram, and I got a few messages back from home saying, ‘Please don’t put those kind of pictures up again’. I was like, ‘Sorry!!’

Anyway, I must wish all Yorkshire and Diamonds fans a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Have a great few weeks.

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