Leah Dobson displayed her versatility as a batter when it mattered most for the Northern Diamonds at Lord’s last September, and being a jack of all trades is a role the newly contracted professional is happy to take on heading into 2023.
Dobson’s high ceiling as a cricketer is what excites the Diamonds’ hierarchy.
Aged only 21, she has plenty of developing to do, but the Scarborough native has already shown in her embryonic regional career that she can very much be a jack of all trades master of many.
In 22 appearances for the Diamonds, including friendlies, she has posted noteworthy scores of 44, 49 and 34 not out – the latter when the going was tough in last season’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy final against the Southern Vipers.
Her powerful 44 came whilst opening the batting in her second competitive appearance in July 2021 – a Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 win over Sunrisers at Chelmsford.
She then hit a more measured 49 from number four in an RHF Trophy defeat against Vipers at Southampton later that season.
And in the final, she was equally measured for 34 not out off 50 balls from number seven as, alongside Bess Heath, she fought hard to recover the score from 119-5 in the 31st over to 215-9 after 50. It ended up being a winning total.
“It’s a role I had to play and adapt to,” recalled Dobson. “I wouldn’t usually go in that far down the order, but I did my job. It wasn’t easy, but I did and we came out on top.
“To do it on that stage – at Lord’s in a final – it’s something that naturally helps build your confidence and has really helped me.”
Here is a player who has come through the Yorkshire system with a reputation of being a right-handed batter who packs a punch. For example, as a Yorkshire Under 17 she crashed 161 off 81 balls in a T20 fixture against Derbyshire in 2019.
“I feel like I can go and bat anywhere,” she continued. “Ideally it would be top order, but I’m adaptable, as I showed in that final.
“We’ve got such a strong batting order who bats all the way down. Wherever I can fit in, I’m happy.”
A full winter’s training means Dobson is already in the thick of her first year as a contracted pro.
“It’s something I’ve been working very hard towards, and to top it off the way I did last season adds to it all,” she said.
“I can’t wait to get going. It will be my first summer as a professional, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.
“We’ve all put in a lot of hard work this winter, at Headingley and again in Spain. I’ve definitely seen improvements and development in my own game.”
The Diamonds are now a little over a week away from their season opener against Western Storm, who visit Headingley a week on Saturday (April 22) for the start of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.
“To start the season at home against a good team, it will give us an indication as to how our season goes,” added Dobson. “It will be a good one.”
Hopefully “it will be a good one” also fits Dobson’s summer. She’s certainly one to keep an eye on in 2023.