Grace Hall is heading into 2024 brimming with confidence – both in her own game and that of the Northern Diamonds’ ability to challenge for silverware this summer.

Seamer Hall is planning to build on last season’s impressive breakthrough into senior cricket when she claimed 21 wickets in her first 15 competitive senior appearances.

The now 21-year-old debuted in May in the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup and made her way impressively into the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy team, returning a pair of four-wicket hauls in the latter competition. 

Hall, part of an exciting stock of fast bowlers at the Diamonds, is hoping she has done enough to secure her place in the team for Saturday’s RHFT season opener against Lancashire Thunder at Durham.

A new ball three-wicket burst in a resounding friendly win over Blaze last week can have only helped her cause.

“With it being my first year last year, I didn’t have that many expectations,” she said. “So to go how I did from the start, it set me up for the rest of the season. 

Grace Hall

Picture by John Clifton/ Grace Hall in action during last summer’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

“Obviously, going into that first few games this year, I have that confidence behind me. 

“It’s taken away the original nerves of looking forward to a first game but also being terrified to walk out at places like Headingley. Now I’ve done that multiple times, it’s more of the norm. I can do it with a bit more belief.”

Asked what her aims are for this summer, the York-born star continued: “I want to play more cricket than I did last year and take more wickets. That’s an obvious goal, I guess. 

“For the team, we’re after a trophy.

“The first few games will be really important. If we start well, it will set us up. 

“We had a busy schedule last summer, but this time it will be even more hectic. If we can get going early, get into a rhythm, it’s just about staying on that wave.

Grace Hall

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Grace Hall in the Diamonds’ new Charlotte Edwards Cup kit.

“I’m really looking forward to playing against Thunder if selected. It’s the ideal fixture for us.”

On her winter development, Hall added: “I came in and played the T20s last year, which is probably my preferred format. 

“But I’ve been working hard on my 50-over skills and consistency with the ball. Hopefully I’ll be able to show them off in the first few games of the season. 

“I worked a lot last year on my variations – slower balls, yorkers, that kind of thing. 

“Going into this winter, I knew that if I wanted to play more of the 50-over games, I was going to have to bowl 10 consistent overs. It wasn’t about taking away those skills, but being able to do the same thing for a lot longer.”

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