Northern Diamonds star opener Lauren Winfield-Hill is targeting greater personal returns in this summer’s Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 competition, which continues at Trent Bridge on Thursday.

Winfield-Hill has been speaking about the development of her game and how, “I get bored unless I’m trying to improve”.

The experienced wicketkeeper-batter has been exceptional for the Diamonds across the four years of the regional era, but more so in 50-over cricket than T20. 

In 50-over cricket, she has posted 13 half-centuries and three hundreds in 34 appearances for the Diamonds. 

She has not been bad in T20s, far from it. She has scored three half-centuries in 13 appearances in the CE Cup, including scores of 96 and 98. But, by her own admission, she can be better.

Winfield-Hill scored two in Sunday’s opening day defeat against Lancashire Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford, an eight-wicket reverse defending a target of 110. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com. Lauren Winfield-Hill bats in this season’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Their second match is against Blaze on Thursday under the Trent Bridge lights (6.30pm).

“A big thing this year is that while my 50-over record is good, I can improve my T20 stuff,” said Winfield-Hill. “I started well last year, but it petered out a bit in the second half. 

“That’s a big area of growth for me – to reconnect with my best T20 game.

“I just love exploring my game and trying to tinker with it and add things. I just can’t stay stale – I always like to add things to my game. 

“I don’t think I could keep playing at my age if I wasn’t hungry to get better.”

That age? York-born Winfield-Hill is 33-years-old and a veteran of 104 England appearances, the last of which came in December 2022. In all senior competitive cricket, she has scored 8,731 runs, including for England, the Diamonds and Yorkshire.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Lauren Winfield-Hill models the new Diamonds CE Cup   shirt for 2024.

“I’ll always have the desire to play for England, that will never leave me,” she continued. “Realistically, I’m not too close to being in that best eleven right now. And that’s fine. 

“I can’t pin all my motivation on that when I may never play for England again.

“It’s just about trying to get better and improve parts of my game. 

“If I’ve scored 1,000 runs, how do I score 500 more? Can I score more hundreds than last year, can I improve my strike rate in T20? 

“Those are things I can control. That’s up to me and not in anyone else’s hands.

“It’s not about trying to impress the England selectors or getting picked up in this comp or that one, it’s about me trying to score a truck load of runs and be better with the gloves as well.

Emma Marlow

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Emma Marlow top-scored with a regional best 47 at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday.

“To be honest, that’s given me more enjoyment and more motivation. It’s not about who wants me in their team, it’s about what I can bring to a  team.”

Winfield-Hill has scored two fifties in seven appearances so far this summer for the Diamonds – both in the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy. 

It came off the back of a busy winter spent playing domestic cricket in Australia for Perth Scorchers and the Queensland Fire. It was finished with a commentary stint in India at the Women’s Premier League T20 competition.

Winfield-Hill has been increasing her media presence in recent years, both at home and abroad, and believes it has been a win-win situation for her. Not only has it given her another string to her bow for when she decides to hang up her bat and gloves, but for now it has also helped her game.

“It’s helped me in the tactical sense, watching passages of play. Seeing different scenarios play out,” she said. 

“Also, being around that makes you realise that everybody fails and even the greats get bad press at times. 

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Gareth Copley/Getty Images. Lauren Winfield-Hill on media duties for Sky Sports.

“Sometimes, before I’d commentate and watch more, I would think, ‘the legends never get it wrong – they’re so good, they just do well all the time’. Actually, Nat Sciver-Brunt does get out or Steve Smith will have a run of bad form.

“In the comms box, you almost look at it with a bird’s eye view – a very different perspective. It’s definitely helped my game, no doubt about it.”

Winfield-Hill should be joined in the Diamonds team at Trent Bridge by Bess Heath following T20 international duty. She’s not in England’s squad for the ODI series against Pakistan, which also starts on Thursday. Erin Burns should also return having missed the Thunder defeat due to a friend’s wedding in Australia.

Blaze, last season’s beaten finalists in this competition, started their campaign with a remarkable three-run win over champions Southern Vipers at Southampton on Saturday. Blaze, having fallen to 48-8, scrambled to 112-9 batting first before Vipers fell from 29-1 to finish on 109-9.

They will be without opener Tammy Beaumont for this fixture. She is involved in the aforementioned ODI series.

Diamonds were beaten by Blaze in this season’s RHF Trophy at Scarborough on May 1.

Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com. Bess Heath should be back with the Diamonds at Trent Bridge.

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