Emma Marlow is learning from the very best about opening the batting for the Northern Diamonds.

Marlow has been handed an opportunity to face the new ball by coach Dani Hazell in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, with regular opener Sterre Kalis away on international duty with the Netherlands.

The 20-year-old batted at the top of the order in Saturday’s defeat against the Southern Vipers at the Utilita Bowl, scoring nine, and will hope to better that in the next two games at least whilst Kalis is away at the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers in Abu Dhabi.

The first of those chances comes against the Blaze at Scarborough on Wednesday (10.30am), where Marlow will once again stride out to the crease with Lauren Winfield-Hill.

“She is the best domestic player at the moment I would say, and over the last few years,” said Marlow of the Yorkshire legend.

“To be able to go out with her and learn from the opportunity – she’s done it for 10 or 15 years now. Whatever I’m doing at my end, I know that is something I can look at and be like. That is somewhere I want to get to.

Lauren Winfield-Hill

Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com. Lauren Winfield-Hill.

“It’s a cool opportunity. Sterre is away with the Netherlands for a bit, and batting was my main focus this winter. So to get the opportunity to open with Loz is really cool.”

Former England Under 19 Marlow batted up the order regularly during the second half of last season, getting a number of starts from three or four. She scored between 20 and 25 in four of her last five 50-over innings last season and will look to kick on.

Beckwithshaw’s Marlow has had some recent challenges with her off-spin bowling, the primary skill in her game when she broke through to senior cricket with a bang in 2022.

It is something she is working hard to get back up to speed with – the desire to be a genuine all-rounder burns bright – but her batting has taken prominence, as aforementioned.

“Bowling is something I’m plugging away at and want to get back into my game,” she continued.

“I want to be able to offer being a genuine all-rounder, but I’ve really enjoyed batting in the last few years.

Emma Marlow

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Emma Marlow batting during last year’s Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

“If you are enjoying it, and want to work hard, then it is a fun opportunity to have.

“But that all-rounder role is something I want to look to in the next few years.”

Hazell has full belief in Marlow’s ability with the willow.

“She has batted and batted and batted (over the winter),” said the coach.

“She’s got a really good technique to be batting up there. We’ll continue to give faith and give her the proper opportunity to do that.

“Her bowling is the longer game, and she’s starting to come back to bowling. When she puts that package together, she is a really valuable player for us.”

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Diamonds coach Dani Hazell.

The Diamonds head to Scarborough this week looking to win their third game out of four.

Yes, they were beaten comfortably by the Vipers on Saturday – by 70 runs on Duckworth Lewis Stern – but with two wins already in the bank before the trip to the South Coast, it has been an encouraging start to the new summer.

They face a Blaze side who reached the finals of both regional competitions last year – their first as a Nottingham-based team having moved to Trent Bridge from Loughborough University, where they played under the moniker of the Lightning.

Blaze were beaten in both finals by the Vipers.

Unfortunately for them, they have endured a nightmare start to the new season, losing all three games so far. They have been bowled out for 135, 126 and 87.

They have struggled with injuries and international call-ups in the early stages of the season.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Emma Marlow.

Captained by former England spinner Kirstie Gordon, the Blaze have resigned South African all-rounder Nadine de Klerk as their overseas player.

Current England leg-spinning all-rounder Sarah Glenn has played the last two games, but superstar Nat Sciver-Brunt – a former Diamond – is yet to feature.

Marlow added: “I’ve never played at Scarborough before.

“I’m looking forward to it – and the arcades!

“I don’t know what deck we’ll get, but I’m looking forward to getting out there.

“It’s a really cool out ground. I think we get to go play there twice this year, which is exciting to get out to different parts of the region and get more fans in that area.”

Sterre Kalis

Picture by Neville Hopwood. ICC via Getty Images. Emma Marlow is opening the batting with Sterre Kalis on Netherlands duty.

Meanwhile, Rachel Slater and Kalis have both impressed during the early stages of the ICC’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers event in Abu Dhabi. Slater claimed a career best 5-17 from four overs for Scotland in a victory over Uganda on Thursday, while Kalis hit 70 for the Netherlands in a win over Vanuatu on Saturday.

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