A couple of famous sporting cliches certainly sum up Katherine Fraser’s summer so far. 

‘It’s a funny old game’ and ‘You win some, you lose some’.

Through April and into early May, the Scotland all-rounder was in Abu Dhabi helping her nation qualify for October’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.

Never before have Scotland qualified for a women’s World Cup, T20 or 50-overs.

Upon her return to regional duty with the Northern Diamonds, things haven’t gone as well. The side has lost all five of their Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 fixtures so far to leave them with a mountain to climb if they are going to reach Finals Day on June 22.

Not that they have given up hope. Far from it. They are only nine points behind fourth-placed Lancashire Thunder with 25 still to play for. 

But they are realistic enough to know that there’s no more room for manoeuvre, and that they have to have a good weekend in order to get the ball rolling.

Katherine Fraser

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Katherine Fraser in action for the Diamonds during the ongoing Charlotte Edwards Cup.

The Diamonds face back-to-back games this weekend, facing Central Sparks away and then the Blaze at Headingley.

First up are the Sparks at Edgbaston on Saturday morning (11.30am start).

“We need to win five games, so every game is a final from now on,” said Fraser, 19.

“It’s just about keeping clear heads and being clinical when we get into good positions.

“We will keep on playing the attacking brand of cricket that we have been doing. We’re clear on what we want to do. But it’s just about executing our plans and putting them into practice.”

Fraser, also an emerging lower order batter, hit the nail on the head when she talked about being clinical when the team gets into good positions.

After all, the Diamonds have lost three of their five games in thrilling last-ball finishes. It is not an exaggeration to suggest that they could, at this stage, have three wins from five to their name.

Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com. Katherine Fraser works to leg against South East Stars at Durham last Friday.

Last time out, against Sunrisers at Northampton, was one of those narrow defeats, a game in which teenager Fraser was excellent with her off-spinners.

In trying to defend a 125 total, she returned 1-22 from four overs. It was her first wicket of the competition.

“It was a tough game,” she reflected. “Sunrisers batted well towards the end.

“We probably didn’t have enough runs on the board, but the bowlers – from our point of view – we fought hard and were unlucky not to get across the line.

“I’ve felt really good when I’ve been bowling in this competition. My rhythm’s been good, so it was nice to get some reward for it. 

“It’s been a tough competition for us, but we want to keep pushing on because there’s plenty to play for.”

Captain Hollie Armitage said: “Katherine took her first wicket in this comp, against the Sunrisers. She’s a young off-spinner who has a lot of talent. It’s not always going to go perfect for her. But she’s someone with a great character who keeps showing up and working hard. 

Hollie Armitage

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Captain Hollie Armitage has been full of praise for Katherine Fraser.

“It’s going to come for her, and she bowled extremely well (against Sunrisers).

The Diamonds are taking part in two double T20 double headers this weekend, including one with the Yorkshire men at Headingley on Sunday. 

Their clash with the Sparks tomorrow precedes a Birmingham Bears versus Durham Vitality Blast afternoon clash at Edgbaston. 

The Sparks are firmly in contention for Finals Day, sat third in the table with three wins from five. But they lost to fellow challengers Blaze last time out last Friday.

Sparks beat Diamonds by three wickets off the last ball at Headingley a couple of Mondays ago, chasing down 81 in a rain-reduced 11 overs per side game.

Diamonds will clearly be hoping it’s more like the 50-over Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy clash with Sparks at Edgbaston at the start of May when they won by one run.

As for Fraser, while remaining focused on the job in hand with the Diamonds for the rest of the summer, she knows there is something special waiting for her come October time.

Katherine Fraser

Picture by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Katherine Fraser celebrates Scotland’s T20 World Cup qualification with fellow spinner Abtaha Maqsood.

The Edinburgh youngster first of all reflected on her month away in Abu Dhabi, which saw her take two wickets in six qualifying appearances, and then looked ahead to Bangladesh.

“It was an amazing month away with Scotland,” she said. 

“It was my third time. For some of the girls, it was their fourth or fifth World Cup Qualifiers, and we’ve never quite got over the line. We played a positive brand of cricket, and everything came together really well. 

“It felt like this time we really deserved to qualify. Thankfully, we got across the line.

“I can’t wait for the World Cup. 

“Our first game is against Bangladesh – the first game of the tournament – and it will just be amazing. 

“We’ll probably be playing in front of a pretty big crowd, and knowing that we fully deserve to be at a World Cup means a lot.”

Rachel Slater

Picture by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Rachel Slater, like Fraser, is also World Cup-bound with Scotland.

Fraser will travel to Bangladesh, assuming selection all goes to plan for both players, alongside Diamonds team-mate Rachel Slater, who was the star performer with the ball in the Abu Dhabi qualifying event.

The left-arm quick was the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 11 in six games. 

“It was a joy to watch her,” added Fraser. “She was amazing for us. 

“I know her very well from playing with her down here. She’s had a tough last year, so for her to go out there and perform the way she did – taking wickets in a Scotland shirt – it was so good to see.”

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