Leah Dobson plans to follow one memorable day with another this weekend when the Northern Diamonds head to Edgbaston to take on Central Sparks.

The Diamonds are aiming to get back to winning ways in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy on Saturday (10.30am) having lost to Blaze at Scarborough yesterday. 

After two opening victories, they have lost their last two, including against Southern Vipers away from home last Saturday. 

In the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s defeat to Blaze, which saw the visitors chase down 189 to win by two wickets with two balls to spare, Australian all-rounder Erin Burns described it as “bittersweet”. 

On one hand, the Diamonds lost. On the other, they fought admirably to almost pull the game out of the fire having slipped to 82-5 when batting first.

That description is something 22-year-old Dobson could relate to given she scored an excellent middle order 54 at a North Marine Road ground which is close to home.

Leah Dobson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Abi Glen congratulates Leah Dobson (r) on her half century against the Blaze.

Just before leaving Scarborough, Dobson spoke to preview Saturday’s trip to Edgbaston.

Firstly, reflecting on her half-century, she said: “I live 20 mins down the round, so it’s nice for us to come here and play and for me to play well. Having grown up around Scarborough, to play here for Diamonds is pretty special.

“To also have my family and friends here is amazing.

“I didn’t play too much here growing up – it’s been more so since the Diamonds started. But this place definitely holds a very special place in my heart. 

“My uncle used to play here, my dad as well. It’s nice that I’m able to do that too.” 

When watching Dobson compile her fifty, playing the situation superbly and curbing her natural attacking instincts, was a reminder of the way she played in scoring 44 in the RHF Trophy final victory over Southern Vipers at Lord’s in 2022.

Leah Dobson

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Leah Dobson on the way to her fifty against the Blaze. 

It is definitely an area of her game she’s been working on, including during her most recent winter spell of grade cricket with the Gold Coast Dolphins club.

She said: “It’s something that me and Dani (Hazell, coach) have spoken about a lot. I’m obviously a very aggressive player, so for me to go out there and change, adapt and take my time was nice.

“I can take a lot of learning from being in Australia, and I’ve also got a crowd In Australia watching, supporting and cheering me on. I loved my time out there.”

So, onto Edgbaston – another ground with happy memories for emerging Dobson. 

Last May, the Diamonds won a low-scoring T20 clash against the Sparks there, in which Dobson top-scored with 41 opening the batting. 

“What another amazing place to play,” she continued. 

Abi Glen

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Abi Glen was excellent again down the order with 38   at Scarborough.

“Looking back on last year, it’s something where I can say, ‘I’ve done this before, I can do it again’. It’s the same for the team.”

Having won two and lost two so far, it will be of no surprise to hear Dobson say: “Consistency is very key for us.

“We’re getting so close. As a team, everyone has got different skills they can bring to the table, and we’re slowly but surely pulling it all together. We’re confident.”

The next couple of games are already shaping up to be pretty important for the Diamonds. The trip to Edgbaston is followed by another away fixture against South East Stars at Beckenham on Wednesday. 

Of course, they won’t decide anything either way, but they are the last two of the first block of six 50-over fixtures before the break for the Charlotte Edwards T20 Cup.

Ideally, the Diamonds would win them both to set themselves up to attack the second half of the competition when it resumes at the end of June.

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns returns to Edgbaston, where she has played for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred.

“That’s our ambition – to do well in the next couple of games and leave this competition for a while in a good place,” added Dobson. “We want to end on a high, get on a roll in the T20s and come back to 50-over cricket maintaining that good form.”

The Sparks have endured a challenging start to the new summer, winning one and losing three so far.

Captained by opening batter Eve Jones and coached by Lloyd Tennant, the Sparks won their opening match of the season against the Blaze but have since lost to Southern Vipers, South East Stars and, most recently, Sunrisers.

They have signed experienced Australian batter Courtney Webb as an overseas player. 

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