Serial trophy-winner Erin Burns is confident the Northern Diamonds have what it takes to end the regional era in style this summer.

Australian overseas all-rounder Burns has contributed significantly to an encouraging start to the new summer, the Diamonds winning three out of five games in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

She has taken nine wickets in five matches with her off-spin added to middle order scores of 45 and 49 with the bat.

In Saturday’s thrilling win over her former side Central Sparks at Edgbaston, which saw the Diamonds defend a target of 217 which came down to the hosts needing four off the last over with three wickets in hand, she hit that aforementioned 49 and struck once.

“I think there’s some incredible talent floating around our sheds,” said the New South Wales star.

“We’ve seen many players get different opportunities around the world, including various international appearances.

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns takes a catch off her own bowling against Blaze at Scarborough last week.

“We’ve got some really, really good talent with bat and ball.

“The exciting thing is that different people are putting their hands up in different games.

“It’s still early in the season, and towards the middle and back end if we can get everybody clicking together on the same day, it’s going to be pretty special.

“You are always hunting a trophy, that’s for sure.

“And it’s even more of a special thing if you can come into an environment that you’re unfamiliar with and contribute to winning something.

‘That’s what you’re here to do, and – as I say – it would be pretty special to do that in both the 50-over and T20 competitions. That would be absolutely perfect.”

Erin Burns

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns hit a crucial 49 in Saturday’s thrilling win over Sparks at Edgbaston.

Burns, 35, has won a host of titles in the colours of New South Wales and the Sydney Sixers. She was also part of the Australia squad which won the T20 World Cup in early 2020.

Burns has been speaking about her time with the Diamonds ahead of Wednesday’s trip to face table-topping South East Stars at Beckenham (10.30am).

It is the sixth and final game of the initial block of 50-over matches before a switch of focus to the Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 competition later this month.

“I’ve been really enjoying my time so far, which is good,” she said.

“We started off quite strong with a couple of wins, so it was nice to hit the ground running.

“I played in the regional stuff last year and in the Hundred for a couple of years too. It’s nice to be able to play cricket all year round. It’s such a great opportunity to come up North and spend a bit of time here. It’s been great so far.

Pictured Erin Burns of the NSW Breakers catches out Sophie Reid of Victoria during the WNCL match between Victoria and New South Wales at CitiPower Centre on January 07, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Picture by Graham Denholm/Getty Images. Superwoman. Erin Burns is a live-wire in the field, as seen her in New South Wales colours.

“I started my career at a time when opportunities like this weren’t on the table. Cricket was very much a seasonal thing rather than an all-year round thing.

“I certainly love playing in these competitions as much as I do playing at home.”

While the Diamonds have won three out of five games so far, the Stars have four out of five games and sit level on 18 points with Southern Vipers at the top. They are ahead by virtue of a superior net run-rate.

The Diamonds are handily placed inside the top four places, which would secure a semi-final spot at the end of the 14-game group phase later in the summer.

The Stars are captained by England fringe all-rounder Bryony Smith and coached by former Somerset men’s batter Johann Myburgh.

South African international batter Tazmin Brits has returned to the region for a second season as overseas player.

Sophia Dunkley

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Sophia Dunkley scored a century against the Diamonds at Scarborough last May. The Diamonds went on to win that RHFT fixture. A repeat this week would be just the ticket.

They were beaten at last season’s semi-final Eliminator stage.

Batter Sophia Dunkley will have a point to prove having been left out of England’s squads for their forthcoming white ball series against Pakistan. The 25-year-old hit 67 from number three in Saturday’s win over Sunrisers.

All-rounder Tash Farrant, another England player, is back with her region as she returns to full fitness after back surgery.

Talking of all-rounders, Burns is part of an exciting core of them within the Diamonds team at present.

She added: “Phoebe Turner has shown some incredible talent this season with bat and ball, and our batting depth is really impressive with Abi Glen going in at nine.

“She’s been scoring some very handy runs at very handy times for us.

Abi Glen

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Erin Burns praised all-rounder Abi Glen, who has been outstanding for the Diamonds this summer.

“It’s pretty exciting. If we can get both bat and ball to click on the same day, we’ll be a pretty hard team to beat.”

Burns returns home to Australia immediately after this game to attend the wedding of one of her best friends. She will miss the opening Charlotte Edwards Cup fixture against Lancashire Thunder at Emirates Old Trafford on May 19 as a result but returns for the trip to Trent Bridge to face the Blaze on May 23.

She will then remain with the Diamonds until the start of the Hundred in late July.

Meanwhile, Diamonds duo Rachel Slater and Katherine Fraser have helped Scotland qualify for the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year.

Scotland beat Ireland in the semi-final of the ICC T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers event in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Slater took three wickets in that victory, taking her tournament haul to nine – the second joint most in the event, which concludes tomorrow.

Scotland face Sri Lanka in the final. Both teams have already qualified.

Rachel Slater

Picture by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Rachel Slater celebrates a wicket against Ireland yesterday.

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