Yorkshire’s women’s side are ready and raring to for their season of county cricket, which starts for them on Sunday with a 50-over fixture against the North East Warriors at Durham’s Seat Unique Stadium (11am).

Coach Ben Silver takes his players up the A1, following the Northern Diamonds who are playing their own season opener at the same venue today.

Yorkshire play the first of 11 summer fixtures in the County Championship, split between 50-over and T20 cricket.

Four 50-over games will be played in a group only competition, while the county will play seven T20 fixtures – six of them across three double-header days – leading to finals cricket on August 24 and 25.

The opener is against the Warriors, effectively Durham, in the North East.

Silver said: “It’s exciting that this side we have for Sunday features a lot of players who have come through our pathway.

 

“One thing which has been highlighted recently is how well the girls’ pathway is doing.

Ben Silver

Picture courtesy of Ben Silver, the coach of Yorkshire’s women’s team.

“We have two 16-year-olds playing this weekend, two who are on the Northern Diamonds Academy.We have loads of others who are on the Diamonds Academy and EPP.

“It’s a young team, and that’s brilliant.

“We will pick the best available side to win a game of cricket.

“But we are in a fortunate position of naturally being able to do both because I feel like our talent is with players who are really developing.

“We’re blooding a lot of youth, but we also think that’s the best team.”

Yorkshire’s team will be made up entirely of players who have come through the county or Diamonds pathway structure. The vast majority of those are still involved.

“We have a couple of players outside the pathway system at the moment,” said Silver. “Hannah Buck is one of those, who will be our captain for the summer. She has been in our system before and has played for Yorkshire for a long time.

Emma Marlow

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

“Almost all of them are affiliated on the Diamonds pathway at the minute.

“There are a couple who aren’t, but they have come through the pathway previously.

“Hannah is one, Robyn Dennington is another. Annie Brown is in the squad – she was Under 18s but is not with the Diamonds at the moment.

“The rest – Emma Marlow, Ellie Nightingale, Amelia Oliver, Elicia Pollard, Lucy Randle-Bissell, Beth Slater, Erin Thomas and Emma Wrightson – are all either pros, Academy or EPP with the Diamonds.”

Emma Marlow’s name stands out as the only current contracted senior professional with the Diamonds, although Silver could yet potentially field another depending upon regional commitments.

“It has to represent the cricket which is above it.

“To have Emma playing for us will be great, a pro who the younger girls can learn from,” said Silver, a full-time high performance pathway coach at Headingley.

 

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Yorkshire women’s captain Hannah Buck. 

“It’s also good for Tom Cant (Diamonds senior regional talent manager) to see how his players are getting on in senior cricket.

“It’s great if the pros can play because they can pass on experience. If not, it just gives opportunities to younger girls.”

Despite the recent wet weather, it is a huge bonus for Silver and his players that the season can start on time. The fact the game is being played at Durham, a county HQ, clearly helps.

“I’m presuming the ground will be pretty well covered and looked after given the Diamonds are there before us, so we should get a game on,” said Silver. “That’s great.”

Whilst Yorkshire will field a team made up solely of players linked to the county and regional pathway structure, Silver says the door is definitely open for women and girls who are playing club cricket within the region to impress and progress.

“We’ve had open trials where we’ve seen players from club cricket and have scouted all the players we can find,” he said.

And on the success of the pathway structures, particularly in Yorkshire, he added: “One of the things that can be said about women’s cricket as a whole is that there are considerably more playing now – in the age-groups and pathway – than there were 10-15 years ago.

Picture by Allan McKenzie. Yorkshire’s first XI, Academy, EPP and Pathway Girls all pose for a club team photograph ahead of 2024.

“That generally means they’re playing more competitive cricket and, hence, we’re producing a lot better players.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the players who are now 15, when they come through to the seniors, are far beyond where we’ve seen women’s cricket before.

“There’s so much promise amongst a lot of pathways, not just Yorkshire.

“But I am biased because I see it all the time here. Yorkshire, specifically, there is a lot of talent in our pathway right down to the bottom – in our Under 11s and 13s.

“I have a huge amount of confidence that we will continue to produce players over a long period of time, in fact oversupply if anything.”

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