Following a disappointing campaign in 2017, where the Diamonds finished second from bottom, only five of the 15-strong squad have been retained, including captain Lauren Winfield and fellow England star Katherine Brunt.
Opening batter Winfield and bowling all-rounder Brunt will be joined by fellow Yorkshire and England Women’s fast bowler Beth Langston. Chamari Athapaththu is the only overseas player retained from last year, with keeper-batsman Beth Mooney and batting all-rounder Delissa Kimmince both making the trip from Australia to represent the Yorkshire Diamonds.
Paul Grayson, Yorkshire Diamonds Head Coach, is clearly happy with their new recruits.
“We’re very happy with all three overseas players,” Grayson said. “They are strong characters and top players. Gareth Breese (assistant coach) and I are expecting them to have a huge impact on the competition. With all franchises, there are some very good overseas players in there. That’s what we want from the competition – the best players playing in it.”
The new-look squad will meet up for the first time on Monday at their new base in York. The Diamonds will be staying and training at St Peter’s School for the duration of the competition, something Grayson is clearly happy with. “The facilities are fantastic,” he added. “Grass nets, indoors in case it rains, gym, pool and accommodation. For the duration of the competition, we’ll be there, and we’re delighted with that.”
Given the Diamonds imminent meet, there is now some urgency to the decision of a 15th squad member, something that has not slipped out of the Head Coach’s mind. “We’ll probably have to make a decision in the next couple of days because the girls meet up next week,” Grayson said. “We’ve had a couple of important alterations to the squad recently, but I think a lot of teams are in the same position.”
Squad for 2018
1. Lauren Winfield – Captain
2. Katherine Brunt
3. Beth Langston
4. Alice Davidson–Richards
5. Beth Mooney
6. Chamari Athapaththu
7. Delissa Kimmince
8. Helen Fenby
9. Katie Levick
10. Sophie Munro
11. Bess Heath
12. Thea Brookes
13. Alice Monaghan
14. Gwen Davies
15. To be confirmed
The 2018 Kia Super League will see all six teams play each other both home and away in what will be an extended competition. Grayson believes the extra games will allow teams who make a poor start to turn things around.
“All the players and coaching staff are pleased with the 10 games,” Grayson continued. “I think it’s a fair reflection of the competition. If you start well, you still might not qualify. But if you start badly, you still have an opportunity.
“It sometimes takes you two or three games to get the right formula.
“In previous years, if you start badly with two or three defeats, you’re out of the competition. We want every game to have a real meaning. That is vital. I think ten is the right number for that.”
Yorkshire Diamond's two new overseas players, Beth Mooney (left) and Delissa Kimmince (right)
The Yorkshire Diamonds have failed to mount a real challenge for the KSL crown in either of the first two years of the competition. However, this is something that Grayson believes they can put right this summer.
“We feel like we can do something. But all the franchises will think exactly the same way. I think that has to be our mindset from that first game when we play the Western Storm at Taunton. They won the trophy. Taunton’s a good ground to play T20 cricket. It’s well supported down there. No doubt, we’ll have to bring our A game for that first match.
“Last year was slightly disappointing because we felt we underachieved a bit really. Having been involved in the Super League for a year, it just shows what a good competition it is. We’re looking to improve on last year, and we’re looking to go to Finals Day.”
Yorkshire Diamonds first home fixture takes place on Friday 27th July against Lancashire Thunder (2:30pm start) and will be the first part of an exciting double-header with the Yorkshire Vikings Vitality Blast fixture against Birmingham Bears (6:30pm start). Tickets are available to purchase at the early bird rates before midnight on Thursday 26th July and will permit access to both games.
YORKSHIRE DIAMONDS FIXTURES