By Graham Hardcastle
Katie Levick will tell her Yorkshire Diamonds team-mates there is no other option than to beat Lancashire Thunder at Scarborough today (2.30pm) for a significant reason other than just keeping their slim Finals Day hopes alive.
The Sheffield-born leg-spinner wants the Diamonds to end their Kia Super League Roses rivalry with a bang.
With the Super League ending this season, and The Hundred launching next summer, this will be the sixth and final Diamonds v Thunder encounter.
The Diamonds are currently 3-2 up across three-and-a-bit seasons, and Levick wants to ensure the White Rose keep hold of the bragging rights.
They also need to win their last three games to have any chance of the top-three final which would advance them to Finals Day on September 1.
“I’ve always loved playing at Scarborough,” said Levick. “My first time playing there was actually against Lancs, and I did pretty well.
“It’s a first-class ground, but it’s not one of the big imposing ones that can only have a handful of people in. There is usually a decent crowd and an atmosphere.
“I went to Scarborough as a youngster and watched plenty of cricket. As Yorkshire fans, they’re the best memories.”
Levick has been an ever present for the Diamonds since 2016, taking 27 wickets across 25 appearances, including four in two games this week.
And the 28-year-old admits she will be sad to see the Super League disappear next year despite the obvious benefits the Hundred and a new English domestic county structure will provide for many players.
She added: “The KSL is a good tournament that’s been built up, so it will be sad to see it go.
“The new changes with the Hundred and the domestic structure is positive in that a lot more girls will get paid. But until we know exactly how it’s all going to look, it’s quite hard to work out how it will fit for me with a full-time job (marketing manager for ProCoach Cricket Yorkshire).”
The Diamonds are 11 points adrift of Loughborough in third place with only 15 more available. Their batting needs to improve having failed to chase down 128 against the Vipers at the Ageas Bowl last night despite having been 60 for one after 10 overs.
Levick said: “We have to win and finish on a high. There’s no other option. It will be a big game. If you choose to beat anyone, it’s them.”
Both sides have endured frustrating campaigns.
Lancashire are bottom and out of contention, with their only points coming from a tie against Southern Vipers. They have lost their other six fixtures.
Yorkshire have lost five and won two, including beating Lancashire at Liverpool earlier this month.
They won by nine runs defending 152, with Levick claiming the winning wicket to bowl Lancashire out for 142 with the first ball of the final over.
“I’m one of only a couple of Yorkshire girls left, so I made sure everyone knew just how important it is to beat Lancashire,” said Levick.
“I was trying to explain the rivalry to Alyssa Healy before the first game. She was keen to know about it. I said, ‘Well, if you lose, you don’t go home!’
“On a personal level, it means much more to beat Lancs.
“It wasn’t our best win at Liverpool, but it was enough. We showed that true Yorkshire grit that we’ve maybe missed elsewhere in this tournament.”
This is the Diamonds’ eighth fixture of 10 in the 2019 KSL, and it will be only their second played at Scarborough since the competition started in 2016.
They were beaten by Western Storm there last year.
Temporarily ignoring that lil game at Headingley, there’s a roses clash in Scarbados today #OneRose #KSL2019
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ScarboroCricket</a> <a href="https://t.co/eXeC56D6oL">pic.twitter.com/eXeC56D6oL</a></p>— Katie Levick (Katie_Lev) August 23, 2019