By Scott Hunt
Yorkshire Diamonds captain Lauren Winfield believes her side have had their best season in the Kia Super League and wants to finish the campaign on a high at Taunton on Wednesday.
The Diamonds’ slim hopes of reaching their first Finals Day were ended despite a dramatic final-ball win over Southern Vipers at York on Sunday.
Only a bonus-point victory would have kept alive their chances, with the Vipers securing their place at Hove this coming Sunday when they take on Loughborough Lightning in the semi-finals.
Yorkshire finish the final KSL campaign with an away clash against group winners Western Storm – who have won all their matches to advance straight to the final – and Winfield has been pleased with the way her side has developed.
“We have got better and better. If we had got over the line against Surrey Stars at home and Southern Vipers away, those are probably the two games that have ended up stinging us really,” Winfield said.
“It’s now about finishing on a high.
“I think you are judged on performances and we haven’t made Finals Day and we haven’t won it. So from that side of things it has been disappointing,
“But what we have done is get better each year. The first couple of years were pretty poor, last year it was still disappointing but we still improved and this year to narrowly miss out on Finals Day is another step closer.
“So the main thing is that we keep moving forward.
“I think we are an exciting group. We have a good core group of players that have probably come together too late really and found our kind of method and what works.”
Their dramatic victory at York was thanks to Jemimah Rodrigues‘ magnificent unbeaten 112 from 58 balls as they chased down an imposing 185.
Winfield says the India star has fitted beautifully into the dressing room.
“She has just got better and better this competition,” Winfield
said. “The last three, four, five games she has really grown into the role and hit her straps. That was as good as I’ve seen.
“For her age (18) she has an unbelievable head on her shoulders. She is just keen to learn. She is always asking questions. She has a fantastic cricket brain and all the shots, very exciting and I’m glad she is on our team.”
The Diamonds’ campaign has included some key performances from their younger crop of players, with Hollie Armitage enjoying a breakthrough campaign, and the likes of Linsey Smith and Helen Fenby making impressive contributions.
Winfield is keen to keep the majority of the squad together to represent the Leeds-based team in next year’s inaugural edition of The Hundred – a competition Winfield believes can be even “bigger and better”.
“Hopefully moving forward we can keep the same core group representing whatever team that might be,” she added.
“The KSL is always a competition I have really looked forward to and I’ve always found that it is a really good standard of competition to play in.
“The standard has been really good and we have managed to attract good international players and play a good, exciting brand of cricket. That’s important to attract the crowds and people have really bought into it.
“It is a shame that it is the last year of it but hopefully with The Hundred coming in next year it can just be bigger and better than this has been.”