There’s one fixture in The Hundred circled by players and fans on both sides of the Pennines – the epic doubleheader between the Northern Superchargers and Manchester Originals at Emerald Headingley on 5 August.
Lauren Winfield, captain of the Superchargers’ women’s team, can’t wait to lead her team out at Emerald Headingley to start what promises to be an explosive and action-packed day of cricket.
“As a kid from the North, this is exactly the kind of contest I wanted to be involved in,” she said. “Every time this kind of fixture comes up it’s always hugely anticipated by the players and it’s something you want to come out on the right side of.
“There’s always a high sense of passion around a fixture like this and having players who understand the rivalry and what it means to the team is important. It’s also great having Dani Hazell [as coach], who obviously spent a lot of time playing in the north. The overseas players soon learn that it’s a fixture that everyone’s excited for and it kind of gets your beans going.”
While domestic rivalries will be renewed during The Hundred, international ones will be put on ice as the eight teams welcome some of the world’s best players to their dressing rooms. Winfield will be joined by Alyssa Healy at the Superchargers, one of the stars of Australia’s Women’s Ashes win last summer.
The nature of modern-day cricket means these kinds of short-term link-ups are commonplace. Indeed, Winfield is a regular at the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, having played for Brisbane, Hobart and Adelaide in the past four years, while many of the world’s best women’s players graced the Kia Super League during its four-year run.
Winfield’s fellow overseas players at the Adelaide Strikers were Kiwis Suzie Bates and Sophie Devine, who will line up for Southern Brave and Birmingham Phoenix respectively in The Hundred. And the Superchargers captain hopes the time she spent getting to know her teammates’ tendencies will help her when it comes to her strategies in The Hundred.
“In these situations you’re always learning about different players,” Winfield said of her experience Down Under, “what their flaws are and how you can potentially come out on top.
“But also, when you have these guys on your side you’re trying to work out what brings out the best in them and try to build an environment for them to perform.
“Everyone is different in how they tap into other players’ knowledge and experience. At the Adelaide Strikers I was used quite a lot in leadership discussions and in tactical meetings and that’s exactly what you want to do when an experienced overseas player comes and plays in our competitions. Everyone is trying to get better at the end of the day.”
The Hundred – Women’s Competition begins on Wednesday, 22 July with Northern Superchargers making their bow the following day against London Spirit at Lord’s.