Yorkshire Women’s head coach, Mark Harrison, has said he hopes his side can cause an upset on finals day at Northern CC this Sunday.
Harrison’s side won four out of their six games in the competition so far, narrowly beating the Northern Representative XI on Monday before succumbing to a heavy defeat to Lancashire after an onslaught from openers Georgie Boyce and Emma Lamb.
Lancashire sit top of the standings, eight points ahead of the White Roses, having won all six of their games.
Speaking about the defeat to Lancashire, Harrison said: “There was probably some disappointment that we only scored 109, and that has to be put right for the weekend and if we were to come up against them again in the final it will probably be different.”
“If you look at the Lancashire side on Sunday it was effectively the regional Thunder side. But anything can happen and the final is a different game. It wouldn’t be a case of, well, we’ve come off worse last weekend, obviously we still would be able to win that game.”
Yorkshire will face Derbyshire first in the semi-final after losing out to them in the second round of matches, conceding 183 runs in the field. Bethany Harmer scored a superb 70 off 35 deliveries against the Yorkshire attack.
“It was quite a small ground,” Harrison said of the match. “Anything that was short there was just being taken advantage of. It’s a case of hitting our areas on Sunday and making sure that we get our field settings right.
“We definitely have confidence. I think even if we played them again on that Sunday, we would have probably beaten them. What you’ve got to respect here is that we’ve got quite a young side, so the younger players are still learning how to handle disappointment. If the ball goes over their heads and they get hit for a couple of fours, their heads go down, but it’s about learning how to deal with that.”
The restructure of women’s domestic cricket in 2020 brought the regional system into effect and county cricket has been re-establishing its position in the domestic structure ever since.
The precedence the regional centres have taken over county competitions has meant many sides have not had their regional players available which has been compounded by the absence of England players after a demanding winter of international cricket.
“I wouldn’t say we’re weakened because we’ve got a strong side out,” said Harrison. “But we have got some young players if you understand what I mean by that.
“We’ve got the likes of Beth Langston, Holly Armitage, and Rachel Slater. Rachel is still young as well, but then you’re down to Elise Good and Hannah Buck and the Academy girls or under-18s.
“I think we’ve done really well to get to the situation where we are in the semi-final and I’m feeling confident about beating Derbyshire on Sunday and then taking that through to causing an upset in the final.”
Final pictures from @YorkshireWomens v Northern Rep & Lancashire XI at Weetwood on Bank Holiday Monday. YW won a close match. #womenscricket , #womeninsport , @YorkshireCCC , @LancsCricketWMN pic.twitter.com/WJdp9S66c2
— John Heald (@JohnHealdPhotog) May 3, 2022
Despite the difficulties caused by the absence of regional players, Harrison is firm in his view of the role of county cricket in the domestic summer schedule.
“For me, the county competition for our senior team has to continue otherwise, you then stop in that pathway to the Diamonds, or you stop that pathway through to the academy, you’ve got to have that county championship in there,” he said.
After the completion of the T20 competition, the regional season gets underway with the Charlotte Edwards Cup on the 14th of May meaning Harrison will be left without more of his key players for the rest of Yorkshire’s fixtures this year.
“As soon as we finish on Sunday, we then play the NorthEast Warriors at Harrogate the week after,” said Harrison. “We’re going to play them in two T20 competitions and then we will play at Riverside the week after, in a 40 or 50 over game, we haven’t decided that yet.
“We are wanting to progress these girls onto the regional squad. The only way that they’re going to progress is having more senior games where they are learning from older players and playing, having more game time.”
Sunday’s finals day takes place at Northern CC on Sunday and will also feature Derbyshire, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire.