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Northern Diamonds coach believes style of play will see them qualify despite first loss

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Northern Diamonds coach Dani Hazell believed her side weren’t quite at the races today as their perfect start to their Charlotte Edwards Cup campaign was ended by The Blaze.

The Midlands-based team looked in control throughout, and secured their place in the semi-finals of the tournament with a convincing six-wicket win, their fifth in a row.

The former England international is not going to let one result define her side, but thinks their first innings total of 129 could have been defended.

She said: “That’s T20 cricket, isn’t it? Credit to the Blaze.

“We probably didn’t have enough runs on the board, but it was there to be defended.

“We’ll continue to push the brand of cricket that we want to play.”

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Despite succumbing to their first defeat after four wins on the bounce, Hazell holds the opinion that a place at Finals Day in Worcester is still theirs to lose.

“Of course we would have loved to make a statement today. You turn up to every game to win, but credit to them.

“We’re still in the group stages, so our ambition is still to get to the final and win this competition.

“We are going to keep backing what we’re doing and we’ll keep pushing forward.”

Lauren Winfield-Hill and Hollie Armitage were the two top run-scorers for the Diamonds at Chester-le-Street, scoring 40 and 23 respectively.

Their coach was full of praise for the experienced duo, but also wanted to make a point of the talent held by the youth in her side.

“You know Lauren is top quality and she will consistently score runs. She’s a very, very good player and equally so is Holly.

“But it’s our younger ones that are now coming through and doing a really good job, so hopefully we keep pushing that.

“We especially have had a lot of young seamer options, and so far, you know, they’ve stood up when we wanted them.

“We keep backing them in the long run, and that’ll pay off for us.”

Next up for Hazell and the Northern Diamonds is a return to Headingley to face the Southern Vipers, the side who ended any chance of semi-final qualification for the side in 2022 after defeating Hazell’s side in the qualifier in 2021.

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The coach was looking forward to this match, not letting any bad memories of last year impact her preparation in any way.

“The Vipers – them lot again!

“We seem to always bump into them in all these big games, so I’m sure it will be another good one.

“I don’t like losing in general, so last year really hurt.

“But we are definitely looking forward to getting back to Headingley, and we’ll be looking to really nail down a spot for Finals Day.”

It is safe to say the Northern Diamonds are something of the nearly-team in this competition, after finishing as runners-up in the 2021 edition.

This, coupled with last season’s outcome, forced something of a rethink when it came to the team’s strategy.

“For me, T20 Cricket has been a bit of a focus this year.

“We wanted to shift how we went about our game and we have done that.

“We’ve just got to trust the process and one blip doesn’t make you suddenly a rubbish T20 cricket side.”

Hazell’s side need one win from their last two games, and she is confident her team can see it over the line.

She concluded: “That’s why we play, isn’t it?

“If you’re going to win, you’ve got to beat the best, so that’s why our intentions are.

“If we get to Finals Day, we deserve it. Whoever gets there will deserve it.”


  • Seth Nobes

    Seth, 21, is an editor at the Sports Gazette specialising in cricket. He has experience commentating and writing on a variety of different sports, ranging from football and rugby to lacrosse and fencing. A Watford fan probably more annoyed at the sacking of managers than you.