Northern Diamonds skipper Hollie Armitage hails rising star Leah Dobson
Hollie Armitage has hailed the impact of her fledgling opening partner, Sherburn's Leah Dobson, after a match-clinching 44 against Sunrisers on Friday.
Dobson’s second game for the Diamonds yielded a measured innings in pursuit of 117 at Chelmsford to help her side recover from an opening round Charlotte Edwards Cup T20 defeat against the Thunder the previous weekend.
The 20-year-old from Sherburn, who is also a cricket coach for Scarborough cricket Club, once scored 161 off only 81 balls playing for Yorkshire under 17s.
Dobson’s 44 came as she shared an unbeaten third-wicket stand of 87 with England legend Sarah Taylor, an experience which will have done wonders for her development.
Captain Armitage said: “Leah’s definitely one to watch out for because she strikes the ball so cleanly.
“That is the main thing which stands out for me - that she’s a really clean striker of the ball and hits it hard.
“Not lots of people can find the boundary consistently, which is what she can do.
“On top of that, she’s a magnificent fielder.
“She’s always going to be someone on the boundary wazzing the ball into the keeper and keeping batters on their toes. That’s great to have.
“The other day just proved she’s so deserving of that opening spot, which is fantastic for her and for us. It’s really exciting because we want as many players performing and options within the squad.”
After the Diamonds were beaten by Roses rivals Thunder in the opening CE Cup game the Saturday before, the skipper was delighted to see her side bounce back with a convincing eight-wicket victory over Sunrisers.
“The way we went about our business was fantastic,” she said.
“There were some good things taken from that defeat, but others we could improve.
“We don’t play many games in the group phase, so if you lose one it puts you on the back foot. We knew we had to pull something out of the bag.
“We have an unbelievable squad, and that Thunder game was one of those where there was perhaps a lack of concentration and a few cheap dismissals.
“Luckily, we put all of those wrongs right against the Sunrisers and came off with the win.
“The bowlers were absolutely fantastic. Not having Beth Langston in the eleven due to injury meant people had to step up with the ball. Especially in the power play, Phoebe G (Graham) and Jen (Gunn) were absolutely fantastic.
“Then spin through the middle is something that has worked for us in all the comps.
“We were lucky enough to restrict them to 116, and we knocked it off pretty clinically.”
With four wins from six games in both 50-over and T20 cricket this season, things are going well for the Diamonds and captain Armitage in her first full campaign in charge.
“I’m loving it,” she said. “I couldn’t have an easier team to captain because we’ve got so much experience and depth.”
The only thing which is missing for the 24-year-old opener is a significant personal score.
After a prolific winter playing club cricket in Tasmania and a similar start to the summer with Yorkshire, things haven’t quite happened for her with the Diamonds.
In six matches, she has a top score of 21 despite reaching double figures in every one.
“Fingers crossed for me, hey!” she smiled. “Hopefully it will come at some point.
“I’m itching to get some, that’s for sure.
“But if the team are winning, that’s the most important thing.
“I want to be scoring runs, of course I do. No batter doesn’t want that. But as long as it’s not affecting the team and we’re still putting wins on the board, that’s a job in itself.”
All four teams in Group B have won one and lost one, making Saturday’s clash with Western Storm at Taunton a key fixture, especially given it is the last one before the mid-season break for the Hundred.
“It will be a very important game in that respect, and we’ll be looking to hit that game hard on Saturday,” added Armitage.
“We haven’t played Storm yet as a region.
“It hasn’t quite happened for them this season as consistently as they would like, but they won on Sunday against Thunder in a Duckworth Lewis and are a good side.”