THIS time last year, Grace Hall was among the crowd flocking to Headingley to watch The Hundred - but now she is preparing to play in the competition herself.

It’s been a rapid rise up the rankings for the York-born seam bowler, who has been selected to represent the Northern Superchargers for the first time in the tournament this summer.

In fact, she is only in her first season playing senior cricket at Northern Diamonds, and only made her debut for the club in May.

With the likes of England’s Kate Cross, Adil Rashid and Ben Stokes, and Australia’s Alyssa Healy also gracing the field for the Superchargers next month, it’s guaranteed to be a summer not to miss at Headingley.

Beginning on August 1, the third edition of The Hundred will see eight Men’s teams and eight Women’s teams - Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Trent Rockets and Welsh Fire - battle it out in a fast-paced 100-ball format that has taken the country by storm.

Matches are played as a double header with the club’s Men’s and Women’s teams, with a combined crowd of over 500,000 people attending last year’s tournament.

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Whilst the news of her selection at such a young age is still sinking in, the former Archbishop Holgate’s School pupil admits that she “can’t wait” to show her talents in the short format next month in front of a bumper crowd at Headingley.

“I’m really happy to have been signed for Northern Superchargers,” she enthused.

“It’s a brilliant competition, with some of the best players in the world, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that. I can’t wait for August!

“The last couple of years, I’ve been going as a fan and enjoying the entertainment side of it. There’s a lot of energy in Headingley anyway, so bringing the fans in again for The Hundred, it’ll only keep getting bigger.

“I reckon that I might be able to enjoy it a little bit more as a player than as a fan this year. I’ll get to be in and around it and meet some really cool people and some experienced and exciting cricketers.

“Potentially as a fan I can just watch them and not really learn from as much, but hopefully this will give me the chance to learn from the likes of Kate Cross and Alice Davidson-Richards.

“It’s really good for the women’s game as well having those sorts of crowds and to have players like me getting the opportunity to play in front of that sort of crowd.”

York Press: Northern Superchargers Women in action in last year's The Hundred tournamentNorthern Superchargers Women in action in last year's The Hundred tournament (Image: Adam Davy/PA)

The 20-year-old will be in familiar company at the Superchargers this season, with Scarborough’s Leah Dobson also selected, and Northern Diamonds captain Holly Armitage chosen to lead the team for the second consecutive year.

With the Superchargers only outside the Eliminators on net run rate last year, she believes that Armitage’s team can go one better this time out.

“I’m pretty used to Holly being captain [at the Diamonds] now,” Hall explained. “I think she does a really good job with the Diamonds and I’m sure that she’ll take that forward into The Hundred as well.

“She’s a great leader and she really brings the group together – that’s something that you need when you’re playing in a tournament like The Hundred.

“You’ve got players coming from different countries and different regions, and I think that she’ll be great for bringing the team together and getting that environment started early on.”

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Despite impressing with a match-winning 4-33 for the Diamonds in their victory over South East Stars in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, Hall believes that her talents are better utilised in short formats.

“My skills are pretty suited to T20 and The Hundred-style cricket,” she admitted.

“When I got my opportunity in the Charlotte Edwards Cup to play for the Diamonds in the T20, I worked really hard on those skills.

“The short-format game is where I feel the most comfortable, not to say that I don’t enjoy the 50-over games, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to play there recently.

“But I think that the work that I put in with my T20 and short format skills will come in use for The Hundred, and it’s a lot more exciting when it’s short as well isn’t it!”

Northern Superchargers begin their campaign in The Hundred against Birmingham Phoenix on Thursday, August 3, with the Women kicking off the action at Headingley at 3pm, and the Men taking to the field at 6:30pm.