England cricketer and Yorkshire Diamonds captain Lauren Winfield is from Stamford Bridge, near York. The 27-year-old is currently preparing for the Ashes series in Australia in October.
What is your first Yorkshire memory?
My first memories of cricket are of going down to my local club at Stamford Bridge where my dad played on Saturdays. It’s a real family club. Dad would be playing in the middle. Mum would take a picnic and me and my brother would be tearing about on the boundary. As I grew older, I attended the training sessions on a Friday night for the youngsters. I was the only girl and then aged under 10 I played for the seconds and loved it. For many girls it can be daunting going into a boys’ team if you are the only girl, whereas I was fortunate because the boys were my friends and really welcoming. I was lucky enough to captain all the boys’ sides.
How much support from Yorkshire did you have at the World Cup final at Lord’s?
My parents came as did my uncle and aunt. I had lots of support. People from the club were texting and old school friends whom I hadn’t spoken to for 10 years were sending messages. A lot of my school friends wouldn’t have a clue about cricket but they watched the game. The final captured people you would never have thought would follow cricket or women’s cricket. The support was phenomenal throughout. It’s a fantastic feeling being a World Cup winner, but I woke up the next day feeling exactly the same but a bit happier.
What is your favourite part of Yorkshire?
I love Stamford Bridge because it’s home. The club ground is beautiful, there are lots of nice walks by the River Derwent, fields where you can run and you can go out on your bike in the countryside. You don’t have to go far to find greenery and hills in the Stamford Bridge area. I also love the coast and I’ve spent a fair bit of time in Whitby and Scarborough. I now appreciate Yorkshire a lot more than I did five or six years ago.
What is your idea of a perfect day out or weekend away in Yorkshire?
I’ve always loved going to Dalby Forest where you can have decent walks or take your bike. I like taking picnics or having barbecues and the other place I really like is Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate.
What do you think it is that gives Yorkshire its unique identity?
The people. You go into a pub on a Sunday and everyone is friendly and chatty. The countryside in Yorkshire is beautiful and you don’t need to drive far until you are there. I’m very northern at heart and when I’m in London I want to go home. Yorkshire still has an old school feel to it, there’s a community feeling and neighbours say good morning. You don’t have to go miles to escape the hustle and bustle.
Do you think Yorkshire characteristics helped you win the World Cup?
Yes. They talk about Yorkshire grit and Yorkshire gives you a culture and an identity. We always joke in the England team about southern softies, but Yorkshire traits serve you well in elite sport.
Which Yorkshire sportsman or woman, past or present, would you like to take out for lunch?
Someone who would be entertaining. Geoff Boycott falls into that category as does Jessica Ennis-Hill. But I love the Brownlee brothers, Alistair and Jonny. I admire the mental strength they have to compete in the triathlon – it takes a lot of backbone to compete in those competitions and to do so well.
Which is your favourite pub or restaurant in Yorkshire?
I like going to Bettys in York for breakfast or dinner. That’s my favourite place to eat. As a family, we used to go to the Gold Cup in Low Catton and have a Sunday roast and drink. The Three Cups in Stamford Bridge is also good. We go there on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve to see friends and family from the village.
Who is the Yorkshire person you admire the most?
I won’t tell him, but I look up to my dad, Andy, a lot because he is a sporting man who played cricket and he sparked my interest to play the game. Dad, who bowled spin, was a bit of a hero and he is still heavily involved with the club in Stamford Bridge.
Now that you are a World Cup winner, do you think you have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of girls and boys in Yorkshire to play cricket?
I think if you portray yourself in the right way and you don’t have to work hard to do that. It keeps you humble when you give something back to the community. I think that’s really important because you can get caught up in elite sport. You go into a primary school, it brings a sense of fun, and by talking to young boys and girls you make sure they know that sport gives you a great opportunity to learn skills that you just wouldn’t learn in any other environment.
If a stranger came to Yorkshire and had to visit one place only, where would it be?
I think that has to be Knaresborough. A visit to the river, going on the rowing boats and then a walk to Mother Shipton’s Cave and after that stopping at a pub for a drink would be great. I really like Knaresborough and I would take them there.