Whirlwind Week ends on a high
Not sure there will be many Thursdays like the 30th August 2012
All 3 age group teams through to ECB National Finals, it was an immense achievement in itself and one that has made history. Following trials at the end of April, 3 squads were selected. At U15 we introduced a development team which kept more girls in the system and allowed movement between the teams. Becky Cline and Hannah Mansell were so successful at their Malvern festival that they were called up to play in some of the ECB fixtures. Becky Cline was rewarded for her hard work this season with a place in the Semi Final team. When looking at the make up of the U13 team, having been National Champions the year before but losing 8 of them to the older age group we knew it would be a struggle to repeat it. At U15 the team comprised of just 3 15 year olds, the rest were only 14. A similar story at U17 except an even younger team was to be fielded with just 2 17 year olds in the squad along with 5 U15 players as regulars.
I won’t bore you with the ups and downs of the season except it was full of nail biting moments, some exceptional performances and some very happy players!
U13s, top of the table with 5 wins from 6. Through to the Quarter final vs. Middlesex @ Northern CC. Lancashire bat first and score 144 in 35 overs. For the majority of the Middlesex innings I struggled to watch! Except for the first ball when Evie Priestley bowled their opener convincingly. A nail biting last few overs where 7 wickets fell and few runs scored meant Lancashire were through to play Yorkshire in the Semi Finals. A tough game any day of the week never mind when we had to play a T20 due to rain on day one of the Semi Finals meaning we played Semi Final in the morning followed by the final in the afternoon.
Yorkshire won the toss and elected to bowl. We lost early wickets however some hard hitting from Ellie Threlkeld (35) kept the scoreboard ticking over. Georgina Bolton, Eleanor Graham and Erin Staunton-Turner provided good support. A slow scoreboard put pressure on the Yorkshire batsman and wickets kept falling. Yorkshire were eventually all out for 66. A Roses win and a place in the final against Hampshire. And another nervous few hours for me!
Hampshire won the toss and elected to bat first. We didn’t take early wickets however the runs didn’t flow for Hampshire. After 15 overs they were 25 for 2. Not so nervous at this point! Hampshire closed 67 all out off the last ball of the 30 overs. Up stepped our openers who didn’t last very long however in form Emily Weetman stepped up to the plate and kept the board ticking knowing we needed only 2 an over to keep us in it. Rain around meant a constant eye on the board and calculator for me! After many a lap needing just 3 to win i managed to sit down and watch! As the winning runs were hit the squad raced onto the pitch and the celebrations began! National Champions 2 years running, not many teams can say that! Well done girls, a great achievement!
Back to the U15s which was Monday and Tuesday of last week. An odd occurrence of no umpires meant I had to stand at square leg during the Lancashire vs Kent game. A strange experience for me, I have done the odd junior club game but nothing as important or nail biting as this! Lancashire posted 144 with a good cameo from Emma Pickup at the closing stages. We were eventually all out including 3 run outs all given by their own coach!! Kent made steady progress yet wickets fell at regular intervals. With number 10 and 11 at the crease, 15 runs to win my money was on Lancashire. My nerves were not good at this point; standing at square leg I was hoping for a convincingly bowled wicket to finish the game. However that never arrived and Kent scraped over the line. Some upset girls, frustrated coaches and sympathetic parents awaited me at the hotel. However a good meal and some team bonding meant the girls were up for the 3rd and 4th play off vs. Somerset. Lancashire posted 212 with Emma Lamb scoring 79 of them in an excellent innings. Somerset struggled against our tight bowling, Jess Nixon bowled 5 maidens on the trot to build pressure. Somerset made just 98. 3rd overall Nationally is an excellent achievement for this young side with over 70% of the side staying together again next year. Well Done girls.
U17s, unfortunately I couldn’t be there as i was with the U13s down the road at Wokingham CC. Rain also greeted the U17s at Reading CC and Wednesday was cancelled meaning semi finals and finals on the same day both played as T20. Lancashire vs. Hampshire in Semi final. Lancashire score 88 all out with contributions from Maddy White, Nalisha Patel and Shannon Jackson. Hampshire made 85 all out in 20 overs with 6 run outs and just 7 extras Lancashire fielded well to ensure their place in the final vs. Yorkshire. Yorkshire batted first scoring 82 for 7 off 20. Olivia McCusker 2 for 11 off 4 with her left arm spin, Sophie McArdle 0 for 6 off 3 and Bhumika Doshi 2 for 17 off 3. Emma Lamb (33) and Bhumika Doshi (32*) provided the main stay of the innings. An excellent win for the girls, great team spirit and brilliant scenes after the game. A slight downer on the game happened part way through the Yorkshire innings when Hannah Till was taken to hospital but we found out just before the trophy was presented Hannah was on her way back after being discharged with back spasms.
Thank you to all the clubs who have hosted our games and parents, grandparents, coaches and friends who have provided support throughout the year. An excellent 2012 for girls cricket and advert for the game to continue.