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U15 Girls Development County side do themselves proud at Netherfield CC

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U15 Girls Development County side do themselves proud at Netherfield CC

Last week we fielded 2 U15 girls county sides, a performance and a development side that both competed in the National T20 competition.

LCB U15 Development Girls T20 Report

Whilst the LCB U15 Girls Performance squad were aiming to defend their regional T20 crown at Northern Cricket Club the LCB U15 Girls Development squad were breaking new ground by competing in the Development competition for the first time up at Netherfield CC. Lancashire were up against the hosts Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham who all were entering their full squads into the competition over the two days.

On day one Lancashire were to play Durham in their first fixture and Cumbria in the second fixture on the more exposed and considerably windier top pitch, with a further fixture verses Northumberland and a potential final to follow on the second day.

Lancashire captain Emily Weetman won the toss in game one and asked the Durham girls to bat first having delivered a strong bowling performance in their only league game of the season prior to this competition. Durham made a steady start before Slow Left Arm bowler Sophie Heaton, who opened the bowling made a breakthrough in the 3rd over removing the dangerous Coulson for 2 courtesy of a sharp stumping from keeper Emma Simpson. Heaton was then at it again in her next over bowling other opener Walker leaving Durham 15-2. Continued tight bowling from all the Lancashire girls restricted Durham to 58-5 from their allocation. A special mention must go to Polly Pearse who returned figures of 4-0-9-2 in her first game for the Development squad in 2013. With the job done with the ball it was over to the batters to chase down the total and a fine 30* (38 balls) from the skipper guided Lancashire home by 9 wickets with more than 5 overs to spare.

After a fine lunch provided by the hosts, Lancashire returned to their lofty position on top of the hill to take on the host side in the afternoon fixture. Cumbria won the toss on this occasion and asked Lancashire to bat, with the visitors soon in trouble at 4-2 after losing Georgina Bolton (Bowled) and Emily Weetman (LBW) in consecutive balls. Wickets fell steadily throughout the Lancashire innings and only Emma Simpson (11 from 29) and Evie Priestley (14 off 29) reached double figures as Lancashire were bowled out for just 50 with 2 overs left to bat. It looked as if the hosts would cruise to victory as they reached 15-0 but 2 wickets in 3 balls from Hannah Mansell gave Lancashire hope. A run out from Emily Weetman then made it 17-3 before a partnership of 18 between Earle and Cawlper looked to have steadied the host ship. The introduction of U13’s duo Priestley and Duckworth into the attack then gave the game a further turn, along with an unbelievable direct hit run out from the boundary by Georgia Clough as Cumbria were reduced from 35-3 to 40-7. A further wicket and run out by Priestley meant that at 49-9 Cumbria required 2 runs from 2 balls for victory, however in an attempt to scramble the single required for a tie, Polly Pearse hit the stumps directly from cover to give Lancashire their 4th run out of the innings and a 1 run victory.

After an early night after the excitement of the day before, Lancashire returned to Netherfield CC to be greeted by the news that they would again be on the top pitch to face Northumberland in the morning game. Our only chance of playing on the 1st XI pitch would be to win and progress to the final in the afternoon. In an effort to get their batting woes from yesterday afternoon out of the system, skipper Weetman won the toss and elected to bat. In a reorganisation of the order from day one, Weetman opened the innings with Sophie Heaton and despite the early loss of Heaton, Lancashire batted much better with Weetman (76* off 60 balls) and Emma Simpson (20 from 27) putting on 67 for the 3rd wicket as Lancashire finished on 130-3 from their 20. The Northumberland batters were always going to struggle to reach the large target and 2 wickets each from Georgia Clough (2-7), Eleanor Graham (2-9) and Emily Weetman (2-1) saw them bowled out for 33 in the 15th over. This meant that Lancashire would reach the final and play the hosts Cumbria in the afternoon.

So having finally made their way onto the main pitch Lancashire captain Weetman chose to bat first in the final knowing they would need to improve the batting performance from the previous afternoon against the same opponents. Things started positively as Heaton and Weetman put on 32 for the 1st wicket before Heaton was run out by Cumbria skipper Sarah Earle for 8. This lead to mini collapse from the Lancashire batters as Weetman (17) and Simpson (2) followed quickly to leave Lancashire 39-3. Priestley and Bolton then put on 28 for the 4th wicket to move the visitors to 67-4 in the 16th over; however the dismissals of both for 15 and 11 respectively saw the Lancashire innings tail off and finish on 80-7 from the 20 overs. Having bowled the hosts out for 49 the previous day Lancashire felt they were still in the game and when Polly Pearse struck in her first over to leave Cumbria 1-1 a great game was in prospect. Smith and Earle staged a recovery to take Cumbria to 22-1 before first Hannah Mansell and then Sophie Heaton with two wickets in two balls reduced them to 25-4. However, Earle was still going strong and was joined by Cawlper to add a further 24 before Heaton claimed the prize wicket of Earle for 24 (26 balls) to make it 49-5 in the 13th over. Telford joined Cawlper and they added a further 27 to take Cumbria within 5 of victory before Evie Priestley removed Telford for a run a ball 17 with 10 balls remaining. Georgina Bolton was tasked with bowling the final over and unfortunately for Lancashire only one run was required which Dibble achieved off the second ball of the over to hand Cumbria a 4 wicket victory. The final defeat should not take away what was an excellent performance from the girls over the two days, with them more than holding their own against 3 main squads with more experience.

Chris Highton (U15s Dev Head Coach)

Thanks to all the players, parents, coaches and hosts at Netherfield CC for a great 2 days of cricket. A first for any County to have 2 sides competing at this level. A great step forward for girls in the County and an opportunity for double the number of girls to be involved at this level. Well done all involved.

Jen Laycock (Women and Girls CDO)

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