Jess Couser Named MVP for Lancs in Dubai
Jess Couser's claims to be one of Lancashire cricket's rising stars were enhanced recently when the Birmingham University student was named the Most Valuable Player on Lancashire Girls' Under 19 trip to Dubai.
The 19-year-old Worsley-based cricketer not only skippered a very youthful side to fifth place in the eight-team Dubai Sport Arabia festival but also managed to score 94 runs in four matches at an average of 31.33 and returned best bowling figures of 4-27.
For Couser the challenge of opening the batting against well-established county teams and the Welsh and Scottish national sides was matched by the task of leading a squad, all but three of whom were 17 or under. But instead of being daunted by the task, the skipper relished it.
"I really enjoyed myself and despite us playing with a young side consisting of several of the Under 15's squad, we did really well," said Couser. "I'm pleased with the team's attitude and application."
"The best thing about the tour was being in an amazing country and being able to captain a talented bunch of girls. Getting a sun tan in February is always a bonus!"
Couser has already represented Lancashire on two previous tours to South Africa in 2009 and 2011 and is now back at university where she is studying Physiotheraphy.
Lancashire's gritty display in Dubai also won the approval of coach Jennifer Laycock, who skippers Lancashire's Women's first team and is also the county's Women and Girls Cricket Development Officer.
Laycock hopes that the Red Rose girls will have learned valuable lessons from their first visit to Dubai, where they won two of their four games and she is intrigued by the long-term benefits that may come from the trip.
"The Dubai festival was a great success and many girls benefitted from the competition," Laycock said. "All the players learned a lot about themselves. They found out what's needed at the highest level and they began to discover ways to get themselves there.
"Stephen Titchard and I found it a great experience to get to know the players better, push them out of their comfort zone and monitor their progress over a week.
"It's the longest period we've spent with the girls and it allowed us to work on areas we cannot normally cover due to time restrictions in the UK. We had a huge age range to work with, which made it a challenge for both coaches and players.
"For their part, the girls had to learn to adapt to a different environment and get used to working with each other over there."
Written by: Paul Edwards