Lords’ final awaits for Richmond London Youth Games cricket team

LYG_qualifiers_2016U13 manager Mark Avery shares his Bushy Park Girls experiences in the BPG Inside Story…..

Would it prove to be an ill wind or a fair wind for the Richmond-upon-Thames Borough girls cricket team as they gathered under grey scudding clouds at Teddington Station station yesterday (06/02/2016). The Bushy Park Girls were in fine spirits (if not fine voices!) as the volume was cranked up during their minibus journey to Harrow Leisure Centre for the London Youth games cricket qualifiers.

In our group for the qualifiers were the much fancied Hillingdon, as well as Barnet and Hounslow boroughs. We started though with a warm up match against Kingston as their match had been cancelled. Kingston batted first including our very own Molly Bartlett. The girls got in some useful batting and bowling practise, getting our day off to a good start with a win. We were now ready for our first match against Hounslow.

After Richmond Borough captain Ella Waldren lost the toss and Hounslow chose to bat our coach Hannah Munday gave them a quick team talk whilst I hurried up to get to my scoring position. It was lucky I was quick as Phoebe Head opened the bowling and quickly took 2 wickets to reduce them to 0 – 2. Jess Low bowled tightly conceding no runs and panicking the batters into running resulting in two run outs. 4 wickets down quickly became 5 as Sadie Day bowled the next batter and in the 4th over Abi Avery finished the innings off. Hounslow were bowled out for 11 in 3.3 overs!

Bushy Park Girls Amelie Munday and Ella Waldron strolled out to open the batting for Richmond Borough. With such a low total Hounslow needed a good start. Amelie steely eyed smashed the first ball for 4 and then followed up with two more 4s and a single. BPG had won in 4 balls! Apparently a LYG record.

Fuelled with drinks and sarnies the girls next took to the pitch for the eagerly awaited match against Hillingdon. This was likely to be an epic. Forget the Ashes. This was a cauldron of hot glowing embers of competitiveness. Phoebe Head got us off to another great start taking 2 early wickets but Hillingdon hit back scoring runs more freely. However we pinned them back as tight bowling by Jess, again, and the other girls meant we regained our composure and good fielding got us 2 run outs. This meant a return to the crease of their opener, and a Middlesex player, who had earlier had to retire on reaching 20. She led a late assault to take them past 100 and finish their innings on 101. A very competitive total.

Abi and Ella opened the batting intent on negotiating the opening overs of Hillingdon’s Middlesex pair. A steady first over to start but in the second Abi smashed a 4 and 6 to relieve the pressure and the runs started to flow. Abi quickly reached 20 and retired and Ella was joined by Phoebe. Ella took up the mantle and smashed a huge 6 and before long she was also retired but by now Phoebe had her eye in and was scoring runs at will. Jess joined Phoebe in the fun and by the time Phoebe was retired the Hillingdon bowlers were rattled. We lost our first actual wicket when we had reached 96 and lost a second quickly but Abi returned to the crease and along with Amelie took us over the line with 1.3 overs to spare. A fine victory in the end and it was a brilliantly paced innings by the girls.

With barely time to celebrate our next game against Barnet was straight up. Barnet chose to bat and were quickly in need of some syrup as two wickets crashed in the first over again. Emma Bridge bowled the 2nd over and took a wicket with her 1st ball. A tight over resulted in another run out and then Imogen Higgins came onto bowl and finished the innings off with tight bowling and fielding forcing them into 2 further run outs. Barnet all out for 11! Déjà vu? It certainly was.

Imogen and Emma opened the batting and it took them just 1 over to score the 12 runs required! Bushy Park Girls had taken Richmond through to the finals at Lords for the second year running. Despite the rain on our return to Teddington nothing could dampen our spirits and the same brisk wind we left earlier could never compete with the whirlwind that is Bushy Park Girls. Well done everyone. You were a fantastic team with a great spirit and loads of talent.

I am very proud to have been there with you all. Many thanks also to Dan Hughes (Sports Development Officer at London Borough of Richmond upon Thames) for organising everything, Hannah Munday for coaching them whilst I tried to score between my coughing fits, our mini bus driver for putting up with us all and lending lots of support on the day and lastly to Dave Waldren who although he wasn’t there coached all the girls at our February Tuesday evening sessions.

Roll on the Lords’ finals on 28th February.

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