After a frantic few days of pleading emails, which is becoming a theme for this season already, a team of 10 ranging from U15s to U12s took to the King’s Field in Hampton Wick for the U15s’ next fixture in the U13B league. With the sun shining for a change but a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch, which would later mean the scorers would lose all feeling in their extremities, hopes were high for a close and entertaining match. The boys certainly looked the more professional of the two sides with their warm-up drills; our girls warmed up their mouths with a good catch-up more than their bodies.
BPG lost the toss and the boys sent them in to bat first. Co-captain P Goodwin and M Bartlett padded up and, with no time for throw-downs, they strode casually onto the crease. But with an unpredictable wicket and no runs from the bat in the first two overs, it looked like the pitch conditions would test the girls somewhat, not to mention the fact that the girls were a player short. Then, with a flick of her wrist, Bartlett whipped the ball over the boundary for 6 in the third over and the opening pair were off the mark in style. Bartlett and Goodwin’s opening partnership of 48 runs off the bat set the tone for the innings and was a pleasure to watch, with plenty of boundaries and running between the wickets. Even the scorers had to remind themselves to stop applauding in order to record the runs (well, this scorer did). Bartlett was eventually bowled on 24 from 35 balls and was replaced by co-captain A Avery.
However, this innings would be defined by the number of extras handed to the girls by their opposition, not to mention their fielding errors. By the time Avery was dismissed LBW, the score had reached 100-2, but Avery had scored no runs herself off the bat. The umpires looked to be getting quite the arm workout as they signalled 44 wides, and byes and leg byes in abundance.
J Low made a brief but entertaining appearance after Avery’s dismissal, but was bowled prematurely, making way for I Higgins, who wasted no time in hurtling the ball over the boundary. Meanwhile, as has become her modus operandi this season, P Goodwin remained steady at her end, keeping her cool and letting the runs tick over. Goodwin and Higgins complemented each other perfectly and saw out the rest of the overs to reach a score of 181/3, with Higgins scoring 29 runs (not out) off 24 balls and Goodwin carrying her bat once again and scoring 51 (not out) in what was quite the batting masterclass. This is BPG’s highest ever score in a league match and Goodwin’s second half century in as many weeks.
Taking note of the bouncy wicket, Goodwin and Avery sent in the younger of the Goodwin siblings to open the bowling alongside J Low. What started as a disciplined over in stark contrast to the boys’ attempts in the field ended with the boys on 8 runs already and it was plain to see the opposition was not going down without a fight in the face of such a daunting run target. J Low managed to take the first wicket by clean-bowling the no 2 batsman, but the opener looked like he had been taking notes from P Goodwin and was steadfastly remaining where he was. E Goodwin and Low made way for S Khaira and A Avery, both of whom bowled tightly and with determination. Khaira was rewarded with two wickets in the end, one clean-bowled and another from a cool catch by Higgins.
The younger girls in this week’s team were then given the opportunity to show their bowling prowess and on the whole all bowled tighter and neater than the boys. But what was most impressive was their commitment in the field. A Stirling proved to be a master fielder, flinging herself after every ball and making sure nothing reached the boundary, even resulting in a few nettle stings. And at the other end of the field, R Davis had your correspondent flinching and wincing as she flung herself to the ground and risked re-breaking her newly healed arm in order to keep the runs in check. B Sheridan also proved to be an instinctive fielder and all three can be proud of the role they played in showing the opposition how fielding should be done.
But with the opener still refusing to go quietly, E Goodwin was sent in for another go with the ball. In the space of one over, she got her first wicket by removing the batsman’s middle stump and then followed it with a runout off Higgins’ bowling.
And yet the opener hung in there. But the captains had a plan up the sleeves of their grass-stained (and slightly too short after a growth spell) whites. P Goodwin had saved herself and I Higgins until the end. Goodwin took the ball in hand and generously allowed the opener to reach his own half century before cleanbowling him. The girls’ disciplined bowling and fielding made all the difference and the opposition fell short of the target with a score of 156/6.
And so BPG had another victory under their belt and a record high run score to celebrate. As always, thank you to Hampton Wick for hosting, Mark Avery for umpiring (and providing your correspondent with a cracking headline for the match report), and the BPG parents for cheerleading and supporting the team. Special mention goes to Paige Goodwin (51 n.o. off 54 balls), Imogen Higgins (29 n.o. off 24 balls), Erin Goodwin (4 overs/19 runs/1 wicket), Simrat Khaira (3 overs/27 runs/2 wickets) and Annie Stirling for her gymnastics on the boundary.