Team: Ruby Oakley; Jessica Spencer; Rosie Davis; Claudie Dexter; Erin Goodwin – captain; Maddie Sloan; Beth Crabtree; Sofia Stapleton-Parslow.
The annual Lady Taverner’s tournament kicked off the season for the U11s in typical British bank holiday fashion with rain showers expected all day. However, we had a full team of eager girls ready and willing to play this year, some new recruits to Bushy Park Girls.
Our first match was against Ealing CC. The girls were put straight in to bat and managed to set a respectable run target for the opposition, with a steady partnership from Jessica and Maddie in the middle order and seasoned BPG players Erin and Ruby closing out the innings with a respectable 11 runs apiece. With participation and enjoyment as important as the result, the strategy was to let every player bowl an even number of overs in the opening matches and the girls rose to the challenge admirably, with some tidy bowling and a number of wickets taken by Rosie (4 runs/2 wickets), Claudie (5 runs/1 wicket) and Jess (4 runs/1 wicket). The result came down to the last over and Erin (1 run/1 wicket) clinched victory for BPG by 3 runs with a wicket on the last ball of the match.
The second draw saw BPG face North Middlesex. Again, the girls batted first, with Claudie (12 runs) helping BPG to set a target of 250 runs. The big difference this time around was that BPG only lost one wicket in the innings. The girls weren’t going to let the rain delays stop them in the field either. They bowled much tighter in this match, with fewer wides and no balls giving away precious runs. Notable wickets came from Ruby and Claudie and BPG won the match by an impressive 25 runs.
Our third match would prove to be our toughest challenge. With the rain persistently interrupting play, the girls went in to field first this time and were unable to break through host North London’s batting line-up, taking only 2 wickets (by Beth and Rosie) in the innings. The hosts set BPG a tough run target and it would all come down to wickets in the end. Despite some good batting partnerships, a fair amount of enthusiastic calling and running meant that we lost a number of wickets to risky run-outs and ended the match in defeat by 29 runs.
That then set up a semi-final against Ealing and, after refuelling with the BBQ and a fair amount of sugar, the girls went in to bat. The batting line-up remained the same as before and the girls rose to the occasion by only losing 1 wicket and getting in a few impressive boundaries to set Ealing a target of 231 (only a 1 run difference to their previous match). With the final in their sights, the bowling line-up was tweaked and the girls took to the field with determination. The bowling was tidy again, with few wides and no balls and notable wickets for Claudie (8 runs/2 wickets) and Ruby (4 runs/0 wickets; 3 runs; 1 wicket) again. The final result was a BPG win by three runs – deja-vu!
The final against North London – the only team to have beaten BPG so far – was threatened early on by the steadily falling rain. It would turn out to be a stop-start game as a result and the girls would have to work hard to maintain their focus and composure. They took to the field and proved worthy opponents with tight fielding and tidy bowling, with notable wickets from Ruby and Claudie once again. However, a few too many risks taken by the batting partnerships meant the girls couldn’t match the might of the North London bowling attack and BPG ended the final game 22 runs short.
On a day where there was as much rain as there was cricket, the girls did themselves proud by staying focussed, having fun and playing some of the best cricket we have seen from the U11s so early on in the season. Not only were there some stellar bowling performances, particularly from Claudie, Rosie and Ruby, but the tag team wicket-keeping skills of Erin, Ruby and Rosie kept the fielding tight and the batting pairs worked well and communicated effectively overall. Our only batting pair not to concede a wicket all day was Jessica and Maddie – a huge achievement in itself. This all bodes well for the season ahead and the girls can be incredibly proud of their runners-up medals (presented by none other than Pinky the Middlesex Mascot).
Thank you to all of the parents and siblings who braved the cold and wet conditions to support the girls and to Damian for scoring and Frank for umpiring – parent support and help is always greatly appreciated by us managers and the girls themselves.
Here’s to a great 2017 season – what a way to start! Now if only we could sort out the weather….