U13s Falter against Richmond

2018_07_03_U13_Richmond_lost_2_33%Another stunning summer’s evening in Bushy Park set the scene for BPG U13s to take on Richmond U13. With many of the BPG team new to hard ball cricket, the aim of the match was to give them all a taste of what it feels like to pad up. Richmond won the toss and elected to bat first, but with a number of our BPG newbies feeling unsure of bowling, a team that was one player short and captain Erin Goodwin (co-captaining with Imogen Higgins) still nursing a back injury, the formidable Richmond team quickly began to rack up the runs. Higgins opened the bowling with Sofia Stapleton-Parslow, followed by Matilda Le Frenais and Ananya Apte, both still new to hard ball cricket. The seasoned Richmond batsmen were unforgiving in their boundaries, with all four of their top batsmen reaching over 30 runs apiece before retiring. Grace Tasker, in her first appearance for BPG this season, and Ruby Oakley could also do little to stem the tide and Richmond looked to be barrelling towards an almighty target.

With only a few overs to go, co-captains Erin and Imogen changed up the bowling order to rotate between themselves and another over for Stapleton-Parslow in the hope that the bails would fly before the 20 overs were up. It wasn’t until the 17th over with the score on 158 runs that Goodwin finally got a breakthrough by clean-bowling Richmond’s fifth batsman. Higgins followed in the next over with a stunning ball caught by teammate Ruby, then Erin followed this in the 19th over by clean-bowling the next batsman. However, some relaxed fielding and a few too many extras meant that BPG were facing an insurmountable target after Richmond ended on 195/3.

Knowing that this would be a game of lessons learnt rather than pushing for victory, all of the girls were keen to pad up and have a go, even though for some this would be a first. Wicket keeper Beth Crabtree and Erin opened, but Erin fell early to a risky run-out, to be replaced by Higgins. Crabtree (8 runs) and Higgins (8 runs) looked to be settling into a steady partnership before Higgins was bowled in the 5th over and Beth was caught in the 6th over. Holly Ramsden stepped up to the wicket and managed to face the pacey bowling, settling into some nice singles and doubles to settle the wicket and remain there for the rest of the match. Ruby shared the wicket with her initially and managed 6 runs before being caught and bowled, then Sofia Stapleton-Parslow (4 runs) was caught just as she was settling in.

It was then the turn of Amy Banner in only her second match for the BPG U13s. Facing the strength and pace of some of Richmond’s finest bowlers, she seemed unfazed and relaxed at the crease and settled into a very neat partnership with Holly, who stood defiant at the other end. Amy was eventually caught on the last ball of the match, but not before she reached 11 runs. Holly ended the match not out on 12 – a fantastic debut!

Although BPG’s 93/5 was far short of a victory as such, there were many positives to be taken from the match and it was lovely to see our newest team players facing some formidable bowling with courage and good old BPG fighting spirit. The heads did not drop and the girls smiled throughout. There was even some dancing in the outfield and occasional shouts of joy (mostly from the spectators as England scored in their World Cup match against Colombia). The match also highlighted some key areas for the girls to work on in training going forward and, although it may not have been the ending we would’ve liked, the silver lining was that everyone was home in time to see England win their penalty shoot-out.

As always, a big thank you to the parents for sacrificing their football viewing to support the girls, to Chris for umpiring and a special shout-out to BPG U15’s Paige Goodwin for scoring.

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Happy Father’s Day for BPG U13s

2018_06_17_Wembley_U13s_win_a_50%An impressive number of BPG dads (and a couple of mums) turned their backs on breakfast in bed this Sunday morning, choosing instead to start their Father’s Days on the road to Wembley with their cricketing daughters. Rumours that once they got home, after negotiating the North Circular for the second time in the day, they would spend the rest of their Sundays slumped on sofas doing nothing more strenuous than filling in their World Cup wallcharts are unsubstantiated. In any case, the BPG girls served up a treat on the pitch, as satisfying as any Sunday morning lie in.

BPG arrived in Wembley as a compact unit of 9, including 3 debutantes at this level, stepping up from the U11 age group. None looked out of place, and all played their part in an excellent win for the visitors. Abbott, captaining the team for the first time, won the toss and, with overhead conditions looking helpful for the bowlers, put Wembley in to bat. Unable to bowl herself due to an injured shoulder, she set about marshalling her magnificent seven bowlers to great effect.

What followed was a team bowling and fielding display of discipline and skill, with each of the BPG bowlers taking their turn to pin down the opposition. Despite working hard, none of the Wembley girls was able to score freely against this BPG attack. Higgins set the tone in the opening over, shaping the ball in nicely to the right hander and her third delivery induced a mistimed pull shot from the Wembley captain. Mayhew at square leg was alert enough to take a smart catch and BPG were on their way.

Wembley then tried to consolidate, and indeed they were able to hold on for another seven overs before the next wicket fell. However, they could not get the scoring rate going thanks to BPG’s disciplined bowling and alert fielding. Eakins deserves particular credit, delivering a 3 over spell of probing bowling that yielded only 2 runs, and left Wembley’s other opener retired hurt after a rising delivery pinned her on the hand. Meanwhile Crabtree behind the stumps was not phased by the extra pace on the ball in this age group, keeping tidily and alertly throughout the innings while Dexter impressed in the field with her confident pick ups and strong arm.

When a wicket did fall, it prompted a mid-innings collapse for the Wembley girls. First the experienced Oakley clean bowled Wembley’s number 3. Then the debutante Stirling came into the attack and opened her account with a wicket maiden thanks to a well taken catch by Higgins. At the other end Davis also delivered a maiden and the Wembley batsmen were starting to wonder where their next run was coming from. In Stirling’s second over, Mayhew swooped on the ball in the covers and removed the scampering Wembley batter with a beautiful direct hit at the bowler’s end. Bravely the injured Wembley opener returned to the crease but Davis’s second over was too much for her and she was bowled without adding to her score. Wembley were 35-5.

It was credit to Wembley that they managed something of a comeback at this point. With only eight in the team they were in danger of being skittled out, but the last three batsmen put up a fight as Abbott shuffled her bowling pack. In the sixteenth over Mayhew stepped up to unpick the lock. By bowling the Wembley number 7 she added to her earlier catch and run out to complete a pleasing personal hat-trick of different dismissals. Wembley’s last pair hung on until the last over, pushing the score up to a creditable 74. On what should have been the penultimate ball of the innings Dexter rounded off her excellent fielding display with a well deserved run out to finish the innings there and then.

If BPG’s effort in the field was noteworthy for the overall team performance and the fact that every player contributed, the batting performance was all about individual displays, especially that of the powerful opener Eakins. Clearly in a hurry to get home for Fathers’ Day lunch, she followed her miserly bowling with some muscular hitting. Ruthlessly dispatching anything bowled down the leg side to the boundary she thumped 6 fours in all and when she retired on 31*, she had faced only 22 balls and BPG were as good as home. “That’s the best I’ve ever batted,” she was heard to say as she walked off the pitch. No-one disagreed.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing though. In the second over of the innings the other opener Mayhew had been unlucky to find herself stranded and run out after being ambitiously called through for a run. After her stunning display in the field it may have seemed greedy to expect runs as well, but she had looked well organised and strong at the crease and the run out must have left her wondering what could have been. Her replacement, Davis was an able partner for Eakins, scoring 12 runs at an impressive strike rate including two well placed boundaries of her own. She was bowled out with the job all but done, leaving the old hands Abbott and Higgins to nurdle the last few runs and steer BPG to victory with ten overs to spare.

Thanks to Frank for umpiring, Jack for scoring and our Wembley hosts who were welcoming, friendly and provided a very sturdy table for the scorers. And thanks to the girls for giving all of their dads (and mums) a great Father’s Day present by putting on such a good display of cricket on the pitch.

Check out all the 2018 BPG Stats HERE.