Girls U12's tournament -Finchampstead 27th May 2012

Girls U12's tournament -Finchampstead 27th May 2012

Girls U12's tournament -Finchampstead 27th May 2012
12 May
Girls U12's tournament -Finchampstead 27th May 2012
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Year: 2012

Finchampstead CC, in glorious sunshine, is a wonderful place to be almost (but not quite) as picturesque as our own home ground! The Girls U12 squad could not have asked for a better place to start the competitive season in the opening round of the East/Central division of the Berkshire Youth Cricket League. The format for the competition this year is tournament-based, so our squad of 9 keen young ladies were due to play 3 6-over, 6-a-side games throughout the afternoon.

First up was a match against the hosts. We batted first and the opening pair of Hannah Cooke and Susannah Ames got us off to an excellent start with 15 off their two overs. Hannah Lee and Catherine Child kept the rate rolling along with a further 16 and skipper Rhiana Heer and Asya Janmohamed closed the innings out well putting on a further 17 runs for the loss of just one wicket. Finchampstead were set a high target, 142-1. In the field, the girls kept up the pressure, with notable contributions being from Hannah Lee (1 wicket conceding only 5), Asya (1 for 2, net -3) and Susannah (1 for 6 and a run out as well, for a net -4). Hannah Cooke was in sharp form behind the stumps, with two athletic catches. Finchampstead were kept to only 121-4 and we had a morale-boosting win as the girls opened their cricketing careers!

For the second match we were drawn against Wokingham, who were a player down. Hannah Lee volunteered to assist them in the field and in the spirit of the game (and the glorious day!) Wokingham were permitted to have one of their own players bowl twice and one bat twice. It turned out that they had two Berkshire players in their midst, so were effectively playing with 3 Berkshire players... Wokingham batted first and again our girls put on an excellent bowling display, particularly Susannah (1 for 5), Asya (also 1 for 5), Lana Wallis (6 for 2, net -4) and Rhiana (9-0, but keeping excellent control of the powerful hitting of Wokingham's best batsman). The powerful Wokingham batters were kept to 136-4, which we felt left us right in the game. Our batting commenced with our super-sub, Hannah Lee taking a catch for Wokingham off the opening delivery as Susannah's square-drive went high to the boundary. However, from that inauspicious start Susannah and Jess Wood made an excellent opening pairing, scoring 18 runs and setting the run-chase going with a bang. Unfortunately, the pace couldn't be kept up and some tight bowling from the Wokingham girls restricted the opportunities for boundaries from then on, our innings closing on 120-3.

The final encounter was against Reading girls, another well-drilled and clearly experienced side. We bowled first and, odd though it may seem, the girls' noticeable improvement throughout the day may have told against them as against these practiced batters the straight deliveries were regularly dispatched to the boundaries, including the only 6 of the afternoon. Only Hannah Lee managed not to concede a boundary, and unfortunately none of our many straight deliveries got through as Reading put on a mighty total of 162-0. In reply, Simran Puri and Lana Wallis negotiated a tricky opening burst without losing any wickets and were alert to take quick byes as they were offered (another noticeable area of improvement throughout the day). However, Reading's bowlers and fielders then kept it tight and neither of the pairs after them, Catherine and Hannah Lee or Hannah Cooke and Jess, were able to kick on, despite their best efforts. Hannah Lee was caught while trying to reach the boundary and Hannah Cooke, playing in similar spirit, was bowled off her opening delivery. We finished on 110-2, but with well-deserved smiles on our faces.

It was great to see the girls' commitment, enthusiasm and sheer spirit (not to mention courage, as some of the bowling from Reading and Wokingham was considerably faster than anything our girls have seen before). Considering that only 1 of the squad had played competitively before this season, and a lot of them have only ever had three training sessions in total, it was a magnificent showing. The girls' improved noticeably throughout the three matches (only 5 wides were bowled in 6 overs in each of the second and third games) and the teams that beat us were both fielding players with a lot more experience and training behind them. Most of all, there was team-spirit, bright eyes and broad grins all round including among the parents cheering the girls on.Roll on the next heats (Wokingham on 17 June and home on 24 June) when even more girls will get the chance to represent M&BCC.


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