Gloucestershire Under 13 Girls and Under 15 Girls at the Malvern Festival (at Malvern College)
Under 13s Played 3 Won 3
Under 15s Played 4 Won 1 Lost 2 Abandoned 1
Gloucestershire’s Under 13 Girls capped a good season with three wins out of three at the Malvern Festival.
The team thrashed Middlesex by nine wickets in their opening match before recording back-to-back T20 wins over Suffolk and Surrey the following day.
In the first match Middlesex won the toss and made a steady start scoring at around three runs an over for the first eight.
Glos made a breakthrough in the ninth over when Danielle Gibson (Dumbleton) had Hussain-Roy caught by Natasha Wraith (Frenchay). But they were made to wait another 10 overs for their second wicket when Ella Budd (Bristol Phoenix) ran out Patel.
The turning point about in the 26th over with the introduction of legspinner Wraith who trapped opener Avery LBW for 32 with her first ball. She followed this up by dismissing Khan three balls later on her way to figures of 3-20. Wraith also made another crucial contribution later in the innings as she ran the dangerous Lord out for 34 – one of four run outs in the innings.
Middlesex eventually finished on 149-9 off 40 overs with Wraith and Gibson (1-12) the pick of the bowlers.
In reply Glos got off to a bad start when opener Molly Thomas was trapped LBW by Evans for 2.
This brought Gibson to join Naima Milhofer (Downend) at the crease and she immediately took the attack to the Middlesex bowlers, dispatching her third ball over the ropes for six. This set the tone and the Middlesex bowlers could not contain the pair who reached the required 150 in just 14.2 overs.
Milhofer reached her 50 off just 33 balls before making 76 not out. And she was closely followed by Gibson who took just 27 balls to make 60 not out.
Under 13 coach Dave Marshall said: “This was a superb display by both girls who controlled their innings and played beautiful shots all around the ground. This was commented on by the Middlesex coaches and one of the umpires who told me that he had never seen such powerful shots by girls in any age in all his time at Malvern.”
The following day Glos reversed their batting order but still scored 126-7 in their T20 match v Suffolk
With the previous day’s match-winning pair rested down the order the other girls stepped up well. Abi Whybrow made 27, Budd 21, Alice Hutchings 23 and Emily Kibble 15 in a good team batting display.
In reply Suffolk could not cope with the Glos bowling attack and were bowled out for 41 in just 13 overs as wickets fell at a steady pace. Helen Cutler (3-4), Wraith (2-0), Milhofer (2-4) and Gould (2-5) did the damage as the team held on to seven catches.
After lunch Glos played Surrey who made 86-7 off their 20 overs. Milhofer (2-4) and Cutler (2-13) continued their form from the morning, while Budd was the top wicket-taker with 3-23,
Needing 87 to win Glos got off to a flying start with Milhofer going after the bowlers from ball one. Together with Budd they put on 41 off just six overs before Budd fell for seven.
Milhofer soon followed for 39 which brought Thomas and Gibson to the crease. They made 12 and 14 respectively before falling in quick succession. Surrey were up for the win and cheered loudly at every wicket or ball hitting the pads. The pressure was now on the Glos batsmen.
With Wraith and Whybrow at the crease and the score at 77-4 the game could still have gone either way.
But Wraith (pictured) didn’t see it that way and took the game to the Surrey bowler Patel. She struck three fours from four balls –including the final one high over midwicket to seal the win in the 14th over.
Dave Marshall said: “Over the three days the girls displayed a great togetherness and a real team spirit captained superbly by Danielle Gibson. They deserved to win all the games and showed composure with both bat and ball. The fielding was outstanding at times which contributed to the dismissal of several batsmen with fine run outs and great catches.”
Gloucestershire’s Under 15 Girls also visited Malvern College for a festival. They took a young team with an eye on next season and won one, lost two and had one game abandoned. The highlight of their week was a win over Essex who they went on to beat in the national semi-finals the following week.
Manager John Harris said: “We wanted to use Malvern as a development opportunity to give new players experience and put others into different roles to prepare them for next season. We had the chance bring some of the U13s who will move up next year into the team which was really worthwhile and will boost their confidence.
“The Under 15s had a fantastic season. I am very proud of them and I think Gloucestershire should be too. They have gone into all their games with a professional attitude and it has been great to see their confidence grow throughout the season.
“Quite a few of the girls were part of the Emerging Players Programme during the winter and I think that you can see the investment the Gloucestershire Cricket Board has put into girls cricket is really starting to pay off.”