Perhaps the coldest evening of the season so far greeted us as we arrived at Ansty for the first U11 Girls game of the season. With everyone shivering on the sidelines, skipper Lydia Preston won the toss and elected to bowl first. Lydia took the first over herself and bowled a good line and length, an example which was followed by Paige Gwynn who only conceded two runs. Molly Hepburn came into the attack and picked up our first wicket, a lovely delivery which bowled the batter and an excellent over from Sophie Plimmer followed as the first Ansty pair trooped off with the score on 204 for 1. The Mullins sisters came in to bat and scored freely against some of our less experienced girls who still found deliveries to trouble the batters, Millie Wickwar, Laura Cooper, Millie Gwynn and Poppy Husbands can all be pleased with the way they bowled against some well timed shots which found the boundary. Lydia returned to the attack in the 9th over to bowl another tight over which was again followed by another good spell of bowling from Millie W. We picked up our second and final wicket of the innings when the batters tried to sneak one quick single too many off Molly’s bowling and Millie G swooped to claim a run out. Laura bowled a second tidy over and with 12 overs gone, Ansty had scored 250/2. The final pair of batters scored very freely as we tired in the field in the freezing conditions. It’s hard to be critical of the girls given the conditions we were playing in, but we did switch off in the field and neglected to back up which might have cost us a dozen or so runs. Ansty closed on 291 for 2, a challenging total which contained some lovely shots.
Molly and Millie G began our reply and looked solid from the start against some very tight bowling. In the second over, Millie hammered a lovely drive through point for four and followed that with two more boundaries in the fourth over, ably backed up by Molly who was running well between the wickets. A stand of 23 was a good reward for four solid overs. Laura and Millie W took over and settled well before some inexperienced running led to a couple of run outs. The girls gamely tried to claw the runs back and produced some good shots which didn’t quite manage to find the gaps. A great effort from probably our least experienced pair. Third pair in was Paige and Poppy who again looked to get runs on the board. Poppy was unlucky to be bowled before another run out cost us as we worked hard to chase down the total. In the twelfth over Paige was slightly early on a drive and was bowled, but the girls made up the runs with some careful shot placement and great running. With the score on 221/6 our last pair of Sophie and Lydia came to the crease , Lydia signalling her intent immediately as she clubbed the fourth ball of the over away to the midwicket boundary. More good running and a smashing paddle around the corner to fine leg gave Sophie her first boundary before an excellent last couple of overs from the Ansty bowlers tightened things up. Sophie and Lydia continued to give it everything they had and recorded a partnership of 33 from their four overs as we finished on 254/6.
An excellent effort from both teams in Baltic conditions, our thanks to Dave Burt and Phil Wickwar for their umpiring and as ever, a huge thank you to everyone who came and supported the girls. Ansty very kindly provided food after the game for the girls and we look forward to the return game later in the summer. In terms of the effort from our girls, it was pleasing to see them enjoying themselves despite the conditions and the noise that Millie W made in the field shows what a welcome addition to the team that she is! Millie G did very well behind the stumps and I thought that all of the bowlers bowled well and on another day will get more wickets. Our batting showed plenty of promise and will develop over the season, Sophie and Lydia bat very well together and Molly and Millie G at the top of the order looked solid and capable of scoring runs. Laura and Millie W will benefit from more games and the experience that this will give them will really help them develop their games along with Paige and Poppy, they are all capable of accumulating runs once we can raise their confidence levels. Keep practicing girls, the hard work will make a difference!