U17 Girls defeat Netherlands
The U17s have, finally, managed to kick off their season, swapping the wet weather that’s hindered them so far for scorching sunshine at the Malvern Cricket Festival and facing up to the Dutch U17 team.
This year has brought about a few changes in the squad with first appearances from Abigail Calder, Rachel Corbett and Isobel Couttie and a new look leadership group. Experience however lead the way as Captain Sarah Bryce and Vice-Captain Abtaha Maqsood opened the batting, having lost the toss. This pair started steadily but confidently and constantly gained momentum. 10 overs saw 50 on the board then the 100 was brought up soon after in the 16th. The Dutch finally got a breakthrough in after 28 overs running Abtaha out but not before she made 63 with her partner still cruising along 111*. After a long wait to come in, a diving catch from the keeper cut Ellen Watson’s stay at the crease all too short, meaning Georgia Henderson joined long-time team- and school-mate Sarah at the crease. With 185 already behind the team, Georgia took to the bowlers bringing up her 50 in (what is believed to be a record) 35 balls, including 9 boundaries. Sarah, having had a little rest at the non-strikers decided to take on a similar approach adding 2 sixes and 6 fours to the partnership before Mikkie has her caught behind for a personal best of 175 but, more importantly 2 more than the record 173 her sister Kathryn notched up last year. Laura Grant (also a Vice-Captain) (8*) joined Georgia (84*) for the last 9 balls of the innings to get the U17 Wildcats to a record total of 357 off 45 overs.
After tea, the Dutch came out fighting and matched the Wildcats in bringing up their 50 in the 10th over, although they were one wicket down thanks to Abigail Calder’s catch off Lucy Bennett’s Bowling. Lucy rattled through the Dutch middle order, finding herself on a hat-trick ball with 4 of her wickets in the bank in the 14th over and the Dutch slowed to 62-4 where the Wildcats found their tonne without loss. Lucy missed out on the hat-trick but did finish on 5 for 23 off 6, meanwhile Abigail Calder opened her wicket account for the U17s at the other end thanks to Isobel Couttie’s safe hands and went on to bowl 1 for 12 off 6. Nina Whitaker added another to the tally before a defiant 9th wicket partnership brought some frustration to the young Wildcats. This was broken 8 overs later by Abtaha on her way for figures of 3-19 from 5, including the 10th Dutch wicket, leaving them 111-10. In the spirit of the festival, the 12th player from the Dutch side also came into but was caught by Lucy off Catherine Edwards in the next over and the Netherlands were 113 all out. Sarah, not content with her runs, got her name beside 4 of the wickets, 2 stumped and 2 caught behind.
The girls have set the bar high for themselves, breaking three records with the bat and one actual bat but are ready and excited for tomorrow when they face Derbyshire, particularly as this game offers a sneak preview for what’s in store in the ECB league come August.