Shenfield High School

U'13 Girls Regional Runners up..

The U'13 girls indoor cricket team put in some fantastic performances to finish runners up to a very strong Godolphin and Latimer side.mThe team made it through two previous rounds to reach the south east regional finals held at the impressive George Abbott school, the training venue for Surrey CC. In the initial essex group stages the Shenfield girls saw off a strong New Hall side that boasted a number of county players. In the next round they comfortably beat Clacton Coastal Academy before overcoming rivals St Martins in a closely fought final.

Throughout the group stages all of the girls made valuable contributions to ensure their teams progression. Sophie Clark and Ellen Hoad led from the front with some wonderful all round performances. However in the final against St Martins the team were rescued by some great middle order performances, with Drewe, Nyiro and Garwood making valuable contributions with the bat after loosing 3 wickets in the first over! In the end it was the excellent bowling and fielding that won them through to the regional finals. All of the bowlers used bowled with great control, giving away few very few extras, with Kirrane and Eastwell particular stand outs.

And so the team made the long journey over to Surrey for the South East Regional Finals, looking to enjoy the occasion. On arrival all of the others teams looked very smart and professional going through their batting and fielding drills, the girls were going to have to perform at their best to make it through a very tough group. 

After a short briefing to explain the format, we opened up against Tournament favourites Godolphin and Latimer. A prestigious private school in Middlesex which incidentally schools the Abramovich children! The girls were asked to field first and Hoad opened up with a great first over. Clark then removed one of the openers and Shenfield were on top, however the strength of the opposition was then evident as their 3 county players shone through. Playing the ball late and into the net separating the two pitches, it was almost impossible to prevent 3 runs being scored. Godolphin finished with a very competitive 89-5 in their 8 overs. 

The Shenfield girls knew they would have to bat well to have a chance of chasing this down and after some last minute reminders, Drewe and Garwood opened the innings. This task then looked to be even tougher as the opening bowlers steamed in with run ups starting from a way behind the boundary line! Garwood was bowled with the last ball of a probing first over, bowled at a lively pace for this age group. Drewe was joined by Clark in what was a crucial partnership and both batted with great confidence, hitting the gaps and pushing 3s almost every ball. 

The chase was on course as both retired on 15 bringing two new batsmen to the crease. The change  bowlers didn't let up as their third county player came steaming in and probably the quickest of them all! Hoad played well, although her excellent technique wasn't reaping the rewards it would outdoors. The chase stalled and when the opening bowlers returned, Shenfield finished just short on 70-3. A great effort considering the strength of the opposition and it being their first game after a near 2 hour coach journey. 

Godolphin then swept aside their next opponents with remarkable ease, their bowling in particular so impressive. The Shenfield girls stepped it up in the next game, comfortably beating St Andrews of (insert county). Special mention must go to the bowlers here in particular Mia Gray who was the only year 7 in the side. She bowled an immaculate over taking 2 wickets in two balls, both in swinging deliveries that disturbed the stumps. St Andrews were skittled for 53 and the chase was simple for Shenfield despite loosing 3 wickets in an over with only 3 needed to win! Clark was again so impressive, retiring on 15 with great support by Garwood who was starting to find her feet. 

In the final group game Shenfield knew a victory would see them though to the Semi Finals. In a remarkable game that saw the result tied on both runs and wickets, the girls may have thrown it away. Shenfield took to the field and put in their worst performance on the day, bowling and fielding very poorly. Catches were missed, run outs spurned and extras being handed to the opposition on a plate. All of which meant the girls were chasing 85, which was probably 25 more than it should have been. 

The chase however started well with Drewe, Garwood and Clark all retiring, taking the score past 50 inside 4 overs. Despite this, the fielding demons then returned this time with the bat as with only 14 needed from 2 overs, it somehow came to the last ball. The scores were level and only a single was required, nevertheless the chipping bowler kept her cool bowling a brilliant Yorker that Gray couldn't get bat on. Both ran as the keeper scrambled to the stumps to comfortably run out the blameless Southcott. 

This disappointing result meant that Shenfield needed St Andrews to beat Chipping Norton in the final group game to ensure runners up in the group. After a nail biting wait, St Andrews ran out comfortable winners which meant the girls would play a strong Oakmeeds side that topped group 2. 

Knowing significant improvement was needed in this game, the girls were given some last minute tactics and encouragement. Hoad lost the toss and Shenfield were asked to bat first for the first time in the tournament. The girls responded magnificently scoring a tournament high 103 - 3 in their 8 overs. Four of the top 5 returned unbeaten, with the opening pair of Drewe and Garwood continuing their impressive batting performances. They were followed by player of the day Sophie Clark and the more than useful Eastwell, whose all round contribution was not going unnoticed. 

Hoad finally began to break free playing some delightful straight drives, including a sumptuous on drive for four. Oakmeeds, whose U'15 girls had won the competition only the day before were well and truly up against it. Cue a brilliant bowling and fielding performer by the girls, run outs galore and tight bowling set up an emphatic win, against a very good side. 

The girls walked off the pitch in great spirits having made the final in the face of some very stiff competition. However they knew that something special was needed if they were to upset the odds and beat the heavy favourites Godolphin and Latimer. Nevertheless we were the only side that had competed with the unbeaten Middlesex outfit and it wasn't over yet. 

Godolphin who the toss and decided to bat for the 5th consecutive game and their batsmen played magnificently. The Shenfield girls bowled superbly giving away only 6 extras which is an achievement in itself! However they were up against some serious talent as batsmen after batsmen retired having hit the gaps and curtain with unnerving accuracy. They eventually ended up with a hugely impressive 98-1 in their 8 overs. 

Now this may look as if the girls bowled and fielding poorly, however this was certainly not the case. All of the girls bowed with great control and accuracy with Hoad completing her 3 overs alongside Gray who bowled the extra over. Again special mention should go to Mia here who was the only year 7 player on both sides, she certainly didn't look out of place performing admirably. 

The chase got off to the worst possible start loosing Gray to a needless run out and Drewe to a good sharp catch. Things looked to be bleak with the score at 9-2 after 2 overs, enter the superb Clark. She took on the bowling, striking back to back sixes, the second of which was humongous! She retired in only 5 balls and together with Garwood had put her side in with a sniff. The score rocketed to 51 in 4 overs and Shenfield believed. Despite this surge the girls finished on 78 - 5 after the opening bowlers came back to win the game for their side. 

A fantastic effort from a great group of girls doing both Miss Leborgne and I proud. Incidentally our scores of 70 and 78 were 30 higher than any other side managed against this formidable bowing line up. I can honestly say they were 3 of the best young female bowlers I have seen, bowing with real pace, whilst maintaining immaculate control with their around the wicked attack. 

Although disappointed to miss out on the chance to play at Lords, no sense of injustice was felt, with the best team winning. A great day of Cricket from which i'm sure they learnt a great deal.