Shenfield High School

Shenfield Girls claim a place in Schools history!

 

The supremely talented U'13 girls claimed their first and the schools 10th National title, after winning the 'Chance to shine' Cricket competition on Monday 15th September 2014. After battling through two previous rounds and defeating 10 other regional winners, they came out deserved winners with an outstanding team performance. After coming through the regional finals with relative ease, we made the long trip to Birmingham for our second National Finals day in a week. This however was their age group and their chance to prove just how good they are, and prove it they did! The day started with a near 5 hour coach trip and this could have had a negative effect on the girls but credit to them, they hit the ground running.

                                                 
On arrival, nearly an hour after we were meant to have started the semi final, the girls were given their kit for the day. From then on, they never looked back with this setting the tone for the day. After a thorough warm up (and a few photo's of course!) we came together for a chat to discuss tactics and how they had a chance to create history.  The atmosphere was tense, excitable yet relaxed, with a team spirit stronger than ever. Captain Sophie Clark strode confidently to the middle to toss under the watchful eye of current England womens cricketer Kate Cross. Our opponents Wavell School from Hampshire won the toss and elected to field first. After some last minute instructions the regular opening pair of Garwood and Drewe strode to the crease with visible confidence.

The girls came out of the blocks with great intent, getting bat on ball and running well between the wickets. When the bad ball came they had the ability to put it away, with Shannan in particular brutal on anything short of a length. The score strode past 50 and both girls soon retired, bringing captain fantastic Sophie Clark and the hard hitting Eliz Soyer to the crease. Both played well and the innings closed with Shenfield amassing 73-0 in their 7 overs. This was a very competitive total and one that gave the girls every chance of making the final.

A team huddle preceded the 2nd innings with the bowling order confirmed and all fielding positions carefully discussed it was now over to the girls to put in a performance and they did so with such skill and professionalism. The Wavell innings got off to a flyer with the score 27-0 after 3 overs and the atmosphere was tense (mainly me refusing to stand still on the sidelines). However the girls upped their game and in the next 3 overs the game was effectively won. Wavell finished on 43-6 after their seven overs and Shenfield had made the National Final!! Special mention to Maizi Garwood, Shannan Drewe and Sophie Clark whose combined 3 overs went for less than 10 runs! A great team performance that included some excellent fielding and great captaincy with all the girls taking ownership of the game.

The mood was relatively calm going into lunch with the magnitude of their achievements yet to sink in. However after finishing lunch the girls watched the 3rd and 4th play off and nerves began to show. A quick bowling and batting practice seemed to ease the tension and the final team talk was upon us. Captain Clark again went out to toss the coin, looking to bowl first. Our opponents Meole Brace school from Shropshire had cantered through their semi final and with what seemed thousands of supporters, it was going to be a tough game.

After losing the toss (again!) Shenfield were asked to bat first and the pressure was placed firmly on the batsmen to produce a match winning score. Garwood and Drewe set about this task with aplomb, smashing the bowling to all parts! Both played with incredible skill and freedom, running the fielding team ragged with their wide array of strokes and exceptional running between the wickets. Both retired after only the 3rd over and the score rocketed past 40 putting their team in a fantastically strong position. This carnage was then continued by the leader of the pack, Sophie Clark who needed only 5 balls to reach her 20 (yes 5!!). She dispatched the ball to all parts hitting 3 enormous sixes (the only sixes hit by any girl in either age group all day!) and in doing this silenced the boisterous opposition supporters. This all meant that Shenfield finished with a  superb score of 83-1 after their 7 overs putting them in a very strong position going into the second innings.

With the mood positive the girls went out to field looking to finish the job and stake their place in school history and make history they did! An exceptional bowling and fielding performance meant that Meole Brace were never really in the game. The hugely impressive and vastly improved Imogen Southcott claimed to vital wickets in her opening over. Bowling from around the wicket she  proved to quick and too accurate for the Meole batsmen, bowling both with unplayable deliveries. The other bowlers then all chipped in, Chloe Eastwell (who was magnificent in the field), Shannan Drewe, Sophie Clark, Maizi Garwood and in particular Sadie Kirrane all maintained excellent line and length. They gave away very few extras and allowed the Meole batsmen no loose deliveries to pounce on.

The game was effectively won before the last over was bowled, however the highly impressive Ellen Hoad finished the game in style. She capped off a wonderful day by taking 2 wickets in the final over, leading her side to a famous victory. All of the bowlers had performed and the game was one, however the 'moment of the day' was provided by player of the day, Maizi Garwood. Not only did Maizi retire not out in both innings, she bowled two exceptionally tight overs (she normally keeps wicket) and took one of the most spectacular catches I have ever seen on a cricket pitch. The ball was almost certainly going for four, Maizi was running with the ball coming over her shoulder. At the last moment she pulled out a full length dive and caught the ball in her left hand (she is right handed) she landed at full stretch, inches from the boundary. It truly was a moment to remember and something that I will not stop talking about! Alex Cross the England Womens international stated after the game that 'in any form of cricket, you will never see a better catch, it was absolutely outrageous'. These words were followed by even more praise for the girls and she wondered how on earth not one of them was playing county cricket..

The game ended and the celebrations could begin, in all honesty they never looked like loosing but Cricket is a wonderful game and one that often surprises. After numerous hugs, pictures and bundles we walked over to the presentation to receive our National trophy!

 

  

A fantastic day that I certainly will never forget and I hope the girls won't either. Full credit must go to all 10 of them especially Haramain Arshad and Heather Kenny who didn't get to play in the final two games, but were integral to our progression through the earlier rounds. Well done girls I couldn't be any prouder, you have worked incredibly hard and you deserve the success. Lets continue this and target the outdoor National Cup next year.

 

Mr Bennett

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