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Three is the magic number for Kentís young cricketers

Tuesday 14th September 2010

The future of ladies cricket in the county would appear to be in safe hands after Kent won the ECB Girls’ County Age Group Finals at U13, U15 and U17 level last weekend.

The county completely dominated proceedings to win all three competitions, leaving runners-up Lancashire, Hampshire and Sussex disappointed.

Kent“s first win came in the Under-13 competition against Lancashire, who were making their first appearance in the final of this competition for a number of years.

Kent batted first and, with Megan Belt scoring 30, finished on 131 for nine off their 30 overs. Maisie Cole took 4-20 from six overs while Rachel Dickenson provided excellent support with 2-16. Lancashire captain Hannah Till gave her side hope by scoring 30 but Kent’s bowling proved too superior as they edged to a 22 run win. Belt completed a fine all-round display with 2-11 off her four overs.

Commenting, coach, Stuart Mears, said: “Our strength this year is that all the girls were able to step up and perform. No one player was heavily relied upon, making this possibly the best TEAM that I have coached over the years. I am incredibly proud of the group for winning this national final.”

In a thrilling Under-15 Final, Hampshire, making their first ever appearance in a county age group final, struggled with the bat against some strong Kent bowling and were dismissed for just 71. Despite the modest total, Hampshire fought hard and took eight Kent wickets, but it was not enough to deny their south coast rivals.

There were some outstanding performances from both teams. Hampshire’s Sarah Attrill scored 28; Danielle Ransley took 2-7 off her seven overs while Hannah Timmins returned figures of 2-13. For Kent, Emma Waters took 4-7 from her five overs while Tash Farrant finished with 3-22 off six.

Kent made sure it was three from three by winning the Under-17 final against Sussex, at Bishop“s Stortford, by 18 runs. Put into bat on a damp wicket, Kent lost wickets at regular intervals and were indebted to Alice Davidson-Richards. She made an unbeaten 72 and received good support in the closing overs as Kent scored 143 for eight from their 45 overs.

On a drying pitch, Sussex got off to a good start – despite Jess Denniss running out one of the openers with the score on 17. Several good partnerships then developed before Gemma Greenwood and Dee Tress got to work. Firstly, Greenwood trapped their best player LBW and then, in the next over, Tress took three wickets in four balls to move Kent into the driving seat. Under pressure, the girls held their nerve to dismiss their opponents for 125 to register an 18 run win.

Commenting on the victory, the coach, Phil Pass, said: “I am very proud of my players. This is one of the best squads that I“ve ever worked with. They have shown a great work ethic, throughout the year, and taken on board all of our coaching. I felt confident that we could win the national final but, despite several injuries, everyone has bonded together exceptionally well to record this great achievement.”

Giving his thoughts on the overall success, KCB Director of Community Cricket, Gary Stephens, said, “What a weekend, fantastic! These results firmly establish Kent as the dominant county in England, in relation to girl“s age group cricket. Great credit to the players, coaches, our programme and, of course, the ongoing support of parents. We have every intention of remaining the strongest county and are continually looking to improve. With this in mind, I would invite any organisation, small or large, who might be interested in becoming associated with this immensely successful programme.”

Picture:Girls from the Kent U13 and U15 teams celebrate their success