Girls cricket finals held at Lord's
The tournament began in late autumn with a record number of 1,800 schools entering at county level, every year it's encouraging to see the ever-increasing number of schools involved across the country and the standard of competition improving.
By Easter there were 40 county winners at U13 and U15 level and they progressed to compete at the five regional venues. Our thanks to Cricket East, Hampshire, Lancashire, Surrey and Warwickshire for hosting these events. The regional events were exciting, competitive and judging by the smiles on show, the girls fully enjoyed themselves.
The national finals took place on 15 and 16 May at the MCC Indoor Academy at Lord's. It was a round-robin format with all schools playing against each other. During the lunch break the girls and their teachers were treated to a tour of the home of cricket which included the England players' dressing room and balcony, the Long Room, Media Centre and seeing the Ashes in the MCC museum.
The schools competing in the U13 finals were Bristol Grammar School, Kent College, Leicester Grammar School, Radyr High School and Wakefield Girls High School, and upon their return from their tour they were greeted by England wicket-keeper batsman Sarah Taylor. There were a couple impromptu coaching sessions, numerous photos, autographs, lots of chat and delight on learning that Sarah started her career in this competition.
Congratulations to Kent College, who were undefeated and deserved winners, and to Leicester Grammar School as runners up.
The schools competing in the U15 finals were Bede's School, Bournemouth School for Girls, Queen Elizabeth High School, Shrewsbury School and The Perse School. The turning point was Bournemouth narrowly beating Shrewsbury in a tense, exciting game, Bournemouth then continued to remain unbeaten and won overall with Shrewsbury being runners up for the 2nd consecutive year.
Lady Taverners Chairman Chrissie Walker-Hebborn attended both finals, where she presented the recently renamed trophy in honour of Rachael Heyhoe-Flint. Rachael was instrumental in establishing the Lady Taverners competition and was a pioneer of the women's and girls game.
The final word however needs to go to Bella Howarth from The Perse School as she encapsulated her experience at Lord's - "I'm truly inspired by the day and I really want to play for England."