Future Voices: Schools don’t offer much cricket to girls - but clubs do
- Credit: Archant
When it comes to cricket, it's not only the England women's team enjoying recent success; girls in Norfolk are also starting to excel in the sport. The Norfolk Under 15s squad is packed with talented players, as I discovered when I watched their county match against neighbours Suffolk at Swanton Morley.
Although the girls lost their first two matches of the season, they soon bounced back to claim victories against Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, much to the delight of player Hanna Free, who said 'batting against Leicestershire under lots of pressure to win has been my highlight of this season'.
Manager Pete Free, is delighted with the performance of the girls.
He said: 'There's a lot of talent, some of these girls are more talented than the boys. It's now down to the clubs to push the girls game forward and give them the opportunity to play a different sport to the normal netball or hockey.'
The number of girls playing cricket is certainly increasing and Emily Grisewood, 14, from Great Melton CC, told me clubs are making a bigger effort to include girls cricket although 'schools don't offer much cricket to girls, but the clubs have a lot on offer'.
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Some of the girls have progressed even further than the Under 15s. For Harriet Lilwall, 15, of Great Witchingham CC, the highlight of her season was 'taking two catches while playing for the Under 17s'.
The sport gives the girls lots of opportunities including making new friends, learning to keep fit and applying their newly acquired skills 'out in the middle'.
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Norfolk captain and coach Chris Brown said: 'It can take you places all around the world you'd never dream that you would visit so I would definitely say get involved.'
As the season comes to a close, preparations for a winter league, and county trials are already underway. Hopefully next summer the girls will get their revenge against Suffolk - unfortunately they lost the game I watched by four wickets...
For more information on girls cricket in Norfolk visit norfolkcricket.co.uk
Emily Oxbury, 13, Blofield