History made as women's cricket returns to club after 165 years
- Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY
A Dereham cricket club has made history after a group of 12 women took to the crease for the first time in more than 150 years.
Dereham Cricket Club played a tournament with its first ladies team for the first time in its 165 years on Sunday, May 30.
Neil Irons, coach of the Dereham Devils, set up the ladies softball festival after the Norfolk Cricket Board added ladies teams into the club development plan.
After months of communication only via WhatsApp, the women, aged between 16 and 66, were finally able to play other teams from Snettisham and Bircham.
Karen Brown, 45, from Dereham, who is part of the Dereham Devils, said: "It feels really good to make history and I'm really proud to be part of this.
"It was so welcoming and a really good day. It's great to see something so inclusive that women can join in with too."
Mr Irons said: "It's a dream. It has been brilliant to see the ladies on the field with smiles on their faces and having a lovely time.
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"The weather has been perfect and after the ladies had their speeches they all sat around for a drink.
"When they first got there they were all really nervous and didn't know what to expect, but by the end of the day it was all smiles."
The Dereham Devils lost two and won one of their games, but Mr Irons said it "didn't matter who won, because cricket won today".
He added: "We managed to get the 12 ladies through word of mouth. The wives, daughters, family and friends of our other teams managed to get involved.
"We also managed to get sponsorship from Jordan Young Independent Funeral Home and he paid for our ladies to get matching kits.
"It was amazing to get his support, even through the pandemic. He has been here all day and we have now set up a game with him and his colleagues."
To find a women's club near you, contact the Norfolk Cricket Board on firstname.lastname@example.org