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David Fraser-Darling4 Sep 2023 - 10:01
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Played 5 Won 3 Lost 2 2 centurions in both the 40 over and T20

The run up to tour 2023 was difficult with a number of significant players; Shami Ahmed, Sian Philips and Erica Turner having to drop out due to relatively last minute injury. If that wasn’t enough we also lost new signing and Oval Invincible star Grace Gibbs to other commitments. With 5 matches to be played across 3 days we were in need of some additional players to bolster the squad and allow for any injury provisions.
Thankfully after a few phone calls we saw the introduction of Jen Potter, Millie Bendall and Katie Avery to the squad. Jo Lay and Nicola Cleal also made their debuts for the tour.

Day 1 saw us meet The RAF at Ockbrook & Borrowash Cricket Club for a 40 over match. Unfortunately The RAF only managed to turn out 9 plays, however as our squad numbers were now sitting at 13 we were able to offer them two plays so that an even match could be played - Erica Turner playing with injury and Katie Avery as the keeper.
We started well by winning the toss and electing to bat first. A record breaking opening partnership was held by captain Holly Hopes and opening partner Lorna Jack taking us through to the 18th over where Holly Hopes was caught for 80 runs off 41 balls. With the score already on 204 we made the decision to retire Lorna Jack on 108no off 62 balls.
This was the first ever century (T20 / 40 over) to be scored by a BPWCC player
The score continued to tick along for the remaining overs with the loss of a few further wickets. A good contribution was added by Jemma Phillips (36 off 44 balls), Jess Nixon (26 off 46 balls) and Millie Bendall (19 off 14 balls). BPWCC finished their 40 overs on a magnificent 318 for 4.
Unfortunately The RAF did not turn up with the bat and were bowled out for 38 runs in 21.4 overs. Vicky Mitchell staring the show with the ball bowling 8 overs for 9 runs and taking 4 wickets. Holly Hopes also picked up 3 wickets, Jo Lay with 2 and Lorna Jack 1. All in all this was a great first days cricket for BPWCC with contributions added by all members of the squad.

Day 2 saw us meet a significantly stronger Hertfordshire at Raygar Arena home of Alvaston & Boulton CC for 2 x T20 matches.
We started extremely well winning the toss again and electing to bat first. Lorna Jack put in another excellent performance, scoring 64 off 47 balls, however unfortunately Holly Hopes fell early for 14 off 14 balls. With 20 extras and contributions of 18 off 22 for Millie Bendall and 14 off 13 balls for Jo Lay we ended our 20 overs on 137 for 7. We knew a strong performance was required for our fielding session to win this game.
The early wicket of opener Gemma Marriott was taken by Holly Hopes on her third ball when Gemma was bowled for 1 off 4 balls. This was followed by the run out of Stobbs in the fourth over with a throw in to the keeper from Jo Lay. Hertfordshire then managed to build some concerning partnerships in the middle order with contributions from; Rebecca Tyson 18 from 24 balls, Charlotte Banks 15 from 16 balls, Millie Dyer 25 from 15 balls and Hilary Howson 15 from 15 balls, however none of these players managed to convert their start into a score and BPWCC managed to hold on to the win with Hertfordshire running out of balls and finishing 129 for 9 in their 20.
Stand out bowling came from Holly Hopes with figures of 4 overs for 11 runs and 1 wicket. Vicky Mitchell, Lorna Jack and Lucy Johnson also all picked up 2 wickets a piece. Another brilliant morning’s cricket for BPWCC making our winning results 2/2.

Game 2 of the day, BPWCC did not put in as strong a performance unfortunately leading to the first loss of the tour. The decision was made to switch things up, therefore Hertfordshire batted first. An excellent 64 off 41 balls from opener Mable Reid backed up by 39 no from Stobbs and 27 off 18 from Millie Dyer lead Hertfordshire to set a challenging score of 160 for 5 off their 20. BPWCC knew they were going to have to pull something special out the tank to win this game.
The end result seemed even more challenging after the early loss of Lorna Jack (1 off 5 balls), however a quick fire 42 off 29 balls from Holly Hopes restored some hope before she was stumped in the tenth over leaving BPWCC on 71 for 4. A contribution of 10 off 5 balls from Vicky Mitchell and 20 off 24 balls from Jo Lay was not quite enough to get us to the score we required to win the game. Stand out bowling came from Amba Parmar with 4 overs for 10 runs and 2 wickets. BPWCC finished their 20 overs on 107 for 9 off 20 overs, some 53 runs short of the target set. A disappointing defeat, however a good days cricket leaving us on a 2 from 3 winning ratio.

Day 3 - the finals day’s cricket was played at Elvaston Cricket Club for 2 x T20 again. By this point we had some very sore bodies and our physio Helen Paver-Brown was having to put lots of extra effort into keeping the squad together and ready for the game. Fortunately we were joined by Shami Ahmed (playing with injury) and Mandy McGachie (team manager) to fill in some missing spots during the days play. We were up against a young but very talented Derbyshire U18 side.

Game one started with BPWCC winning the toss again and electing to bat, the favoured approach during the weeks play. Another significant opening partnership between Lorna Jack and Holly Hopes saw us move into the 10th over before Holly Hopes fell for 43 off 35 balls, followed by Lorna Jack in the 17th over for 77 off 47 balls. All other contributions remained in single figures and BPWCC finished their innings on 151 for 5 off 20, a defendable and challenging score.
Derbyshire came out hard and a fantastic opening stand from their top 3 saw them taking home the win in the 17th over, this included; 37 off 26 for Lara Shaw, 56no off 49 for Jess Smithurst and 52no off 34 for Sophia McCollum. Lucy Johnson picked up the only wicket to fall during this innings.
This left our winning figures for the week so far at 2 from 4 making a win in the last game so much more important.
BPWCC elected to bat first again and went into the game with a different approach – the saying was go hard or go home. The early wicket of Lorna Jack was lost in the first over, however a great partnership between Holly Hopes and Mandy McGachie (who clearly turned up to show us how to do it in the last game) took our score out of Derbyshire reach.
Holly Hopes hit a magnificent 108 off 51 balls becoming the 2nd centurion of the week and the first to score one in a T20 match before being dismissed in the 17th over.
Mandy McGachie fell for 35 off 38 balls with Vicky Mitchell also hitting 20no off 12 balls. BPWCC set an extremely challenging score for Derbyshire to reach.

We went out into the field with a real buzz in our step which was remarkable with it being the last game of the tour. This lead to our best fielding performance of the week. Unfortunately a collision in the field between Naomi Costly and Jen Potter lead to Naomi having to leave the field and later find out she had broken her leg. Jo Lay also took a shiner to the cheek with a possible fractured cheek bone. Bodies were fully on the line for this game. A good start from Lara Shaw of 23 from 15 balls and a rebuild in the middle order of 17 off 23 from Jess Smithurst, 20 off 18 from Vicky Billington and 20 off 17 from Sophia McCollum wasn’t enough to reach the mammoth task set by BPWCC and we finished on a high with Derbyshire falling 80 runs short of our total. Standout bowling came from Vicky Mitchell; 4 overs for 17 runs and 1 wicket, Lorna Jack; 3 overs for 16 runs and 2 wickets and Holly Hopes; 2.4 overs for 17 runs and 2 wickets.

We ended the week on a well-deserved winning run.

I as captain am extremely proud of the way the team performed. We had players on the pitch who had never even played cricket before and we still managed to put on match winning performances.
There is so much potential in this team and I hope that we can continue to build and develop the squad over coming years as I honestly believe we we have the potential to win every match we play.


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