Hursley Park Ladies 2013
Of the four Regionally based Premier Leagues in the country the Southern League is generally considered the strongest, so we had reached the highest level of women’s cricket just seven years after our first ever fixture.
We knew it would be tough. Many of the England team played in the league (including Charlotte Edwards and Heather Knight, current and future England captains) as well of a host of overseas stars. We had neither, but did have a team that was developing nicely as a unit, and also great strength in depth as shown by the second eleven’s performances in recent season. Emma Bane moved down to skipper the 2s and Helen Borrett was on maternity leave, leaving just Jem Green of the triumvirate that had for so long underpinned the team.
The historic opening fixture came at Brighton on the 21st April and was one of the coldest cricketing days in the memory of most. Consistent batting saw us post 178-9 in typically early season conditions, and our bowlers and fielders were able to control the home batters and the icy temperature to secure a 37 run win. Amy Mistry found conditions to her liking, picking up 4-18 in ten overs, and Eleanor Ingram, the envy of the rest of the team as she was permitted to wear gloves, picked up three good stumpings, all off seamers.
Our next two games showed us the harsh reality of the Premier League, as a Lydia Greenway inspired Hayes swept us aside at the Quarters despite a battling half-century from skipper Jem and then Aussie star Emma Inglis put us to the sword with an innings of 124 for Finchley.
Things did not get any easier as reigning champions Bath swept us aside by nine wickets, but we did manage to get another win on the board when Bexley visited us. Eleanor Ingram (94) and Emily Windsor (58) piled on 162 for the fifth wicket as we reached 334-7. It was a good job they did, because the talented Alice Davidson-Richards also found the wicket to her liking, but despite her magnificent unbeaten 163 we held on to win by 15 runs.
The win gave us some breathing space, but the next three games all resulted in heavy defeats, until the return match at Bexley saw us record a third win, with Eleanor again taking a liking to the Kent side’s bowling, registering 68 in a six-wicket win. Our safety was ensured, but four heavy defeats to end the season reminded us how tough the Premier League. There was a high note to end on though, as Frankie Barber, who had come up through the ranks, scored a maiden century in the season’s finale at Wokingham, our first in the Premier League. It was in a losing cause, but was a great way to end our first season in the top flight.
Hayes were crowned champions and we finished 6th in the 8 team league.
So the first team had survived, but for the 2s, with Emma Bane at the helm, the target was much higher. Sarah Attrill and Emily Windsor batted Cove out of the game on the season’s opening day, and Kiera Heslam’s runs saw off Alton. There was a feeling that this could be our year when Aldershot and St.Cross were swept aside, Windsor contributing a half-century and three wickets in the first of those games and Flora Carpenter and Hannah Birch taking the bowling honours at St.Cross.
Yateley were up next and skipper Emma’s 81 set up another win, this time by 124 runs as Amber Longhurst claimed 4-18. Our unbeaten record certainly seemed on the line when we travelled to Odiham with a seriously weakened side, but a tense encounter saw the winning mentality of the team shine through (click here to read more about this memorable match). The title was now in our grasp and return victories against Alton and Aldershot, helped by half-centuries by Sian Edwards clinched the Hampshire League crown before our last game. An opening partnership of 165 between Attrill and Edwards ensured that St.Cross were beaten and we ended the season with a 100 per cent record.
The 2s win had been a real team effort, led by the experienced Emma Bane. Overall Charlotte Taylor was the leading run-scorer for the club and Jem Green the leading wicket-taker, a repeat of 2012 in both cases.
At the end of the summer the club embarked on our first overseas venture, to Esbjerg in Denmark. This trip had not been planned and everything happened at very short notice but proved so popular that overseas trips have become a regular feature in our itinerary.
Indoor Season 2012/13
We entered the same competitions for the 2012/13 season, and retained the women’s league titles at both Fleming Park and Dummer with a one hundred per cent record, and also secured the cup at Fleming Park to complete an eight successive double at the venue. In Men’s League Division 3 we won half our games to finish 5th.
The three HP teams dominated the South Hants league, finishing in the top three places, while the C team also reached the cup final but came unstuck against the As, as the first five batters all retired. At Dummer our winning streak looked doomed to come to an end in an amazing match against Yateley but eventually remained intact. A fifteen year-old Emily Windsor took 4-14 on her HP debut (for the Bs v Burridge), while Kiera Heslam proved a very consistent B team run-scorer. The real star of the season though was Baz as she led the way in both runs (456) and wickets (23). She became the first winner of our newly introduced Indoor player of the Year award. Dani Ransley (240 runs and 13 wickets) also enjoyed a good winter.