Hursley Park Ladies 2015
There was a significant step change for the 2015 season, with Jem stepping down to skipper the 2s having been a permanent fixture in the 1s since our inception. As a replacement captain we drafted in Linz Da Costa, an experienced state cricketer from Tasmania, and also had the holidaying New Zealand wicketkeeper Hayley Aburn in our ranks. This was our first experience of hosting overseas players.
A four-match tour of the Midlands kicked off our season, and resulted in four victories to get the season rolling. This included a close 1 wicket victory over Loughborough University, the first time that we had beaten them. As well as our overseas arrivals we welcomed left-handed all-rounder Nicole Beesley to our ranks.
After our Premier League struggles of the past two seasons it was good to get a win under our belts in the opening game, when Horsham were beaten by six wickets (58 from Tayz and 4-14 from Mistry) , but heavy defeats by Finchley and Wokingham reminded us how tough it would be. The fourth game of the season saw us pull of a notable scalp as Bath were beaten at the Quarters. The defending champions had previously inflicted four heavy defeats on us in our Premier League encounters, but Amy Mistry’s three-wicket over, including England’s Fran Wilson for 0, set up a 25 run victory. Charlotte Taylor had dominated our innings of 160, her score of 89 being the only one in double figures!
A nervy 2 wicket win against Hayes showed that we now knew how to win games at this level and when Horsham and Finchley were beaten we found ourselves in second place. A strong Bath side ensured that they retained the title - a chastening 215 run defeat was not the way that we wanted to end the season. However we finished 2nd, our best season yet in the top league.
If that was good the 2nd X1 story was even better. A partnership of 168 between Jem and young Annie Flack set up a huge win at St.Cross (3 wickets each for Beesle and Emily Dodd) and then Odiham were skittled for 30, with the Ansar sisters picking up a couple of wickets each. The run was ended when we travelled to Cove and were beaten by 8 wickets, despite another 50 from Jem, but we bounced back against Burridge at the Quarters when Kiera Heslam scored her maiden hundred (she had twice been out in the 90s playing for Hampshire that season) and shared a partnership of 179 with Baz.
A close 13 run win at Alton (another half-century from the skipper), on the same day that leaders Cove came unstuck at Aldershot, was very timely, and when we defeated Aldershot at the Quarters (50 from Sian and 3 wickets each for Louise Worsfold and Helen Borrett), we had caught up with Cove, who’s form seemed to be suffering. A comfortable win against St.Cross (3 wickets each for the Hannahs, Birch and Timmins) set up the return match with Cove nicely. A 173 run alliance between the in-form skipper and Baz, who finished unbeaten on 89 batted the visitors out of the game, Flora Carpenter’s 3-11 sealing the win.
The next game, at Burridge saw us post a score of 278 for the second successive game, an innings dominated by 17 year old Sian Edwards, who flayed the home bowling in an innings of 150 not out, the highest score for the club at that time. Gem Harper supported her in a partnership of 202 for the third wicket. Alton were beaten at home, which meant that the final game of the season was a winner-takes-all encounter at Aldershot. The first eleven travelled to Hayes that day, but the game was called off before the scheduled start because of rain, and the team travelled back to support the 2s in the key game. It was a typically low-scoring tense encounter at Aldershot, where runs are never easy (click here to read more about this memorable match) but we edged it in the end and both elevens were able to share the celebrations.
As well as retaining our Ickenham sixes title (both HP teams were in the final) we also entered the inaugural Hampshire Sixes. The final of this was played on the main ground at the Ageas Bowl, which was a great boost for the girls, and we maintained our dominance of six-a-side cricket by beating Burridge in the final. Unfortunately, the tournament has not been held since.
At the end of the summer we were off to Dublin for our second overseas jaunt.
In a long season for the club Harriet Batchelor confirmed her batting progress by finishing as leading batter with 435 runs, while Aneeqa Ansar led the wicket-takers with 22, as her younger sister had done the previous year.
Indoor Season 2014/2015
Ropley joined the women’s league at Eastleigh, making the number up to 8. It was soon apparent that Parley would once again be the main threat to the A team retaining our tile, especially after they defeated the B team by one wicket in a close fought game at the start of the season, despite Emma Bane’s unbeaten 40.
The match between the A team and Parley was not a close affair, as Jem (2-18) and Tayz (2-19) put the squeeze on the opposition and we chased down a comfortable target of 106. Both sides went unbeaten for the rest of the season, meaning Parley finished runners up and Jem lifted the league trophy for the ninth successive season. She also once again led by example with the ball, and took four wicket hauls on successive Sundays in February. The cup final was between the two HP sides, with then As triumphing by 3 wickets.
The more unexpected triumph at Eastleigh was our women’s team winning men’s division 3, winning seven out of nine games to pip Hedge End and Coopervision to the title. It was a good all-round team effort from a group of players who were by now very adept at the art of indoor cricket.
Mistry again led the team at Dummer to the Serious Cricket League title with a one hundred per cent record, and our batters generally generally enjoyed the season across both venues, registering totals in excess of 200 on three occasions. Tayz registered two half-centuries and Baz warmed up for the cup final later in the evening by scoring a career-best 67 against Odiham at Dummer.
Baz with 528 runs and Jem with 28 wickets led the individual charts, but it was Tayz who took the Indoor player of the year award for her all-round performances.
These triumphs would be enough in most seasons, but in 2015 we went one better and won the ECB National indoor title. Having won the regional event at Bristol we represented the South West in the four-team showdown in Leicester. It was a round-robin event, played under rules that varied from our usual format, and in slightly different type of venue, and we took a while to adjust, losing our first game to northern champions New Farnsley – but things turned out much better!
For reasons known only to themselves the ECB have not staged this competition since, so we are still the national champions.