England Women capped off an inspiring day in North London by holding their nerve to beat a Hampstead Cricket Club Men’s XI by 10 runs.
Although the girls looked dead and buried as Hampstead’s openers put on 132 for the first wicket, Heather Knight (2/20) and Becky Grundy (2/32) brought England back into the game, holding back the run rate just enough to ensure victory in the final furlong.
Batting first, England had put 175 on the board, thanks mainly to Nat Sciver’s late-rallying 46 not out from 38 balls, with Charlotte Edwards (30) and Sarah Taylor (23) also contributing.
But it was earlier in the day that the really important stuff had taken place.
Launching the ECB’s #ThisGirlCan Play Cricket campaign a whole galaxy of England stars hosted a series of coaching master-classes for women and girls from local clubs and schools, including Hampstead CC’s own Women’s team.
Speaking to CRICKETher, England glove-butler Sarah Taylor was passionate about just how important this was, not only to England cricket, but to her personally:
“I don’t think we should ever back away from things like this. We’ve had people in our past that have made the effort to come and help us, and I don’t think we’d be here today without those people, so I’d like to think we have to give back to the game and give out.”
A crowd of well over 300 later joined the likes of non-playing England stars Katherine Brunt and Danni Wyatt in a BBQ picnic, as the match played out under a warm North London sky. An unforeseen highlight was the running commentary over the PA from Downton Abbey’s (Not-Glove) Butler, Mr Carson (Jim Carter).
#ThisGirlCan Play Cricket now moves on to four other locations around the country over the next couple of weeks. (Full details here.) If today was anything to go by, they are not to be missed!