MATCH REPORT: Cumbria Beat Lincolnshire But Young Imps Shine

Beth Smith reports from Netherfield CC.

The Imps were on the road again on Sunday, travelling up to Cumbria with an extremely young side: the average age of the travelling team was just 18! The first game for Lincs was against the hosts, Cumbria – the first time the teams had met this season. The hosts won the toss and elected to bat first.

Two of the four senior players for Lincs, Amy Halloran (1-17) and Sarah McDowell (0-19), took the new ball and Cumbria got off to a quick start reaching 30-1 off the first 4 overs; the wicket coming from Halloran when the first junior got into the action with Ellie Stanley (U15) taking a sharp catch.

More experience came with the first change as Beth Smith took over from Halloran, opening her spell with a wicket maiden as U17 keeper India Freeman used quick hands to get Montgomery stumped, leaving the hosts 30-2 off 5. The mini Imps – Sammy-Jo Boothright (U15), Olivia Clark (U15), Becki Brooker (U17) and Amelia Gardner (U15) – then had their chance to shine, bowling in tandem with Smith before taking over completely to bowl the remaining overs.

Smith ended her overs with 2-17, her second wicket coming when Cowper skied a ball towards the youngest player in the squad, Clark (13), who took the challenging catch off her manager’s bowling which left the hosts 62-3. The mini Imps bowled their lines and length with Brooker (1-29) and Gardner (1-16) each gaining a deserved wicket. But the strength and experience of the more senior Cumbria batsmen came through as they more than doubled their halfway score ending on 145-5 with Sykes finishing on 48*.

Opening U17 pair, Freeman and Brooker, opened for the Ladies in reply and got off to a solid start with a partnership of 47 before Freeman was run out looking to increase the run rate. Halloran joined an in-form Brooker at the crease and the two stayed there for the remaining overs; both batted elegantly with prominent U17 captain Brooker showing her talent and reaching her 50.

However, tight bowling leading to a slow start meant the Imps required 26 off the last over. 2 dot balls and 3 singles were taken before Brooker, looking to end the innings in style, mistimed her shot and ended up caught and bowled on the last ball for 56.

A loss in the first game and the second being abandoned due to rain meant a dull day for the Imps, but spirits were kept high and the ladies will return to Cumbria on 30th August to face the same team in the 50-over format and will look to seek revenge. The mini Imps all held their own and their performances bode well for the rest of their respective Junior seasons: two 40-over games and the annual Malvern Tour for the U15s to look forward to, with the U17s having a T20 round left, along with five 45-over games.

A full scorecard can be found here.