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.