Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month, giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.
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The ladies section at Wanstead CC has its roots back in 2002, a time when the club’s current Head of Women’s and Girls’ Cricket Pauline Osborn had sons who were members of the club’s colts section. Several girls, whose brothers were club members, decided that they wanted to play themselves. “We agreed that there was no reason why girls should be excluded,” Pauline recalls. “Wanstead always strives to do things properly and with girls playing it was decided that there should be female coaches to support them – which is how I quickly found myself on an ECB Level 1 coaching course!”
Once it became known that girls were welcome, numbers swelled, and it was decided to form a women’s section too – initially made up of the mums and aunties of the girls who were playing, as well as Pauline herself. They named themselves the Wanstead Heronettes.
In 2007, after a few seasons of struggling to find local clubs to play “friendlies” against, Pauline was instrumental in the Wanstead Heronettes applying to join the recently-formed North London Women’s Cricket League. Since then, Wanstead have won the league on several occasions – doing so in 2011 and 2012 without losing a game!
They currently play every Sunday at the club’s second ground at Nutter Lane, as well as occasionally at the club’s main ground at Overton Drive. Current captain and coach Saba Nasim says that their facilities are very good, with the Overton Drive square recently having been redone, and new nets installed a few years ago.
About 40-50 girls are registered players at the club and the club offers both softball and hardball cricket. Saba says that the upcoming girls section has really boosted players for the ladies side and that they regularly use their youth talent to play in league fixtures. Many of the Wanstead girls currently play for Essex age-group sides.
Unusually for a women’s club, Wanstead have both female coaches and female umpires. Pauline herself is now a level 2 ECB coach and a qualified scorer and umpire (as well as being manager of the side and chairman of the North London League). And team coach Saba – an inspirational role-model for many of the girls she coaches – recently won the ECB’s Coach of the Year Award at the Asian Cricket Awards.
The club are looking forward to their annual pre-season 2016 cricket tour to La Manga, Spain and aim to get more of the younger girls playing in competitive league cricket for the ladies team on a regular basis.
Wanstead are a friendly club and welcome players of any ability young or old. If anyone is interested in joining then please do contact captain Saba Nasim on firstname.lastname@example.org.