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 (or so!), giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.
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Ansty Ladies play their cricket at Ansty Cricket Club – a small village club situated on the outskirts of Haywards Heath in West Sussex. A girls section was formed by Tina Towler in 2008, before Dave Burt began the ladies section in the winter of 2011.
Dave decided to start a ladies team at Ansty in order to provide a pathway into women’s cricket, and to stop the club’s talented young ladies from moving on to “bigger and better” clubs. He still coaches the Ladies 1st XI – assisted by Shaun Janman on match days.
Ansty runs a girls section alongside the ladies section with teams at U11, U13 and U15 age groups. Ellen “Burtie” Burt and Isabella Nixon coach the U15s, with Sofie Cawley coaching the U13 and U11 sides. The club’s youngest member is Hope who is only 7 years old (the oldest member is Julia ‘the Jarvinator’ Jarvis who is rumoured to be 60+ – her real age is unknown!)
The club facilities are good, with a second square added two years ago, meaning pitch availability is good throughout the summer. The Ladies 1st XI get pitch priority for their league matches on Sundays. The clubhouse, according to Dave, “has a lot of character”! The club has plans in place to start building work at the end of the 2017 season on a new clubhouse.
Ansty play in the Women’s Cricket Southern League (WCSL) and in the past four seasons have won their division each time. Most recently in 2016 they won the Championship and gained club promotion to the Premiership. Across the season they gained an impressive 100% record away from home, which Dave says was “built on the back of a huge Toby Carvery breakfast”!
The men’s team also gained promotion to their respective premier league and both promotions were celebrated at the the club’s presentation evening with a night out in Brighton for the senior members.
Many of the players at the club currently play/have played age group cricket for Sussex, including Ellen Burt (Sussex Ladies, Sussex Academy, England Academy and the Southern Vipers), Abbey Freeborn (Sussex Ladies, England Women’s Development Programme), Megan Janman (Warwickshire Ladies) and Bryony Smith (Surrey Ladies, Surrey Stars, England Academy).
Ansty also provide social cricket for their members in the form of playing in the Sussex T20 Development League. Playing in this league allows the club to develop players who are new to cricket alongside those girls who are playing senior cricket for the first time. In the development team, winning is not important: the goal is to provide an environment where all calibre of players can play. Despite this ethos, the club has won this competition three of the last four seasons, with the 2016 trophy shared as rain intervened!
Many of Ansty’s ladies also play additional cricket in the men’s Saturday sides, and 2016 saw the ladies section enter a team in the annual Ansty sixes completion. Dave cites one of their proudest moments as the time in summer 2015 “where poor availability for the men’s side saw us put out 11 ladies players in the men’s 3rd XI in the Stoner mid-Sussex league. Our hosts (Streat and Westmeston) for the match received the team with a positive response and the match was played in good spirit to finally end in a draw.”
Special shout-outs go to umpire Phil, Jane the scorer, the parents who drive the girls as far as Wokingham/Bishop Stortford on their days off, Dan “media manager” Burt and Fletch the groundsman.
Ansty have recently released a promotional video to attract players to the club which can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/anstyladiescc/videos