CLUB OF THE MONTH: Woolpit Ladies Cricket Club

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.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

The Woolpit Ladies Cricket team was formed in 2005, led by the future Suffolk captain Alice Parker, who went on to captain the Woolpit team for a decade, winning the Two Counties League in 2013. The junior girls section was created in 2014 and currently has over 35 girls aged between 8 and 15.

Woolpit currently play on a Sunday, in the Two Counties Ladies Challenge (a 35 over league). They are lucky enough to have two pitches at home in Woolpit, allowing them to play matches alongside any one of the 3 Sunday men’s teams, resulting in a good level of support on match days.

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Woolpit Ladies Cricket Club team photo – League Winners 2013. Photo Credit: Laura Moss.

The junior girls currently take part in the U13 Girls Suffolk Junior Cricket League and the U11 Boys Suffolk Junior Cricket League Division C. The girls won all bar one of their matches in the latter league and so took the title for 2016.

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Woolpit U13 and U11 girls teams after competing in the Woolpit CC Girls Tournament 2016, with the U13’s coming runners-up on the day. Photo Credit: Steve Unwin at DE Photos.

Many of Woolpit’s players have played county cricket, with 10 having represented Suffolk or Cambridgeshire, and are now being ably followed by the juniors, 8 of whom have been called up to play age-group county cricket.

Their current junior county representatives are as follows: Elizabeth ‘Wizz’ Firman, Sophie Utteridge, Millie Gale, Sophie Kubitzek, Lily Tillbrook, Florence West, Isobel Melville-Ross and Cara Swinburn.

The current ladies captain is Natalie Samuels, who has been at the club since 2013 and took over from Alice after her retirement from playing in 2015. She also coaches at the club and will be taking on the challenge of the U15 and U14 girls teams in the upcoming season.

The ladies train on a Wednesday evening during the summer, in Woolpit’s 5 lane net facility located at the club. During the winter, the ladies train at the net facilities at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds, on a Friday night. The junior girls train on a Friday evening during the summer and they alternate between training on the outfield and using the nets as this is also when the junior boys train.

As a club, Woolpit have a good social scene with special nights organised by the committee, such as quiz nights, race nights and the annual awards dinner. They also have ‘girls only’ evenings, whether it is a night in the curry house, a BBQ at the club or a trip to see England play at Chelmsford.

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Dressed up watching a T20 at Chelmsford – Ladies Night Out 2014

The ladies team are very fortunate to have an array of helpers, putting the teas out at every home game and then coming to support at away games. There should also be a big thank you to Kathy Parker, for scoring for the ladies and always being the background with organising events, on top of her role as treasurer of the club and as the main sponsor for the ladies team via her business Grange Farm Bed and Breakfast.

The support for the ladies team at the club is continually improving and Woolpit are very proud of their ladies section, as they have been extremely successful over the years. Despite needing some new recruits for this season nearly all the fixtures were played, and that was down to the hard work of current ladies captain Natalie finding people to play. Their junior girls section is also going from strength to strength, and including friendly games they competed in 18 fixtures from April to August.

By the start of the 2017 season, the extension the club are having built to improve changing and kitchen facilities at Woolpit will be completed and the ladies will benefit from this. Woolpit’s aims for next season include enhancing their numbers through a mutually beneficial arrangement with Bury T20 ladies side, developing the U15 girls into a standalone team and challenging for the League title. The men’s section is setting up a 4th team on a Saturday, and this will allow ladies to play in a mixed team, giving them a greater opportunity for participation and improving their own performance through experience.

Woolpit’s annual U13 girl’s cricket tournament will run again on Friday 25th August 2017.

If you are an adult and interested in playing, please email nataliesamuels13@gmail.com. If you want to find out more about junior cricket, for girls aged 13 and under, then please contact Jo Ticehurst: jo_ticehurst@hotmail.com or 07956051992.

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