By Catherine Caunce
Eat, sleep, play cricket – and repeat!
Women and girls are taking up cricket in droves – if you’re thinking of joining them, read our blog. It’s all about women conquering cricket through collaboration and competitive togetherness.
Women and girls cricket is a growing phenomenon; the number of teams in the Yorkshire Women's Leagues doubling in the last year alone. That means a whole tribe of girls and women have picked up their bats, started learning the cricket lingo, and found their cricket soul sisters. Nowhere more so than Colton Cricket Club in East Leeds, they now field both a Women’s and Girls’ team. Because of this, we’re following them for the 2023 season with our blog, Mums Play Cricket Too!
Colton Girls Under 13’s team won the Leeds and Wetherby Junior Cricket Girls League in 2022, their first year fielding a team in that league. They’re now powering their way through the 2023 season without a single loss. Our Women’s team, inspired not just by the skills and talents of the girls, but their indomitable spirit and unspoken unity, entered the Women’s league this year. And, that same mix of united ambition and drive, coupled with a deep-rooted sense of team spirit is weaving its way through their team too. There’s no doubt that both teams play to win – but what is equally evident is that sport is a pathway to friendships, camaraderie and laughter for all our female cricketers.
Cricket, we love you and we know you love us back
Colton Under 11’s are the first all female side Colton Institute has ever entered in the Leeds and Wetherby Junior Cricket League. They’re coached by Nick Linley who sees the best in every success and every knock. Always ready with a calm, steadying word; the girls listen to each nugget of well composed advice. His ever-present positivity is a mainstay for them all. Because of this, the girls enter every match able to build on the game before – knowing he sees the best in them all. It doesn’t matter who the opposition, the girls play for each other, seeing only the strengths in one another. Perhaps this thread that runs firmly through the team, togetherness, support, composure and an unspoken vow to remain positive goes unnoticed by the girls as they race around each game. But, it is noticed by the onlookers. To see young women play competitive sport in a fiercely ambitious way, but without any shred of blame culture is inspiring. And, whilst we’re here to showcase the sport of cricket, we can also remind ourselves what being part of a team can do for us as individuals. In a world where youngsters often claim to feel more and more isolated, sport can instil a sense of togetherness in our young people. If that’s not a reason to buy yourself, or your daughter a bat, we don’t know what is!
Here come the girls!
The Under 11 girls have enjoyed the last couple of games. Their rainy Monday evening game against Collingham was eventually abandoned in the second innings. Despite ignoring the pouring rain and both teams doing their best to keep the game going, the wet weather got the best of things and the game was brought to a halt. Thankfully, rain held off during their next game away at Great Preston. The setting sun threw out the last of its warmth and parents basked in its rays. On the periphery of the field, horses trotted by, occasionally glancing at the game as they passed. What a glorious evening to watch a game of cricket, no brolly was needed and the game played its way through to a victorious conclusion for the girls – winning 272 to 254. Both teams played astonishingly well but the girls took 13 wickets making it impossible for Great Preston to catch them in the end.
For the Under 13 girls, coached by Ange Khan (who is mum to one of the girls and player and coach of the women’s team) there has been continued good fortune. Vibrant, eternally positive and a role model to each and every girl, Ange Khan is an inspiration. Only picking up her own bat last season, she leads by incredible example. Patient, a natural teacher and filled with boundless energy she is a powerful force. Over the last few weeks these girls have continued their victorious streak, beating Collingham, Ossett and Great Preston in the Girls’ League. Whilst keen to celebrate our success, we’re also keen to point out that every team we play brings something to our game and whether we win, lose or the game is abandoned, we play to learn. As we’ve said before, sport is always going to be about competition but cricket has a rich under layer – it’s about being there for each other, it’s about fair play and hailing talent (whether it's on your team or the opposition). So to all the young people we’ve played so far, we salute you.
Let’s hear it for the ladies too!
The Women’s team have enjoyed a short hiatus, giving time for broken bones to heal and muscles to recover! But, on the 26th May they played their second game of the season. Well prepared, after polishing up skills and learning new ones, thanks to the rather marvellous Courtney Winfield-Hill, the Women’s team made their way to Dewsbury. Here, they met an incredible group of women. Warm and welcoming, there were a heap of young girls in the team who were filled with vivaciousness and enthusiasm. Mums of the team scored and handed out refreshments that had been home made. We really don’t think there’s a better way to spend a warm Friday evening! Coached by Laura Collins and Angela Khan, the Colton women were pretty fearless and gave everything they had. The result was a resounding win against Mount CC. Go, girls go!
Women and girls in cricket has become a bit of a momentous thing in recent years, and we are lucky to have a huge amount of support from the Yorkshire Cricket Board. Colton CC, just like many other grassroots clubs, receives support and coaching from professionals, like Winfield-Hill. Whether you fancy yourself as a potential cricket star or you’ve never held a bat in your hands before, there are coaches willing to get you started in the sport. Yorkshire cricket really does seem to have it all going on – so get out there and get stuck in!
If you’ve found yourself coming back to read the follow up to the first blog, but you’re still hesitant about making your way down to your local club, it’s fair to say cricket is creeping onto your To Do list. Maybe the idea of joining in a competitive game feels a trifle terrifying at the minute, but don’t let that dissuade you. Not all of our women train to play in the team. Some turn up to keep fit or to quite simply rekindle the joy it feels to ‘play out’ with friends. So, if you’re looking to find something you lost years ago – kinship, closeness and the ability to throw and catch a ball again – cricket could be the sport you’re looking for.
If you’re on the verge of getting out there, do pick up the phone and get in touch with your nearest club. If you’re unsure where to start, and are in the West Yorkshire area, check out this website: Women & Girls Cricket in West Yorkshire (womenandgirlscricketwy.co.uk) you should be able to find the answers to most of your questions here! You never know, you might be just what your local team of women and girls is looking for. And in return, you might find yourself enjoying a surprisingly good time. Don’t forget ladies, Mums Play Cricket Too!
we fared in our next round of matches. Here come the girls!