Wednesday 26th April saw the long-awaited start to the BUCS outdoor season for the Women’s 1XI team. Could they put last season’s difficulties in the premier league behind them and get the new season off to a winning start?
Whilst the fixture was originally scheduled as a home one, some logistical difficulties meant that the women were up at 5am to make the long trip to face Hull University – a new team playing their first ever BUCS fixture - at Sewerby CC, Bridlington. An early match report shout-out must go to Becca Oliver and Niki Suiter, who were incredibly kind and drove the 454 mile round trip, and to Susannah Oliver for providing the minibus tunes – an essential part of every away fixture.
Whilst a 5hour drive wasn’t quite how everyone wanted to start their day, arriving to a cricket pitch perched a top sea-side cliff with an amazing view up the beach and across the sea, not to mention endless cups of tea, almost made up for it.
Captain Matilda Coke lost the first BUCS toss and freshers Ikra Farooq and Ruth Foulds strode out to open the batting on a very, very windy wicket. Unfortunately the first EUCC wicket fell early leaving the girls 3-1 at the end of the first. Becca joined Ruth at the crease and was quick to hit some dreamy cover drives to push the score on, before the pair were undone by identical balls in quick succession, leaving the score at 23-3 after five overs. However Niki’s calm presence at the crease steadied the EUCC ship and a 26run partnership with Zoe Conway, including Zoe striking the only boundary of the game, helped the score onto 46-4. Tilda joined Niki and the two of them looked ‘lovely at the crease’ (@EUCC10, 2017) until, after picking up a couple of 2s and sweeping her towards fine leg, Tilda was bowled by her Hull counterpart; Niki fell with the score unchanged and at 65-6, Hannah Rainey and Zoe Sudderick took on the role of controlling the match. Whilst previous EUCC women’s sides might have allowed the following wickets to fall in quick succession, this was not a team who were going to be bowled out lightly and Zoe batted excellently on EUCC debut to add valuable runs in partnerships with first Hannah, and then Katie Duffy. Susannah and Sophie Sharpe concluded the batting line up and helped the team to finish 109 all out.
Confident that a three figure score would always prove tricky to chase on a pitch already showing variable bounce, and buoyed on by an excellent spread at tea, Edinburgh ladies started their fielding efforts with energy and commitment. Sharing the new ball, Becca and Tilda bowled straight and full, testing the defensive solidity of the Hull openers. This wicket-to-wicket tactic quickly bore success as Tilda trapped her opposite number LBW in her second over, after an appeal that would have made Stuart Broad proud. This initial inroad was capitalised on by Becca , whose excellent spell finished maiden, wicket-maiden, wicket-maiden to finish with figures of 6-3-8-2. With Hull well and truly wobbling, Edinburgh capitalised on this pressure with some wonderful fielding – Susannah completing a smart run-out from short fine-leg, Sophie and Zoe S backing up smartly throughout the innings, Katie taking an acrobatic catch at short mid-wicket. That catch brought Ruth (4-0-9-2)) the second of her wickets and her spell in combination with first Hannah (5-1-11-0) and then Zoe C (4-1-7-2), ripped the heart from the Hull middle order. Tilda (5.4-0-21-3) then returned to mop up the tail, taking two final wickets, including Hannah taking a smart catch at cover. Hull finished on 59 all out , sparking jubilant celebrations in the Edinburgh ranks.
This was a thoroughly professional display from the ladies to kick off their BUCS campaign, showing debutants Hull just how tough BUCS cricket can be. Every member of the side made excellent contributions to the first victory of the season, just rewards for a winter of hard work under coaches Brendan O’Connell and Joe Kinghorn-Gray.
Many thanks to Niki and Becca for driving the team to and from Hull, at only a couple of days notice (or 15hours notice in Niki’s case); to Ikra for taking on the task of wicket-keeping; to the Hull captain, Heather, for being so helpful in changing the fixture location and finding such a beautiful ground to host; to Sewerby CC for hosting the match; to the umpires and scorers; and finally to all of the girls involved with such a brilliant day.
The EUCC Women’s 1XI will be back in BUCS action on Wed 10th May, when they host a highly-skilled Leeds University 1XI at home. Let’s make it two from two.