Cricket club bowled over by response to attract more girls and women

More women and girls are being encouraged to take up cricket in north Norfolk

More women and girls are being encouraged to take up cricket in north Norfolk - Credit: Neil Didsbury/Beth Cornell

As England contest the women's World Cup final this weekend, plans are gathering pace to create the first ever women's cricket team at a coastal club.

Sheringham Cricket Club is in the process of signing up players for a women's only section which will play softball cricket with an emphasis on having fun, starting in May. 

Training sessions will be led by an ECB Level Two coach once a week with 11 players already on board with the new project. 

The first women's cricket matches in Dereham Cricket Club's 165-year history have taken place. Pictu

More women and girls are being encouraged to take up cricket in north Norfolk - Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY

The Weybourne Road club is in the process of merging its inaugural women's team with Cromer just down the road to attract more players.

Norfolk Women's cricketer Beth Cornell, who will captain the senior team, said: "What we want to do is create a real hub for women to play cricket in north Norfolk.

"We have got so many girls coming through the youth side at the age of 12 and 13 but we really want to grow that.

"It is important for girls to have somewhere to play competitive cricket on their doorstep."

Beth Cornell playing for Norfolk Women's cricket team 

Beth Cornell playing for Norfolk Women's cricket team - Credit: Contributed

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The Norfolk Women's bowler believes the launch of The Hundred domestic tournament is changing the perception of the sport being most readily associated with middle-aged white men in MCC ties. 

She pointed out Sheringham Cricket Club's existing youth sides through the Dynamos Cricket programme is a 50/50 split between boys and girls. 

A poster for the new women and girls section at Sheringham Cricket Club

A poster for the new women and girls section at Sheringham Cricket Club - Credit: Sheringham CC

As a youngster, Miss Cornell was inspired to play cricket through a Chance to Shine taster session at the former Thorpe House School in Yarmouth Road, Norwich.

Miss Cornell said: "I do not think you can be taken seriously as a cricket club if you are not trying to put women front and centre. 

Beth Cornell playing for Norfolk Women's cricket team 

Beth Cornell celebrating a wicket with Norfolk Women's cricket teammates - Credit: Contributed

"I have played for Sheringham for donkey years and the club has always been so supportive of me but it would be completely daft not to use this opportunity to grow our women's side.

"We have just started this brand new club so there are lots of opportunities to be flexible and we want to create a club with a real family feel about it which is fun and active." 

Peter Free, women's and development officer for the Norfolk Cricket Board said: "The number of women's hardball teams increased to nine this year but I want to see more softball transitioning to hardball. 

Peter Free, women and girls development officer for the Norfolk Cricket Board 

Peter Free, women and girls development officer for the Norfolk Cricket Board - Credit: Norfolk Cricket Board

"Women's cricket in the Commonwealth Games this year will have a big impact and it means there will be lots of different opportunities for young girls to watch the sport over this year."

Those interested in joining the new women's team at Sheringham should contact sheringhamcricket@gmail.com. 


The legacy of Eileen Ash 

While there are currently no players from Norfolk in the England Women's Cricket Team, the county boasts one of the most renowned figures.

Eileen Ash was the oldest living Test cricketer and Norfolk's oldest woman before she passed away at the age of 110 in December.

Eileen Ash coming in to bat for the England women's cricket team at Colwall in 1936.

Eileen Ash coming in to bat for the England women's cricket team at Colwall in 1936. - Credit: Submitted

Her achievements were recognised as she rang the bell at Lord’s ahead of England Women’s victory in the 2017 World Cup final.

She was also honoured with a portrait at Lord’s and honorary life membership of the MCC.

Eileen Ash read her letter from the queen on her 110th birthday

Eileen Ash read her letter from the queen on her 110th birthday - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Ms Ash was a right-arm seamer and made seven appearances for England either side of the Second World War after making her Test debut against Australia in 1937.

She would likely have been pleased to see women's cricket featuring in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games for the first time this summer.

The first women's cricket matches in Dereham Cricket Club's 165-year history have taken place. Pictu

A women's cricket festival at Dereham in May 2021 - Credit: NEIL DIDSBURY