Sports Writer Alice Hunt reports on the performances of UoB’s first and second teams at the Tournament

Written by Alice Hunt
Sports writer mostly interested in football and cricket.
Images by Alice Hunt

The University of Birmingham’s Women’s Cricket Club took a short journey to Edgbaston’s indoor cricket centre on Saturday to compete in the second round of the BUCS indoor tournament, with the aim of securing a spot in finals day. The University had two teams competing in the day – while the second team already knew they could not qualify, the first team were fighting to make it to the final round of the competition.

Our seamers showed off their raw pace and accuracy

Captained by Gemma Porter, the first team began their day against Warwick 1s. The team stormed their way to 111 runs off the regulation ten overs played in indoor cricket. These runs came from a notable innings by wicket-keeper batter Rosie Dyer-Slade, who scored 27 runs – meaning she was forced to retire. All-rounder Sophie Grayson also contributed with an impressive 22*. These two scores were key in the team reaching an exciting total. The first team’s fine form continued into the field, restricting Warwick to 64-2 off their ten overs. Grayson maintained her strong form by collecting a wicket with her second ball of the game. Opening bowlers Katie Harman and Caitlin Belcher provided some thrilling entertainment with some very strong and quick bowling, helping secure a 47-run victory. Captain Porter was excited by her bowling attack, explaining that “our seamers showed off their raw pace and accuracy beating the outside edge on a number of occasions”.

The impressive all-round performance of the first team continued in their fixture against Worcester 2s, with another big victory. Batting first, the team hit 119 runs off the full ten overs, with Dyer-Slade again being forced to retire following her 27* – alongside Porter, who also hit 27*. Porter praised Dyer-Slade’s performances post-match, stating that “Rosie batted outstandingly in the first two games, retiring in both and showing her versatility as a batter”. With strength all over the field, Birmingham 1s restricted Worcester 2s to 59 all-out, thanks two wickets from Porter and more thrilling bowling from the team’s opening attack, Harman and Belcher.

The first team’s day ended in a narrow defeat to Worcester 1s, who finished top of the table. This is despite strong batting from Meg Austin, who scored 21 runs – capping an impressive UBWCC debut. Vice-Captain Katie Harman stated that “although we had some strong performances, it’s disappointing that we could not get all three victories today, but there’s still a possibility that we can qualify”. The team will hope their net run rate was good enough to secure a spot in finals day – meaning they would qualify as the best runner-up.

The most exciting game of the day came from UBWCC’s second team

Arguably the most exciting game of the day came from UBWCC’s second team, who narrowly beat Worcester 2s in a nail-biting finish. Bowler Harriet Jones produced a strong captain’s knock, scoring 20 runs. This score, alongside all-rounder Chloe Jones’ 19 gave UBWCC a healthy score of 83 all-out. However, against a strong Worcester side, the team needed a complete performance in the field – and they produced exactly that. The team put on a solid fielding performance, with four out of Worcester’s six wickets being run outs, one of which being a strong direct hit from Emma Forbes – displaying a key strength of the side. In the final over of the game, Worcester 2s needed just three runs to secure victory – while Birmingham 2s simply required one more wicket. Up stepped all rounder Chloe Jones, who produced a moment of magic with her first ball of the final over – bowling Worcester’s number 3 out with a full, straight delivery. The manner of the victory highlighted the character of the side, with C. Jones explaining that she was “really proud of all the girls… we had a really good day and smashed it out the park”.

Despite two losses in the day – versus Keele 1s and Worcester 1s – UBWCC 2s were able to secure a massive victory against Keele 2s in a very impressive fashion. Captain H. Jones bowled her second platinum duck of the day, starting the innings as they meant to go on. Bowlers Rachel Eatough and Connie Smith also took wickets on their first deliveries (both further impressed with two wickets each in the innings), maintaining the team’s strong bowling performance. This was a key theme highlighted by H. Jones, who noted that “it’s fair to say our bowling was stronger than our batting – a massive improvement from the first round. It is clear that the freshers became more confident playing indoor cricket”. In their second victory of the day, UBWCC 2s were able to restrict Keele 2s to just 16 runs through their efficient bowling. Batter Forbes and wicket-keeper batter Lara Daurka quickly gathered the 17 runs needed to complete an incredible victory which again emphasised the team’s confidence.

We used our individual skills to make us a threatening side

Overall, Birmingham 2s had a successful day, ending it with two wins out of four – an improvement from the first round of indoors. Bowler Pheobe Lennard explained that “this tournament we were working together as a team… we used our individual skills to make us a threatening side”, which was evident through the team’s high morale and the equally impressive contributions from each player. These results, alongside the two victories that the first team registered, completed an exciting day for all those concerned with UBWCC. Porter was pleased with the first team’s performance, stating that “we produced three really good team performances, with everyone contributing”. We wait on news on whether the first team have done enough to make it to finals day.

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