Our U13 Girls lifted the club’s second national title, adding the ECB Lady Taverners T20 U13 Club Championship to the 2012 U13 Boys ECB National Club Championship. This was only the second year we had entered this competition, going out last year in the first round to Hursley Park. This year we had a bye in the first round, in the second round were drawn at home to Yateley Park, an unknown quantity. Our girls were delighted to play on the main St Cross ground, and showed their liking of it when batting first by putting on over 100 for the first wicket (Finty Trussler 70 retired, Lucy Counsell 54 retired), eventually finishing on 226-1, a score Yateley never challenged, subsiding to 55 for 7 (so all out as 8 a side) in 12 overs, bowling honours going to Hermione Fay with 3-8 off 3 overs.
The next round took us to Burridge, and a stiffer challenge. Lucia Kendall (62 not out) and Finty (30 not out) put on an unbroken 89 as we closed on 137 for 1. Immediately Burridge were put on the back foot by losing a wicket in the first over, and our girls kept the pressure on throughout the innings to dismiss them for 60 in 16.5 overs with 3 wickets for Finty and 2 more for Hermione. Next up was an away tie at South Wilts, who were coached by ex England international (over 200 caps) Lydia Greenway. She was impressed by our girls in another comprehensive victory; after losing an early wicket, Lucia (67*) and Finty (40*) again did the business, putting on 135 in another unbroken partnership. South Wilts managed 75 in reply, with a couple of wickets apiece for the very economical Lucy and Catherine Clarke.
We were now in the regional final, away to Newport (South Wales), most of whose players were in the Wales U13 side. Despite the typical Welsh drizzle and a 7am Saturday departure from Winchester, our girls adjusted quickly and Lucy got the Wales captain out first ball. Tight bowling, especially from Lucy who conceded only 9 runs in her 5 overs, restricted the Welsh to 92 for 5. Again we lost an early wicket, and once again Finty (35*) and Lucia (32*) batted calmly and competently putting on 65 unbroken to overhaul Newport’s total in 15.2 overs. This win took us to the national finals at Denby CC in Derbyshire, with the ECB putting the 4 regional winners up in a hotel overnight. Our semi final opponents were J G Meakin from Stoke on Trent, a bunch of feisty girls and vociferous supporters!
Finty and Lucia opened and put on 48 before Finty was out, their partnership in this competition finally broken after putting on 337 runs. Lucia continued on her way with good support from Frankie Robertson at the other end, before being dismissed for 42, the only time she was out in the competition, and we finished on 117 for 2. A wicket apiece for Hermione and Lucy in their first overs was a good start for our girls, and Catherine added another, but Meakin recovered and were looking ominous at 73 for 3, before Frankie dismissed their captain for 38 and the rest quickly followed with two more wickets for Frankie and one for Finty, getting Meakin all out for 91.
On to the final, where we faced Spencer, full of Surrey county players, who had dismissed their semi-final opponents for 49. Finty and Lucia were unperturbed and continued in their usual vein, and had put on 139 before Finty was bowled. Lucia continued to set about the bowling, and finished unbeaten on 87 – she was also the top run scorer in the national competition, with Finty second. Our total of 167 was never seriously challenged by the Spencer batters, particularly with Lucy’s 5 overs going for only 15, and Lucia not conceding a bye behind the stumps. Our winning margin was 50 runs, and it was a thrilled bunch of girls and parents when the trophy and medals were presented.