Warwickshire Women U17s lifted the national U17 A Division trophy after an incredibly tense finish against Staffordshire Cricket at Grantham CC.
The Bears set Staffs 138 to win off 40 overs after being all out, and after reducing their opponents to 20 for three, looked on course to secure a convincing victory.
"Winning the trophy is a just reward for a group of talented players who have been willing to put in so much effort."
But in true final drama, Staffs fought back.
Illenia Sims’ 46 from 85 balls and double-digit scores from five lower-order batters, left them needing six off the final over – nine down.
Issy Wong, who has played three KSL matches for the Southern Vipers this year, was given the responsibility, and after a run-out chance led to a dot ball, she struck next delivery to secure the title.
“The effort and dedication everyone showed on the pitch over the two days was just amazing and it’s even better when all the hard work pays off,” said Captain, Emily Naylor.
“To win was just incredible; the feeling when we got that last wicket, with the game so close, was just insane.
“It was an exceptional team performance to contain a strong Staffordshire side.
“Everyone chipped in and played a part in the final and that’s what made it so special.”
The Bears are led by Sarah Ginn and supported by the Women’s 1st XI Head Coach, Dominic Ostler.
“Winning the trophy is a just reward for a group of talented players who have been willing to put in so much effort, both physically and mentally, this season,” Ginn added.
“They’ve proved themselves in so many ways through what has, at times, been a testing season.
“From the start, they were aware of what it would take to make Finals Day – and they pulled themselves up in a mature, determined way from two early defeats to make sure they had enough bonus points to qualify.
“And when there were ups and downs on Finals Day too, particularly losing a flurry of wickets in the final, the ethos of the team was such was that they never gave up.”
“The team is a mix of established players – some of whom have represented Warwickshire since U11s,” Ginn highlighted.
“It did feel fitting to win the trophy watching two of the longest standing Warwickshire age group players bowling some tight lines and taking the final wickets.”
That pair is Wong and Grace Ballinger.
Whilst Wong has made the headlines and Sky cameras with her wicket-taking and Rubix cube solving ability, Ballinger has been recovering from injury.
The all-rounder from Sutton Coldfield was relieved to get the victory, especially with so many parents, family and friends in attendance.
“It was a tense finish but we were all in the moment,” concluded Ballinger.
“I’m sure the parents were nervous, but we all knew with one over to go that we needed to keep our heads to win the game.
“I think we coped with it very well.
“We scored an under-par total so we knew we had to bowl well.
“Thankfully, Issy took the off stump out the ground second ball of the over and we could celebrate.
“The final was important because we’re a group who are really strong friends and for some of us, it was our last game at age-group cricket.
“And to see all the parents travelling and cheering us on it was great to celebrate with them.”
Warwickshire 2020 Membership packages released
Warwickshire County Cricket Club has released its Membership packages for the 2020 season, which can be purchased online, at Store ‘94 or via the postal brochure from 10am on Monday 9 September.Purchase here