Hungarian cricket girls reach semi-finals in Germany

Thu, Feb 26, 2009 5:33 PM

The distance and cost couldn't keep them away, neither would the snow stacked up on both sides of the motorways slow them down, but the Hungarian Ladies U17 team finally came unstuck in the semi-finals of the 3rd European Ladies U17 Indoor Tournament, held in Oldenburg, Germany on the weekend of February 14 and 15. A loss to the strong Holland team was not a surprise, but it brought to an end their relatively successful run in the event, racking up three victories against German teams along the way.

Out of the eight Hungarian girls, three have been playing cricket since 2007 and five since only last September. Hungary was by far the most inexperienced of the five teams competing, reflecting its relative infancy in cricket; however, the performances of two girls in particular (Brigi Hotea and Claudia Balogh) drew lots of praise from other coaches. Adrienn Zics also showed lots of potential with both bat and ball - her modern pentathlon training often conflicts with cricket, so before the tournament she had only attended seven coaching sessions.

In contrast, the host team were at full strength and have played together for three years indoors and outdoors with a number of coaches, while Schwerin included one 24-year-old. Holland proved their extensive coaching set-up and professionalism by fielding a team made up of old hands and the youngest players in the tournament – their 12-year-old all-rounder Roos took home the Best Player award.

Despite the singing and the snoring en route, the traveling could have been smoother. At one point, the team found themselves up in the mountains passing last year's toboggan world championship - the map-reading skills of the girls left something to be desired. The minibus, kindly donated for the weekend by Fox Autorent, also found itself lost in Budapest, Prague and Oldenburg, as well as on the wrong motorway heading in the wrong direction twice.

"The trip was fantastic," said Brigi Hotea. "We want to go back to Oldenburg very soon! The families we stayed with were lovely and the whole experience was amazing."

The girls now have to improve all of their skills (batting, bowling, fielding and map-reading) before they take on their next challenge – the Europa Cup, an U17 outdoor cricket tournament in Munich in May with eight countries represented. After that, plans are in place for Budapest to host the first-ever central European women’s cricket matches, with Germany and the Czech Republic lined up as opponents.

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