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Europe Women's cricketers take part in MCC YC elite programme

Shauna Kavanagh/ Leigh Kasperek
Fri, Aug 26, 2011 9:12 PM


Europe Women's cricketers take part in MCC YC elite programme
Scotland's Leigh Kasperek in Lord's nets
Scotland’s Leigh Kasperek and Ireland’s Shauna Kavanagh took part in the MCC YC elite programme, in partnership with the ICC Development Programme, during their time they kept an account of their experiences.

Week 1

The MCC YC elite programme allows the women to train every day with full access to the facilities at Lords. To be given the opportunity to train with the YC’s for 2 weeks is a “once in a lifetime experience” and we were extremely grateful and excited; whilst nervous at the same time at the prospect of training with some of the best women cricketers in the world.

Our journey began when we arrived in London Heathrow on a Monday afternoon, we travelled together to the Danubius hotel where we would stay for the duration of our 2 weeks; it was an excellent location as it overlooks Lords. We spent Monday getting acquainted with each other, resting and preparing for the week ahead.

Our Lords experience began with meeting ICC Regional Performance Officer, Philip Hudson who gave us a tour of the stadium which was overwhelming. To say Lord’s and its surroundings are unbelievable is an understatement. The YCs training is based in the indoor facilities and on the nursery ground; we had Tuesday afternoon to use whichever facilities we wanted.

We decided to do a gym session before doing some bowling machine work and some live net practices. We finished up about 4pm, and took in some of the game that was taking place on the nursery ground. There were ex-professionals playing along with two of the YC girls.

On Wednesday morning we made our way to Lords at 10am and met with Alan Duncan who is a Level 4 Coach and manages the YC Women’s team. Alan introduced us to all the players, who were all extremely friendly and made us feel very much at ease. We began Wednesday’s training with an hour and a half fitness session, which is always a good way to break the ice! It was actually a very enjoyable fitness session, well as enjoyable as fitness can be.

After this, we headed outside to do some outdoor nets on grass wickets, which we never get to, train on at home! After net sessions, there was lunch and the girls were given the rest of the day off. We decided to do some fielding to make the most out of the oppourtunity and some of the girls decided to join in with us. It was a great day and gave us a taste of what the next week and half would have in store for us.

Thursday training included a double net session and a fielding session. The first net session lasted about 2 hours and took place on the older grass wickets outside which had been in use for the last 8 days because of the Test - followed by the Middlesex games. Jodie Fields, the Australian Women’s captain was training with YCs for the day and gave us both plenty of advice and guidance. The fielding session was an hour long and of high intensity and broke up the two net sessions. We started the next net session at 3pm on newly prepared wickets.

Middlesex and Derbyshire had been training on the Nursery Ground beside us all day ahead of their CB40 match that was to take place that afternoon. We finished up at half 4 and were free for the day, so decided to head over to the stands and watch the game.

Match day
We had both been asked to play for MCC against Premier League team Bath C.C. When we arrived we were greeted by Charlie Russell, our Captain for the day and former MCC YC member. Bath C.C was a lovely ground and we were both eager to get playing.

The challenge of the day was understanding how after a whole day of cricket, it could end up as a draw...a declaration match as it was known.

We were put in to bat; Leigh was in at number 4 and Shauna at 6. We were both confident about getting the opportunity to bat with unlimited overs but nervous at the prospect of it. Hannah Phelps and Alice MacCleod - both MCC YC students - set about given us a brilliant start before both being dismissed, Hannah on 49.

Leigh was in and batting with Seonaid, a steady partnership was built of 90 before Seonaid departed. This brought 'Steamer' into the crease, some lusty blows from her increased the run rate and declaration was in sight. Leigh was out for 59 and Shauna was in. A clever flighted ball had Shauna stumped for 2, but all for the cause of scoring quickly.

So we amassed 250, a good score and one we were confident of defending. Although, the Bath batters could play for time and block out a draw....confused we both were. We were hoping that a result would form so we set about trying our hardest to win the match.

Although Bath were short of England's Fran Wilson, talk for the day had been on Elwyn Campbell, an experience batter and one to be wary off. So we were surprised when she was dismissed for under double figures by Wales opening bowler, Hannah Zaman. Bath's intentions were clear from then on, wickets were hard to come by.

Shauna the quickest bowler for the MCC had an aggressive field with 3 slips and a gully. She was unfortunate not to pick up any wickets, but her fiery spell created many opportunities. A surprise introduction of Leigh’s spin brought about two wickets but mainly due to the pressure the other bowlers had put on the Bath Wanderers. Bath’s number 4 had amassed 70 before time was up. We hadn't managed to break through Bath's lower batting order and the match was a draw.

It was a great experience for the both of us. We learnt a lot from the match and although it ended up in a draw, we both agreed that we liked the format. Playing only limited over matches at home, we don't always get the chance to build an innings or be really aggressive with our bowling. What an excellent way to finish our first week with the YC's.



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