European players unite to take on England Academy side

Thu, Aug 20, 2009 5:50 PM

European players unite to take on England Academy side
The ICC European Women's squad will assemble at the prestigious Worksop College in Nottinghamshire this weekend in preparation for next week's series of four matches against the ECB Academy side.

This is the first year that a Women's Europe squad has been selected and follows in the footsteps of the selection of a Men's Europe squad in 2006 and 2007. In its inaugural year, the Men's Europe XI side faced a touring MCC side at VOC Rotterdam and then played a repeat match at Lord's the following year.

Based at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough, the ECB Academy side is formed of the best up-and-coming young players who have been identified as potential future prospects for the national team. Under the guidance of Academy Director Paul Shaw and Mark Lane, Head Coach of the England Women's team, the Academy side will be eager to add to their international experience having faced Pakistan earlier in the year prior to the ICC World Twenty20.

The European squad includes six members from Ireland, five from the Netherlands, and three from Scotland, all of whom have recently featured at the ICC European Women's Championships in Dublin, Ireland.

Having never played together as a squad, the lead-up to Monday's first Twenty20 match will be crucial; however Philip Hudson ICC Europe's Regional Performance Officer and Coach of the Europe XI is not deterred: "We have seen some really stand-out performances at the recent ICC European Women's Championship in Dublin and I am confident we have made the right selection decisions," said Hudson.

"Although the players have not played together before, they have been playing against each other for many years and are aware of each other's talents, as well as strengths and weaknesses from previous ICC European tournaments and academies.

"Most importantly they are really looking forward to representing Europe and are fully committed to working together to put in a really good performance against the England Academy side."

There are a number of bowling options to choose from amongst Europe's selection. With figures of 5-13 during Ireland's ODI against the Netherlands, and 4-10 against Scotland, Player of the Tournament Eimear Richardson who took 11 wickets over the Championship, will undoubtedly apply pressure to the ECB Academy side with her spinning attack. Ireland skipper Heather Whelan who also impressed with figures of 2-13 in the match against Scotland following a break from international cricket will provide pace options alongside her sister Jill, and fellow Ireland team mate Isobel Joyce. The Netherlands' opening bowler Mandy Kornet and Scotland's Leigh Kasperek are also players to watch after performing well with the ball during the Championships.

Selecting an opening batting order may be the harder of the tasks for the European coaching team. If the Netherlands' opener Violet Wattenberg continues her fine form, the wicket-keeper/batter who produced the top score of the tournament with 87 not-out and an average of 50.67 per innings, will be a safe and steady option to open for the European side. Partnering her could be Scotland Captain Kari Anderson who followed Wattenberg on the board with 63 runs and an average of 47.33 per innings, whilst sisters Cecelia and Isobel Joyce, Clare Shillington, and Eimear Richardson (all Ireland), and Marijn Niman (Netherlands) will also be in contention for the top four spots having shown consistent and dominant stroke play in Dublin.

Following a late injury to Ireland's Nicola Coffey, Leigh Kasperek (Scotland) has been drafted into the squad after impressing selectors with her determined performances in Dublin. Another alumni graduate of the ICC European Women's Academy, Kasperek partnered Kari Anderson to a superb 135 off 31 overs against the Netherlands at North County, the top pairing of the tournament. Clearly showing evidence of her tennis roots, Kasperek effortlessly hit six boundaries building a solid score of 58 in the process. Equally impressive in her bowling attack, Kasperek has also proven to be a very economical pace bowler showing plenty of potential and experience beyond her 17 years.

The Europe squad will be based at Worksop College from August 22-28. The coaching team will be led by ICC Regional Performance Officer Philip Hudson and assisted by ICC Regional Development Officer John Stock.


MONDAY 24th August
Twenty20 match - Worksop College

TUESDAY 25th August
50 Over match - Worksop College

THURSDAY 27th August
50 Over match - Worksop College

FRIDAY 28th August
Twenty20 match - Worksop College

Women's Europe squad:

Cecelia Joyce (Ireland)
Isobel Joyce (Ireland)
Eimear Richardson (Ireland)
Clare Shillington (Ireland)
Heather Whelan (Ireland)
Jill Whelan (Ireland)
Mandy Kornet (Netherlands)
Marijn Nijman (Netherlands)
Helmien Rambaldo (Netherlands)
Anne-Marie Tanke (Netherlands)
Violet Wattenberg (Netherlands)
Kari Anderson (Scotland)
Charlotte Bascombe (Scotland)
Leigh Kasperek (Scotland)

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