The North Devon Tarka U15 girls became the The Lady Taverner’s National T20 Club Champions in Lincolnshire this week. The girls have worked hard for four years with this competition as a goal. Inspired by competitive matches against the previous National Champions, Newport, they have been playing at their very supportive clubs for the boys’ teams as well as hard weekly training sessions with Tarka Ladies and for some, the training and matches with the District and County teams. Their success is a credit to them, their parents and all the hard working volunteers in youth cricket who have given their time and energy to the youth game. This competition started with 168 teams nationally and came down to the last four in the final. Winners from the North East, North West, South West and South East played at Grantham CC.
In the morning North Devon Tarka CC played Narborough & Littlethorpe CC. Tarka lost the toss and were put in to bat on a sludgy pitch. Eluned Davies, Morgan Harrison Hooton and Rose Ball contributed to the score with the bat. Carmen Clements scored a tremendous 42 before being run out, Daisy Meadowcroft who has been magnificent throughout every stage of this competition, put in a Captain’s innings scoring 52 not out. Narborough gave determined chase but Rose Ball was having the very timely day of her life. She took 2 for 10 off 5 and wickets also fell to Ellie Holland, Carmen Clements and Daisy Meadowcroft, with a brilliant run out by Jess Thompson and wicket keeper Morgan Harrison Hooton cutting off a very competent Narborough team 46 all out.
Simultaneously, on the main pitch Cuckfield CC played a very confident Wrenthorpe CC team with six Yorkshire County players and a wicket keeper in the England U15 development programme the Wrenthorpe girls scored a fantastic 198 in their semi final bowling their opponents out with relative ease.
So it was, the North Devon girls headed for the main pitch to play the final. With England’s Tammy Beaumont watching as well as Jo Kirk from the ECB, there was a DJ lots of music and commentary and the atmosphere was electric. Tarka have never made the finals before, having always been knocked out by Newport in the West group, but Wrenthorpe were old hands at participation in the finals, consequently, the Devon girls were up against it. We won the toss and elected to bowl. Rose Ball was on fire and she took two very quick wickets the opening bat Hannah Poulter for 0 and the number three, Evie Woodhead who had scored 95 in the morning was also clean bowled for 0. The Wrenthorpe girls rallied fairly aggressively and ended the innings on 106 for 6. Wickets fell to Min Muir and Carmen Clements but opener Rose Ball took 4 for 6 off 5 with 3 maidens! Two were clean bowled and the others fell to great catches by Clements and Harrison-Hooton. That said, the Tarka girls gave away far too many extras and we were not sure that under such pressure we would keep our heads and reach the total. Fortunately, the girls batted like champions. Daisy was unlucky to be run out trying bravely to rack up runs for the team. Eluned Davies opened with a superb 19 before being caught. Carmen Clements 54 NO and Rose Ball a very quick 26 NO resulted in North Devon Tarka being crowned National Champions.
Manager Jan Witheridge and Coach Mark Overton were very proud of the girls’ focussed and determined performance. This has been a long term goal for the Tarka girls and it is fantastic that it has been achieved by these girls who have worked and trained together with very few changes to the line-up since they were U11’s. This truly was a superb team performance.The ECB putting them up in a hotel and setting up a special dinner was the cream on the cake. We hope it will be an experience to remember. The team Captain Daisy Meadowcroft, VC Carmen Clements, Rose Ball, Morgan Harrison Hooton, Ellie Holland, Eluned Davies, Min Muir, Kate Williams, Molly Down and Jess Thompson.