In a thrilling day of cricket, the Bears triumphed victorious in the Vitality T20 County Cup, Division One, where ‘things didn’t go to plan, but we produced a really good game at the end’, says Laura MacLeod, Warwickshire’s Women and Girls Performance Manager.
A point-fuelled final round meant it came down to the last game of the season in Birmingham and in Hampshire to decide the winner, as three teams were battled it out for the top spot.
The Birmingham Bears were in third against first placed Lancashire as they headed into the final round needing Hampshire to lose to Wales and a win against the Red Roses. Ultimately, the hunt for the Bears paid off as they beat Lancashire by 20 runs and in the south, Wales did what was needed to be done beating Hampshire by six wickets.
The celebratory roar that went round the Edgbaston Community Sports Ground, Portland Road could no doubt be heard for miles as Bears and supporters celebrated together when Jess Couser bowled to Eleanor Threlkeld, Lancashire’s last hope, who sent the ball straight into the safe hands of Georgia Davies, securing the Bears their first piece of silverware ever as Champions of the Vitality T20 Cup.
Speaking during the (on-going) celebrations, Laura MacLeod, a key figure in the team’s performance, said she was really delighted for the women.
“It has been one of those days where at the start of the day there were so many permutations about what was going to happen and then things didn’t go to plan,” said Laura.
“To win the T20 was pleasing, the results of the other games went our way on the final day
“We produced a really good game at the end, here with Lancashire, so I’m really delighted for the girls. They have worked really hard for it and hopefully they have learnt a lot from the experience.
“The objective of the season was to finish in the top 3 of both competitions so to finish 8th in the 50 over competition was disappointing. But being able to start again midway through the season helped us.
“The stats highlight those who did well, and those players have been rewarded with Kia Super League contracts. However, there are a number of players who, whilst won’t show up on the end of season stats for runs or wickets, played vital roles in building pressure, rotating the strike and saving 2’s and 4’s.
“The squad had five 50 over and two T20 warm-up games in preparation for the competitions, which was excellent. I don’t know of any other team that had as much prep as we did. It unfortunately didn’t translate into wins in the 50 over games and this was in part down to our opposition being more game savvy. We learnt a lot from our own Amy Jones and players of her level, who excel in pressurised situations.
“What we need to work on is consistency of performance, responding to the game situation and teams can always improve their fielding.
“The amount of time we get with the squad is very limited; the games are every week and most of the team work full time. Regardless of the time to train, standards are improving year on year and I’m absolutely delighted with the team’s win!”
Whilst the Bears celebrations continue, nine of the team will be focusing on playing in the Kia Super League for various teams over the country, and our own Bear Amy Jones will take to the field against Australia in the Women’s Ashes which start tomorrow (Tuesday).