GIRLS CRICKET in UAJCA 

GIRLS LEAGUE STRUCTURE 2024
UAJCA will be embarking on its third season of Girls Cricket in 2024. Last season we saw significant increases in the number of clubs and teams participating in our programmes. Until the Girls stricture is fully matured throughout tall the age-groups providing a Pathway to Womens' cricket, the UAJCA competitions will be framed according to the age range and numbers of girls, club & teams within the Association. The hardball elements proved difficult to manage with club issues and weather depressing the volume played. In 2024 Burley-in-Wharfedale CC have indicated they will be participating in the Aire-Wharfe league only. The key question is the shape and format for the under-13 age-group as 2024 should see many more players taking part. The ECB through Lydia Greenway have suggested there should be "no rush" to push girls into hardball cricket, even as late as under-15 is seen as sensible.

Clubs will debate their preferences at the forthcoming Members meeting on November 16th.

OAKWORTH TAKE SOFTBALL FESTIVAL CUP
Not many betting people thought we would get the Girls Softball Festival Cup underway on Sunday 6th August. But despite the week-long rain, Gary Owens and his team were able to get the tournament underway more-or-less on time. The first two matches were Oakworth v Gt Horton Church and Settle vs Skipton. A wicket off the last ball for Oakworth set them up for a 5 -run win, whilst Skipton overtook a modest 202-6 from Settle. Oakworth consolidated their start with a convincing win against Skipton by 33 runs but the GHC vs Settle match proved a humdinger ending in a Tied game at 218 runs each. The points now stood at Oakworth 6, Skipton 3, Settle 2 and GHC 2. The final round-robin fixtures unfolded after a wonderful lunch provided by the Skipton hosts and Settle's 213-2 was not enough to challenge the terrific start from Oakworth, who posted 231-2 to finish with 9 points to claim a semi-final place against whoever the fourth placed team proved to be. The Skipton v GHC match also proved a nail-biter with GHC getting over the line by 2runs with 220-3. So the semi-final line up was ironically a repeat of the last two matches with GHc vs Skipton and Oakworth vs Settle.

GHC managed to replicate their victory over Skipton to reach the Final with an opportunity to retain the Cup they won in 2022. But who would be their opponents? Oakworth' previous victory over Settle by 18 runs proved to be a catalyst to the Settle girls and their running between the wickets improved considerably so that they could post a much more daunting total of 235. Some wicket-falling got the Oakworth contingent nervous but some lusty hitting from Lucy-Jo Colgan got them back on track. Unbelievably the Oakworth score ended on 235 and another Tied game! This required a bowl-off to determine the finalists. After 6 misses from each team it fell to Lily Gaunt to hit the stumps to pressure Settle to match it. But it wasn't to be and Oakworth by the skin of their teeth reached the final which had looked a foregone conclusion earlier in the day.

And if that wasn't enough excitement, the GHC girls, particularly Ipshita and Emaan took their cue from Settle and ran the singles and twos to once again put the Oakworth batters under pressure. By this time the betting men had all gone home but the second innings proved just as nail-biting as the earlier episodes. A wicket for GHC looked as though it could be the decisive blow. But by the fifth ball of the final over Oakworth had scrambled to a 1 run lead. The final ball brought a further single when many might have defended and so Oakworth took the Cup from a very game GHC by just 2 runs.

The competition exceeded everyone's expectations and thanks must go to Skipton CC for their superb hosting. Thanks also went to Ruby and Holly Gaunt who as reserves both ended up playing for Settle and GHC as both had a girl missing due to illness. Also mention must be made of the young scorers who coped with paper-based scoring after the Play-Cricket failur scrambled their electronic efforts.

2023 GIRLS SOFTBALL CHAMPIONS

The 2023 Cricket season Girls Cricket Softball Champions are Settle CC. The second Softball Championship was undertaken principally on Wednesday evenings & Sunday mornings, by five clubs: Settle, Crossflatts, Gt Horton Church, Skipton and Oakworth. Each team had eight fixtures, playing each other twice, a total of 20 across the summer.

The softball programme is designed for newcomers or inexperienced players to the sport. A softball [wind-ball] is used in 16-over games played on a 17 yards wicket. No protective clothing or equipment is required. Bonus points were awarded for batting [64 runs or more] and bowling [5 wickets or more]. Settle CC take the Championship, winning 7 of their 8 matches, Their points tally of 31 was 3 ahead of runners-up Skipton CC [5 wins]. Congratulations to Settle girls and club coaches. Bonus point awards amounted to 13 for Skipton, 10 each for Settle and Gt Horton Church with 7 to Crossflatts and 6 for newcomers Oakworth

GIRLS GROUP ADDED TO 2023 BLACK RAT FESTIVAL
UAJCA members have voted to increase the level of girls' representation in the Black Rat Festival for 2023. Last season Skipton Girls played selected boys teams and were fast-tracked to a 3-team Final. This year all five softball clubs will participate, playing each other once to determine the overall group winners.

The highly-popular mid-season Cricket Picnic is to be held at Sandylands, as usual, on Sunday 18th June and again will be an all day festival with each 6-player team playing a minimum four games.  The sponsors will again be Black Rat, the on-line cricket clothing & equipment specialist.

Member clubs have been invited to submit their entries at under-9, under-11, under-13 and together with the girls group will bring the total participation to 35 teams, a new record. A crowd of upwards of 500 is expected with hopefully weather on a par with 2022.

GROWTH REALISED WITH 13 TEAMS
The UAJCA pre-season meeting finally concluded the team entries for 2023. The four teams that kick-started our Girls Cricket initiative in 2022 have been retained with two additional clubs making six clubs for 2023. But significantly each of those clubs are expanding their numbers of teams, such that the Programme in 2023 will see 13 teams on the field!

There will be three mini-leagues, a softball development programme with 4 teams, a softball Championship programme [5] and for the first time a hardball league with a further 4 teams. This should enable the number of girls involved to grow from 63 to probably nearer 150. There will also be a softball Festival Cup on 6th August with all five clubs in action, and to round off the Girls year a hardball Festival for thee four clubs on 13th August. UAJCA now has an emerging Pathway to help Girls to choose  whether to progress onwards to either Women' cricket or Boys Cricket.

The structure is as follows:

Stage Not Age
Softball Development Settle Crossflatts Gt Horton Ch Oakworth  
Softball Championship Settle Crossflatts Gt Horton h Oakworth Skipton
Hardball Championship   Crossflatts Gt Horton Ch Burley-in-Wharfedale Skipton
250% EXPANSION FOR 2023

The resumption of junior cricket in 2022 coupled with an incredibly warm, dry summer has brought cricket to the attention of many more youngsters in the Upper Airedale valleys. The Upper Airedale Junior Cricket Association held its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 19th January and the major item, provisional team entries for 2023 were tabled. Two new clubs, Airedale CC and Denholme, CC have re-joined the Association along with affiliate membership from Burley-in-Wharfedale CC, boosting Association numbers to 22 clubs. The number of teams entered rises by 10 boys’ teams & 10 girls’ teams, an amazing record grand total of 85 teams, 20 more than in 2022.

The increase in girls' teams is particularly welcome, vindicating our decision to join the revolution in 2022. UAJCA will organise three Girls' leagues in 2023. There will be a softball development league, a softball Championship league and a Hardball league for the older girls. Our current expectation if for 14 teams, an amazing increase of 10 for our second year. Oakworth CC and Burley-in-Wharfedale CC have entered and there remains a possibility of Harden CC also joining. We anticipate each the three leagues will be provided with at least six fixture per team, possibly eight. UAJCA is also delighted to announce the support of new Partners, Bentley Drains. The key item now is to finalise the dates when matches can be played.

CLUBS URGED TO EXPAND GIRLS GAME
GIRLS' UNDER  11s [SOFTBALL 8-aside] 2022

Date

Home   Away  
29/05/2022 Skipton

279-2

GHC

238-4

04/07/2022 Settle 208-8 Skipton 277-2
06/07/2022 GHC 237-7 Crossflatts 296-5
11/07/2022 Skipton 254-7 Settle 230-10
20/07/2022 Crossflatts 293-0 Skipton 258-8

24/07/2022

Settle 204-7 GHC

295-0

27/07/2022

Crossflatts 279-1 GHC 213-5
31/07/2022 GHC

280-5

Settle

256-5

Skipton Conceded Crossflatts Awarded

07/08/2022

Settle 236-7 Crossflatts 304-0
14/08/2022 Crossflatts

297-3

Settle

280-4

GHC

259-5

Skipton 271-3
The success of the four-team Girls' League in 2022 has led to calls for further expansion to enable more and more girls to experience cricket. Crossflatts, Gt Horton Church, Skipton & Settle all took the plunge last season with 11 of 12 fixtures being completed. Sixty-six girls played during the programme with only four of them having played competitively beforehand. North Yorkshire [YCB] project leader Rob Johnson attended the UAJCA members meeting in November  and outlined what is happening both Nationally and in Yorkshire. The YCB Women's & Girls team are eager to assist.

The principal decision taken at the November meeting was that UAJCA will offer girls cricket at three age-grouping s in 2023 with under-9 and under-13 groupings being added to the under-11 league of 2022. The ball is now in the court of the 19 member clubs to review their intentions for 20023 and to make efforts in recruitment during the winter to be able to meet the aspiration.

Since the meeting two more UAJCA clubs have expressed definite interest whilst Katie Stewart [West Yorkshire W & G] is to seek other interested clubs from outside the current UAJCA catchment. Geographically the four existing 'Hub' clubs are at some distance and inclusion of clubs nearer the centre of the patch would help create a fixture programme more readily achievable both midweek and at weekends.

2022 GIRLS' LEAGUE AWARDS
TEAM AWARD RECIPIENT CLUB
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP CROSSFLATTS GIRLS
FESTIVAL CUP Gt HORTON CHURCH GIRLS
 
TOP GIRL BATTER Ava Tarren Crossflatts
TOP GIRL BOWLER Eva Walker Skipton
TOP GIRL FIELDER [jt] Betsy Wilkinson Crossflatts
TOP GIRL FIELDER [jt] Umaima Salman Gt Horton Ch
TOP GIRL KEEPER Ava Tarren Crossflatts
 
CRICKETER-of-the-Year BRONZE Eva Walker Skipton
CRICKETER-of-the-Year SILVER Betsy Caton Crossflatts
CRICKETER-of-the-YEAR GOLD Aliza Hafiz Gt Horton Ch

CROSSFLATTS THE FIRST UAJCA GIRLS CHAMPIONS

Our historic small Girls' League is now concluded.

Amongst the final fixtures sadly Skipton Girls declined the fixture with Crossfaltts as they were unable to raise a team and seemingly unable to offer a revised fixture date. This has left Crossflatts as undefeated Champions in our first ever season. Congratulations to Crossflatts Girls [pictured], their coaches and managers and all at the club in their well-deserved success.

Without doubt they have been the team to beat and have set the bar at pretty high level for others to follow. And of course we sincerely hope they will. In 2023 we hope that more teams will join the league and potentially we may be able to also offer an uneder-9s section and/or an over 11s competition. So if your clubs is considering these sort of options, we at UAJCA ar extremely keen to support the growing interest in Girls' cricket.

GREAT HORTON CHURCH GIRLS' WIN FIRST GIRLS' FESTIVAL CUP
Great Horton Church defeated Skipton Girls in the semi-final of the inaugural Girls Festival Cup on Sunday 21st August at the Sandylands ground. The Bradford club's Girls netted 267-6 [97-6] in their 12 overs [Aliza Hafiz 11, Sylvie Johnson 2-11] whilst The Skipton reply tallied 238-8 [73-8] with Sylvie scoring 10 and Penny McDonnell 10.  Umaima Salman grabbed 2-6 to help GHC to victory.

The Final was contested between Great Horton Church and Crossflatts.  The Crossflatts Girls posted 248-4 [68-4] with league regulars Betsy Wilkinson [15] and Poppy Turner [10] leading the way whilst Aamal Gulzar did her best with 2-2- to halt them in their tracks. In a gripping finale the Great Horton Church girls posted 258-4 [78-4] with Aliza Hafiz [12], Safyyah Anwar [11] and Umaima Salman [10] did sufficient with their batting to capture the Girls' Trophy by 10 runs. The 3rd=4th play-off match was won by 1 run by the Settle girls, thanks principally to the batting of 2021 young Girl Cricketer Betsy Caton combined with a pair of wickets for Mia McGoldrick. 

1st Gt Horton Church, 2nd Crossflatts, 3rd Settle, 4th Skipton

All four UAJCA Girls' teams [Skipton, Settle, Great Horton Church & Crossflatts] are to play a Festival format competition at Skipton CC on 21st August [start 09:00 am] for the UAJCA Girls' Softball Pairs Cup. The ground will be split to enable two games to  be played simultaneously. The format will be 12-overs aside Pairs with each pair of batters batting for 3 overs. The bowling schedule will allow 4 bowlers to bowl 2 overs and 4 bowlers to each bowl 1 over. Normal Pairs format playing regulations will  apply. The draw will  be undertaken by the four managers on the day. The winners of the first two matches will then play the Final with the two losing teams playing off for third-fourth place. The winners will receive the Cup and individual medals with medals for runners-up. The winners will also be re-receive the cup at the Annual Presentation Night on 30th September at Bingley.

21st AUGUST [09:00am]

THE GIRLS' SOFTBALL PAIRS CUP FESTIVAL

HISTORY MAKING GIRLS GET UAJCA LEAGUE OFF TO FLYING START
Great Horton Church girls' under-11 team got the new league off to a great start turning out in their resplendent pink and blue kit. The Skipton girls' await their kit but together the two teams achieved their little piece of history. Skipton batted first scoring a highly creditable 279-2 [89-2]. Top batter as Ellie Walters [19] with strong backing from Sylvie Johnson [15] and Lily Green [14].  The GHC bowlers persevered ell with Summayah Mir returning 1-2. GHC batting was led by Aamyra Murad with 8 and Amaarah Patel [5] whilst Lily Green, Macie Lambert & Ella Foster all gained a wicket each to add to one run out. GHC tallied 238-4
FIRST GIRLS' LEAGUE MATCH 29 MAY
Sunday 29th May also sees our first ever Girls' league match. Its between Skipton and Great Horton Church at Skipton Cricket Club, start time 10:00am. Its an opportunity for girls that may be contemplating playing cricket to see the softball experience at under-11 age-group. Get along and see the fun unfold!!!
TEAM MANAGER CONTACTS FOR GIRLS' TEAMS
Club Contact
Crossflatts Charlotte Boulton
Gt Horton Church Tayaba Parveen
Settle Nick Cokell
Skipton David Bunyan
HISTORIC FIRST GIRLS' LEAGUE AGREED
UAJCA Members have agreed to launch a new Girls' League in 2022. Four clubs have taken up their options and will compete on either Sunday mornings or a mid-week evening according to each club's preference. Congratulations to Crossflatts CC, Great Horton Church CC, Settle CC & Skipton CC in making this historic step forward for UAJCA. We believe it is the first ever club-level league for girls in West Yorkshire. Watch this space and website for fixtures and more details shortly.
STARTING A GIRLS' SECTION
Here is a Power-point Presentation on how to set up a Girls section in a club. CLICK HERE
GIRLS  CRICKET STRATEGY FROM 2021 in UAJCA

A growing number of girls have hitherto experienced friendly matches, league matches against boys, representative matches, and festival matches. A veritable smorgasbord of experience for girls ranging from age 9 to 15. Additionally, girls training during the winter along with Ji Mukherjee, Sam Solley, and others has helped many to progress. An ambience for the girls to collectively enjoy the benefits of team and club camaraderie has been created. During the period girls have also continued to play alongside boys for their original clubs, to which they have rightly given precedence. The more skilled girls have been directed towards representative cricket with substantial numbers achieving county or Regional status with financial assistance from North Yorkshire. The UAJCA database currently shows 57 girls registered to play, a record number I believe. But there are Issues.....

In providing this experience one man has acted as manager, coach, umpire, frequently almost unaided in organisational matters. His club, Haworth CC has been extremely supportive in providing their ground for coaching sessions as well as for playing a significant number of matches. The club has readily provided refreshments to support the experience. But there has been no development of a Girls’ committee or coaching group with whom to share the considerable workload. Organisationally, playing girls’ teams against boys’ teams is not such a good idea and trying to gain commitment to girls’ representative matches within an incomplete Pathway, when local club matches are also on offer has proved testing.

In short, the massive energy input has not hitherto rubbed off to club cricketers or parents that might take on managerial and organisational roles to enable further progress. Indeed, we consider that the process of drawing together girls from disparate clubs is a solution that naturally runs out of steam in view of the stunted Pathway. The counter attraction of playing with and against boys for their own clubs, remains the primary attraction in comparison with the current state of girls-only cricket.

The way forward

We believe that the only viable organisational approach is to develop club teams for girls within UAJCA.  As the numbers have almost doubled that prospect might seem a little more attainable. However, to continue this development will need concerted efforts from UAJCA clubs. We cannot dabble with this; it has to be a concerted effort backed by senior club committees. Efforts to recruit and retain girls have got to be more intense and sustained. Clubs must first of all create a Girls Section with at least five adults to lead the development. Naturally, this is a severe challenge for all UAJCA clubs, many of whom currently struggle with boys’ recruitment.

Once the organisational conundrum is solved and club Girls’ Sections are established, the recruitment needs to be co-ordinated with help from ECB-YCB.  They will not help if clubs are not properly set up to tackle the project seriously. This has first of all to be debated and actively supported by UAJCA clubs and if UAJCA can provide incentives for progress it will of course do so. Financial input must initially come from clubs and parents with the option of dedicated sponsors also a possibility. This will not happen overnight but if UAJCA clubs do really wish to have a Girls [and possibly Women’s] Section, a serious effort must be taken. The Next Steps...

The November UAJCA Clubs meeting included a healthy discussion on the proposed strategy and agreed to seek clubs to begin the process of Hub Clubs. The proposal was supported by the members at the Annul General meeting on 28th January, and three clubs expressed their desire to start the process. They are Skipton CC, Crossflatts CC and Great Horton Church CC.  Furthermore, two other clubs expressed tentative interest in becoming Hub Clubs.

The principal requirement in 2021 is to develop the Women & Girls Committees [WGCs] at the initial Hub Clubs. Once established the process of recruitment can be developed and implemented.

See also the guideline Template from Tunbridge Wells CC featured on the Website Menu.

GIRLS' COACHING BEGINSET DEVELOPMENT

2018

The Girls award this year was joined by a new award of Young Girl Cricketer of the Year to recognise the growing numbers of under-9 girls as well as under-13s.

Hema Bhatoa [Oxenhope] just pipped 3-time winner Lily Bell for the older award whilst the first winner of the young girl award went to Ava Craddock [Earby] thanks to her amazing bowling haul of 18 wickets.

 

In addition the following awards were also presented:

 

Festival Best Player Hema Bhatoa
Festival Young Player
Jessica Clemson-Banks
Under 9B Batting
Freya Craddock
Under 9B Bowling
Freya Craddock


 


UAJCA GIRLS OVERCOME NEW HAWORTH BOYS

Whatever the outcome, manager-coach Neil Bishop couldn't lose as his Girls team took on his new Haworth team! Despite some wet weather the match finished with a comfortable win for the Girls over the young lads. A decent crowd watched the match between the two new sides and thanks must go to Haworth CC for staging the match and providing refreshments. The smile on the face of 6 year-old Betsy Caton's face after she took 2 wickets was priceless!! #getgirlsgoing


GIRLS FESTIVAL 2018

Twenty-One young ladies turned out at a sunny if cool Skipton CC for a first ever Girls Festival in Upper Airedale. It was a great result as the girls played out 3 matches in 3 teams: The Dallas, The Diamonds and the New Yorkers.

10 under-13s and 11 under-9s thoroughly enjoyed their cricket experiences playing with each other rather than battling with boys. Some had not played at all before. The team competition was won by the New Yorkers with the Silver Medals going to the Diamonds with the Dallas team taking Bronze. The managers determined that the u-13 girl of the Festival was Hema Bhatoa and the under-9 award should go to Jessica Clemson-Banks. Both girls will be invited to the UAJCA Presentation Night on Friday 14th September in the prestigious Malham Suite at the Rendezvous Hotel [7:30pm].

The parents were very supportive and showed enthusiasm to the experiment further and build on Neil Bishop's efforts thus far in developing girls team cricket. UAJCA Executive will now plan for a next phase of development during 2019.