The Ladies’ team beat Battisford in the Two Counties T20 Challenge (Section B) to complete an unbeaten season and secure the league title at the first time of asking. Since the girls’ section was set up in 2005 when the Academy was established it has been a long and bumpy road trying to establish ladies’ cricket in the club. The absence of ladies’ leagues, leagues which started and folded mid-season, a lack of senior players around whom our developing girls could learn the game at a higher level and, as ever, the lack of a critical mass of players who can form a squad and which would enable us to ensure we can field a team each week presented us with serious obstacles. Bearing this in mind, this is a truly remarkable achievement and a significant milestone for the club.
Last season was a wake up call when we came bottom of the Two Counties Ladies Challenge (35 overs), not having won a game throughout the season and conceding one game to the opposition because we couldn’t field a team. The winter was spent soul-searching, planning and recruiting. We recruited 6/7 new senior players and decided to focus on T20 for 2017. The way in which the team has gelled has been impressive. Our new recruits brought experience and enjoyed playing alongside young, enthusiastic players. Our Academy products found new confidence and began to understand what it was like to win. With a squad ably led by Emma Borgeson and managed by Jo Borgeson, we can now say with some certainty that Ladies cricket is established in Saffron Walden and we can plan ahead to secure further development. Thanks must also go to coaches Nick Down, James Rushford and John Southgate.
Good clubs provide opportunities on and off the field for all; this achievement underpins the quality of SWCC as a club and is a testament to our charitable status, which requires us to be open and inclusive.