Jersey undefeated winners in European Women's Festival
The increasingly rapid development of European women’s cricket was underlined in Utrecht last week as teams from six countries took part in a Twenty20 tournament in a refreshingly festival atmosphere.
Previous tournaments of this kind have been hosted by Belgium, but this season it was the Kampong club which hosted the event at its Maarschalkerweerd complex, where the availability of three grounds meant that all six sides could be in action simultaneously.
Jersey, the eventual winners, Gibraltar and Estonia were participating for the first time, joining defending champions Germany, Belgium and a Dutch invitation eleven in a round-robin competition.
Hungary, who have taken part in the past, were unable to do so this year for financial reasons, but one Hungarian player, Anna Lovrics, currently staying in the Netherlands, guested with the Belgian team, and it must be hoped that now that Hungary has become an ICC member, she will be able to appear for her own country next season.
Led by Gemma Dunning, a former Yorkshire Under-19 player, Jersey went through the competition undefeated, and confirmed their superiority with an 8-wicket victory over Germany in Saturday’s final.
Belgium finished third by virtue of a narrow 4-run win against the Netherlands XI in their final round-robin match. Estonia were just pipped for fifth place by Gibraltar, but they had produced what turned out to be their best performance of the week in their opening match against the Gibraltarians, losing by just two 2 runs in a tense encounter.
For all the teams, however, the week was as much about gaining experience and learning new skills as it was about the results, and for many it was a first opportunity to play on a turf pitch. The Estonian squad also benefited from a coaching clinic from members of the Dutch national women’s side.
There were plenty of notable individual performances, including two half-centuries for Belgium’s Catherine Cook, twelve wickets for the Dutch skipper Meike Lubbers and some excellent bowling by Danielle Moore of Belgium, and fine allround efforts by Germany’s Maura Brauser and Gibraltar’s Noelle Laguea.
Dunning’s unbeaten 36 in the final was also a very good innings, and sealed her claim on the Player of the Tournament award.
It may be early days, but Jersey’s performances here lead one to wonder how long it will be before they are ready to join Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland in ICC Europe’s European Women’s Division 1 championship, at least in the Twenty20 format.
© Jersey Cricket Board & CricketEurope 2013