On Sunday, and seeking something close to home, for the second time this season I made the short trip over the River Ure to Alne, this time for a women's match with Ribble Valley Raiders making the journey from Lancashire for a Group 1 match in the ECB Women's Club Cup. The website for the competition did not show a start time so armed with the deck chair and the Sunday paper I arrived well in advance of the start of play. I was impressed to find the Raiders, in coloured clothing, already present and warming up under the supervision of their coach, also dressed in the same fetching shade of pink.
My assumption that all the Raiders were present was corrected when the coach made a phone call which included the advice to look out for a traditional phone box, albeit as this photo shows one slightly on the tilt.
Coming from Lancashire turn right just before the phone box.
The directions proved helpful for shortly afterwards the eleventh Raider arrived and we were underway on time with the visitors batting. Although billed as 'women's cricket' both teams seemed to comprise young players, one couple from Lancashire I spoke to told me that their daughter was only 13. Alne's bowlers had problems finding their range both in terms of height and width, twelve wides conceded and openers Liberty Heap and Alice Clarke put together an opening stand of 113 before Liberty was bowled by Jennifer Quick for 66. The innings closed on 167 and the you never knows from Alne supporters lacked conviction.
During the Raiders' innings I chatted with one of the Alne players' mothers who told me that they have in the region of 80 women and girls registered, great stuff, and as she put it, 'so much better than rounders'. The Lancashire bowlers were quicker and straighter and although the Alne openers put on 38 it was at a pace never likely to threaten their target. Runs came almost exclusively from shots to leg and only some lusty clouts towards 'cow corner' from Emily Johnson who finished on 32 not out brought the score to respectability and closure at 94 for 5.
'Cow Corner at Alne'
Action in the competition resumes this Sunday when the Ribble Valley Raiders, based in Clitheroe, will be at home to Saxton Ladies. The full draw is available at ecbwclubt20.play-cricket.com.
Hiding its light under a bush,