Cambridge University Women's Cricket Club

Michaelmas Training Review 2013

Diving onto crash mats, hurling balls at coconuts and smacking tennis balls at each other: a typical Cambridge University Women’s Cricket Club indoor fielding session. It's great fun but actually getting out into the middle seems a frustratingly long way away after a cycle to the now ghostly looking Fenner's in the pouring rain. Winter training is a time to build on what you learnt about the weaknesses in your own game during the previous season, whether that is reading the bowler's length against the faster ball, increasing the amount of turn in your leg breaks or boosting your confidence with close catching. You have to feel as happy as possible with your technical game when you move out of doors at the beginning of Easter term before the pressure of a real game situation is added to the equation. There is a huge difference between facing fifty almost identical balls on the bowling machine and suddenly having to come in and start scoring at six runs and over against their opening bowler, or between practising bowling your ideal six balls in an empty net and having to bounce back from being hit for four and reapply the pressure on the batsman for the remainder of the over. Of course you can never have a perfect game and there will always be technical issues to think about and improve on but if your head is still filled with thoughts about how straight your back lift is when the bowler is running in, then you are definitely less likely to score those winning runs.It's sometimes hard to relate what we do in the nets to an actual match situation, since it's not quite like some other team sports, where you might be able to practice match play in the off season. We can manufacture match situations by imposing scoring rates for instance, but it can never be a substitute for actual match experience. We learnt an important lesson in this department when we were lucky enough to have a coaching session with two of the England women's squad last winter, who said that when you go into a net, play how you would in a match. If you would leave that ball at the beginning of your innings in a match, then why play it in the first five minutes of your net session? Many thanks must go to our coaches (Chris Scott and Steve Taylor) whose intricate and entertaining drills - although they often look like the world's most confusing obstacle course - make these sessions a great way to work on our technical skills. It's our own responsibility, however, to get the most out of this precious indoor training time so that we are as ready as possible when the sun (hopefully) comes out after Easter.

Things are looking promising for CUWCC to have an even more successful season than last year, after the return of some key players from years abroad, and more strength in depth than ever before. The influx of players joining our beginners' programme has also been hugely encouraging, reflecting the growth of women’s cricket generally, and we wish the England women the best of luck this winter as they seek to retain the Ashes in Australia in the new extended format that means the series, beginning in January, is decided on more than just one test match.

If you're interested in trying out cricket, we have open sessions on Fridays from 4-6pm for beginners during Michaelmas and Lent. Contact our captain Nikhila Ravi (nr338) for more information!

Season review 2012-13

Over the last year, the popularity of women’s cricket at Cambridge has seen a dramatic increase. Open training sessions throughout the year have attracted many new players, including those trying out the game for the first time, as well as several experienced players.

This year, for the first time, CUWCC entered the BUCS indoor tournament, held in Edgbaston in November. This was a fantastic opportunity for the new players to get a chance to represent the University and get some match practice early on in the year. Despite unfamiliar rules and format, CUWCC performed well, ending up in third place overall, losing only to Loughborough and Birmingham.

A highlight of our winter season was the visit from England players Beth Morgan and Lydia Greenway to one of our training sessions.

Lydia, arguably one of the game’s greatest fielders, shared her expertise of this facet of the game. Her textbook perfect demonstrations, especially the dive catch, were spectacular to watch!

Lydia and Beth, both skilled with the bat, also helped to broaden the team’s repertoire and quality of shots. Lydia expertly demonstrated the sweep shot and some beautiful leg side drives, and the CUWCC girls did their best to emulate her grace and technique!

At a time when women’s cricket is gaining so much popularity at Cambridge, it was fantastic to receive this support from such inspirational cricketers, and all the girls who were selected to attend, both experienced players and newcomers, found the experience enjoyable and motivating.

The increase in the size of the squad during the winter ensured that CUWCC were able to put out a full team to every match during the summer season, a feat that has been problem in the past due to exams in Easter term.

In the BUCS outdoor league CUWCC secured easy wins over Leicester, Warwick and Loughborough. Unfortunately the match against Oxford was rained off, and this coupled with some games conceded by Loughborough, meant CUWCC ended in 3rd place in the league.

This year, CUWCC secured a convincing victory in our annual match against the Army ladies team, a pleasant change from the Army’s usual dominance in this game.

The one-day Varsity match at Lord’s this year was an emotional roller coaster for the team, spectators and everyone involved. After winning the toss, Captain Neeru Ravi chose to bat first. Opening batswomen Nikhila Ravi and Helen Webster got the team off to a spectacular start, putting up a solid partnership of 159 runs on the board. Just as Nikhila Ravi made her debut century on the nursery ground, the heavens opened and play had to be paused. CUWCC at this point were on a score of 229 runs off 42.3 overs having only lost one wicket. Unfortunately, the rain was relentless and so the decision was made to conclude CUWCC’s batting innings, and resume with Oxford’s batting innings with a reduced number of overs when the rain stopped.

This was the first time any of the scorers or umpires had ever had to calculate Duckworth-Lewis revised scores. Fortunately, Mr Lewis himself was on hand to lend his expert support.

A team photo with Mr Lewis himself!

After an hour of tortuous waiting, play resumed and Cambridge went out to field. However, by the time no more than 6 overs had been bowled, another downpour stopped play.

After much deliberation between the umpires and groundsmen, a difficult decision was made to terminate the game on the account of the pitch being unsafe.

CUWCC were clearly on track for a spectacular victory over Oxford, reinstating their dominance in the 50 over format of the game, and defending their historic winning streak at Varsity.

Despite the crushing disappointment, it cannot be doubted that CUWCC had the moral victory in this year’s one day Varsity.

The Varsity T20 was a completely different turn of events. After winning the toss again, Cambridge elected to bat first. However, the loss of some early wickets of key players put Cambridge in a precarious position. A superb effort by fresher Chloe Allison steadied the batting performance, but CUWCC only managed to put a total of 81 runs on the board.

Despite the pace bowling of Piya Haria and Neeru Ravi and the best chinamen deliveries from Maya Hanspal, Oxford reached the total of 82 runs with the loss of 2 wickets.

This has been a year of ups and downs, but CUWCC continue to improve and strengthen as a team and club with each year. Next year promises to be a fantastic year, with almost the full Varsity team staying on, and the return of two key players from their year abroad.

Following the AGM at the end of the season, the committee welcomes Nikhila Ravi as Captain for the coming year, Maya Hanspal as treasurer, Chloe Allison as secretary, Bethany Randall as social secretary and last year’s Captain Neeru Ravi, staying on as President.

Cambridge County coach Steve Taylor, who has been coaching CUWCC since last year, has done a tremendous job. His innovative coaching activities and supportive presence at matches have been invaluable. Cambridge MCCU coach Chris Scott also deserves thanks for his work with the MCCU players on the team, Neeru Ravi, Nikhila Ravi and Helen Webster.

CUWCC vs MCC

CUWCC vs Army Ladies

CUWCC vs Loughborough

Despite facing a Loughborough team with two England U19 players, CUWCC emerged on top! After winning the toss, and putting Loughborough in to bat, it looked like they were going to run away with a victory as they reached 93 with no loss.

But a crucial wicket triggered a spectacular batting collapse with Loughborough ending up 107 all out! Ingenious spin bowling from Maya Hanspal (7-3-19-3) helped by Nikhila Ravi (4-1-12- 4) and some astounding catches by Piya Haria and Ruth Simmons demolished the Loughborough batting line up!

With a target of 108, the opening batting pair of Rosie Inns and Helen Webster had the daunting task of facing the England U19 opening bowler! Dodging aggressive bouncers and vicious bodyline balls, we managed to see out the opening bowler having lost only two wickets.

The rest of the match was finished off with ease with Nikhila Ravi (34 not out), Neeru Ravi (16 runs) and Rose Inns (10 runs)!

CUWCC vs Leicester

CUWCC vs Warwick

CUWCC's cricket season is well under way! We cruised to a win in our second match against Warwick today! Some top class bowling from Piya Haria (4 wickets) and Maya Hanspal (3 wickets) with help from Ruth Simmons and Ellie Davies saw Warwick all out for just 38 runs! The opening batting pair of Helen Webster and Nikhila Ravi knocked off the score with ease landing CUWCC our first win of the season!

CUWCC vs Nottingham