Wales U19s entered the second ever U19 challenge cup festival at Malvern College between August 23rd & 25th with a good young squad. They were undefeated over the three days and were eventually crowned winners on the Saturday afternoon.
The week leading up to the festival the weather forecast was one of the main concerns as it has been all summer. The forecast was good for the Thursday and then horrendous, with the possibility of thunder and lightening Friday and Saturday; not what you expect for the end of August.
We arrived on the Thursday morning and there was no sign of any rain but the pitch was saturated from a downpour on the Wednesday evening. We did manage to get underway on time after loosing the toss to Surrey who elected to bowl as expected. Wales openers Lauren Parfitt and Kath Taylor got Wales off to a solid start on a difficult wicket putting on 50 for the first wicket. Kath Taylor was then dismissed for 19. Wales then lost a succession of quick wickets with Lauren Parfitt holding the innings together aided by Ffion Wynne who contribution with a quick 10. Lauren Parfitt batted the whole innings and was the final wicket to fall after scoring a fluent 57. Wales finished on 122 off 40 overs loosing out on 10 overs of batting.
Wales knew they needed to bowl and field well to dismiss Surrey for less than 122. Wales made an excellent start with Naomi Williams Wadley (9-2-25-3) taking three early wickets she was supported well by Rebecca Struthers at the other end. The slow and turning nature of the wet wicket made spin key and with the introduction of Ffion Cartwright (9-0-16-2) bowling off-spin and Lauren Parfitt (5.3-1-9-4) bowling her first ever spell of slow left arm they ripped through the Surrey batting line up dismissing them for 82 giving Wales a 40 run victory.
The forecast was for rain from 1.00pm on Friday so no one expected to get a full days play in, but we started on time loosing the toss to Gloucester who predictably choose to bowl. Gloucester got off to a good start getting the run-out of Nicola McCabe off the first ball of the innings which brought Megan Burton to the crease she started to build a partnership with Lauren Parfitt who was then caught by second slip. Rebecca Struthers who was feeling a little under the weather arrived at the crease and put on an excellent partnership of 165 with Megan Burton. Rebecca Struthers was eventually dismissed for 69 her best innings of the season. Megan continued to bat confidently striking the ball cleanly bringing up her century in the 47th over and eventually finishing on 106 not out with Wales posting a challenging score of 233 for 4 off 50 overs.
The rain had stayed away and unexpectedly Gloucester’s innings got under way with Wales making early inroads with excellent opening spells from Cerys Thomas and Naomi Williams-Wadley (6-1-8-3). Lauren Parfitt (6-3-6-2) bowled a second spell off good slow left arm on another helpful wicket leaving Gloucester all out for 74 and Wales winning by 159 runs. This second win put Wales in a commanding position for the final day of the festival where the opposition would be Yorkshire, who had also won their opening two games so in effect the Saturday was finals day.
On our way to dinner on the Friday evening the heavens opened and the there was torrential rain for four hours which continued on and off throughout the night. This meant the chances of play on the Saturday were looking unlikely as the pitch was already wet. Saturday morning came and the pitch was soaking so the start was delayed till 12.30pm and with the forecast the decision was taken to play a T20 fixture instead of a 50 over game that was unlikely to finish.
Yorkshire won the toss and decided to bowl. Wales posted a solid score of 95 for 8 off 20 overs in very difficult conditions on a pitch with huge boundaries. Megan Burton top scored with 45 and was well supported by Ffion Cartwright 15. The conditions were not ideal as it was looking like it could rain at anytime but the Yorkshire innings started and Rebecca Struthers bowled and excellent spell of (4-0-16-2) along with Lauren Parfitt (3-0-10-2). Some excellent fielding by the Wales team Ffion Cartwright getting two vital run outs saw Yorkshire bowled out for 78 off 18.4 overs which meant Wales won the game and the festival. The game couldn’t have finished at a better time as the players were walking off the field the rain started along with violent thunder and lightning flooding the whole ground within minutes.
This was an excellent end to the season for the U19 team and for Welsh Cricket; the girls who were there played some excellent cricket and were impeccably behaved as always. Well Done!
Wales U19 Squad Malvern 2012
Naomi Williams-Wadley ©
Megan Burton (WK)