Glorious sunshine greeted the first ever Roehampton CC Women’s Cricket Festival up on the Heath on the afternoon of Friday 30th August.
Much had been discussed within the current set up of the cricket club about the day, who would come, how many people would turn up, would it be a success… Come 4pm, and with a variety of drills and skill sessions set up, players began to appear. From all over Roehampton, Putney and further afield, mums, sisters, wives and friends of current RCC juniors and players. People who had never played before, family members who had been subjected to hours of test match cricket or tedious stories about how unfortunate their spouses were to get out to ‘the best ball ever bowled’ the preceding Saturday, made the decision to come along to see what it was all about.
The afternoon covered the basics of cricket, from some of the more obscure words used (googly, duck, LBW to name a few) to the rules required to play a game. From that, and with the men’s 1st team captain Dharmesh taking care of the male juniors who had come along with their parents (did we ask him to do that because he is the same height as all of them?), Club Chair Marc ‘Mods’ Moderegger and 2nd team captain Josh Willmott started going through some of the skills required in our great game.
After an unusually exuberant warm up, fielding skills were up first, which involved catching (little did we know Mods was to pull off the catch of the season the following day in the 2s last league game), stopping the ball, as well as over and under arm throwing. As the confidence grew amongst the players, more and more spectacular catches were taken, particularly amongst the younger members in attendance.
In between sessions the important art of taking a drinks break was also practiced, with a variety of cold squash drunk from plastic cups enjoyed by all.
Next up was, let's be honest, the most fun bit - Batting! Hitting a stationary ball off of a tee was quickly progressed to facing a moving ball, with all of the players quickly picking up the technique and showing impressive natural hand eye coordination. As the net got even more peppered with balls being whacked back at it, we decided to move on to bowling, and probably one of the most unnatural things anyone can do in any sporting environment.
From starting off at a base position, the fundamentals of bowling were talked through and practiced, with the assembled players quickly picking up this skill and a number progressing quickly into bowling off a couple of paces. Accuracy also quickly improved across the board, to the point whereby everyone was ready for what we believe to be the first ever game of RCC Women’s cricket. By this point the numbers had grown to 19, meaning 2 pretty equal teams were divided up, and took to the field for this exciting occasion.
Local MP Justine Greening, and Roehampton CC Vice-President, had kindly taken some time out of what we can only assume is a pretty busy time of year to come along and support, and with that she batted in the first pair. Disappointingly no one managed to get in any sort of ‘backstop’ joke - we’ll have to save the art of sledging for the next time. Playing softball cricket rules, and batting in pairs, everyone bowled 1 over and each pair batted for 2 overs. Unfortunately, we never decided on team names, so for the sake of this report I’ve referred to each team as ‘Team 1’ and ‘Team 2’ in a rather unimaginative fashion, apologies.
Team 1 batted strongly in the face of some accurate bowling from Team 2, posting a total of 53 from their allocated overs with a number of 4s hit and some good running between the wickets helping the score tick along regularly. After a quick turnaround of innings, team 2 set about their chase. Some big hitting early on got the scoreboard rolling before some late wickets helped peg the Team 2 score back. One particularly big 6 a highlight from Team 2’s innings!
In the end Team 2 finished on top, however after a quick pack up we all retired back to the clubhouse for a BBQ and some drinks, and to discuss more the brilliant game that is cricket.
The day was a huge success, not only in hopefully introducing the game to a wider audience and introducing the mighty RCC to more people in our community, but also in continuing to promote the game to as many new players as possible. None of this would be possible without a lot of hard work from a number of individuals, Dharmesh, Josh and Helen for helping out with the coaching and looking after the juniors, and in particular Mods and Elaine for all of their work organising the day.
Which leaves only one more thought… How long will it be before we see our first ever competitive RCC Women’s team take to the field? Based on last Friday, it might be sooner than you think.