Softball takes off as ladies’ cricket thrives at Welbeck
Despite the pandemic, Welbeck Cricket Club's ladies section is thriving both with the hardball and softball games.
The club have a ladies team in the Premiership but the Welbeck Wildcats softball team offer an easier way to take up the sport at beginners' level from their base at the John Fretwell Leisure Complex.
“The 2021 season sees us fielding four ladies teams, two softball teams, one Super8s and one Premiership team.- an amazing achievement in such a short space of time and in spite of the restrictions and setbacks of COVID-19, said Welbeck ladies' representative Liz French.
“It's an achievement we’re very proud of and we aim to improve on next year with a second Super8s team and a First Division team to feed into the Premiership team.”
Three members of the Premiership team have been selected for the Notts Ladies County team and one of their members has been selected and played for the Loughborough Lightnings U21.
“Welbeck has already produced two recent England cricket players and we may well have a few still to come, said Welbeck ladies,” said French.
“Libby Armitage, Molly Greasby, Elizabeth Grantham-Woodhouse, Hester Dakin, Eadie Walker, Faith Tacey, Ashlie Richardson, Gracie Ward and Amy Batterham play for Notts Juniors and Rhiannon Knowling-Davies and Maddie Ward have played regularly for Loughborough Lightnings Academy. Both of these and Ella Porter play for Notts ladies.”
On the game of softball cricket, she explained: “It was established to give adult ladies the chance to take up cricket at beginners level. Each innings lasts 16 overs and no protective equipment is required.
“Runs are scored based on pairs cricket scoring and to maintain motivation, the team loses five points for a wicket and the player can continue batting. At each fixture three teams will play and there are three games.
“Ladies enjoy softball because it not only gives them the chance to easily take part in a team sport but still enjoy a bit of competition. The ethos of the games is all about learning and fixtures and training are very informal.
“Our ladies love it for the opportunity to keep fit no matter what their age or ability - our oldest ladies are in their 60s - and the sense of community and friendship. Many ladies come down to training with their mum/daughter/sister/aunty. It’s very family friendly and it supports both mental and physical well-being.”
French continued: “We first established a ladies team four years ago to meet the needs of a growing number of Welbeck ladies players coming through the county junior set up. In their first year they won promotion and have maintained their position in the Premier Division.
“Two years ago we introduced ladies softball, and with strong numbers, opted to put a team in the newly formed EMWCL women’s softball leagues – this year we have entered two teams. We also introduced beginners hardball for ladies keen to learn and improve their cricket and put a team in the newly formed EMWCL beginners hardball (Super 8s) league.