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Northern Cricket Union Female Domestic Season Review

Richard White
Cricket Development Team

North Down Ladies 2016NCU Domestic Cricket Report

Over recent years a lot of hard work has taken place within The Northern Cricket Union (NCU) to develop ladies cricket. Season 2016 saw the inaugural Ladies Challenge Cup, a competitive Premier League and a Division One.

Challenge Cup Report 

Eight of the nine clubs playing female league cricket competed for the knockout Challenge Cup, with a first round, semi final and final. Waringstown, Instonians, Muckamore and North Down all progressed into the semi finals at the expense of CSNI, Armagh, Lurgan and Laurelvale. Waringstown beat Muckamore by 9 wickets and North Down overcame Instonians by 92 runs to progress to the showpiece final. Hosting the final at The Lawn Waringstown batted first and were soon in trouble at 25 for 6, however captain Judith Latimer rescued their innings with 22 runs to give Waringstown a total of 76 to defend.

Waringstown Ladies 2016Laura Clarke's 4 wickets for 21 runs was pivotal in restricting the Waringstown innings. North Down made a rapid start in pursuit of their target spearheaded by Amy Benson's hard hitting 35 (retired).With Benson now on the sideline, wickets started to fall and the pressure built due to Cara Murray's 4 wickets for 30 runs. In a tense finale the North Down middle order held their nerve to become winners of the Challenge Cup in the penultimate over by 4 wickets.

Premier League

The two cup finalists along with Lurgan, CSNI, Muckamore and Armagh contested the NCU Premier League. Lurgan made the competition a three way battle, however it was Warringstown with nine wins out of their ten games that lifted the premier league trophy. There were notable performances from Cara Murray, Naomi Matthews and Charlotte Lyons who all impressed with bat and ball. North Down finished runners up in the league as Amy Benson, Laura Clarke and Sandi Harrison performed well throughout the season. 

Division One
Instonians and Laurelvale Ladies 2016Three cricket clubs, Laurelvale, Instonians and Templepatrick competed for the Division One trophy. Instonians and Laurelvale finished the season as joint winners. Laurelvale's Nicola Roberts impressed by scoring runs and picking up wickets consistently.

2016 has been a successful year for domestic NCU female cricket as the ladies game continues to develop. An increasing number of girls are starting to play cricket at primary school where they are taught the basics of the game. Learning the fundamentals at an early age will improve the standard of the game in the years ahead. Secondary schools are also offering female cricket coaching and the skills learned can be showcased at the Super 8's competition at the end of the school year. It is evident that the game is growing with the number of spectators watching the Challenge Cup Final as well as teams registering to play female league cricket within the two tiers of the NCU. 

NB: In twenty over games batswomen retire at 35 runs scored and in twenty five over games when 50 runs have been scored. They may return to the crease at the fall of the penultimate wicket.