IT was a case of so near, yet so far for the Ribble Valley Girls’ Under 13s cricketers.
Playing as Lancashire champions in the North Regional Finals of the Lady Taverners Cricket Tournament at Harrogate Cricket Club, the locals knew a win would take them through to the National Finals.
The day had started well with a comprehensive win against the Northumberland champions.
Steady bowling and aggressive batting saw Ribble Valley restrict their opponents to 42 runs whilst knocking up an impressive 77 in the 10 overs-a-side format game.
Both Eleanor Graham and Saphi Stamford had to retire on 20.
In the second match, against the Cheshire champions, the locals’ bowling was not up to its usual standard, but the 51 Cheshire scored was never enough and was overtaken in the eighth over.
The Yorkshire champions, from Richmond, had also won both of their matches so the final match of the day was set up as a winner-takes-all game.
Ribble Valley’s bowling and fielding was magnificent and they restricted a strong batting line-up to only 41 runs.
Kate Hopkins again bowled well with two wickets in her over which cost only three runs.
Sadly, 41 was to prove too much.
The Richmond bowlers got significant movement through the air and most balls were either wide or impossible to score from.
Apart from a courageous knock of 11 by Annabel Mayson, none of the other batters could make any headway and were left needing four to win off the last ball – which they couldn’t make.
The girls and watching parents from all four counties enjoyed an excellent day’s cricket - which would have been even better with the addition of just one more boundary!
The Ribble Valley team (pictured, s) was:
Back, from left: Niamh Kay, Saphi Stamford, Eleanor Graham, Kate Hopkins; Front, Zoe Simpson, Martha Smith, Charlotte Ashton, Annabel Mayson.