Hellingly CC is celebrating 260 years of cricket played at the village. Four years ago, the women and girls of Hellingly decided that they no longer wanted to be behind the scenes baking cakes and doing the teas – this is the 21st Century after all! And so, we decided to start playing!
I decided that I would try and get a small team of women and girls together to play cricket socially. All of us were totally new to the game and absolutely petrified of the hard cricket ball that we had to use! After a season of training and only playing 3 matches, we decided to join a league. We didn’t know which league to enter and so we entered all 3 leagues that Sussex had to offer.
Last year, we decided to go on tour and show other women and girls teams what we are all about; sociable, fun and keeping fit. A win is a bonus, but as long as we are enjoying ourselves then that’s a win for us.
On Saturday 26th May 2018, 10 women woke up very early and excited and looking forward to their second ever cricket tour. We left our meeting point at Hellingly CC, Horsebridge Recreation Ground, around 13.30 and headed West. We went to Somerset; my sister owns a pub there and she was offering a really good price on rooms in return for us advertising her pub on our cricket tops. It’s a small pub called The Old Pound Inn that’s in a village called Aller near Longport.
First stop was at Bramshaw CC in the New Forest to watch a bit of cricket, and have a pint; after which we jumped back in our cars to head towards the pub. We arrived just in time to watch the band Karma Alarm, had dinner and boogied the night away and went to bed after watching an amazing thunder and lightning storm.
We had an early start and long drive to Beckington for our first match on the Sunday and were a bit worried that the match might be called off after the rain storm we had the night before. It was decided with the captain that we would travel over anyway in the hope that the sun may come out and dry the ground and thought we could socialise if nothing else. And guess what? That’s exactly what happened. So, after a delayed start we managed to play a full 25 over match, with a delicious tea in between innings. The Beckington girls were fabulous; they have only been going for a year or so and have never won a match, so winning was a big lift for them
Monday came, and we all woke up feeling a bit hungover, but ready for a 2-match day; one hardball and one softball. Our first match was at Wembdon and we needed to be there for a 10am start. After a very quick breakfast we took a short drive over. The other team won by miles! They did agree to have a pairs match; this means that the batting team bats in pairs, a wicket is not out but 5 runs off the total.
Our last match of the tour was in Weston Super Mare and we played their softball team. The girls were exactly like us, they were hilarious and a mixture of young (16+) and more mature ladies (about 45+yrs); we had an amazing tea and drinks to top it off. We exchanged numbers and are all going to keep in touch.
We arrived back at the pub to find it was nearly empty apart from a few locals. It was decided that since it was our last night, we would get the karaoke machine out and have a crazy unforgettable night singing our hearts out. We had an amazing 4 days away and we have made so many friends. We played serious cricket and softball cricket and discovered muscles that we had forgotten we had and gained some rather colourful bruises. We can’t wait for next year.