SIX primary schools took part in the first ever Tonbridge & Malling Girls Cricket Festival at Kings Hill Cricket Club on June 22.
They were mostly in Year Six but the youngest was Alex in Year Two, who took several wickets.
Wateringbury Primary School were the overall winners after beating West Malling in the final.
Valley Invicta in Kings Hill won the Yorker Plate and Leybourne were triumphant in the Googly Plate. Two pupils from the Discovery School in Kings Hill were among the winners of the Champagne Moment awards.
It was a highly successful launch, with the games played in an impressive sporting manner for such young players.
The winners of the prize for the most sporting team were St George’s Wrotham.
Cllr Jill Anderson, Deputy Mayor for Tonbridge & Malling, presented the prizes and said: ‘It’s absolutely brilliant seeing the girls taking up sport and enjoying it. I’m looking forward to seeing more teams taking part next year.’
The event was organised by the hosts and Town Malling Cricket Club’s two ladies teams, the Swans and Pens, under the guidance of their founder and mentor, Anna Tunnicliff.
Helen Fagg, Kent Cricket’s Women’s and Girl’s Community Officer, said: ‘We’re really grateful to Anna and all the other volunteers throughout the county for arranging these tournaments, which give opportunities to plenty of girls.’
Anna had been involved with Town Malling for many years but when her daughter wanted to get involved, she noticed there were was only one junior girl playing and no female representation among the seniors.
So she trained to be a coach support worker and began coaching the club’s Under-9s and the local primaries’ After School Cricket Club.
At the start of last season, Anna rose through the ranks to qualify as a Level 2 coach. Since then she has inspired and developed a squad of 16 women and formed the two ladies’ teams.
She said: ‘The aim of the women’s team is to encourage women to participate in sport and to be role models to girls in sport.
‘All have found new confidence, new skills, fantastic fun and amazing team spirit.’
The first ever Ladies Only match was held last August, adding a new chapter to more than 300 years of Town Malling’s cricketing history.
The club then fielded its first ever all-girls’ team, the Cygnets, when it hosted the Kent Girls cricket festival in May.
Her passion and drive were recognised when she was named Kent Coach of the Year by the England & Wales Cricket Board.
She was presented with her award by the former England batsman Graham Thorpe, who is now the national side’s batting coach, at the Oval on June 10 during the one-day international against Australia.
If you would like to take part in Town Malling’s inaugural softball festival on July 21 or find out more about the ladies’ section at the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about local clubs with girls’ teams visit www.kentcommunitycricket.co.uk/clubs/womens-girls
PICTURE: GAME CHANGER: Anna Tunnicliff receives her award from Graham Thorpe at The Oval