WOMEN’S cricket is thriving in the Observer area – as two recent battles between Chichester Priory and Selsey proved.
With a much-changed squad, Chichester began their season in the Sussex Women’s Development League with a double header against their local rivals.
The first fixture saw Selsey elect to bat first. Excellent bowling from Olivia Walmsley on her debut (4-4) and Rachel Kellagher restricted the experienced Selsey batting line-up to 99 all out, with Emma Bain top-scoring with 17.
In reply Chichester started strongly with Emma Bennison retiring on 32 and Demelza Peake retiring with 30. Unfortunately inexperience told and the innings ran out of steam, falling seven runs short with one wicket in hand.
The return fixture saw Chichester put in and they opened with a four by captain Bennison.
Selsey’s bowlers, however, were determined to keep Chichester’s run rate down. Gemma Halford set the trend with her opening maiden, followed by wickets in her next two overs.
Selsey captain Bain also bowled a maiden, as did Michelle Ackhurst and Jodie Gower – the latter bowling a wicket maiden.
Lucy Crawley took two wickets in two overs – one a caught-and-bowled, the other straight into the trusty hands of Denise Orford.
Selsey kept the pressure on with tight fielding and wicket-keeper Pam Baker did an excellent job, at times even putting her body on the line.
Charlie Irving and the rest of the fielders did well to prevent runs and boundaries and the Chichester batters were unable to reach double figures.
Wickets were spread evenly around the Selsey team and in the reply, Selsey made their intentions evident from the start, with seven off the first over.
Despite excellent pace bowling from Kellagher, the experience of Orford (16no) and Halford (28no) ensured Selsey rapidly reached their target of 59 with 13 overs to spare.
Halford found the boundary five times and Orford hit four boundaries with ease.
Thanks to advice and coaching from Billy Matlock and Alec Vincent, Selsey ladies – aka the Crabettes – are looking confident, having won three out of the four matches played so far this season.