Brisley won the toss and elected to field to get a feel for competitive cricket. On only the second ball, Brisley wicket keeper Helen Laws took a commendable catch to secure the team’s first official wicket for the Brisley Ladies team, nicknamed “The Belladonnas”.

Wickets then tumbled for Swardeston with unexpected and exciting frequency thanks to tight bowling and excellent fielding. After 11 of the allotted 20 overs, Brisley had Swardeston reeling at 40 runs for 7 wickets. At this point the stumps had tumbled over 3 times, made even more exciting by the flashing bails, a severe confirmation for the batter after hearing the “death rattle” caused by the arm of rookie fast bowler, Alice Waters.

A late flurry of runs from a young Swardeston team ensured that they walked off the oval with heads held high. 75 runs all out on the board and excitement from both camps that this could be a nail biter.

Half Time was met with not just tea and cucumber sandwiches, it was a full-blown BBQ with pudding and all the trimmings. By this stage of the evening the supporters were well hydrated and poised for the coming run chase in what was superb conditions for evening cricket.

Swardeston opened the second half with some excellent fast bowling that confirms their reputation. A quick succession of wickets ensued for Brisley, not used to the pink ball, but also the vicious pace and bounce. Through the entire batting order, Brisley ladies hit some good balls to split the field and Catherine Newey smashing a tremendous 6 to keep the spectators on their toes.

Despite all this, Brisley made it to the 20th over and finished with a commendable 42 runs on the board, Swardeston victorious by 33 runs.

The atmosphere throughout the evening was one of excitement and genuine delight that Brisley ladies, although beaten, held their own and proved their commitment. The crowd of supporters coming to see the ladies first match brought in people who had never been to the clubhouse before and a fantastic community gathering was had by all.

History of the Brisley Ladies team

Summer (2017) Brisley hosted 5 gentlemen’s fixtures, gathering a crowd from Brisley and the surrounding villages of between 80 and 120 people on each occasion, and it was then that some of the local ladies expressed an interest in playing.

At the end of season AGM it was unanimously voted that since there was so much enthusiasm, a ladies team should be formed and both the men’s and ladies involved in the club should actively seek and encourage junior players from Brisley and the surrounding villages and schools. 10 provisional fixtures were booked for 2018 (6 mens, 3 ladies, 1 mixed).

To everyone’s great surprise and delight, dozens of ladies signed up and the ladies team applied and received a National Lottery Community fund to buy kit and update the clubhouse. The Norfolk Cricket Board offered to coach the team and practise ensued at the beginning of this year. A couple of the ladies have played before, but otherwise this is a novice team, ranging in age from 15 to 55.

The first official fixture was last Friday 15 June against Swardeston (see match report above). On 29 June Brisley ladies play Topcroft at home and on the 13 July they play Snettisham away. At the end of the season there is a mixed match planned with the Brisley men’s team, date to be confirmed, but will be a Sunday afternoon in August.

The first recorded cricket match in Brisley was in 1788. It is one of the oldest grounds in Norfolk and had the honour, in the early 1800’s, of Fuller Pilch living and playing in the village. 2018 was the inaugural match for Brisley ladies and from the enthusiasm generated so far, the ladies team is here to stay!

The Brisley Cricket Club openly invites anyone to come along and enjoy the warm and welcoming atmosphere. Matches start at around 5:45pm on Friday evenings with food served from 7:30pm. We advise to bring your own chairs and good sense of humour.

The club is located on the Brisley Green opposite The Brisley Bell, NR20 5DW. The club has ample parking, facilities and a first-class pub across the road.