The Under 16 Flames had a familiar look to it as the ‘22/’23 season got underway, with many of last year’s team still eligible to play. However, there were a number of girls who had made the step up from the Year 7/8 team from last year, plus a couple of girls who were brand new to Cricket, so we ended up with a squad of 13 to choose from most weeks. This proved to be most beneficial in the end, as our older players often played in one or other of the Division One squads on Saturday afternoons. It meant some players got a lot of extra cricket, but no one was complaining!
The games before Christmas were a mixed bag. The weather got the best of us for three out of the first seven games, which was annoying. When we did play there were some great skills and exceptional team spirit on display Technically, we only managed one win (against OBC), but what a win it was! We bowled them out for 92, before Summer, Phoebe, and Lucy smashed their way to 94/1 in under 20 overs. There was some excellent fielding and bowling in the run up to Christmas too, with India taking three catches in one match (against Sydenham) to have five catches before the break, and Phoebe, Grace, Lily M, India, and Liesl all sharing plenty of wickets.
We started the New Year with just as much enthusiasm as we finished and started to pick up a few wins here and there, too. A very close loss to Selwyn on the hottest day in living history – it was well over 30° for most of the morning! – was a hard pill to swallow, although India did take another three catches on the day. Conversely, the return match against Selwyn three weeks later saw our girls turn the tables for a close win of their own, with Lucy top scoring and both Millie and Xenia occupying the crease for long periods of time. Other players to shine with the bat during the early part of the year were Phoebe (with a brilliant 49 against OBC), Lily M, Ariana, and Summer.
The last part of the season was when the girls really hit their straps. We started with a big win over OBC, bowling them out for 69 with a great all round team performance, then making 70 for the loss of only two wickets, thanks to a great partnership between Millie and Summer. Then, we picked up a third win of the season against Selwyn – a team we love to play, due to their great team spirit – with a number of individual performances of note. Xenia played a beautifully judged innings of 28 from 61 balls, before picking up two wickets with her bowling. India got 2/4 from her 2.4 overs. And Mookee bowled a couple of magnificently deceptive overs for only two runs! Great contributions with the bat during the last part of the season were made by Grace, Lily W, and Liesl. Meanwhile India, Millie, Luce, and Makayla picked up a slew of wickets to finish the year off in style.
The Flames ended up third on the table, which probably summed up the season quite nicely; you win some, you lose some. But through it all, there was a lot of fun, some great camaraderie, and a lot of learning. Massive thanks to our Coach, Bruce; Chief Organiser, Aunty Helen; and all those parents who helped out every Saturday. Good luck to those Flames who are moving up to Division One, while to everyone else: thanks very much and we’ll do it all again next season.