In front of a home crowd at Edgbaston Stadium, UoB’s Women’s Cricket secured a thrilling third-place finish at the National Indoor Finals Day on Saturday.
The day was already set to be a spectacle with eight university teams from across the country heading to Birmingham in the hopes of securing the title. Competing in Group 2, Birmingham faced off against Kent, Edinburgh, and Cardiff Met in three matches to make it through to the semi-finals.
Match 1 against Kent got Birmingham off to a good start with Kent batting first and making 85-5. Tilly Mason bowled incredibly well, finishing with figures of 3-12 off her two overs. When Birmingham came to bat, they cruised along, knocking off the runs required with no wickets lost. Batting highlights included Gemma Porter’s 27* and Tilly Mason’s 24*.
Birmingham’s second match against Edinburgh was more of a challenge. After batting first, Birmingham put on an impressive 82-4 with Mason again scoring freely, making 28*. She was well supported by Ellie Harris who defied Edinburgh’s bowlers and scored an extra 11* runs to Birmingham’s total. Once again, Birmingham bowled well with Mason taking 2 wickets and Captain Sophie Hoyes also taking 2-22. But Edinburgh just managed to chase down the runs with only five balls to spare.
Match 3 saw Cardiff Met bat first and scoring an incredible 121-1. It was always going to be a tough ask to chase such a huge total and, unfortunately, Birmingham were unable to catch up. However, Holly Reeder’s 21 and Becca Woodnorth’s 12 would prove useful and gave all the Birmingham fans something to cheer for.
After suffering two losses and drawing on points with Edinburgh, a tense waiting game ensued as the match umpires discussed and calculated the run rates to decide who went through to the semi-finals. Eventually, after what was described as “the closest tie they’d seen”, the umpires declared Birmingham through to the semi-final.
Birmingham batted first, making 63-6 with Porter once again showcasing some incredible and scoring 35 runs. Loughborough’s bowlers performed well and restricted Birmingham’s total. It was a difficult innings in which to score however the end total was very defendable.
When Birmingham came to bowl, they started off strongly and managed to contain Loughborough’s famously destructive batters. Hoyes and Porter both took wickets, making Loughborough work hard to chase the runs down. Sadly, Birmingham’s final dreams were not to be as Loughborough managed to win the match with an over to spare – a close game worthy of a semi-final.
Loughborough would go on to win championship, however Birmingham’s performance meant they achieved third in the table. Sophie Hoyes, Birmingham’s Captain, expressed how proud she was of the team.
“We went into the finals with zero expectations,” she said. “But I was massively proud of how everyone performed individually and as a team.” Hoyes went onto say how grateful the squad was for the crowd’s support at Edgbaston. “It really boosted everyone,” she added. “We’re now looking forward to taking our success into the outdoor season!”
The performance in the indoor competition certainly bodes well for the summer’s outdoor championship. With Birmingham already preparing for their next matches, it is safe to say we can expect a lot more excitement from this squad in the months to come!