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Cricket girls' Dutch adventure

Kent Under 13B girls with their Dutch hosts at the VRA ground in Amsterdam
Kent Under 13B girls with their Dutch hosts at the VRA ground in Amsterdam

A DRAMATIC tie with the Dutch national Under 16 team was the high point for Kent Under 13B girl cricketers during a three-match tour of Holland.

In a low-scoring game played in The Hague, captain Claudia O'Connell, from Hollingbourne, kept her cool in a tense final over.

The Dutch needed two to win but her excellent bowling restricted the Dutch to just a single and claimed two wickets, including the prized scalp of skipper Fleur Fischer who was bowled.

On a rain-affected pitch with a painfully slow outfield, Kent managed just 92 runs for the loss of seven wickets off 35 overs. Zoe Sturgess, from Maidstone, was the only player on either side to hit a boundary.

The total looked easily gettable for a team with four players in the Under 21 national women's squad.

But they also struggled. Needing only two runs off the final over, a Dutch victory still looked assured - until O'Connell's devastating six balls that gave her overall bowling figures of 4-6 in four overs.

In their two other matches, the Dutch proved too strong for the Wonderbees - backed by SeaFrance and Sportsmatch - despite some fine bowling by Kate Stent, from Bexley

In Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, she took the only wicket as Holland posted 169-1 off 40 overs.

Kent were always under pressure from some accurate Dutch bowling, although Laura Bassant, from Vigo Village, offered stiff resistance with 31. But it was not enough and Kent eventually subsided to 114 all out in the 38th over.

In the final match, held at the prestigious VRA ground, Amsterdam, a venue that has featured international matches involving South Africa, Sri Lanka and other Test-playing nations, rain washed out the morning's play. When the match finally got under way, it was reduced to 16 overs a side.

The Dutch won the toss and blasted 115-2. Again, Stent took the only wickets to fall, including Fischer who was bowled first ball. It was the Dutch skipper's first ever golden duck. Kent managed only 64-7 and lost by 51 runs.

All three games were played in good spirit throughout with the Dutch hosts offering warm hospitality. Several friendships were made. There are plans to bring the Dutch team to Kent next summer.

The Kent U13B squad for the Dutch tour were: Claudia O'Connell, captain; Laura Bassant, Kate Stent, Jess Denniff, Emma Perry, Rachael Joynson, Josie Osborn, Caitlin Campbell, Katharine Wickington, Lucy Arman, Miranda Frizzelle, Chloe Seymour and Zoe Sturgess. Manager: John Bassant; coach: Andy Stent; scorer: Lesley Stent.

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