THREE girls from the same class at Frenchay C of E Primary School have been selected for the Gloucestershire under-11 girls county squad.
Abi Beaumont, Mia Balkwill and Ellie Kempton were picked just three years after being introduced to the sport by coaches visiting the school from their local cricket club Frenchay.
The girls – who were then in Year 3 – had never played the game before the weekly coaching sessions, which were funded by the Cricket Foundation’s Chance to Shine scheme and coordinated by the Gloucestershire Cricket Board (GCB).
GCB project and programmes manager Chris Munden said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the girls, the school and club.
"It just shows what can be achieved when clubs and schools work together and children are given the opportunity to access high-level cricket coaching at an early age.
“We have had many success stories from our schools programme but this is the first time I have heard of three girls from the same class getting into the county squad after first experiencing cricket through Chance to Shine.”
After getting a taste for cricket at school, the three girls joined Frenchay CC in the same year.
They started in the club’s under-nine girls team but have gone on to play in the under-11s and 13s.
Jim Donaldson, a committee member at Frenchay and chairman of the Bristol Youth Cricket League, said: “There has always been lots of encouragement from the teachers at the school to get involved with cricket, led by Rachael Sharpe and more recently Julia Williams.
“The club coaches involved at the school, Randall Taylor and latterly Tyrone Isitt, have also encouraged the children to link to the local club, which has produced a considerable influx over the recent years.
“The three girls have benefitted considerably from the work of their young coach at the club, Josh Tiley, who had no hesitation in recommending all three for county under-11 trials in the winter.”
The trio have followed in the footsteps of another former Frenchay C of E pupil, Georgie Hunt, who became the first pupil from the school to make the county squad in 2013.
The GCB is currently supporting a series of new events aimed at getting more girls involved in competitive cricket.
They include under 11 Kwik Cricket tournaments, under-13 and 14 softball competitions and an under-15 festival.
The idea of the events is to give girls clubs from across the county the chance to play fixtures against like-minded teams.
The GCB is always looking to grow the number of clubs with girls sections. For more details contact Lisa Pagett at firstname.lastname@example.org