CHARLOTTE EDWARDS, Laura Marsh, Sarah Taylor and Katherine Brunt – four members of the England Women’s cricket side – were all nominated for the Team of the Tournament at the recent World T20 in Sri Lanka, where they lost the final to old foes Australia.
This quartet, and their international team-mates, are increasingly being recognised as role models to young girls who are finding that cricket is an exciting outlet for their sporting talents.
One such teenager is Cirencester’s Eve Alder and she is the latest recipient in the new round of Wilts & Glos Standard Sports Grants, generously sponsored by Margaret Atkinson and Helen Hall of the Cirencester-based practice, Active Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic (01285 643080). Eve receives a cheque for £200.
All-rounder Eve, 13, who plays for Cirencester Cricket Club, was selected after a stunning 2012 season that saw her open the bowling for three different county age groups – U13, U15 and U17 – average 74 with the bat for the U13s and win their Player of the Year honour at the annual GCB awards.
Eve has been involved with the county set-up since appearing at an U11 boys’ district trial two years ago. Since then she has gone from strength to strength and is one of only two girls on Gloucestershire’s Emerging Players’ Programme, meeting up with her colleagues every Tuesday evening at the county’s Nevil Road ground in Bristol.
But her success has risen to another level this week with the announcement that she has become the first Gloucestershire player to be selected for the England Women’s U15 Winter Training Programme – a remarkable achievement for the Kingshill School pupil.
Having been chosen after impressing ECB talent scouts, she will join 26 others from around the country at three training camps in the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough.
Lisa Pagett, head of women’s and girls’ development at the Gloucestershire Cricket Board, said: “Eve has progressed really well and played two age groups up this year.
“If it wasn’t for rain she would also have played in the senior Gloucestershire women’s team (in the match against Ireland when she was picked as 12th man) which would have made her the youngest player to do so for a long time.
“Right from when we first saw Eve she was instantly impressive.”
It helped Eve to have two older brothers in the sporting Alder household.
Fifteen-year-old Hugh has been in the county cricket set-up himself and plays regularly for the district side, but he is concentrating on basketball now and captains the South West side.
Mum Sally explained: “There has always been a lot of cricket played with my husband Steve in the garden. We also have a long corridor at home where they play, which keeps me penned in the kitchen!”
Ironically, it was only after giving up her first love, football, that Eve turned to cricket.
“She has captained Cirencester Town age group football teams but at the age of 12 could no longer play in mixed sides,” said Sally.
“Eve did have the opportunity to travel and play in girls-only sides but that would have meant a huge commitment.”
Football’s loss has been cricket’s gain.
If her after-school sporting curriculum were not busy enough, Eve has also started playing netball and hockey for her local club in Cirencester and is taking the first steps towards getting on the county hockey programme.
But the Gloucestershire cricket coaches are adamant they want Eve for their sport.
Pagett said: “She is the kind of girl who listens to advice and takes it on board very quickly.
“She always wants to learn and has made real strides in her batting, in particular, this year. She thoroughly deserves her selection and it will be a wonderful opportunity for her.”
Eve met Charlotte Edwards on a visit to Lechlade CC in the summer and she now has a signed photo of the England captain above her bed.
One day, Eve Alder may herself be inspiring young girls to play the game of cricket.
If you want to nominate a talented youngster like Eve for an Active Physiotherapy & Sports Injury Clinic grant, email full details, including contact telephone numbers, to firstname.lastname@example.org.