After losing their opening county championship match to Suffolk earlier in the month the women’s 1st XI made a very successful trip to East Anglia over the Whit bank holiday weekend securing a hat trick of victories over Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire & Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. The girls were in fine form and prospered under the clear blue skies.

The first match was a 30 over friendly against Lincolnshire at Barston and Syston CC. Cumbria won the toss and batted first with openers Meghan Montgomery (40) and Sarah Earl (18) putting on 47 for the first wicket. The momentum was continued with Georgina  Brown (43) and Lizzie Sykes (27*) helping Cumbria to 181 – 5. The total proved too much for Lincolnshire who finished on 105 – 5 with Cumbria using eleven different bowlers thus giving scorer Tim Sykes a headache as he ran out of different coloured pens and space in the bowlers column.

The party then moved on to Sawston CC to take on Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire in an ECB Womens County Championship game. Cumbria again chose to bat first and lost two early wickets to be 5 – 2. However the ship was steadied by Montgomery who continued her form of the previous day with an accomplished 55 and Hitchings who dropped anchor for 16. Aided by the extras column the pair put on 119. With this stable start the lower order flourished adding a further 102 from the last 15 overs with notable contributions from Cowper (21), Hodson (40) and Robson (11). The total of 226 – 6 was the teams best in recent seasons and was never threatened as Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire finished on 176 – 9 with four wickets for Sarah Earl and a maximum points haul for Cumbria.

The team then departed for an overnight stay in Norwich and after playing follow my leader around the roundabout in a scene reminiscent of the Italian Job while trying to find their overnight accommodation, the party sampled a little of the Norwich nightlife.

The second county championship game against Norfolk was played at Fakenham CC and having got the low down on the opposition from the Northumberland team who had beaten Norfolk on the previous day Cumbria were in confident mood. This was soon put to the test as the Norfolk openers made a solid start putting on 62 for the first wicket. However the Cumbrian fielding, with Laura Hayton outstanding, was excellent and wickets soon started to fall. The champagne moment was undoubtedly the run out of the Norfolk number three thanks to a direct hit from Georgina Brown who also took three wickets. The Norfolk total of 174 would have been a hard task in previous times but not to this new determined Cumbria side. Despite losing Montgomery early, Sarah Earl (20) aided by two of the teams three Georginas, in this case Brown and Hitchings, got their heads down and moved  the score along to 64-4 by the 27th over. This brought in wicket keeper Lizzie Sykes who found the Norfolk bowling much to her liking as she plundered 55 not out from 52 balls and with able support from Holly Cowper (20) and Tiff Hodson (22) the finishing line was in sight and it was left to Beth Osborne to steer the ball through the covers for the winning run with eight overs to spare.

The games produced three excellent all round performances from the Cumbria girls with notable landmarks for captain Meghan Montgomery and wicket keeper Lizzie Sykes who both completed their maiden 50s at this level. The success was a tribute to the hard work the girls and their coaches have put in over the last few years and there is no doubt that this Cumbria team came of age over the weekend as they proved themselves to be a credit to their county both on and off the field.