Fri, 25 Sept 2020
Picture by Dave Vokes
LAUREN Bell will round off an incredible season in front of the Sky TV cameras at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Bell will spearhead the attack for South Group winners Southern Vipers in the final of the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy against Northern Diamonds.
The 19-year-old pace bowler had been hoping to feature for England in the current five-match T20 series against the West Indies.
But after spending nearly two months living in a bubble with the England squad, she missed out on selection for the final 16-player squad for the internationals.
But that hasn’t dampened the former Hungerford and Bradfield College player’s enthusiasm.
She said: “It was a bit disappointing not to make the final squad, but at least I can play for Vipers at Edgbaston.
“The whole ‘bubble’ experience was great, but it was not to be this time and it has given me the opportunity to show what I can do.
“I got to know the fast bowling coach [Tim McDonald] really well and all the senior players helped with advice and tips so I felt really comfortable in the environment.”
Cooped up with the same faces for such a long time could have been become boring, but the squad kept busy.
Bell said: “We were split into two groups every day – in the morning one group would do cricket work and the other would be in the gym and we changed round after lunch.
“In the evening we played a lot of cards and there was a games room.
“The first ‘bubble’ in Loughborough was very strict as it was on a university campus and there were a lot of students there, so we were confined to the hotel.
“When we went to Derby it was more relaxed because the whole ground was shut off so we had more space and we could even go for a walk around town, as long as we didn’t go in anywhere.”
After being released from the England set-up, Bell was immediately included for unbeaten Vipers’ final group game against South East Stars at The Oval on Sunday.
And she produced a brilliant display, taking 4-36 in 10 overs to help her side to a four-wicket victory.
She said: “I put a lot of pressure on myself coming from the England bubble to regional cricket, but I was really happy with how it went.”
Now Bell will be looking for Vipers to record their seventh straight win against Diamonds in the final to round off a memorable year.
She is due back at Loughborough University the following week and she will begin lectures in the second year of her course in criminology and sociology on October 5.
Before then, though, Bell will be moving into a new student house with three friends.