Local hero Lauren stars as Vipers win historic clash at Falkland
Falkland Cricket Club made history on Tuesday when it played host to the first ever professional cricket match to take place in West Berkshire.
Local hero Lauren Bell took two wickets as she helped Southern Vipers beat South East Stars in the opening game of their Charlotte Edwards Cup title defence.
Former Hungerford and Berkshire fast bowler Bell was on a hat-trick in the final over of South East Stars’ innings after she bowled Alice Davidson-Richards and then Natasha Farrant with consecutive deliveries.
While she wasn’t able to complete the hat-trick, her eventual figures of 2-25 from her full allocation of four overs restricted Stars to 169/9 from their 20 overs.
Bell’s England teammate Danni Wyatt then smashed 40 runs from just 20 balls as Vipers reeled in Stars’ total with six wickets and seven balls to spare.
The contest represented a landmark moment both for Falkland and women’s cricket in West Berkshire – both of which are going from strength-to-strength.
Lots of lucky schoolchildren were able to visit the club to cheer on Bell and her teammates after the England international visited schools in West Berkshire to run coaching sessions and talk about her inspirational career.
“Women’s cricket is so much more accessible now and matches like the one at Falkland are a great chance to show girls that cricket can be a fantastic career,” Bell said.
Meanwhile, former England head coach Neil Rider, who now captains, coaches and works behind the scenes at Falkland, said the day was a resounding success.
He said: “It’s a landmark day for Falkland and a historic day for cricket in Berkshire.
“We had a good crowd of around 500 and it was fantastic to see lots of young girls watching their idols play.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully welcoming Vipers back again soon.”