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Women break new ground

Natalie Heap

Natalie Heap

Natalie Heap and Megan White created cricket history by becoming the first pair of female bowlers to take the new ball for a men's team in a competitive match.

The talented duo took a wicket apiece and Australian White made a match-winning unbeaten 31 to help clinch the Gladstone-Lyttelton Shield for Welsh side Hawarden against Hagley, from Worcestershire.

Hawarden's Aussie captain Tim Newhouse had no hesitation in giving the new ball to White and Heap.

"They are outstanding outswing bowlers who ask a lot of questions of opposition batsmen," he said.

"Megan kept things really tight, only going for 17 runs in her seven overs. Both her and Natalie would have had two wickets if we'd held our catches.

"I had planned to get Megan to bowl four overs of medium pace and then return later for three overs of off-spin. But she was bowling so well I couldn't take her off."

Craig Bevan and Tom Murray, who returned figures of 2-12 and 3-13 respectively, completed the good work for Hawarden with the ball, and a third-wicket partnership of 42 between Newhouse (21) and White helped the hosts clinch a seven-wicket win in the Shield encounter which dates back to 1867.

"One of the great things to come from the day is that Hagley has now said it will try to develop female cricket in Worcestershire," said Newhouse, who has been shortlisted for a NatWest OSCA for starting a female team at Hawarden this season.

Megan White

Megan White took a wicket and hit 31 not out