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TV plea for Pool CC women

It is hard work building a club, and it is even harder trying to set up a women and girls' section when tradition is against you, but that is exactly what Yorkshire's Pool CC has done.

Five years ago a couple of girls used to go along to junior training, but now the club has girls teams in five different age-group categories all playing under the name of Pool Pumas.

Not content with leading the way for girls cricket in Yorkshire, Wendi Bolton, child welfare officer at the club, saw another opportunity to raise the cash needed to take the next step in their development, by applying to be part of 'Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway', an ITV programme hosted by Richard Madeley.

The show, which is a cross between Jim'll Fix It and Dragon's Den has a millionaire panel which includes Jeffrey Archer, Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne, Ann Summer's founder Jacqueline Gold, Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan and the MOBO's founder Kanya King.

Their role is to decide who, of those standing before them, is deserving of a share of the massive cash sum.

Pool CC coaching

Comprehensive coaching is a valuable part of development

Bolton was driving to work before Christmas when she heard a radio advertisement asking for people to ring in and take part. She was immediately on the phone checking it wasn`t a hoax and the next day she and a small delegation from Pool were in Leeds being interviewed.

A few weeks later they were in Manchester presenting their pitch to the show's producers and that earned them an invitation to go to London and film the show itself.

"I have never experienced anything like it," Bolton said. "It was surreal and everything happened so fast. Before we knew it we were stood in front of the panel with some familiar faces having to pitch for a huge sum of money that would mean everything to the girls and to the club.

"The girls were asked a number of, sometimes difficult, questions and we were all extremely proud of the mature way they answered. We all got so passionate about what we were saying that many of us had tears rolling down our faces. At least the panel members could tell that we were serious about what we were trying to achieve."

Katie Briggs who was in the group of players involved on the day, all of whom were dressed in their club colours and with some in full batting gear, said: "It was a nerve-wracking experience as the tension built towards our pitch but it was also great fun and a day I will never forget. I can't wait until the result is announced when hopefully we will be celebrating a great result!"

Pool Pumas

The girls are an integral part of the entire club at Pool CC

One of the other key things that the club attributes its progress to is the fact that they are proactive in taking and maximising the opportunities available to them and this was just another way of securing a future for themselves and raise the profile of the women's game.

Bolton added: "It has taken us a long time to get to this stage and some days you get frustrated that things aren't moving fast enough or people aren't being as supportive as you would hope.

"We have been very lucky that Pool CC has been very supportive and we are now a fully integrated part of the club committee and of the social life at the club.

"The main thing that has kept us going is the buzz you get from seeing the girls enjoying playing cricket and socialising together. This is why we are determined to develop a pathway for them to continue to play cricket for a long time and to reach their full potential in the game.

"There are many factors that have assisted our development, not least the support of the Yorkshire Cricket Board, Yorkshire Women's Cricket Association and Yorkshire CCC who have guided and supported us through the process.

"However, the key factor in our development has been the committed and growing team of volunteers who give their time freely to support the club and the girls."

'Fortune: Million Pound Giveaway' will be aired on Tuesday January 30 on ITV, between 8-9pm