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The whole is more than the sum of its parts

Posted in ECB Coaches Association

So, who would have thought? Gloucestershire actually win something!

Having been in post for just over a year now as a Cricket Development Officer for Women and Girls cricket at Gloucestershire I was initially greeted with jokes about our relative success compared to other counties. Girls’ cricket was on the map in a limited way but generally there wasn’t too much to shout about and certainly nothing at a national level.

So....I say ‘Gloucestershire win something’ – this is probably me jumping on a proverbial bandwagon somewhat. What I am actually referring to is Colston’s School winning the Lady Taverners U13 Indoor Championships at the MCC Indoor School at Lord’s.

From 2009-2010 we experienced a 200 per cent increase in the number of schools participating in the competition in Gloucestershire and while Colston’s were strong in local rounds they also faced some stiff competition on their way to the regional finals. This in hindsight highlights exactly how far girls’ cricket has come in the last 12 months and suggests an exciting 12 months ahead.

It is probably important to mention at this point (before the girls moan at me!) that Colston’s Under 15 girls were runners up at the Under 15 National finals too!

What exactly was my involvement then? Well in the ever-so-slightly quieter period between September-December I ran an afterschool club for Colston’s whereby a total mix of ages and abilities attended. Within this club we focused initially on the basics of the game to ensure everybody had a similar baseline level of skill before looking more at match play and tactics to give the girls as much chance as possible to win games.

Lisa Paggett

Normally my tactical advice spans as far as ‘just smash it’ (an instinct girls sometimes need a little help with) however given the fact that ‘smashing it’ tends to mean the ball rebounds off the nets to a) the stumps and b) the fielders, we instead worked on hitting gaps and running hard between the wickets.

Thankfully on the tournament day the girls held onto such advice – we had set a target of having four scoring shots per over whereby the girls hit the net and complete a single (scoring 3), this gives a scoring rate of 12 an over and an innings total of 120. This wasn’t always managed but it did give a focus to the batting innings without any high risk shots.

More importantly the girls totally ignored me when I dared them to ‘go long’ and hit some sixes and just stuck to the original game-plan. In fact the girls didn’t really need me at all on the tournament day so I resigned myself to the roles of official paparazzi, chief negotiator with the Concierge chap at the Danubius hotel and with the responsibility of keeping Liz (Colston’s PE teacher) calm and free of palpitations.

The day proved to be thought-provoking in indentifying exactly what it is that leads to success. Quite evidently there were players in the opposing teams that were stronger, girls that bowled the ball faster and hit the ball harder yet a team without any eye-catching ‘stars’ managed to dominate in the tournament. Is it team spirit? Is it a clear game plan? Is it strength in depth? Or discipline that leads a team to victory?

All of these things of course must contribute to success; ultimately in this instance I believe the ‘whole’ was worth more than the ‘sum of its parts’ and serves as a handy reminder that success can be generated by bringing out the best in what is available to you.

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