Devon Cricket Under 18 Girls celebrate with the trophy.<br>credit: Mark Lockett Photography

Devon Cricket Under 18 Girls were crowned ECB Royal London County Cup Champions after defeating Essex in the final by five runs.

Semi Final - Devon Cricket won by 117 runs

Devon had reached the final with a superb team performance against Suffolk the previous day. Batting first, Devon scored 259 for 5 off their 40 overs, anchored by 96 from Emma Corney with 59 by Ellie Bishop and good contributions from the rest of the top and middle order.  Chasing 6.5 per over was always going to be difficult and Devon immediately applied pressure with a direct hit run out in the first over. From there all of Devon’s eight bowlers kept it tight with some great catching and wickets for Ellie Bishop, Maddie Turner, Chloe Dennis and Shawna Ball. Suffolk were dismissed for 142 in the 32nd over for a 117-run win for Devon.

Final - Devon Cricket won by five runs

In the final Devon chose to bat first, but at the 10:30am start time it began to rain, and the match did not commence until 1:30pm, reduced to a 30 overs per side game. Devon batted for 14 overs reaching 57 for 3 against some good Essex bowling before it rained again. The game re-started at 4:45pm reduced to 16 overs per side. Devon went out for 2 overs and reached 73 for 4, this was adjusted by Duckworth-Lewis so that Essex needed 89 to win in their 16 overs. Despite the odds being against them in the run chase, the Devon girls bowled and fielded magnificently.  Tight bowling from Katie Harman, Jemima Vereker, Imogen Daldorph, Chloe Dennis and Maddie Turner and smart keeping from Georgia Read kept Devon in the game. Two wickets in two balls both caught by Ruby Davis started to swing the game Devon’s way in the 13th over. In an incredibly tense finale Essex needed 7 off the last over; up stepped Katie Donovan to bowl a fantastic over, fast, full and straight, bowling the set batter and conceding only one run for Devon to win by five runs as the sun came out.

The U18 Girls have won 10 out of 11 games in the county championship this year, beating several first-class counties along the way with a team entirely developed through Devon clubs and County Age Group system. The squad have performed consistently well, overwhelming some opponents but also winning games from difficult positions. They have shown skill, determination and togetherness throughout and are worthy champions.

Thanks to the coaching team of David Joseph and Steph Hutchins who have been with the team throughout and have got the best out of them.

Team for the semi-final and final:

Ruby Davis (capt)

Shawna Ball

Ellie Bishop

Emma Corney

Imogen Daldorph

Chloe Dennis

Katie Donovan

Katie Harman

Abbie Lockett

Georgia Read

Maddie Turner

Jemima Vereker

Well done girls you have been fantastic!

Photos courtesy of Mark Lockett Photography.