Devon Cricket Under 18 Girls finished runners-up in the 2023 ECB County Cup following an 87-run defeat to Staffordshire at Grantham CC.

The girls had convincingly beaten Nottinghamshire by 9 wickets in the semi-final to give themselves the chance to retain the title they had won in 2022 at the same venue, but fell short of the 201 target required.

Semi-Final - Devon Cricket won by 9 wickets

The draw saw us play Nottinghamshire in the semi-final. Notts having won the toss decided to bat and after a bit of a nervy start Devon quickly found their rhythm and started taking regular wickets and restricted Notts to 142 all out, with pick of the bowlers were Chloe Dennis taking 2-12 and Eliza Heard 2-25. Openers Emma Corney (73 not out) and Jemima Vereker (40) batted beautifully, showing a mixture of aggression and clever strike rotation and their partnership took Devon to within 6 runs of victory. The impressive chase saw the victory target was reached with 17 overs to spare.

Corney on her way to 73 not out against Nottinghamshire.

Final - Staffordshire won by 87 runs

The impressive performance would lead to back-to-back finals, this year against Staffordshire. An extremely strong Staffordshire side won the toss and decided to bat. The Under 18 Girls worked hard to restrict the positive Staffs batting. A good bowling and fielding performance saw Staffs post 200 for 5 in their 40 overs, Ellie Bishop was Devon’s most successful bowler taking 4 for 37. The target of 201 proved tough for the team, although keeping up with the run rate initially losing regular wickets meant that too much pressure was put on the lower order and Devon finished on 113 all out, Emma Corney top scoring with 24.

Georgia Read, Ellie Bishop, Emma Corney, Jemima Vereker and Ruby Davis pose with their medals.

"It has been a fantastic squad effort over the last two years," said Lead Coach, David Joseph. "The team were a huge credit to Devon both on and off the field throughout both campaigns.

"I could not be more proud of what the girls have achieved over the last two years. Back-to-back finals days, is amazing but winning in 2022 and finishing runners-up in 2023 is incredible. For those finishing their CAG careers what a way to finish! It says so much about them as a group is that they are already talking about making it three years in a row."

"The way the squad has come together this year to achieve second at nationals and back up last year's win has been incredible," said Captain Ruby Davis. "We’ve turned up to every game looking to have fun and that’s what’s made the captaincy so enjoyable. From where we have come from a few years ago, this Under 18s team has done something pretty special thanks to our coaches, team effort, and our walk-out tune Combine Harvester by The Wurzels."

Under 18 Girls Captain, Ruby Davis.

"Making it through to the semi-finals is a huge achievement in itself, but to make it to the finals is even more so," says Under 18 Girls Coach, Steph Hutchins. "Being able to stay with your teammates only creates a stronger bond and the players are already good friends on and off of the field which is great for team cohesion.

"Another benefit is that they get to play against new teams and players and make friends from all over the country that could be a friend for life. Playing against different opponents, playing in new conditions and on new grounds creates a more adaptive squad and will help them make decisions faster to cope with the environment. I think the players have learnt the most from their finals trips compared to the rest of the season as they learn how each other play in a high-pressure environment."

The squad for the finals was as follows:

Ruby Davis (capt), Georgia Read (vice-capt), Ellie Bishop, Emma Corney, Imogen Daldorph, Chloe Dennis, Elle Golsworthy, Eliza Heard, Jemima Mitchell, Maddie Turner, Jemima Vereker, Erin Vukusic.

Photos kindly provided by Rebekah Dennis and Mark Davis.