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Walsall girls cricketers make history

History has been made at Walsall Cricket Club after the introduction of their first-ever girls' team.

back row, left to right
Dharsana Kanji (Captain), Jaya Kanji, Nick Bryars (Team Coach), Olivia Bryars, Beatrice Taylor

front row, left to right
Anya Baijal, Diya Dudhia, Priya Kooner, Annah Patel, Ruby Sangster, Pavit Bains and Evie Ambrose
back row, left to right Dharsana Kanji (Captain), Jaya Kanji, Nick Bryars (Team Coach), Olivia Bryars, Beatrice Taylor front row, left to right Anya Baijal, Diya Dudhia, Priya Kooner, Annah Patel, Ruby Sangster, Pavit Bains and Evie Ambrose

A project two years in the making, an under-12s side has been formed as the club hope to produce a new wave of cricketers.

Walsall were formed in 1812 and have long run successful men's and boys' set-ups – and they want girls and ladies to have the same opportunities moving forward.

The under-12s' debut outing saw them edged out by Codsall, and chairman of cricket Naveen Kapur said: "It's something we've been working on for a couple of years, when I took over.

"There isn't enough provision and awareness for girls cricket. It's very underplayed. Funding and schools, in general, it's not so looked after.

"That was something we thought would be a great thing to develop.

"We intended to do more, but Covid has restricted things. So, we started to build the basics of it.

"We introduced girls training to give them more of a platform.

"We always had one or two girls come, but it wasn't a specific training group for them.

"The girls hadn't had the opportunity to experience it, so we started to bring our daughters and, as people saw girls playing, it snowballed from there."

Playing the game at Codsall, the under-12s – coached by Nick Bryars – were captained by Dharsana Kanji.

Walsall finished on 243-6 while the hosts closed on 272-6.

Kapur is now contacting other clubs across the Black Country and Staffordshire to try to organise more matches down the line

"We held a girls' festival this year. That was the first time we held one, and we had a good turnout of around 40 girls," he said.

"That was a really good start and we've tried to encourage other clubs to get girls teams together.

"The match happened, which was brilliant, and we want to do this regularly.

"We want it to grow and, eventually, see as many girls as boys. Why not? That's what we want to aim towards."

Walsall's chairman of sponsorship Amish Dudhia has also been involved with the formation of the girls' team, with his daughter, Diya, playing against Codsall.

He is excited for the future of the side as he added: "The match was absolutely superb.

"There has been a lot of planning for this and we're looking into holding more games against other clubs.

"The uptake has not been surprising because there was already pent-up demand for this to happen, but it's been heart-warming to see.

"The number of parents and siblings coming out to back the team was brilliant. It was great to see that level of support."

For more information on the girls team and how to get involved, email wccjuniors.communications@gmail.com

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