The road to Berlin started with an evening flight from Brussels. After getting acquainted with the Berlin transport system, we wheeled our cricket bags into our hotel just before midnight and bedded down ready for an early morning meeting the next day.
8.15 am saw Belgium arriving at the ground, where we found the meeting had been cancelled –cue extra catching practice in the carpark!
Jersey vs Belgium
The first game was against Jersey, on a damp pitch which soon dried in the sun. Jersey won the toss and elected to bat. Belgium opened the bowling with Shweta Sinha and Poppy McGeown, who both finished with an excellent economy of fewer than five runs an over. However, despite good bowling from the seven Belgian bowlers, the first wicket didn’t fall until the 18th over when Jersey’s captain Gemma Dunning was run out on 66 by Cate Ryan off McGeown’s bowling. Having finally broken the partnership of 117 runs, McGeown bowled A. Smith three balls before the end of the innings and Jersey finished on 124-2.
(P. McGeown 4-0-13-1, S. Sinha 4-0-17, E. Vandenputte 2-0-10)
Going into bat, Jersey’s tight bowling and fielding never let any of the Belgian batswomen settle into their game andsaw them take 9 wickets at regular intervals during the innings. Despite a similar number of overall extras, Belgium’s run rate just wasn’t high enough and the innings ended on 49-9, with Sue Parker and Sara Ashall seeing out the final over.
(S. Sinha 6, R. Lister 6, C. Ryan 5)
Jersey won by 75 runs and Gemma Dunning was the well-deserved Player of the Match with 66 runs and 3 wickets.
Belgium – K. Onto+, E. Vandenputte, P. McGeown, S. Sinha, C. Ryan, R. Lister, J. McLean, S. Ashall*, Z. Sands, C. Gomez, S. Parker
Italy vs Belgium
Belgium won the toss and decided to bowl but coming up against the tournament favourites on the first day was always going to be difficult. It was an uphill struggle against the tournament’s best batswomen, who finished their innings on 184-0 with Italian captain Angela Bonora making a tournament record 103 not out.
(S. Sinha 4-0-25, E. Vandenputte 2-0-14, P. McGeown 4-0-39)
Going into bat, Belgium lost two quick wickets, but then rallied with a Sinha-McGeown partnership, and a spirited 3 off 5 balls by Jani McLean. However, despite Italy’s bowling conceding more extras (29 to Belgium’s 27) the innings finished on 63-7. Although a heavy loss, it was a marked improvement on previous meetings, with Belgium proud to have seen out the innings.
(S. Sinha 14*, P. McGeown 14, J. McLean 3)
Italy won by 123 runs and Angela Bonora was Player of the Match.
Belgium – – S. Ashall*, K. Onto, P. McGeown, S. Sinha, E. Vandenputte, C. Ryan+, J. McLean, S. Parker, S. Oktem, R. Lister, R. Wilson
After a hot and sunny day losing cricket, comfort food was required, and the big bowls of pasta at the local Italian were just what the doctor ordered.
The second day saw Belgium play two games in a row. Thankfully the day started overcast, but as the afternoon wore on, players were taking cover under gazebos and supporters in the shade of the beer tent.
France vs Belgium
After winning the toss, Belgium decided to bat and Kristen Onto’s unlucky batting form continued, run out after just 6 balls. With Belgium on 14-3, a win seemed unlikely. However, Shweta Sinha’s 37 off 25 balls, and Nicky Thrupp coming back from injury (2 broken toes, 1 wasp sting) to score 20 not out saw Belgium finish on 97-5. On the exceedingly slow pitches of the Maifeld, this was a good score.
(S. Sinha 37, N. Thrupp 20*, P. McGeown 4)
The breakthrough came early for Belgium, taking the French teen star Rebecca Blake after just two balls, followed by the captain Sharon Whiting shortly after. A wicket each for Thrupp and Sinha, France were 2-2. After the opening pair had been dispatched, the wickets kept falling. Sinha added a run out and catch (McGeown) to her early wicket, Vandenputte took a catch for Thrupp’s second wicket, and there was an lbw apiece for Ashall and McLean. ‘Keeper Onto took two more catches (McGeown, Ashall) to finish on 3 in total. McLean dispatched the final Frenchbatswoman, and the game was over; France58-all out, of which only 26 off the bat. It was an excellent display of all-round bowling and fielding skills by Belgium, and a well-deserved win.
(N. Thrupp 4-1-5-2,J. McLean 1-0-5-2, Sinha 4-0-10-2)
Belgium won by 39 runs and Player of the Match was Shweta Sinha for her all-round performance with bat and ball.
Belgium – K. Onto+, S. Ashall*, P. McGeown, S. Sinha, N. Thrupp, J. McLean, E. Vandenputte, M. Roberts, Z. Sands, C. Gomez, S. Parker
Germany vs Belgium
Belgium won the toss and put in to bat, but on a slow pitch it was difficult to make any headway. After losing Nicky Thrupp early on, clean bowled by Germany’s captain Steffi Frohnmayer, Belgium’s innings ticked on mainly thanks to wides and no balls. However, there was an exceptional bowling display from Maura Brauser, who took the wickets of McGeown, Sands, Roberts and Ryan, and Belgium were all out for 63, with extras making up over half the total runs.
(S. Sinha 8, P. McGeown 4,Z. Sands 4)
Germany’s batswomen patiently faced down the bowling and although there were no outstanding individual batting performances, thanks to an identical number of bowling extras (38) they beat Belgium’s first innings total in just 14 overs, finishing on 64-4. P. McGeown and S. Sinha got two wickets each, with 2 catches from Zara Sands and one from Mhairi Roberts.
(S. Sinha 3.5-0-18-2, P. McGeown 3-0-16-2, N. Thrupp 3-0-8,)
Germany won by 6 wickets, with Maura Brauser Player of the Match.
Belgium – P. McGeown, N. Thrupp, S, Sinha, K. Onto, R. Lister, J. McLean, S. Ashall*, Z. Sands, M. Roberts, K, Ryan+, S. Oktem
Dinner in a local Indian restaurant rounded off the day, and we all learnt by example not to touch your eyes after eating spicy condiments…
A later start to the day meant some of the team were free to try out the Olympic Pool and bobble about in the lanes watching a diving board photo shoot, before the lunchtime game against Gibraltar. Supposedly only mad dogs and Englishmen play in the midday sun, and there were definitely crazy elements to this game. From the Gibraltarian wicketkeeper collapsing mid-over, to learning about the laws of cricket on shadows and talking, via Sara’s helmet being whipped off by the ball, it turned out to be an eventful match. Special thanks must go to Elisabeth Vandenputte, who as 12th woman kept Belgium’s players hydrated throughout the entire game.
Belgium vs Gibraltar
Gibraltar won the toss and decided to bowl. The opening pair of McGeown and Lister started carefully, but was unfortunately unable to put many runs on the board. Shweta Sinha came in and saw out the innings, unlike the Gibraltarian wicketkeeper Agatha Acris, who had to retire after fainting in the extreme heat.The Gibraltarians got rid of Sinha’s succession of batting partners, including 3 wickets for McInally, and Belgium finished on 92-7.
(S. Sinha 39*, N. Thrupp 10, P. McGeown 6)
After a much needed break, the teams took to the field again. Belgium started well, and Gibraltar found themselves 18-4 after just 4 overs, Sara Ashall taking 3 wickets, including clean bowing the Gibraltarian captain. However despite the run rate slowing, Belgium struggled to take wickets cheaply, and at 61-8 (c Onto b Thrupp) the final Gibraltarian batswomen to come onto the pitch simply had to block her way through 27 balls and wait out the wides. Some unlucky decisions went against Belgium, including a catch at close quarters by P. McGeown off J. McLean’s bowling judged no ball, but Gibraltar reached 93 in the 18th over to win the match.
(S. Ashall 3-0-17-3, N. Thrupp 4-0-12-2, S. Sinha 4-0-18-2)
Gibraltar won by 2 wickets. Player of the Match was Christine McInally, with 3 wickets and 23 not out.
Belgium – P. McGeown, R. Lister, S. Sinha, K. Onto+, N. Thrupp, J. McLean, S. Ashall*, Z. Sands, C. Ryan, S. Parker, R. Wilson
After a tough afternoon, we finally sampled the sights of Berlin and enjoyed a typical German meal (lots of sour cream, wurst and pork knuckle!) in the sunshine.
The final game was against our rivals for loudest supporters, Denmark, on a pleasantly sunny and warm morning.
Belgium vs Denmark
Denmark won the toss and asked Belgium to bat. Nicky Thrupp was sent quickly back to the gazebo, and Shweta Sinha was run out for 18, leaving Poppy McGeown and Kristen Onto to enjoy their time at the crease. Several4s, and some great running by the two batswomen, and they saw out their innings with a 31-run partnership. Belgium finished on 89-2.
(P. McGeown 33*, K. Onto 21*, S. Sinha 18)
Danish opener Juliet Christensen was bowled quickly by S. Sinha for 3, but unfortunately no other wickets were forthcoming, and on a batting wicket Line Ostergaard and Eva Christensen quickly put on the runs, aided by extras. Finishing on a flourish, with a final 4 from Ostergaard, Denmark won the match 93-1 in the 16th over.
(S. Sinha 4-0-18-1, N. Thrupp 4-0-20, S. Ashall 2-0-12)
Denmark won by 9 wickets, and Line Ostergaard was Player of the Match.
Belgium – P. McGeown, N. Thrupp, S. Sinha, K. Onto+, S. Ashall,* C. Gomez, J. McLean, S. Oktem, M. Roberts, Z. Sands, E. Vandenputte
Belgium topped off a great week of cricket by watching the final games of the week, cheering for Germany and Denmark, and keeping one eye on Italy vs. Jersey the other side of the beer tent. Both games were interrupted by Hurricane Bertha, but that did not stop the fun and games, with an impromptu football/volleyball mash-up in the entrance to the ground. As the cricket finished, the ping-pong balls appeared and the cricketers transferred their skills to launching balls into drinks. Partying on the pitch, with the 13-yr-old Danish bowler playing DJ, was followed by a medals ceremony. Each team was welcomed up the steps by the hosts Germany, and in turn the teams thanked the officials and coaches. The official medal ceremony followed the ‘steps ceremony’ and then the teams were free to let their hair down and enjoy the evening – dressed as a mermaid, lifeguard, or in Belgium’s case, red devils!