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The Bristol County Ground

Nevil Road, Bristol, BS7 9EJ

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TWYFORD House’s decision to launch the first women’s soft ball team in their history is already paying rich dividends.

After only six weeks, the thriving club have welcomed along 25 different players to Friday night sessions at their Penpole Lane base at Shirehampton.

And practice has been going so well that Twyford hope to be able to either take part in a tournament or arrange a friendly match against another ladies team before the end of the season.

Becky Cox is one of the new members enjoying learning how to play cricket.

She said: “I’m friends with a few of the lads here and have been coming down for a couple of years watching so it’s nice for there to be a girls team and to be able to have a go myself.

“It’s been really good fun. We learn some technical stuff each Friday and then have a game to put into practice what we’ve learned.

“I’ve found bowling a bit difficult but I really like batting and learning the cover drive!”

Twyford chairman Gary Ball said: “We have a club development plan in place and that includes the need to start ladies cricket here.

“We’re about to redevelop our facilities and that project became the catalyst for getting a softball team off the ground.”

The ECB, Sport England and the FA – Twyford share their ground with Shirehampton FC – are helping fund the top-to-bottom revamp of the pavilion, along with Bristol City Council via the Port Community Resilience Fund.

Gary added: “We run four Saturday sides and we have a strong youth section but had no ladies, so we made that commitment to Bristol City Council and already it’s been a great success.

“We were lucky to have a few wives and girlfriends of players who were interested, and posters in local shops and notices in our local Shirehampton paper led to quite a few also coming along while social media was also important.

“We’re definitely keen to arrange a competitive game. It’s all about confidence, and I think the girls will be surprised at their ability and how much they’ve learned when they play another team.

“We’ve had such a laugh and as a bowler I’ve loved coaching the cover drive!”

Another new player is Kelly Armfield whose husband Tom is a former Twyford captain while her brother Mark is currently at the helm.

She said: “I’ve always liked cricket – I played a bit when I was at St Katherine’s – and come up here to watch because I enjoy the games.

“I got into golf when I was about 19 but it’s a very solo sport and I’ve found it nice to be part of a team and enjoying the camaraderie that comes with it.

“The sessions have been brilliant, really good fun and the only surprise is that I’ve not tried it before.

“The interest is definitely there … the England team are doing well and are on TV and that helps make cricket more accessible.”

For further information on women’s soft ball, contact GCB Programmes Manager Scott Tremain at scott.tremain@glosccc.co.uk or on 0795 8271414.

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