As part of the Essex Women’s winter programme, the squad travelled to La Manga to enhance their skills before the start of the season.
As they arrived, they immediately took to training with fielding sessions incorporating diving and catching drills. The fantastic facilities also allowed for an afternoon of scenario work with having the use of an astro pitch for bowlers and batters to get used to outdoor conditions.
Last year, in partnership with Essex County Cricket Board, Norlington School visited Alicante and coached many students during their stay. From this, some of the girls progressed to the Spanish Ladies Squad. During their stay, the Essex team also helped the Spain Women’s team who joined their morning training session. Matt Hyam commented “The players really took in the Spanish girls and coached them through batting, bowling and fielding skills”. This was a unique opportunity for both teams to develop their own skills and gain experience.
The afternoon was spent as a rest period for the team, spending time at the beach and enjoying a competitive mini golf tournament.
On their final day of the tour, the Essex women played a warm up T20 match against the Spain boys Junior Academy. Essex batted first with contributions from all, however at times runs were hard to come by due to a strong bowling attack from the Spanish team. Notable performances came from Katherine Speed who helped the team reach 90 after their twenty overs. Essex’s bowling attack started strong with Emily Finch and Clare Heywood creating a few early chances, however, the Spanish side used their strength to finish the game with overs to spare. Many positives were taken from the friendly with both teams and coaches benefiting greatly.
In addition, some good relationships were built between the Essex Women and Girls, Cricket Spain and La Manga club.
The team are now preparing for their first 50 over match of the season starting 30th April against Hertfordshire followed by Shropshire on the 1st May.