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Bishop's Stortford Cricket Club ladies crowned Vitality Women's Club Cup T20 national champions

Nikki Little and Emma Vasey produced a three-figure partnership in the final as Bishop's Stortford were crowned Vitality Women's Club Cup T20 national champions.

Their batting exploits against Ansty ensured the Cricketfield Lane side bagged the silverware on finals day at Newport in Wales.

Stortford took on Bridgwater in the semi-finals and cruised through with a 10-wicket success, reaching 64 without loss having limited their opponents to 63 for 6.

Ansty, who knocked out Sessay in their last-four clash, batted first in the final and amassed 125 from their 20 overs.

It was a decent score and looked even better when they reduced Stortford to 8 for 2.

Bishop's Stortford ladies are national T20 club champions (13215210)
Bishop's Stortford ladies are national T20 club champions (13215210)

However, Little, who remained undefeated on 59, and Vasey, who made 36, put on 100 together to steer Stortford to their victory target for the loss of three wickets with 11 balls to spare.

The national triumph comes as the club marks 12 years of running a successful ladies' section. Increasing female participation in the sport is one of the targets identified in the ECB's current strategy for growing the game.

Most of the energy behind the success is thanks to Nigel and Nicola Witherden, who have coached and organised things with help from eldest daughter Becky, who captained the side for the first 10 years. Her sister Lucy also played for the side up until a few years ago and they have had support from other members such as Anna Swan, who combines playing duties with being team manager.

Over the last 12 years, 70 women have played for the club including former England captain Charlotte Edwards and current Southern Vipers star Carla Rudd. Edwards, who was named Hampshire's director of women's cricket last summer, still shows a keen interest in the club's fortunes.

Having joined the Women's Southern League in 2012, back-to-back promotions earned Stortford Premier Division status. The team combines experience from the likes of skipper Sarah Walker, vice-captain Little and Swan playing alongside younger squad members who are still developing their talent.

Several of the club's players represent the Hertfordshire and Essex county sides, with others having done so in the past.

Sustainability is another key element of the Stortford strategy, so competitive youth teams at under-12 and under-14 level have been formed and there are plans to introduce a second ladies' team when these younger players are ready for senior cricket.

Visit www.bishopsstortfordcc.com to find out more.

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