Clare Boycott says this is the strongest Worcestershire Women’s Rapids side she has played in during a decade and a half of women’s and girls’ cricket for the County.
All-rounder Boycott clocked up her 200th game for Worcestershire in the first of two T20 matches versus Shropshire at Bromsgrove CC on Bank Holiday Monday.
It is a long way from when Boycott, aged 28, made her debut for the Under-11s, and she has given sterling service to Worcestershire in all age groups.
Now she is hoping to help the Rapids lift the ECB Women’s County Competition T20 Group Two title on Sunday when finals day is held at Falkland CC in Berkshire.
Boycott said: “It has gone so fast as well. I remember my first game in Wales, for the Under-11s, and scored something like one not out off about 30 overs!
“I batted with Thea Brookes, who plays for Warwickshire, and now we are both in the Central Sparks squad.
“That was the first game, and this Monday, I went onto ‘Play Cricket’ having a look at the stats from the Shropshire game at Bromsgrove, and I thought, ‘200, I’ve hit it!’”
Boycott has seen women’s cricket make enormous strides since the time of her Worcestershire debut.
She said: “It is mad looking back at how it has changed so much. Counties now, the players have got so many opportunities to become professional women’s cricketers.
“Looking back when I started, I don’t think even the England women’s team was professional. It is a big change.
“You can make a future in the game, and it’s great to see to be honest. If only I had been born ten years later!
“Am I aiming for 300 games? I’m 28, so I’d like to say I’ve still got a few more years in me yet, definitely”.
Boycott has many highlights to reflect on but has pinpointed a trio of memorable moments.
She said: “I remember a game in 2008, Under-13s, myself and Thea (Brookes) getting a record opening partnership of about 230 against Shropshire.
“Playing at New Road for the Division Three Championship game, getting promoted to Division Two, that was definitely another highlight.
“Then this year, getting my first T20 fifty for Worcestershire was also great. I had never opened in T20 cricket before.
“I just love batting to be honest. I don’t get much of an opportunity these days because we have got so many good batters with the women’s squad now.
“It is great to see, but obviously, I really relish the fact I got to open, and it was great to get two wins as well that weekend which is always exactly what you want, to contribute to a win.”
As for the current Rapids squad, Boycott admitted: “I would say the current squad is easily our strongest ever squad. Everyone has stepped up and done well this year.
“Everyone has contributed with the bat; everyone has contributed with the ball. It has been so good.
“For example, on Monday against Shropshire, Amy Maund did brilliantly with the new ball. She is only 17 and bowled really well.”
Regarding Sunday’s finals day, Boycott said: “We are pretty confident, but we will treat everyone with respect.”
The Rapids have named a 12 strong squad and will take on Shropshire in the semi-final, with the winners facing Berkshire or Staffordshire in the final.
WORCESTERSHIRE WOMEN’S RAPIDS
Chloe Hill (c and w)