Sport

North Cyprus Cricket: El Classico, El Cricket

Whilst Spain has its Barcelona and Real Madrid, the Creditwest Ladies Cricket League has the Girne Girlies and Lapta Lasses. A rivalry that has its roots far deeper than those of the Iberian Peninsula. In fact, at least as far back as 323 BC when Lapithos (Lapta) invaded what is now known as Girne.

Last Saturday, the Pia Bella Stadium was the scene of the battle. Lapta Lasses batted first, with Steph Routledge and Ann McLoughlin scoring 29 runs but losing 5 when McLoughlin was bowled by Holman. Next in were Captain Gina Mapp and Julie Birch who carved out 12 runs, Mapp having driven hard was caught by Holman off Garcia and new girl Birch caught by Garcia from the bowling of Liz Turner together with being run out giving a team total of 36 from their 8 overs.

Knowing the Lasses strength in depth, Lynn Holman, the Girlies Captain was pleased to have restricted the score, but nervous they could beat it.

Liz Turner and Holman opened the reply, determined to get their heads down and carefully build a total. However, as they say ‘the best laid plans’, it didn’t materialise as Turner was caught behind by Birch off the excellent Routledge and then was unusually dismissed hitting her own wicket off Birch’s bowling. What had promised so much, ended with the team on 13 and facing an uphill struggle to score another 24 runs for victory. Everyone knew, there was only one likely outcome and that was the honours going to the girls from out West.

The final pair to the crease were Sarah Sandford and Gloria Garcia. Knowing there was nothing to lose, they set about forcing the pace and achieved the required run rate of 6 over to bring Girne back into the match. They had batted superbly and commenced their final over 3 runs ahead. With pairs cricket, teams must complete all their overs and the consistent Mapp’s bowling remained to be faced. Rarely had the players or fans been so tense, it was anyone’s to win. Immediately, disaster struck, confusion between the batsmen with both running to the bowler’s end. Now the Girlies were 2 behind with 5 balls remaining, another wicket and Lapta Lasses would almost certainly have it in the bag. Even Tom Shirley, an umpire known for his carefully considered decisions, admitted to us afterwards, that he thought the odds were with the fielding side.

Suddenly everyone turned, there can’t have been many between the Cemetery and the New Harbour who didn’t hear the hysterical instructions from the Girlies’ captain to be careful. Heeding them, Sandford picked off a couple of 2’s, then a dot ball, leaving Girne 2 runs ahead with two balls to face. It simply couldn’t have been closer. In the final over of an innings, wides count for 2 and are re-bowled, so Mapp faced the quandary of did she pitch the final balls right up and possibly sacrifice accuracy in the hunt for a decisive wicket? Sandford, still with her orders vibrating in her ears, calmly pulled the penultimate ball for another 2 ensuring victory, even if they lost 5 runs on the final ball.

Although in the panicked confusion at the time, this was missed and the final ball was treated with the same intensity as had been the previous ones.

Girne’s surprise 6 run win has propelled them from bottom to top of the extremely close Creditwest League. 11am next Saturday at the Pia Bella Stadium sees the Doğanköy Dollies against the Lapta Lasses, a game that will set up a decisive final league match in a couple of weeks’ time.

Please come along and learn to play, it’s great fitness, no experience or equipment are needed. Call Gina on 0533 833 2069 for more information.

L to R Back row: Lynn Holman. Gloria Garcia, Tom Shirley (umpire), Sarah
Sandford, Liz Turner

Front row: Julia Birch, Steph Routledge, Ann McLoughlin, Gina Mapp