The Women's Cricket Academy have dominated so far this season with a victory in every game played including a memorable win against a select MCC side.
Beginning back in April the girls’ campaign could not have started in a better fashion.
The girls posted a massive 450 against Birmingham with only four batters required. Tammy Beaumont showed her class with 208 no and was well supported by fellow England academy member Helen Shipman (82) and Lauren Winfield (103 no). Birmingham had little response as they made just 182 in their 50 overs to allow Loughborough to cruise to their first victory.
Their next opponents came from rivals Leeds Met Carnegie. After losing to them in the BUCS final last year Loughborough were keen to show that there would be no repeat performance this season.
Batting first, Leeds started steadily but were ultimately outclassed by the Loughborough attack, unable to last to the end of the match Met as they were bowled out in 45 overs with Anna Swann and Giselle Ainsley both showing good economy whilst taking wickets.
In reply the Beaumont express rolled in once again as she finished 93 no whilst Helen Shipman also made a half century (no) to reach the target in just 38 overs.
An away trip to Durham finally saw more than four Loughborough players pick up a bat. Supported by all members of the team, Tammy continued to show what fantastic form she is in with 103 no as Loughborough were bowled out for 215.
There was no need for concern however as Giselle Ainsley produced fantastic figures of 5-26 in her 10 overs to destroy the Durham line up.
Wickets from Nat Wheat and Beth Greenhalgh, as well as Beaumont, who chipped in with 1-26 off 9, saw the Durham team bowled out in just 26 overs 130runs short of the target.
Durham didn’t have long to lick their wounds as they travelled to Loughborough just two-days later for the return fixture.
More big scores from Beaumont (121 no) and Winfield (104) ensured a strong total was made as, batting first, Loughborough scored 273 of their 50 overs.
In reply Durham showed more strength than several days earlier as their top order began to make progress. However with three run outs and wickets falling Durham were unable to build on their fell openers start and fell a long way short of the total.
After dominating in the BUCS table the MCCU girls then faced a bigger challenge.
Each year they play a friendly against a select MCC team that often features ex and current international players. This year was no different with the inclusion of New Zealand’s opening bowler Sian Ruck providing an extra test for the Loughborough girls.
However Loughborough’s team could also boast three internationals, with Beaumont along with the inclusion of top England bowler Katherine Brunt and another New Zealander Liz Perry.
After the MCC produced a competitive performance of 232-5 (Atkins 101) the game then evolved to produce a thrilling climax. After good performances from many of the team (Winfield 50, Beaumont 66, Perry 40) Loughborough then found themselves moving closer to the target but with wickets down.
Katherine Brunt was able to help close the gap with an aggressive 23 but it was soon down to the Loughborough bowlers to see the game out.
The value of the match was clear to see as many of the girls were unable to watch as Ruck moved in to bowl the final over.
A wicket in that over sparked fears that the game was all over but with the ‘shot of the day’ by Nat Wheat, accompanied by Danielle Peart, Loughborough completed the victory for a historic win off the final ball.
The girls have just two BUCS games remaining in the group stage before semi-finals take place on 8 June.
If their current form continues they could well set be set to attend the finals at Lords on 27 June in which they will have the opportunity to convert last year’s BUCS silver into gold.