Axminster ladies crowned Devon Women’s League champions for the first time

Axminster Ladies
Back, left to right..Zoe Holifield, Holly Elsworth, Emily Broard, Sophie Florides,

Axminster Ladies Back, left to right..Zoe Holifield, Holly Elsworth, Emily Broard, Sophie Florides, Katie Donovan, Sue Elsworth Front, left to right..Daisy Meadowcroft, Maddie Holifield, Jennifer Poole, Emma Seward, Cassia Astley-Jones. PIcture CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Not even a eight-wicket defeat by Plympton in their last game of the season could dampen Axminster’s celebrations at winning Division One of the Devon Women’s League for the first time, writes Conrad Sutcliffe.

Axminster were bowled out for 55 at Cloakham –Staphanie Key, Evie Pitman and Steph Hutchings all taking two wickets each – which Plympton knocked off inside 13 overs. Amanda Higginbotham (18) and Evie Pitman (11) were the not out batters.

It was by common agreement in the dressing room the worse display of the season. But there were still smiles all round and champagne corks to be popped.

Seven days earlier Axminster had defeated the same opposition by 14 runs to ensure they could not be caught by Tarka Ladies at the top of the table.

Skipper Emily Broad topped the batting averages with 132 runs at exactly 66. Holly Elsworth (147) was the leading run scorer and made the season’s best of 96 in a win over Plymouth. Sophie Florides (106) averaged a very respectable 35.33.

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Jennifer Poole (13@6.31) topped the bowling aggregates but not the averages. Maddie Hollifield (11@6.00) was the average topper.

Poole (2-62), Kate Donovan (2.63) and Daisy Meadowcroft (3.00) bowled the cheapest overs.

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Title-winning captain Broad said there had been plenty of stand-out performances over the season from different players.

“The quality of squad has really helped this season and every member has produced a champagne moment when it was really needed,” said Broad.

Sue Elsworth, the team manager, was also full of praise for the team, in which she also plays

“There are some good teams in the league so for us to win Division One within three years of entering the league via Division Two is incredible,” she said.

Only two teams defeated Axminster all season: Plympton and Tarka Ladies. Axminster were struggling to get a side out to face Tarka at Instow, but went with what they had, which proved a wise decision.

“With only eight players available there were some thoughts of conceding the game,” said Elsworth.

“In hindsight the outcome was vital to winning the league.The four bowling and four batting points we took away eventually made the difference between first and second place.

Skipper Broad is already thinking ahead to 2019 and mounting a defence of the title won this season.

“I can see no reason why the girls can’t achieve the same level of performance and even widen the winning margin,” she said.

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