Not only does this year mark a first for the Commonwealth Games, as women played cricket for the first time, but it also marks a first for girls’ cricket at the Dragon, as we took our first foray into hardball cricket. The main aim of the season was “for the girls to fall in love with the game”, and it’s already clear how many have done just that.
As the Dragon’s Director of Sport, Jonathan Turner, reflected on the year passed, he expressed an “overwhelming emotion of immense pride” and believes “the greatest and most pleasing sporting success of the year is the inclusivity of the Dragon’s programme.” The Dragon’s cricket programme continues to grow and develop, and the girls continue to make the most of every moment in the nets and on the square. Young Dragons are inspired by those that have been on the Dragon fields before them, and girls’ cricket is no different.
In a brilliant turn of events, Maia Bouchier (OD 2012) who just so happens to be the first girl ever to represent the Dragon on the 1st XI, was called to play as part of England’s Commonwealth Games team, this year.
“The Dragon was the first school team I played for and it was a challenge to play against the boys. Mr Went had a real impact on my cricket. He made me feel comfortable playing in a boys’ team and we had a great side – the Dragon 1st XI was unbeaten in my last year …”
Maia Bouchier (OD 2012)
Tim Knapp, the Dragon’s U11A Girls’ Cricket coach this past academic year commented, “I believe success in children’s sport is measured by improvement and enjoyment and, using this criterion, we had an incredibly successful season … more important than the wins are the clear improvements made in all facets of the game.” One notable highlight of the season for many was the parents’ matches at the end of term. It was brilliant to see so many mums, dads, brothers and sisters on the field together, enjoying both the competition and the camaraderie.
We look forward to the future of girls’ cricket at the Dragon, and future sporting stars that will no doubt join Maia in reaching for their own sunshine, as they start out on their own fantastic sporting journeys. Maia’s team has already made history, with women’s cricket part of the Games for the first time, as England opened their campaign against Sri Lanka on 30 July. They competed on home ground at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham, but missed out on a medal* as New Zealand beat them to bronze. Favourites Australia beat India by nine runs in the final to win the gold medal.
“The batting was mainly dominated by Hardman and Palmer and the wickets tended to be claimed by Goulder, Robinson and Bouchier.”
Mr Went, The Draconian 2012
Congratulations Maia, from the banks of the River Cherwell and the Commonwealth Games to The Hundred 2022. The Dragon is right behind you, in fact, we can hear Mr Went cheering you on from here!
*It was gold, silver and bronze for Francesca Wilcox (OD 2013), a member of the design team responsible for this year’s Commonwealth Games medals! They were designed to portray the connection between all athletes and the journey they go through to achieve their dreams. The design also includes an aerial map of the host region’s road and famous canal network and were minted in a way that visually impaired athletes can feel the design. What a fantastic achievement, and what beautiful medals. Well done Francesca!
Read more from Maia and all about her Commonwealth Games experience in the next issue of The OD magazine.