Devon Cricket is excited to announce that our Under 15 Girls' squad will be heading on the first-ever girls' tour to Sri Lanka in October, supported by our official overseas travel partner, Lion Sports.
The 13-day trip will see the girls play five cricket matches and take in local attractions, with an early morning climb to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and a visit to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage planned in between games.
This will be the first time a female team has represented Devon in an overseas tour since the Women's Under 21 squad travelled to South Africa for the 2018 Women's Cricket Festival.
The visit to Sri Lanka will be the first of what is set to be a biennial tour for the Under 15 Girls' squad. The trip brings the Girls' Pathway closer in line with the Boys', who have a long-established annual tour to South Africa in the same age group, meeting one of Devon Cricket's long-term aspirations for growing the women's game.
Ann-Marie Presswell, Women and Girls Development Officer at Devon Cricket, has overseen huge growth in the girls' game in the county since taking on the role in 2019 and will be joining the squad on the tour.
"Balance and parity of opportunity in the game is essential for the women’s game to continue to grow," she says.
"I was lucky enough to go to South Africa as a parent of Under 15 twin boys and so know first-hand how important this tour is to broaden the cricket playing experiences, but more importantly for the players to experience a different country and culture, and expand their understanding of the world."
Lily Innes will be captaining the side on the tour: "I am extremely excited! I think that it's a great opportunity for the girls. We will be playing at lovely grounds and viewing lots of sights and cultures.
"I honestly believe that we'll bond a lot as a team and, more importantly, I think we'll have great cricketing opportunities and a good laugh at the same time.
"I think this tour is very inspiring for young cricketers, whether they have just started playing or have been playing almost all their life. We've raised our own money, we've tried our hardest to get this tour going and it’s finally becoming a reality! Women’s cricket has never been as strong as it is now and there have never been as many opportunities in girls' cricket as there are now, therefore the timing is perfect. I am confident the squad is buzzing for the first ever girls' tour to Sri Lanka. We will definitely make the most of this tour!"
Megan Hayward is excited to be playing cricket abroad: "I am incredibly excited because I've travelled before, but I haven't travelled for sport before. I think the spin is going to be amazing there and the quality of the cricket is gonna be incredible. I think it's going to be really fun!"
Sophie Brandom put on record her appreciation for Ottery St Mary CC's help with raising money for the tour: "I am very, very excited and everyone I know seems to be very excited for me as well. My entire cricket club has been very supportive in helping me get the funding for the tour.
"I know every year I've sat and watched all the photos from the boys' tour pop up on social media and I've been screaming to my friends and my family that I want to go. The fact that we get the opportunity to go is just absolutely amazing. It's a massive step forward."
The squad travelling to Sri Lanka is as follows:
Darcey Boote (Plympton CC), Sophie Brandom (Ottery St Mary CC, Topsham St James CC, Whimple CC), Lucie Carwardine (Ivybridge CC & Plympton CC), Freya Cleveland (Clyst St George CC), Holly Evans (Bovey Tracey CC), Ella Gill (Paignton CC), Naomi Hancock (Paignton CC), Maggie Haffenden (Plymouth CC), Megan Hayward (Plymouth CC), Lily Innes (Plympton CC), Rosemary Johnson (Plymouth CC), Immy Prickett (Plymouth CC), Keeley Willcock (Plympton CC).