England have selected the two youngest players in their current squad, 15 year-old Leanne Davis and 16 year-old Laura Harper, to play in the fifth and final One Day International of the series against South Africa at Worcester tomorrow, Saturday 1 July. Davis will become the youngest player ever to represent her country in Women's Cricket.
England have already won the series 3-1 and are seizing the opportunity to give the newest recruits to the squad the chance to play.
"They both have talent and confidence," says Paul Farbrace the England Women's Coach. "We know that they can cope and that they will relish the chance to get a game. Including them also enables us to rest two senior players, Jane Cassar (wicket keeper and holder of the international record for most dismissals) and opening bowler Lucy Pearson. Both of them have had a good series, Lucy won the Player of the Match Award in the first game at Chelmsford."
Leanne Davis from Rochdale has already played for the England A Squad and was called up to join the senior team last Sunday night. She started playing cricket aged eight at Milnrow Club (now known as Dale Wanderers) and was selected for Lancashire U-17 aged 11. She is a right arm medium pace bowler. Davis said "It has been great just to be here, training with the squad but now I am thrilled at getting the chance to play."
Laura Harper from Truro plays for Somerset and Somerset Wanderers in Bath. She is an off spin bowler and bats up the order. She too started her cricket aged eight and played with boys and men's teams until deciding that she would move into the women's game. She was selected for the original squad but had to miss the final training camp to complete her GCSEs. She joined the team at the start of the tour and was 12th man in the fourth game at Taunton. Before the tour Laura said, "I was in awe of the England players when I first trained with them, but I enjoyed working with them and I am determined I am going to be like them!" Explaining her technique she says, "You watch how people bat and see their strengths and weakenesses, then you set the field and bowl to make them play their weak shots."
Opening bat Charlotte Edwards will hope to repeat, if not better her 96 not out in the final game at Taunton. Her second wicket stand of 182 with Barbara Daniels (caught behind on 95) effectively won the match and the series.