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England women came unstuck against a men's team in a match to celebrate Hertfordshire club Hoddesdon's 125th anniversary. The match, which raised money for breast cancer, was attended by Kate Hoey, the former sports minister, who was guest of honour.
"I wish that in 125 years time Hoddesdon Cricket Club is still in the hands of good decent people who want to enjoy this wonderful game," she said before the game, speaking in front of 250 guests. She had flown in from Belfast specially for the match.
Hoddesdon batted first - by mutual consent - and made 234 for 6, with the opener Rob Miller scoring 118 before being stumped by Sophie Le Marchand off Holly Colvin. Colvin was the most successful bowler, with 3 for 63 from 8 overs. England women reached 185 for 5 in reply, Caroline Atkins - captaining in lieu of Charlotte Edwards - topscoring with 53. Lydia Greenway made 48, while Ebony Rainford-Brent reached 41 not out.
Despite the defeat, the match will be useful practice for the girls in among their Super 4s games, and ahead of New Zealand's visit in August.
For Hoddesdon, their secretary Andy Byrne hopes this will be the catalyst for a women's cricket section at the club. "We are planning to have a team," he told Cricinfo. Three local girls' football teams have been invited down to the club with the aim to form a girls' section, and their response, so far, has been positive.
A longer term aim is for England women to come back to the club next year. "Perhaps the match would not be on such a grand scale," Byrne said, but the competition against the men is certainly valuable.