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A chat with March Marvels captain Lois Hopkins

In the second of our pre-season cricket interviews with leading local cricketers Stephen Wallis caught up with the March Marvels captain Lois Hopkins

What is your own cricketing background, Lois? I know your dad was a professional cricketer with Warwickshire CCC in the 1970/80s is key to your initial interest in the game.

I played cricket during a PE lesson in secondary school with plastic bats and stumps. I came home and told my parents I really enjoyed it, said to my dad that’s what you used to play isn’t it? Then asked whether there were any local clubs in Birmingham with a girls / women’s team. I saw an advert in the local newspaper and that was it! Played straight into the women’s team and was successful the coming winter at Staffordshire County trials for the women’s team.

Lois with former England players Jane (right with ECB shirt on) and Jill Powell.
Lois with former England players Jane (right with ECB shirt on) and Jill Powell.

When did you move to March and what inspired you to create the March Marvels?

I relocated from Birmingham to Cambridgeshire in 2017 and had a few years break from cricket focusing on my golf. I then saw an advert on Facebook that March Town Cricket Club were having a Prosecco and Women’s Cricket taster evening, I wanted to get back into it, and went!

When and how did you start the March Marvels?

March Marvels
March Marvels

After the taster session, which was in August 2021 we all agreed it was something we wanted to do again so we went back the following Tuesday and that was it! Four weeks later we played our first ever match which was at Sutton, which we won!

Who came up with the name?

The chance to give someone credit.We asked the players for suggestions for our team’s name and the Marvels was voted the highest out of them all. The Marvels was suggested by Tanya Cornwell.

What was the response when you first started the new ladies’ team?

March Marvels
March Marvels

Wide variety of ages (13 to late 60s) and experience, with a high majority of players (probably 80%) never having played cricket at all before. We now have 30 players on board, some play softball or hardball only, and some play both.

Who were the key coaches and organisers of the team when you began practicing as a group?

Neil Liversedge and Bill Adamson, Bill is our head coach.

March Marvels
March Marvels

When was your first match?

Late August 2021 at Sutton

What was it like to be part of that first game?

I was very nervous naturally not knowing anyone, especially when I was asked to captain the side for that match. But that soon eased as the Marvels are all very friendly and welcoming. Then after that match I was asked whether I’d like to be the official captain going forwards.

I know the Marvels started playing softball matches and had some early success. That must have been special.

It was incredible, the team spirit and how everyone is so friendly and supportive of each other, I’ve never experienced the level of this in any sport or team I’ve played for before. The Marvels are pretty special. A month after the initial taster session we went to Chippenham to their softball festival and won the overall competition.

How has the team evolved after those early days?

Everyone has come on such a long way, I’m so proud of each and every one of the Marvels. Many players have now purchased their own kit as an investment into their own game which speaks volumes for their commitment and dedication to the team and the game in general. We also have a great social side of the team off the pitch and have forged some lifelong friendships.

What can you tell readers about a pre-season event you have arranged for Tuesday 9 April at March Town Cricket Club?

It is open to anyone over the age of 13 to come along and have a go! It’s a free event, 6:30pm start, Cricket and Prosecco or soft drinks will be provided to all participants. No kit or experience necessary. We have everything you will need.

How much is the growth of women’s sport in this country inspiring you and the team?

It’s just amazing to see the coverage about women’s sport on the TV, in the newspapers and on social media. I’ve seen a huge shift from when I was younger, it’s come a long way. It also demonstrates you don’t just have to play the sport you can referee, umpire, score etc…

How often do you practice and who should prospective new players contact to join the March Marvels?

We will begin our outdoor training sessions at The Avenue, March Town Cricket club’s ground every Tuesday evening, 6:30pm prompt start. This is weather dependent. Please drop us a message on our club Facebook page or our Marvels Instagram - MarchTownMarvels

When is your first match in 2024 and how many matches have you scheduled to play?

We have our first game at home on Sunday 21st April. This is an ECB Vitality Women’s Club T20 Knockout Competition match.

We will probably have thirty fixtures this year, a combination of knockout competitions, friendlies, and hardball or softball.

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