Ladies League gets under way in Barcelona

April 26, 2024

Last weekend saw the launch of La Liga Feminina, a six team competition to determine the national champions for Women’s cricket in Spain for the 2024 season.

The newly created Julia Campany stadium was the setting for the first round of matches with all six teams in the competition commencing their league campaign.

On the same day that the football teams of Real Madrid and Barcelona contested “El Classico” at the Bernabeu, the ladies cricket version was kicking off the new tournament a few hours earlier.

Madrid Royals won the toss and elected to bat. Teenager Julia Zamorano Molina faced the first ball in the competition, and made history by playing out a dot ball. Two balls later she scored the first run in the inaugural event and the league was well and truly underway.

The fourth over yielded the first wicket when Muskan bowled the Madrid youngster for four with the score on 12.

A flurry of wickets then followed as the hosts took control of the game. Barcelona Storm continued to restrict the visitors run total throughout theinnings and the team from the capital were eventually all out for 61 with one ball not utilised.

Samaia Basharat took four wickets in her spell of pace bowling for just 14 runs off the 17 balls she delivered.

In reply the Storm openers looked composed and at ease at the crease and made light work of chasing down the total.

Arryana Ala Uddin played well for her undefeated 17, but the star of the show was Lauren Parmenter who scored 45 off just 40 balls faced. This match winning knock, along with two wickets ensured that the Nottinghamshire university student was the worthy MVP winner.

Match two pitted Malaga Fire against the Valencia Vipers. The Vipers invited the Fire to bat and struck an initial blow when running out Cath Moratti early on, after a combined fielding effort from Jez Smagacz and Deepa Chukkapalli.

Memoona Queresh and Aneesa Azmet made notable contributions but the innings of the match came from Andrea Davidson-Soler who blasted 65 not out, off just 48 balls. The teenager remained undefeated for the Fire, as they racked up the impressive total of 160 for 5 from their over allocation.

The Vipers batted well and lost only one wicket, but they found the required run rate too daunting, and finally finished on 111 for 1, 49 runs shy of their target. Notable efforts with the bat came from Tasbiha Mirza (43 not out) and Jez Smagacz (34 not out).

The penultimate game of day one saw the two remaining teams enter the frame. Sevilla Scorpions decided to field on winning the toss and it proved to be theright decision as they restricted the Cobras to 62 for seven from their twenty overs. It took the Scorpions just eleven overs to surpass the Murcia total with Lisa Wight and Amy Brown Carrera easing the Andalusians to a comfortable nine wicket victory.

Game four was between two of the unbeaten sides, Barcelona Storm and the Malaga Fire and it was the latter who kept their winning record intact.

Zuleka Butt took two wickets for the Fire to keep the Storm to the below par total of 97 for four from their twenty overs.

Clinical batting by the Fire ensured a clean sweep on the day. They won the match in comfortable fashion, with four wickets and 21 balls to spare.

Day two commenced with a match-up between Murcia and Valencia, who were both looking for their first win of the series. It was the Cobras that took the spoils and the two points.

Batting first Valencia scored 88 for 5 with Deepa Chukkapalli top scoring with 35. In reply, openers Uswa Syed (59 not out) and Hifsa Butt (24 not out) steered theCobras to a comprehensive victory.

The sixth match of the series was between the Madrid Royals and Sevilla Scorpions and it was the Royals who came out of the contest victorious.

Batting first the Scorpions accrued a total of 85 for 8. The Royals used nine bowlers, embracing the spirit of the event by giving every player a chance.

Their team spirit was rewarded when they overtook the required total with eleven balls to spare. Skipper Naomi Hillman-Bermejo blasted 25 off just 20 deliveries at the business end of the contest to give her team their first points in the win column.

The Fire and the Cobras entered the field of play for the next game and it went the way of the Cobras by seven wickets.

The Fire posted a competitive total of 116 for 3 with Marisol Carrera Vivar top scoring with 34. Uswa Syed hit her second consecutive half century to lead the Cobras reply. She was well supported by Saskia Payne who added an unbeaten 43.The run chase was timed to perfection as they overtook the Malaga score with the final ball of the match.

The weekend matches finished in the early evening with the Barcelona Storm entertaining the Sevilla Scorpions. Sevilla batted first and scored 91 for six with skipper Amy Brown Carrera top scoring with an unbeaten 56.

The Storm responded well to the challenge and won the game with four wickets and ten balls to spare. Erika Fernández Espinosa was the main stay of the Barcelona innings, hitting an unbeaten 25 from 33 balls.

Three of the teams, Malaga Fire, Murcia Cobras and Sevilla Scorpions return to Julia Campany in June, with Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia set to visit Barcelona again in the fall.

The grand final will take place in November, when once again all six clubs will head to Cataluyna to complete the league and confirm the Ladies National Champions of Spain.

Read more from