Teen cricketer Maddie Walsh is swapping her ‘whites’ for a posh frock when she travels to London for a Royal appointment.
Maddie, 16, of Golcar, has just broken into Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s women’s team.
And this summer the women have emulated the Yorkshire men’s team by winning the county championship.
Both teams will go to Buckingham Palace next month to be presented with their championship medals by the Duke of Edinburgh.
The squads will travel to London aboard the same coach and all-rounder Maddie will hope to brush shoulders with her cricketing hero and England star Joe Root.
Maddie’s dad Peter, 47, said: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Maddie and we’re so proud of what she’s achieved.”
Maddie, who is studying sports sciences at Huddersfield New College, started playing cricket when she was seven.
While her family are sporty – sister Phoebe, 18, is into netball – no one plays cricket and Maddie developed her love for the game by watching over the back fence. Drakes Huddersfield League side Golcar play next door.
Maddie started playing with Golcar’s junior teams – playing with the boys – and progressed through the age groups.
She was spotted as a talent for the future and fast-tracked into county cricket, captaining Yorkshire’s under 15s team to the championship.
She joined the Elite Players’ Programme (EPP), which means she has specialist one-to-one coaching, and in May made her debut for the Yorkshire ladies’ first team while still only 15.
As well as winning the county championship – and relegating arch rivals Lancashire in the process – the Yorkshire ladies finished runners-up in the T20 competition with Maddie joint top wicket-taker with eight.
Peter and wife Julie, 52, have clocked up hundreds of miles this summer driving Maddie to matches around the country.
“It can be very hectic but we embrace it,” said Peter, who works for a specialist glass company. “It’s been nerve-wracking at times but well worth it.”
Maddie is a medium pace bowler and early order batsman and her ambition is to become a professional cricketer.
For now she is combining cricket and football – she recently played for Huddersfield Town Ladies – but cricket seems to be her future.
She’s taken part in some England under 17 training camps and has secured her place on the EPP for 2016.
Next stop is Buckingham Palace and Peter said: “That’s a really special end to a big season for Maddie.”