HOLLIE ARMITAGE will soon be swapping the frozen wastelands of Meltham for the desert delights of Dubai.
For the 15-year-old Honley High School student has been selected for the England Under 19 Ladies cricket squad, and will be heading for the United Arab Emirates next month as one of a 14-strong team representing the MCC.
Hollie, daughter of ex-Meltham stalwart John, has come up through the Meltham junior system, having captained the Under 15 side, and last season was a member of the Under 17 team who reached the final of the Oldfield Cup, where she scored 27, only to finish on the losing side against Lascelles Hall.
She also opened the batting for the Second Elevens in the second half of last season, and for good measure won the club’s catching prize!
However, it was while skippering Yorkshire’s Under 15s in the County Championship semi-final and final that she came to the attention of the national scouts.
After reaching the semis in Dunstable, Hollie cracked an unbeaten 123 against Somerset, and followed that up with an undefeated 66 to help defeat Kent in the final as Yorkshire landed the County Championship.
She was subsequently invited onto the England Women’s Development programme where she is attending four-day training camps at Loughborough.
“I am really looking forward to going to Dubai during the half-term holidays,” said Hollie, who is currently studying for her A levels, and a BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Sport.
“I was scouted during the County Championship matches, and selected as one of 23 girls for the England Women’s Development programme, and so far I’ve had two sessions at Loughborough.
“We are going out to Dubai for just over a week to represent the MCC, and we are due to play four or five games against other County sides who are out there.”
On top of her other playing commitments, Hollie also plays for New Farnley (Leeds Ladies) on Sundays, and helped them win the National Shield last summer.
As well as being on the England programme, Hollie is also getting one-to-one coaching at the Indoor School at Headingley from Yorkshire coach Tony Pickersgill, who also looks after the county’s Under 15s and the New Farnley team.
At the end-of-season presentation evening at Harrogate, Hollie received the Yorkshire Under 15 batting award, was named the Players’ Player of the Year and also took the Yorkshire young Female Cricketer of the Year award.
Another young Huddersfield product making her name on the county scene is Maddie Walsh, from Golcar Cricket Club, who has come up through the Swallow Lane club’s junior system where she is a promising all-rounder.
Maddie picked up the Yorkshire Under 13 batting award, while she also took the Players’ Player award for the 2012 season.