THERE was a strong Bolton connection when Lancashire women’s side won the Division Two title on Sunday.
The Red Rose county picked up three bowling and three batting points against Staffordshire to be crowned champions and earn a promotion to the top flight.
Three of the players in the line-up have been turning out at Bolton Cricket League teams for the past couple of years.
Egerton’s Megan Fairclough joined Astley Bridge’s Bhumika Doshi and Horwich’s Nalisha Patel in the game.
Lancashire’s challenge was also spearheaded by Walshaw’s Kate Cross.
Cross tore into the top of the Staffordshire batting on her way to claiming 3-36 while Doshi was the next best bowler with 2-18 as Staffordshire finished on 199-7.
In reply, Lancs were struggling at 47-6 but Fairclough (16) joined Cross to turn the game around and put on 20 for the next wicket.
In came Patel and the pair took Lancs to 128 when Cross (54) was caught and bowled by Kate Broadmore.
Patel was not out on 28 at the death as Lancs came up short of victory.
However, the team had secured enough points to go up. Cross believes Lancashire’s success was down to the fresh injection of talent this season and admits Bolton as a town played its part in their title success.
She said: “The great thing is Lancashire (and Bolton) are producing these top young players.
“In the past six months I have realised how strong cricket is here through my work in the ‘Chance to Shine’ initiative coaching young players.
“I watched the Under-13s games and we are so lucky to have players coming through. There were not many opportunities like that when I was younger.
“Everyone is stepping up and taking responsibility.
“Bhumika has done well with the bat and ball while Meg has won us a few games with her batting.
“That was one of the reasons behind our success as we are not relying on two or three players to win and instead three or four have come in and done a job.”