KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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MCC's first ever Women's age-group team have beaten Sussex U19s to win the Arabian Challenge (ARCH) Trophy in the UAE.
The MCC U19 Development side came out on top in the tournament final under lights at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, on Saturday 23 February, beating their South Coast opponents by 18-runs in a closely fought encounter.
Batting first, MCC were struggling at 69/5 before a vital 63-run partnership between Cordelia Griffith (39 not out) and Marie Kelly (30) helped their side reach a decent 150/6 from their 40 overs.
Grace Gibbs gave MCC the perfect start in response, taking three early wickets as Sussex crumbled to 40/5.
Carla Rudd stood firm for Sussex though and together with number seven Izi Nokes (31) brought her side back into the match with a partnership of 58.
Nokes fell to Izzy Collis to make the score 98/6 however, and after Rudd's vigil was ended on 41 by Lily Reynolds Sussex's hopes were all but dashed; they were left needing 32 more of 3.5 overs with just one wicket remaining.
Alex Hartley took the final wicket with the last ball of the 38th over, bowling Georgia Monk for a duck.
The victory capped off a fine debut tournament for MCC, who won all four of their fixtures in Abu Dhabi.
Durham, Devon and Essex were all beaten in fine style in the group stage to set-up the final.
Several players put in exceptional performances. Collis and Georgia Hennessey both struck centuries in the group stage and finished joint-top of the tournament scoring charts while Holly Armitage claimed 11 wickets to finish joint-top wicket taker.
The eight-team inaugural ARCH Trophy was organised by Sport Arabia and also featured Scotland, Lancashire and Wales. The fixtures were played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with the final taking place under lights at the Sheikh Zayed International Cricket Stadium.
It was an MCC Spirit of Cricket event.