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'Not just a sport for boys': How Lilly, 11, could be a future cricket star

PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 July 2019

Lilly Barbier, 11, was a guest of honour at a masterclass training session with Jonny Bairstow when she visited Yorkshire County Cricket Club's Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

Lilly Barbier, 11, was a guest of honour at a masterclass training session with Jonny Bairstow when she visited Yorkshire County Cricket Club's Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

DANNY LAWSON/PA

She has already caught the eye of many with her first-class wicket keeping and batting skills.

England international cricket star Jonny Bairstow and Lilly Barbier, 11, from Felixstowe, hard at work at Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PAEngland international cricket star Jonny Bairstow and Lilly Barbier, 11, from Felixstowe, hard at work at Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

And now Lilly Barbier has her sights set on knocking Suffolk with six with her cricketing talents after a masterclass with an international legend.

Lilly, 11, used to be a shy girl before she picked up a bat and took to the crease in pads and gloves.

But the sport gave her a new-found confidence, with the youngster soon earning a place as Suffolk county's first-choice under-11s wicket keeper.

Motivated by the recent success of the England women's cricket side, the Felixstowe resident now hopes to win places in higher squads and coach other youngsters in the future as well.

So recently she has been helped along her way with a masterclass from England star Jonny Bairstow, who taught her some extra tricks of the game on a visit to Yorkshire's Headingley ground.

The visit was organised by the children's cricket charity, Time to Shine.

11-year-old cricket sensation Lilly Barbier, practising at Kingsfleet Primary School in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN11-year-old cricket sensation Lilly Barbier, practising at Kingsfleet Primary School in Felixstowe Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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"I love cricket now," said the Kingsfleet Primary School pupil, whose biggest inspiration is England and Sussex female cricket player Danni Wyatt.

"I couldn't imagine not playing it.

"It makes me feel great because you know you've helped the team and the team want to help you.

"It's made me more confident because its helped me to make more friends and meet more clubs as well.

"If someone said cricket wasn't a sport for girls I just wouldn't listen to them. It's a sport for everyone, whether you're a girl or a boy.

Lilly Barbier, from Kingsfleet Primary School in Felixstowe, swings for the boundaries at Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PALilly Barbier, from Kingsfleet Primary School in Felixstowe, swings for the boundaries at Headingley Stadium Picture: DANNY LAWSON/PA

"The England women's team are proving that right now."

Chloe Leveridge, Lilly's coach at Suffolk Cricket Women and Girls, said: "Lilly was quite nervous during that first session but then it just seemed to click.

"People started to tell her she was good at it and before we knew it, she was hooked."

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