Perse School pupil Bella Howarth earns Essex debut in ECB Women's County Championship
Bella Howarth has set out her cricketing potential after making her Essex debut aged just 15.
The Year 10 Perse School pupil was selected for the women’s team to take part in the final London Championship match of the season.
Howarth found herself up against a Kent side that included the likes of England’s Tash Farrant and Scotland star Sarah Bryce.
It may have been a 10-wicket defeat for Essex, but Howarth was thrilled to have been given the opportunity.
“I was definitely very excited to have been picked to play,” she said.
“However, I still get super nervous even if I am the youngest player with little expectation on my shoulders.
“Thankfully, there were many experienced players in the team who helped and supported me on my debut.
“I was definitely very inspired by the professionalism by the first XI captain Kelly Castle in the pre and post-game team talks.
“With that being said, Kent are one of our biggest rivals so everyone was extremely focused and professional.
“Kent are probably the strongest side in the country in women’s cricket and they definitely proved that on the day. Playing against them showed me the standard I need to achieve if I want to go further.
“It was definitely a learning experience for me and I will try to take the professionalism that was shown on the day into age-group cricket.”
Howarth started playing cricket after going along to her local club while her older brother took part in training sessions.
She went on to captain the boys’ team and, aged nine, was selected for the Essex girls’ development squad, making her debut for the under-11s against Kent in 2015. She earned a place in the East Region Academy (ERA), and successfully trialled for the new Eastern Sunrisers Academy, made up of players from nine different counties across the region.
She has also enjoyed success with The Perse, helping the under-15s team to third and fourth place finishes in the Lady Taverners indoor finals at Lord’s, and Thriplow CC, playing a part in their under-15 girls’ team reaching the Lady Taverners national finals last year.
Her ambition is to one day play for England, and she said: “I’m on the right track, but I have a lot more training and hard work ahead if I’m going to be successful.
“The great thing is that as women’s cricket is growing so quickly, there seems to be new opportunities arising all the time. We now have more full-time female professionals than ever and that number is always growing.”