Bats, Balls and Bradford Girls

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Project Details

  • Executive producer: Liesel Evans
  • Filmed & Directed by : Gussy Sakula-Barry
  • Producer: Sophie Ellis
  • Line Producer: Fiona McDonald
  • BBC
  • January 2019

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This film follows the first all Asian girls’ cricket team over the summer holidays as they train for their last ever tournament together. The team started at school four years ago when their only experience of cricket was their dads and brothers watching it on the TV. In spite of this, they took to it like naturals and began winning almost all of the tournaments they entered.

Last year they lost out on becoming National champions at Lords by only one run. All of the girls have had to fight to be part of the team. They have faced disapproval from some of the local Pakistani community, for whom cricket is strictly a boys’ sport. Some of the parents don’t want their daughters staying out late to train. They have been told that girls should stay at home, study and help their mums with the housework. They’ve had to prove to their male peers that girls can play sport too. Plus, the team have had to play in what is an otherwise all-white, elite schools girls’ league, facing prejudice and proving themselves as the underdogs. At one of their matches, the other team laughed at them for wearing headscarves and refused to shake their hands. When asked what gives them the edge over their rivals, they say ‘adversity’. Because nobody wanted them to succeed, they’ve had to work together as a team more closely than their more privileged peers.

They look out for each other and overcoming the obstacles from every direction has brought them closer together. For some, the cricket pitch is the only place where they feel like they can be their true selves. The team has taken a break for their GCSE exams, but once the summer holidays start they are back on the field to train for their last tournament together. After the summer they will all be going their separate ways, all going to different colleges. The tournament will be held at the legendary Headingly cricket stadium and they will be playing some of the best girls’ teams in Yorkshire. Hami is their coach leading them to victory. It is their final chance to prove themselves as Yorkshire girls’ champions and they want to go out with a bang.