Mason hears the clap of Thunder

RECORD Cheshire run scorer Ellie Mason will be hoping to emulate her county teammate Sophie Ecclestone after earning a place in the new Lancashire Thunder Development Centre.

Mason, who amassed more than 1,000 runs across all formats for Cheshire in 2016, forms part of a 15-strong squad selected for the development arm of the Lancashire Thunder Women's team.

The Thunder Development Centre is one of six regional centres across the country, each aligned to the six host teams of the Kia Super League.

Lancashire observed players aged 14 to 19 from across the North and Midlands last summer, before inviting the players into the fold for further development opportunities.

The selected girls will receive coaching from staff involved with Lancashire Thunder and specialist coaches. They will also receive strength and conditioning programmes, education on injuries, nutrition, psychology and much more over the next few months.

Jen Barden, Head Coach of the Thunder Development Centre, said: "This is a great opportunity for this group of girls, to develop and learn about themselves and their games. It's an exciting time for women's sport and in particular cricket with more opportunities for players to become professional. We hope some of these girls are future players for Lancashire Thunder and in the Kia Super League."

Mason's inclusion in the Thunder Development Centre caps a remarkable year for the talented Bramhall all-rounder, who successfully retained her Girls Player of the Year award at the recent Cheshire Youth Cricket Presentation Dinner.

She also passed the significant milestone of 3,000 career runs for Cheshire in 2016, a benchmark the 17-year-old is very proud of.

Ellie said: "From going through all of the age groups at Cheshire, I am very proud of reaching such a personal milestone of 3,000 runs, especially getting 1,000 in this season alone.

"During this year I have thoroughly enjoyed playing for Cheshire and being with everyone involved in the setup. Hopefully, next year we can improve and push for an even more successful season." Mason's Cheshire CV certainly is an impressive one, and to date she has totalled more than 3,600 runs and taken 86 wickets.

Her record run tally includes six centuries and 21 fifties, with a best score of 165 against Nottinghamshire Under 15s in 2013 and a healthy overall average of 41.90.

A quick glance at Cheshire Cricket Board's play-cricket site has revealed that several members of the Boys youth squads are closing in on the 3,000-run club too, with Alderley Edge's Edward Fluck (2,827) leading the chasing pack.

Under 17 all-rounder Elliot Young signed off for Cheshire Youth Cricket this season with 2,547 runs to his name, comfortably eclipsing the tally of Bramhall's Matt Hughes (2,354).

And with another season still to play at Under 17 level, Fluck and CYC Player of the Year Henry Dobson (2,315) could yet write their names into the record books.

Leading batters - runs for Cheshire Youth Cricket only (play-cricket)
1. Ellie Mason 2,829
2. Edward Fluck 2,827
3. Elliot Young 2,547
4. Matt Hughes 2,364
5. Henry Dobson 2,315
6. George Balderson 1,962
7. Sam Perry 1,747
8. George Newton 1,693
9. Chris Drummond 1,644
10. Steve Rimmer 1,536

Leading bowlers - wickets for Cheshire Youth Cricket only (play-cricket)
1. Harry Newton 215
2. Jack Needham 105
3. Harry Killoran 104
4. Elliot Young 90
5. George Newton 89
6. Sophie Ecclestone 82
7. Kathryn Jackson 78
8. Sammi Short 78
9. Rob Jones 79
10. Ross Dixon 69