Village cricket players have been given council funding to help capitalise on the success of their first competitive season.

The Great Ayton women’s softball cricket team, which features players as young as 13, reached regional finals that were played Headingley Stadium in Leeds.

Cllr Heather Moorhouse, who represents the Great Ayton division on North Yorkshire Council, has now provided £2,000 from her annual locality budget to support the team.

It will pay for new kit as well as coaching and transport to indoor nets in Stokesley for training throughout the autumn and winter months.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Members of the Great Ayton women's softball cricket team are pictured with North Yorkshire Council member, Cllr Heather Moorhouse, who has provided £2,000 in funding from her locality budget to pay for kit and training costs

Cllr Moorhouse, whose husband, David, is the chairman of the cricket club, said: “Everyone in the village is immensely proud of the success of the team, and they have really captured the mood of what has been a surge in interest in women’s cricket both nationally and internationally.

“Seeing what they have managed to achieve in their first competitive season has been an inspiration to us all, and I wanted to make sure that they can continue to build on the success.”

Darlington and Stockton Times: Belle Collins is pictured batting at Great Ayton Cricket and Football Club, with Catherine Pearson keeping wicket. The team enjoyed success in its first competitive season after reaching the regional finals which were played at Headingley Stadium in

The team competed in the Hambleton League (North) during the summer after having only played two friendly matches in the previous season.

The players from Great Ayton managed to secure a place in the women’s softball cricket regional finals that were played at the home of Yorkshire County Cricket Club in Headingley last month. They progressed to the semi-finals where they were beaten by a team from Worsbrough Bridge, which is on the outskirts of Barnsley.

Captain, Catherine Pearson said: “We are delighted to have achieved so much in such a short space of time, and we are really proud to finish as one of the top four sides in Yorkshire.

“The funding from Cllr Moorhouse is extremely welcome, and it will help us train throughout the winter and pay for new kit so that we can hopefully build on our successes in the new season next year.”

Softball cricket is a short format of the game, using a soft cricket ball and non-wooden bats. The version is designed to be as inclusive as possible, giving all players an opportunity to bat, bowl and field.