The UK have called up Annemeike Mitchell to the 16 strong squad from which their final world cup team will be selected. Annemieke (known to her friends and fans as Annie) comes into the squad to replace Kerry Bean, who has withdrawn herself from the squad. Annie is, at 20 years old, one of the youngest members of the 16 strong squad, with only Alex Richardson being younger at 19 years old.
Annie got her first full UK ladies cap this summer when she represented the UK in both test matches against the Irish Ladies team. She played a full role in both tests, playing at both number 2 and number 1, and put in a strong perfromance. Many people were surprised when she didn’t receive a call up to the squad when it was first announced, however, now that no longer matters as she is back in the squad and will compete for a place amongst the final 4 ladies along with Sarah Simkin, Debbie Harris, Charlotte Pykett, Annie Waterer, Lucy Shell, Ruth Jones and Lizzie Shearing.
The UK ladies have a very impressive reputation on the world stage, they have not lost a Ladies test match series for a number of years and have rarely lost their halves of matches when playing alongside a men’s section. However, they have lost a couple of big name players in recent years, Shelley Yirrell (formerly Shelley King), who many rated as the best female number 1 in the world, retired from playing international polocrosse after the 2007 world cup and then last year they have lost Sophie Sargeant (formerly Sophie Lodder), who was another of their outstanding players in recent test matches. Sophie is now moving to Zimbabwe to live with her Zimbabwean born husband Greg (editor’s note: rumours that Greg is moving so as to be closer to his good friend Hamish Michael are apparently not true) and she might possible play for Zimbabwean ladies in the 2011 World Cup, as Zimbabwe seek to pull together a ladies side which is the equal of their men’s section, which is alleged to be very impressive this time around with players such as Mikey Krynaw in it.
However, the UK will not be unduly worried about these departures, they still have players such as Debbie Harris, who has played in the last two World Cups, and Sarah Simkin and Ruth Jones, who have played in one each, and these three seem to get better and better the older they get. Then there is a great deal of talent amongst the youngsters in the squad, Annie Mitchell, Annie Waterer, Lucy Shell and Charlotte Pykett, and the recall of Lizzie Shearing after she played a very impressive season for Cotswold this year adds even more strength. The world still has a great deal to fear from the UK ladies, indeed the headache for the UK may be finding a men’s section which is as strong, after the men’s team lost to South Africa and Ireland in the last two years.