Golden girl Liberty Heap is an ECB School Games champion
Liberty Heap was the golden girl of the ECB School Games at Loughborough University last month.
The 18-year-old step-daughter of Lowerhouse Cricket Club captain Ben Heap led Team Scriver to glory at the National Cricket Performance Centre.
The teenager, who is studying business and sport at Stoneyhurst College, excelled in the T20 format as her side overcame Team Knight and Team Brunt.
“She’s done well,” said Ben, who led the West Enders to Worsley Cup glory this term. “It was a really tricky start to the season; she’s been busy at school so it didn’t really go to plan in the beginning. It all came good in the end, though.
“I’m super proud of her. Trying to balance her education with her ambition to become a professional cricketer hasn’t been easy, but she’s taken it on. She really inspires me.”
Liberty recorded the highest individual score of the tournament when returning 87 runs off 53 balls, which included 10 fours and four sixes, in her opening game.
The Lancashire Under 18s star, who was picked for North West Thunder’s final game of the campaign as they beat South East Stars at Canterbury in Kent, then opened the batting in the final.
She scored 12 as Team Scriver made 154 before taking 4-21, which included three wickets in a single over, to help turn the tide after being introduced with the ball in the 12th over.
Ben said: “Her work ethic and attitude are second to none, she’s a diamond, dimensional, and she’s going in the right direction. We just need to help her keep her feet on the ground and stay focussed.
“We have a great relationship and we talk a lot about cricket. I’m her Dad so I’m there to support her as best I can.
“We spend so much time on the road, myself and my wife [Shelly] feel like we’ve been to every corner of the country, but it’s all worth it.”
The youngster, who still gets game time for Lowerhouse’s second and third string, was given the opportunity to make her mark and impress ECB scouts following her impressive performances at the Academy Festival in Shrewsbury in August.
Now she’s pushing to be part of the U19s Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in January 2023. “She was given a blank canvas,” said Ben.
“Scouts wanted to see players producing the goods on the big stage, in a pressurised environment, in front of crowds, cameras and England coaches.
“She’s matured as a person, as a young woman and as a cricketer. She’s technically gifted and she’s got the attributes needed in abundance.
“She’s nowhere near the finished article yet but she’s really starting to understand her own game. She’s developing well and just enjoyed her best ever season with the bat overall.
“Now she’s got the platform to really kick on. She needs to continue to put the work in and listen to her coaches at Lancashire now that she’s in a professional set up.
“There is a clear pathway now for young girls in this country to pursue a career as a professional cricketer so we’re encouraging her to keep chasing her dreams. You can’t beat doing something you love for a living!”