Isobel Barnes has taken the first step to achieving her cricketing dream after she was called up to represent England on the world stage.
The 14-year-old from Rearsby is preparing for an exciting trip to New Zealand next month to compete at the Junior World Series of Indoor Cricket for England’s Under 17s indoor girls’ team.
She has been helped on her journey by a £1,000 donation from Taylor Wimpey East Midlands towards the cost of the long-haul trip.
“It’s been an amazing journey getting to this point and I’m so excited to go to New Zealand,” Isobel said.
“This sponsorship means so much and is really going to help get me to the championships.”
Mum Sallie added: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the whole team so it’s important we can get Isobel there to represent England.
“We’re all so proud of her and it’s great to know we have Taylor Wimpey’s support.”
Isobel’s fledgling cricket career began almost by accident at the age of eight when she tagged along with her brother Thomas to cricket training at Queniborough CC.
After a few sessions watching from the sidelines, she decided to join in.
Developing into a bowling all-rounder with Queniborough, she was soon put forward for a trial with the Leicestershire’s under 13s girls’ team.
After four seasons with Queniborough, she decided to move on and find an all girls’ team.
“Being the only girl at the club we went to look for a girls’ section and that was where we found Sileby Town,” said Sallie.
“She is coming towards the end of her third season with them and we are hugely grateful for all the hard work the club have put into her and her cricket.”
Having played two seasons for the county’s U13s team, Isobel moved up to the under 15s team whom she captains.
Isobel’s rise continued when she was selected by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to represent the Midlands Under 18s at Taunton in a regional development competition.
If all of that wasn’t cricket enough, she also plays for the county under 17s team, Leicestershire Ladies Vixens, on top of her role with the U17s England Indoor team.
But she is happy to work hard if it means one day achieving her long-term goal of a place in the England’s women’s team.
And in New Zealand she will have a chance to emulate her heroes with success at a global tournament.
“She loves doing everything she can within the game,” Sallie said.
“The England women team’s success was a huge inspiration to her and many girls within cricket showing that cricket is definitely not just a boys’ sport anymore.
“It gives her more to work towards as there are so many opportunities given to girls in cricket now.”
* To support Isobel and donate to her trip to New Zealand, visit her JustGiving Page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/issiebarnesenglandcricket
For more information about Taylor Wimpey’s donations and sponsorships, visit www.taylorwimpey.co.uk/media-centre/news.