England call-up is the target for Catherine

HISTORY MAKER: Catherine Dalton leaves the field on Saturday after scoring the first century by a female in the history of the Two Counties League
HISTORY MAKER: Catherine Dalton leaves the field on Saturday after scoring the first century by a female in the history of the Two Counties League

Catherine Dalton is targeting an England call after she was believed to have become the first woman to score a century in the Two Counties Championship.

The 22-year-old opened the batting at Star Stile for Halstead II’s Division Four clash with Felixstowe on Saturday, and reached the historic landmark with a classy knock of exactly 100 runs.

Although no official records exist, it is believed that Dalton’s century was the first by a female in the league’s 44-year history.

The Halstead batswoman’s achievement has attracted national interest, with Dalton being interviewed on Sky Sports News.

Former England cricketers Darren Gough and Simon Jones have been among many high-profile names in the game to congratulate her.

“It’s nice to receive so much support,” she said. “It’s been overwhelming. My Twitter feed has never seen that much action before!”

Dalton and fellow opener Ian Pont began the innings with a first-wicket stand of 185, with Felixstowe dismissing Pont for 97 runs.

The Middlesex cricketer, who scored 64 in the previous week’s win over Tuddenham, completed the century in Halstead’s 37 run in.

“I’ve never made history before so it ranks up there with what I’ve achieved,” Dalton said.

“I’ve had quite a few 50s in the past, but when I got into the 90s I got a little nervous.

“It was nice to experience scoring a 100, which I’ve never done in the men’s game.”

Dalton spent time playing at the England Academy between 2011 and 2012, and is now hoping her recent success could be the catalyst needed to gain a call-up to the England Women’s team.

“That would be my dream,” she said. “Hopefully one day I can play for England.

“I need to keep progressing and back it up with good performances. It’s only June and I’m not going to rest on my laurels. It was a really good day on Saturday and shows how far I’ve progressed.

“I spent the winter with Ian Pont at his Ultimate Pace Foundation in Bangalore. It was very hard training, which I’ve reaped the rewards from.”

Dalton became the first woman to play for Halstead after signing in March 2012, having burst onto the scene in 2011, when she scored back-to-back centuries for Essex Under-17s.