Driving Ambition

Cricket is thriving at Simon Balle All-through school, and the school owes a special debt of thanks to 13-year-old Elsa Barnfather. Her performances on the field and her leadership abilities have driven all of the school’s cricket teams to unprecedented success, while earning herself a spot with Hertfordshire under 13s.

This combination of positivity and on-field skill serves to inspire the other girls. “Her attitude generally really encourages the girls. She’s very enthusiastic but firm at the same time,” says PE teacher Kate Ansell, adding “the Year 7s who have just started cricket look up to her because she’s at that higher level. It’s really exciting for Simon Balle’s cricket, as well as for the girls, to have a county cricketer in their team.”

She is captain of the school’s under 13 side and under her leadership the team have won every competition offered by Chance to Shine’s secondary school competition Chance to Compete, while both the under 13s and under 15s have made it through to the regional finals in Hertfordshire.




In 2016, Elsa was named Participant of the Year at the Chance to Shine Awards. Watch her story here:

Elsa has driven take-up of the sport to new levels, and some students who wouldn’t before have considered it are now taking part. Emily, a pupil at the school, says: “I used to think it was just a boys’ sport, but now I know that girls can play it as well.”

Elsa’s cricketing prowess has led to her being selected to represent the boys’ team. “It was a bit nerve-wracking but I got into it. They all stared at me with really confused faces, but I proved them wrong!”

Her teammate Aiden is very grateful for her contribution. “The opposition underestimates her. Their eyes light up and they think, ‘We can win this easily’. Then she gets wickets and we win the game.”

There is no limit to Elsa’s ambitions. “My dream is to be an England cricketer, and maybe the captain!”

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