GRACE Seedhouse is the first winner of Malvern College's annual Rachael Heyhoe Flint Cricket Award.

It was set up in memory of the pioneering cricket star who died in January 2017.

Seedhouse, 13, from Birchfield School in Shropshire was selected from dozens of talented young cricketers after trials and she will join the college next September.

The award includes mentoring and specialist coaching on the college’s performance pathway and is the first dedicated girls’ cricket scholarship offered by any school.

All-rounder Seedhouse plays for her village Worfield and in the school's first XI as well as in the Shropshire county pathway.

“I am really thrilled to be coming to Malvern as the first holder of the girls’ cricket award,” she said.

“It’s a great honour and the girls’ cricket at Malvern is so strong. It’ll give me the chance to try to fulfil my dream of playing cricket for England.

"Rachael set the standard as one of the greatest women cricketers of all time and I really hope I can live up to her example.”

The college’s head of girls’ cricket Thea Brookes, who plays for Yorkshire Diamonds in the Kia Super League, was part of the selection panel.

“It was a pretty tough job selecting who should become our first Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award winner,” she said.

“We had a number of very talented girls who applied.

"Grace really stood out though as she’s a naturally gifted and versatile sportswoman.

"She has beautiful timing and is calm under pressure.

"She also has a fierce desire to learn and improve which often makes the difference between a good player and a great one.”

During the summer Malvern’s girls’ XI played their first fixture on the main college pitch against Wellington with Jemima Martyn-Smith the first to take a wicket.

Former England women's captain Heyhoe Flint's son Ben Flint, who helped to launch the awards, went to Malvern in 1987 and she was a member of the college council for 10 years.

The award is funded partly by donations made after her death and by the Malvernian Society.