A MONMOUTH School for Girls cricketer helped the Oval Invincibles retain their title in The Hundred, earning praise from the England captain along the way.

Sophia Smale, 17, took a wicket in front of 20,000 people at Lord’s on Saturday night as the Oval Invincibles recorded a five-wicket win against Southern Brave with six balls remaining.

Smale, a sixth form student at the school, was described as the ‘best young player of the tournament’ by the England women’s captain Heather Knight.

The youngster, who lives near Newport, was also tipped by Knight to be a contender for the England Under-19s World Cup squad later this year.

The left-arm spinner bagged 1-25 off 20 balls in the BBC-televised final as she caught-and-bowled the Indian international star Smriti Mandhana.

South Wales Argus: Oval Invincibles retained their title in The Hundred. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.Oval Invincibles retained their title in The Hundred. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

“Sophia has been amazing,” Knight told BBC Sport.

“She has been the young player of the competition for me.

“She has really stepped up. I saw a little bit of her playing for Western Storm earlier in the season.

“She manipulates her field well and bowls in the powerplay, which is difficult.”

Headmistress at Monmouth School for Girls, Jessica Miles, said: “The trophy triumph capped a fairy-tale tournament for Sophia, who was a late call-up and dazzled throughout.

“She has been a fabulous role model for Haberdashers’ Monmouth Schools.

“It was incredible to watch Sophia perform so brilliantly during the competition. We are all so proud of her – and I know that she will have inspired many girls to take up cricket.”

Smale, who is a member of Newport Cricket Club, was the youngest Welsh player in the women’s competition.

Last year, she became the first female cricketer in history to play for Monmouth School for Boys’ first team.