The Japan National Women's Cricket team recently had a fantastic opportunity to participate in the Coca Cola Shanghai International Cricket sixes tournament.

The tournament, in its 9th successive year of running was held at the impressive Dulwich College facilities in Shanghai from 21 - 23 September. The event boasted 16 teams from within the region and also included several high profile former international cricketers in Dean Jones, Allan Lamb, Colin Miller, Phil Simmons and Chris Lewis.

In addition to competing in the sixes tournament, Japan also had the opportunity to play a 20 over (rain reduced) match against the Chinese Women's team. This was a hugely significant and historical encounter between the two sides and it marked an exciting step forwards for both women's players and administrators in both countries.

Through aggressive batting from the talented captain Ema Kuribayashi who finished unbeaten with a half century and a contribution of 27 runs from opener Mariko Yamamoto, Japan was able to post a commanding score of 147/2 after 20 overs. The Chinese team had a number of talented medium pace bowlers including Captain Mei Chun Hua who impressed with her medium/fast deliveries.

The Chinese teams run chase got off to a difficult start losing 3 wickets in quick succession in the opening over due to some accurate bowling from Shizuka Sato. At 0/3 the Chinese team needed some quick consolidation and whilst Captain Mei Chun Hua contributed 11 and Y Chen added 19 to the score the Chinese team was restricted to a final total of 63/8. The Japanese team was able to apply pressure through accurate bowling which was well supported in the field. The side was delighted with the victory over China.

The following day both teams participated in the Coca Cola Shanghai Sixes and performed with distinction.

Some key highlights from the matches involving the Japanese Women's team were aggressive batting and running between the wickets, consistent full bowling and at times superb fielding.

The Japan side made it through to the semis of the plate final only to lose in a close, final over encounter with Murava Presidents VI. Phil Simmons (the legendary West Indian all-rounder) scored the winning runs for his side and the girls bowed out of the tournament.

This fantastic tournament, run by the Shanghai Cricket Club provided a wonderful and timely cricket experience for the Japanese players.

As the domestic season in Japan, comes to an end the players will take a short break before embarking on an intensive winter training programme in order to prepare for the 2008 cricket season and beyond.