A TEAM of young cricketers from a Bradford school have been awarded an Inspirational Women award for their work both on the pitch and in breaking down stereotypes.

The Carlton Bolling girls squad picked up the team award at the Inspirational Awards for Women ceremony in London, just one day after they were pipped to being named national champions by just two runs at a tournament at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The team is made up of Muslim girls, and on their way to their successes they have had to overcome barriers from within their own community, as well as rivals on the pitch.

The team were crowned North of England champions earlier this summer, leading to the national finals. Although the team were devastated to have come so close to being national champions only to miss out by just two runs, that disappointment turned to jubilation the next night, when they took to the stage to collect the award.

During the evening team member Sawiyya Mohammed picked up an individual award for student of the year.

The girls picked up plenty of fans at the awards, including some who want them on TV.

PE teacher Zaheer Jaffary set up the team three years ago, when the school was reeling from an Ofsted report that said pupils at the school were “not protected from extremism”. The school has since turned itself around, and the girls’ cricket team is a major example of this.

Mr Jaffary told the Telegraph & Argus it had been tough to assemble the team, having to work to convince families to let their daughters join. And he said there was still regular opposition from some in the local community who feel teenage girls should not be playing sports.

He said: “The awards organisers had heard about the story, and fell in love with it. The team has been approached by Sky Sports, and they’ll be on Loose Women in November. The BBC also want to do a documentary.

“A lot of people want to make life difficult for these girls, but all they want to do is play cricket,” Mr Jaffary said. “They deserve every recognition they get, everything they’ve achieved has been amazing. What they have overcome has made it easier for the next generation of girls.”

Sawiyya said: “We were down in the dumps after we lost the final, but this award made it all worth it. A lot of people we meet tell us they didn’t even know Bradford existed until they hear of us.”

With the new school year starting this week, more girls at the school are showing an interest in joining, including pupils from Eastern European backgrounds.