Some of the Key Women in South East Wales moving cricket forward

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In our final look at key women driving the game forward in Wales we turn to South East Wales....

1.Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)1. I am Ann-Marie Smale. I grew up in Newport, studied architecture at Cardiff University and am now Managing Director of Powell Dobson Architects. I am a Level 2 Qualified cricket coach and Deputy Chair at Glamorgan County Cricket Club.
  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?
I grew up with cricket – it was a huge part of  our family life with my Dad being an ECB Staff coach, running many of the county and Welsh junior teams and then later becoming the first Cricket Development Officer for South Glamorgan as it was then.
  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?
It seemed to make sense to get involved – it was in the family and both my children were playing from the age of 6.
  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?
Cricket has given us so much – great experiences, memories and friends.  Most importantly it has given me some very proud moments watching both my son Will and my daughter Sophia play.5. What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?My current cricket roles: supporting my son and daughter as they look to achieve their cricket ambitions and being Deputy Chair at Glamorgan County Cricket Club where I provide support in property and estate management which is critical to maintaining Sophia Gardens as a major international cricket venue.
  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved?
 In my Director role it is great to be able to give back and contribute to the development of the game that I love and has been such a big part of my family for so long.
  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?
. I hope to continue and build on my role with Glamorgan and to support the growth of women and girls cricket within the professional game.
  1. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?
I hope to see our great game grow in popularity through the different formats with women and girls becoming central to its future success.
   
1.Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)I am the Malpas CC Women’s Captain, I am also the Club Secretary and a level 2 coach.  I run the All Stars and Dynamos programmes at Malpas CC.  I also sit on the SEWCL Executive Committee.
  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?
I first started playing cricket in 2005, at the age of 25 for Isca Crows Women’s Team which had just been established.  At the time, we struggled to find Women’s teams to play fixtures against and had to travel long distances for games.
  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?
I had recently left University and moved to a new area, I wanted to get involved in a new sport and meet some new people.  I took a break from playing cricket when I had my children but returned to playing in 2017 when I set up the Malpas CC Women’s team.
  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?
Cricket has had a huge impact on my life.  I met my husband through playing cricket and we have 2 children together.  We are a cricketing family and life largely revolves around cricket in many ways - getting involved in club management & organisation, coaching, groundwork, fundraising and anything else that is needed.
  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved?
The best thing about getting involved is being able to help shape and develop a pathway of cricket for girls for the future.  As a Mum of 2 girls who also love the game, this is important to me.  I have also made some amazing lifelong friends through playing cricket!
  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?
I would love to continue to be involved in the integration and mainstreaming of women and girls in cricket moving forwards.  We have come a long way in a short time, but there is still much more to do.7.. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?My hope is that cricket continues to grow in its popularity and support and that we can continue to develop the opportunities for women and girls to get involved in cricket at all levels, making cricket a more inclusive and family friendly sport available to everyone.
   
1 Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)My name is Lucy King and I live in Cwm, near Ebbw Vale. I’m currently studying to be a Primary Teacher at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?
I first started playing cricket when I was in primary school (about 9 years old) and really enjoyed it so decided to join my local club. Nobody in my family played cricket however they played other sports, so I came from a sporting background. Therefore, I was always encouraged to get involved with a variety of different sports and found that I was most interested in cricket.
  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?
I was a very sporty growing up and always got involved with sports at school. I found that it was challenging compared to the other sports I participated in and also some of my friends played too. 
  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?
It has allowed me to decide on a career, through volunteering as a coach and working with the children, both at the club and in local schools I was able to decide that I wanted to become a primary teacher.5. What’s your involvement with cricket at the momentMy main club is Ebbw Vale CC, however I also play for Newport CC Women and Wales Women. At Ebbw Vale I am a junior coach, however due to being back in University my main role is being in charge of the girls section and growing that. I am also the Head Coach for the South Wales Falcons which is an all-girls team made up of girls from a number of clubs from South Wales which was established in 2019 by myself and Jon Matthews.
  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved?
In terms of playing, I would say having the opportunity to represent Wales and playing at many different grounds across Wales and England.In terms of coaching, I would say being recognised for my contributions in the Cricket Wales Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards (OSCAs) in 2018 where I won the Young Volunteer of the Year award. 
  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?
Continue to play and coach as much as possible as well as continuing to help develop the female game and participation levels within my club.
  1. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?
 I hope that the women and girls game continues to develop and that more clubs are able to offer the opportunity for females to get involved.
   
  1. Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)
. I am Sophia Smale, I am 16 years old and I am from Newport. I am a pupil at Monmouth School for Girls currently in my GCSE year. I am in the Western Storm Academy and a Wales hockey player.
  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?
I started playing cricket properly at the age of 8 and was representing Wales by the time I was 9. I first remember playing cricket at Newport CC at the age of 5 or 6.
  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?
My grandpa was an ECB Staff coach so started coaching me when I was young and my brother is a cricketer and played in the Wales age groups so I was always dragged along to watch his games when I was little, so I got into it from watching him play.
  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?
A massive impact; I have friends from all over the country that I have met particularly at festivals that the Wales Girls take part in such as Malvern.  
  1. . What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment
I play for Newport Women and Newport Men, Wales U17 and Wales Women and I am in the Western Storm Academy.
  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved?
Friendships and fun and the discipline it has taught me.
  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?
My aim is to play cricket professionally with the end goal to play for England!
  1. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?
I hope that everyone gets behind the Women’s professional teams and the interest in our sport grows.
   
  • Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)
My name is Lydia Clements I’m from North Devon originally but moved to Cardiff for University in 2016 and not planning on going anywhere!
  • When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?
At 14 my netball coach, Jan Witheridge, who also ran a women’s cricket team, was short for a fixture one weekend and knowing I could catch, asked if I could help her out. Naturally I did and the rest is history.
  • What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?
I had never really watched cricket on the TV and the closest I had got to the game was rounders. Following my first experience I think I was attracted to the complexity of the game and the uniqueness of it; what puts a lot of people off cricket are the long days but that’s what I love. A netball match could be over in 40 minutes, but with cricket I get to spend anywhere up to 8 hours playing a sport I have grown to love. The cricket teas and kit also help!
  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?
Over the years I have met so many people in the game and would consider these lifelong friends having shared so much. It has also allowed me to travel to South Africa, Barbados and all the way back to Wales, giving me opportunities and experiences that I never thought I would get. In this pandemic it has also kept me going, having quizzes with the Radyr girls on Fridays and joining Strava with the Wales team to keep everyone motivated.
  • What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?
Obviously with the pandemic it is currently limited to zoom meetings. However, I usually play in the Wales Senior Women’s Team and also coach the U13 Wales girls. I am the Ladies Club Captain for Radyr who compete in the South West Women’s Regional Premier League and will be taking on the role of secretary next year. I also coach at Glamorgan in the Community department bringing cricket to school children and assisting in huge events like the World Cup in summer 2019.
  • What’s been the best thing about getting involved?
For me it’s great to be involved with cricket, playing and more than that to be a part of the cricket community. Cricket is such a great sport from softball games, looking at the new 100 format, to watching international games with friends, it really offers something for everyone. Growing up, the summers were devoted to cricket and now with a full-time job it’s definitely been difficult trying to fit cricket in but whilst I can I don’t want to lose this part of my life.
  • What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?
 Looking to the future, I hope to keep playing for Wales to the best of my ability. I am also hoping to soon be accepted as a member of the MCC which will open up more opportunities for me and overseas cricket. I also like the idea of being able to continue playing, and developing my own game, enjoying the game I love and being able to pass on what I learn to others coming through; sharing that passion.
  • What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?
I hope that the game continues to grow, and I actually think the pandemic will have meant that people will be out supporting and playing more in the summer having had it all stop during the lockdowns. For women and girls, I hope that the only way is up! We now have 3 senior women club teams in Wales and are looking to expand this in the next 5 years. As it continues to grow, I hope that more young players will see the value in the sport and the potential it has for them physically and mentally
   
  • Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)

My name is Carys Stallard and I am from west Wales originally (west is best) althoughnow living in the Vale of Glamorgan. Most of my time seems to be taken up with matterscricket these days although my background is in journalism.

  • When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?

I dabbled as a player in my twenties and also started following the sport at the same time,but it was as a parent that I became properly involved with my local club, Vale CC. I sawthat so much work goes on behind the scemes in order to make cricket happen for childrenand felt compelled to lend a hand.

  • What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

When the opportunity came up to play Women’s Soft Ball cricket, I didn’t have to thinktwice: it was my turn to have fun out in the middle again! I’d spent enough time watchingmy sons playing: now it was time to start playing again myself!

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

. I would say that cricket has had a huge impact on my life. I first volunteered as a JuniorCoordinator when my sons were junior players. Now that they are senior players at theclub, I have found myself a role as Women’s and Girls’ Coordinator.

  • What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?

I try to make sure that women and girls have as many opportunities as possible to playcricket and to improve their game. I am hoping to run a girls-ony Dynamos programme atthe club this year, which will bring new girls to the club. I am also on the club’s cricketcommittee and on the Board too, neither of which is as much fun as playing, but I do get achance to represent women and girls where decisions are made.

  • What’s been the best thing about getting involved?

The best thing about getting involved has been bringing people together to play sportand seeing the enjoyment that sport can bring.

  • What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?

I would like to see as many junior girls at my local club as there are junior boys and if Ican be a part of achieving that, then I will be delighted. I would also like to contribute to the establishment of an indoor cricket school at my club, so that cricket can become a year-round sport in my area. This will give local people a venue for other sports and activitiestoo as well as employing local people, helping to run the school as a Centre of Excellenceand a community hub, with sport and well-being at its heart.

  • What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?

. I would like to see cricket become a sport for all so that boys and girls can become thebest cricketers they can be, regardless of their background. I want to see cricketing talentnurtured. With women as sporting role models, girls too can see their way to perseveringwith cricket and reaping the rewards the sport can bring

 

 

  • Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)

I am twenty years old, studying Journalism, Media and Culture at Cardiff University!

  • When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?

. I was six years old when I played my first cricket match and ten years old when I played for Wales! 

  • What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

My father and brother inspired me to start playing cricket. When I saw my brother play against girls I thought, ‘I can play too!’ 

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket has had a phenomenal impact on my life. I have learnt new skills, met life long friends, toured to some beautiful countries, and have learnt some valuable lessons. 

  • What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?

I have played for Wales Women’s Seniors since I was fourteen. I help coach and develop Welsh age group teams and Newport Girls. I am currently in charge of the social media accounts for SWPCL and SWWRPL. 

  • What’s been the best thing about getting involved?

Being a coach and a committee member has allowed me to see the other side of cricket and be more aware of all the background work that goes on that usually players don’t see. It has opened up my eyes to another side of cricket where I feel I can make a difference.

  • What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?

. I hope to continue playing cricket for as long as I can.   I aim to create interactive social media accounts that will promote the game of cricket and inspire more girls to get involved.  

  • What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?

Opportunities in women's cricket have grown considerably in the last few years and I hope that this will inspire a new generation of girls to participate.

 

 

 

1- Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Lucinda and I am from Caldicot in South Wales. I am an English teacher and a sports enthusiast who trained as a fitness instructor 9 years ago, where I currently teach fitness classes part time, in the community and at a local fitness health club, which I thoroughly enjoy. 

2-When and how did you first get involved with cricket?

My husband has always played cricket and even when we went on a cricket tour with our local club to Spain, I had no real interest in the sport. I  didn’t even watch them play over there, instead I took to the beach. However, since having children and watching them develop into young cricketeers, seeing their enjoyment of the game whilst witnessing them gain socially and further gameskills from the team sport, it definitely changed my view. The pivotal turning point for my involvement in cricket  was when I participated in a mums vs the under 11s teams match which was relaxed, great fun and really altered my mind of the game.

3-What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

I was attracted to the game as our local cricket club Sudbrook CC decided to organise a Ladies section, playing soft ball cricket festivals which involved fitness, fun whilst learning the various cricket skills. I haven't regretted turning up for training that first time and as a consequence I have made an amazing circle of friends, who are like a cricket family and the fact I can actually bowl a cricket ball now was an extra bonus.

4- What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket is definitely a huge part of my life, considering as a family we all now play for Sudbrook Cricket Club, albeit in different capacities. The fact that my son and daughter have been given such great training and opportunities to play the game, since a young age, fills me with pride and joy to see them active, happy and being part of a fantastic team.

5- What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?

Currently, I am now making the transition from soft ball cricket to hard ball as our ladies  team is now part of a hard ball ladies league. This has provided many new challenges! Who would have thought running with pads and a helmet would be so hard?  But the development of my cricket skills and understanding has been vast, in this small amount of time we have been able to play. 

6- What’s been the best thing about getting involved?

Being inspired by cricket, I applied to become a cricketeer volunteer at the ICC  World Cup in Cardiff and unexpectedly I was accepted. It was an amazing experience supporting the media and broadcasting team, seeing the background to commentating and evaluating the game, to the logistics of hosting such significant World Cup matches. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences I have been a part of and aided my love for cricket further. 

7- What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?

I hope to continue with my own game within our ladies section at Sudbrook Cricket Club. In addition, I am currently in the process of finishing my Level 2  cricket coaching qualification where  I am looking to support our local club and community  coaching our youth into the game. 

8- What’s your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls ?

I’m really excited about the future of the game and for the developments, specifically for women and girls in cricket. To see my 9 year old daughter padded up and so animated to play the game just proves cricket really is for everyone.  To be able to play a match with my daughter has really been a memory and bond so special as we both develop skills further whilst having fun and gaining fitness.  Once my coaching is complete, I will be supporting a girl’s section at our club and I hope I can enthuse many more females into the game. It really is an exciting time for the game and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. 

   

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background)

Rose Evans, 21. Born in Newport, South Wales. Studied at Cardiff University and now work as a Physiotherapist.

  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved?

I started playing cricket when I was 10 years old. I was inspired to join Newport Cricket Club after Paul Morris (a member of the club) delivered some taster sessions at my school as part of the Chance to Shine program. After joining Newport Cricket club my passion for the game grew under the guidance of Mike Knight who was instrumental in the development of the girls' and women's game at the club.

  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

I was always an enthusiastic sportsperson from a young age and was first keen to become involved following experiencing the Chance to Shine program which encouraged myself and some of my friends at school to join our local club.  Cricket provided an opportunity to meet new people and become a part of a club with a great community.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket has had a huge impact on both mine and my family’s life. It has taken us to places in the UK and abroad which we may never have visited otherwise. I have developed strong friendships and have thoroughly enjoyed the social side of the game. Cricket has helped me to grow in confidence and develop essential soft skills such as communication and teamwork as well as leadership which are invaluable in all walks of life.

  1. What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment?

I am currently the Newport Women’s XI Captain which is a role that I am proud to hold as it enables me to give a little back to the club which has played a huge role in my life. I am also a proud member of the Wales Senior Women’s squad. I am a Level 2 coach which has enabled me to work with the Wales girls age group teams, as well as recently undertaking a coaching role with Cricket Wales East to help develop young players in the region.

  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved?

Travelling the world, making friends and becoming part of a cricket family.

  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future?

I hope to continue to Captain Newport Women’s XI for a number of years to help with the development of the women’s and girls’ game at the club and across South Wales. I also endeavour to remain a member of the Wales Senior Women’s squad to gain experience of playing competitive cricket to a high standard. I look forward to undertaking a coaching role also to help the development of younger players and inspire others to develop a love for the game.

  1. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls?

I hope to see the game grow in popularity, especially the women and girls’ game.

 

 

 

I became involved with RCC when Pete joined in 2007 after we relocated to Wales, I then became involved as a volunteer when Archie started junior cricket in 2010.

Cricket has had a massive impact on my life, growing up my summers were spent at the side of cricket pitches around Birmingham watching my Dad play, then my brothers but there was no option for girls to play. I also met Pete through cricket, he played at the same club as my Dad and brothers, 'traded me' as part of a 'six a side tournament' cricket player contract!

My two children play cricket and it's provided us with lots of fun, happy memories and a great bunch of friends who have become our cricket family.

At the moment I'm Junior Secretary at RCC and also the only female on the management team at the club.

Vision for the future is to sit in a deck chair with a drink in hand, relax and watch cricket.

For it to become the norm to have women's senior teams at clubs across South Wales rather than the exception!

 

 

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