Some Key Women in South West Wales driving the game forward

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To celebrate international women's day, Cricket in Wales is pleased to profile some of the women who are driving the game forward at the coalface in Wales.  Our second story comes from South West Wales:-

  1. Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you are from, a bit of background) 
Claire Nicholas, 34, born in Swansea. Played for wales since I was 16. Currently working as a Primary school teacher and play for Western Storm.In the past I’ve been head coach of the Wales U11 girls and U15 teams.
  1. When and how did you first get involved with cricket? Who encouraged you to get involved? 
My dads side of the family all played cricket. One day they were short in his 2nd team so I fielded for the team and picked up a catch, I was 8 years old. From there I played school cricket, boys cricket at Mumbles CC and represented West Glam boys to U16 level. I started playing women’s cricket when I was 15.
  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket? It’s an individual sport as well as a team sport. I loved the way cricket could bring communities together. I also loved the challenge of competing against the boys and testing my skills.
  2. What impact has cricket had on your life? 
I met my partner through cricket and have made life long friends. The opportunity to play for Wales for so many years has been an honour. Also to play on big stages and winning KSL titles with Western storm has been life changing. I hope to play on the biggest domestic stage yet in the Hundred next season.
  1. What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment? 
I’m currently pregnant with our second child. I’m involved still with Wales and Western Storm and hope to play some part in the season in late summer. I also enjoy playing and being a role model to the players in our club team Briton Ferry. Id love to help out with more grass roots coaching in the near future.
  1. What’s been the best thing about getting involved? 
The impact you can have not only in the team you play but the development of the women’s game.
  1. What’s your vision for your involvement with cricket in the future? 
Play for as long as I can at the highest level. Help shape the Welsh team of the future and represent Western Storm and Welsh Fire.
  1. What's your hope for the game as a whole and specifically for women and girls? 

For more girls/women to give cricket a go. With the dawn of a professional era in women’s cricket, it gives young and experienced players the opportunity to have a career in sport. That’s something I never thought would happen in my career. I would love to see the big names such as Meg Lanning attract big crowds at the 100 and inspire a future generation of cricketers.

   

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

Rashika Shetty born in Mumbai, India. Moved to south wales 12 years ago. 

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

I started playing from an early age 6-7 with my 2 elder brothers who were cricket crazy. My Dad is a big sport fanatic too and would always want us to get involved in any sort of physical sport and would encourage us from a young age.

  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket? 

I initially started playing it just to be part of my brothers 'gang', but found the game very interesting and easy to learn. It being a team sport was an added plus point.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life? 

Cricket has helped my fitness which had gone downhill since the last few years. Also helping me socialize and improving my overall confidence.


5)Veena Babu introduced me to the Ynystawe cricket club  team and I try and attend the club training sessions on Sundays and matches/ festivals  in-between . 

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

) Best thing about getting involved is having some ‘ME time’ and being part of the excitement especially during matches and festivals. It also helped my Son who has watched me play and now seems keen to have a go at it himself.

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

I’m hoping to continue playing for the club as much as I can and try and get more of my friends involved.

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

 Hoping for more funding and support for women’s cricket, encouraging as many to join and experience it first hand and of course having more matches and festivals throughout the year. Also more recognition to coach and organizers who work tirelessly to encourage new recruits and keep the game competitive and fun at the same time.

   

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

My name is Steph and I am a welsh speaker from the Swansea Valley.

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

The team were advertising on social media that they were looking for new members. I decided to join because I heard about softball cricket from a former colleague who joined the team the previous year.

  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

I got involved with cricket because it reminded me of the times I used to enjoy cricket & rounders when I was at school.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket has made a positive impact on my life. It has given me an opportunity to learn and develop a new skill and meet new people.

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

I play softball cricket for Ynystawe Ladies.

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

During my first season I won Most Improved Player for team Hannah.

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

Continue to enjoy the game and improve my skills.

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

My hope is for the game to grow. I hope that more women and girls play cricket at league level across Wales.

   

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

My name is Kelly Wallace, I live in Swansea and play cricket for Ynystawe CC. I work as an Ambulance Investigation Officer for the Welsh Ambulance Service. I’m married with 2 young boys.

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

I started cricket in January 2019. I’ve always been sporty, mainly playing competitive netball and wanted to try something new. I saw a flyer for Ynystawe which is really close to home and went along with a friend. I had so much fun on the first night and knew it was a sport I wanted to continue to develop in and it was the definitely the team I wanted to play in.

  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

Initially, the idea of another team sport. But the more I attended training, the feeling like I was part of another sisterhood.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

It’s taken over! Spring and summer is all about cricket 😆. I’ve grown closer to a lot of the girls and have made some amazing friendships.

  1. What’s your involvement with cricket at the moment? I currently play ladies softball at league level and partake in all the festivals too. I’m also a member of the Ynystawe Allsorts committee.

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

Two things. Firstly, the girls! The friendships we’ve made and seeing how my own family has become part of the bigger cricket family. The kids are encouraged to take part where appropriate (pre-Covid) and assist with softball festivals (like running the sweet stall) and you know that they are always looked after by the biggest group of amazing girls when at any cricket event.

Secondly it’s the start of Ynystawe Allsorts. From cricket I was able to set up a ladies social/development netball league as during the winter months the girls wanted to continue weekly training and taking part in a sport together competitively.

As cricket and netball have both thrived separately, we decided to set up ‘Allsorts’ to incorporate all sports for all abilities mainly focussing on netball and cricket. That feels like a huge achievement.

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

To develop Allsorts and encourage as many non-cricketers to try the sport and increase our already rising numbers.

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

To become more popular with more teams competing at league level. And then win the league!! ☺️

   

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

Aimee Rees from Morriston Swansea now living in Pontarddulais

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

My dad played and coached at Swansea Civil Service and I would always want to go to cricket with him from a very young age. I was like his shadow and loved spending time with him at cricket. I was at a game with him one day and they were one short so I went on to field. I then played my first game when I was 11 at Coedcae School and have never looked back.

  1. What attracted you to getting involved with cricket?

There were very few girls playing cricket at the time, I knew of only two others. I just loved being at the cricket club playing football and cricket on the side line. I fell in love with the game and loved being part of a team. I always played boys cricket and didn’t play women’s cricket until I was 16 which was for the South West mainly based in Somerset. There are so many more opportunities for young girls now which is great to see.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket has been a massive part of my life, it his given me opportunities to play at some fantastic grounds, tour some amazing places and I have made life long friends.

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

My current involvement is running the Women & Girls elite pathway in Wales for Glamorgan. I am head coach of Wales Women & Wales Under 18 girls. I also assist with Western Storm academy.

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

Helping develop young girls not only as cricketers but as people has been the best thing about being involved. I love seeing their achievements along the way and the  young people they become.

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

I would love to continue helping girls in Wales realise their dreams as cricketers but also as people in their wider life outside of cricket.

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

To see women’s cricket being supported and watched by a new generation and the wider cricket community. I would love to see as many Welsh girls as possible becoming professional cricketers representing Western Storm, Welsh Fire and England.

   

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

Lucy Rees, 20, from Neath, now living in Cheltenham studying my final year of BA Sports Journalism at the University of Gloucestershire.

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

Started playing cricket when I was 8, started off in the u9s boys team at BFSCC. I got involved in cricket due to it being a constant topic of conversation and day to day life growing up; Grandad, father, uncle and brother playing. I can’t really remember a part of my childhood when cricket wasn’t a part of it.

  1. What impact has cricket had on your life?

Cricket has had a massive impact on my life and I have a lot to thank it for. Playing, got me into coaching and scoring, scoring got me into stats and stats got me into university, then my university has given me multiple media opportunities at county cricket clubs.

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

One big thing I am very happy about is that, although I’m not playing anymore, I am still heavily involved in the game from multiple aspects. I think more players and girls/women in particular should know there are other ways to stay involved and not just cricket, sport in general.

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

There are so many things about being involved, from watching the game, to coaching youngsters and to commentating on Western Storm in the middle of a pandemic to sitting in press boxes alongside the best journalists in the country.

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

Looking at the future, I am definitely planning to stay involved and build on my career as a Cricket Journalist or in PR, as well as doing the odd bit of scoring here and there.

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

 For the cricket on a whole, it would be lovely to see the women’s game equal to the men’s game, I think The Hundred has pushed this massively, for example, the equal prize money. I think people should be looking at The Hundred as a positive thing, look how people first reacted to T20 now it’s nationally, the most followed format.

 

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