Blog - Wintering Wildcats Home and Away
In this blog edition, Rachel Scholes sends an update on her time in New Zealand, Kirstie Gordon trains with England Women’s Development Programme U19 and celebrate Liz Priddle’s prestigious sporting honours.
Rachel Scholes: Time for another blog
I have now left Auckland after a pretty successful season. Before Christmas my team Cornwall CC took home the Prichard Cup after losing only one game.
We then started after the New Year with a successful match on my birthday where we played our main rivals Auckland Uni, after batting first and scoring 244 runs we then bowled them out for 27! It was a good day topped off with a birthday cake too. Sadly that was my last game for the team; however it’s on to fun things.
To summarise my season I’m super happy to be back bowling seam, although I didn’t really get the chance to bat where I’d like - I think I batted well in the situations I encountered.
It was a season of pinch hitting which was fun, but I’m hoping to be back to some sensible batting when I get back to Scotland. It definitely kept my eye in over the UK winter. I thoroughly enjoyed coaching all the kids I did, and to see them progress so much was good.
I’ve now left Auckland and am travelling the country which is loads of fun. So far I’ve been to so many places and done things like dolphin watching, caving, tubing, climbing waterfalls, a Tamaki Maori experience, the Tongariro Crossing (a 19.4km hike!) and there’s lots more planned.
I’m very excited to move back to Scotland soon, can’t wait to see the team and it’ll be good to focus on the season ahead and hopefully have a successful season!
Liz Priddle: Full Blue
When I found out that I would be receiving a full blue, the university’s most prestigious sporting award, I was delighted. It recognises the last few years’ hard work and training: all those early morning training sessions at the gym before classes, catching extremely early trains to get to training in Edinburgh, long journeys to ECB county matches all over the country and many international matches, have all been worth the effort invested.
It demonstrates the sheer determination that myself and the rest of the squad have shown to improve and to keep on improving. This has been reflected in our performances as a team over the past few years, in particular last year winning Division 3, and the degree of purpose which we have applied to our training throughout winter.
Women’s cricket is not a sport that is played within the University of Dundee, so to be recognised for such an achievement whilst playing for the University men’s side and also with the Wildcats really does mean a lot to me.
A few years ago they did not view women’s cricket as a sport, I was not seen as being eligible to apply for sports scholarships or support from within the university. However, an increase in media coverage of women’s cricket raised the profile of the women’s game and soon found me being offered a sports scholarship in 2013, and a performance programme place in 2014.
Receiving a full blue is a great achievement in itself personally, but I feel that the fact that women’s cricket is being more widely recognised is an even bigger achievement. We have an amazing and exciting season coming up beginning with the new opportunities of Division 2 cricket, and culminating in the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Thailand in November/December later this year.
Kirstie Gordon: Training with the EWDP U19s
Last summer I was fortunate enough to be scouted by an England selector whilst playing for Scotland U17s. As a result, I now spend one weekend a month, Friday to Sunday, in Loughborough, training at the ECB National Cricket Performance Centre (NCPC) with the England Women’s Development Programme (EWDP) U19s.
The NCPC is a fantastic building. The ground floor has a top of the range gym, a fielding area, several different bowling machines and enough space for full length run-ups in the lanes (even Jimmy Anderson’s). It is a real eye-opener for someone who is used to training in a school hall in Huntly! On top of that there are hawk-eye cameras at all angles and heights which are used for analysis.
My first camp was in October and although I was very nervous all the girls welcomed me and before long they were trying to mimic my fine Scottish accent! Right from the start it was evident there was a huge focus on fitness. We have three fitness programmes; robustness, strength and endurance, each to be completed twice a week. Whilst our fitness is regularly assessed at camps, the final end of winter ‘fitness screening’ camp is coming up, so keeping on top of fitness levels and working hard to make improvements is essential.
Working away from camp is another important principle adopted. Due to the lack of contact time it is strongly emphasised that we must put in the hours at our clubs and counties. This process is helped by the Player Development and Monitoring Tool which all players complete regarding their strengths and weaknesses. Goal setting is a huge part of that and I have found it has helped me improve several areas of my game and given me a focus for sessions away from camp.
I have learnt a great deal during the winter camps. This is largely due to the high coach/player ratio and the time spent working 1:1 or 2:1 with coaches is very beneficial in making improvements. I feel I have made progress in all aspects of my game, technically and tactically.
Some of the England Women’s players trained with us during one of our camps and it was a fantastic opportunity to bowl at some of the best players in the country and to see up close their incredibly high standards in all disciplines. At other camps they have come to offer their expertise and advice. Getting the opportunity to work with fellow left-arm spinner Rebecca Grundy was amazing. She gave me lots of good advice as well as training ideas and tips. Hearing things first hand from the England girls is hugely motivating and inspiring as they are the players who have come through the same system and are now full-time contracted cricketers.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time training with the EWDP U19s squad. I feel I have already learnt a great deal and hope that I can keep building on the progress I have made.
To keep up to date with the Wildcats season preparation and fixtures, follow on Twitter @WildcatsCricket