“They came to Loughborough, got in at midnight, half twelve at night, and were on deck at eight in the morning. We did a fielding session outside, I was freezing for an hour and a half, but they didn’t moan, they just got on with it. People say that should be the norm, but it isn’t.”
As former England coach Mark Robinson observed, Scotland is blessed with a truly remarkable group of women cricketers. All are in full-time work or education in addition to their commitments to the national side, and, at MES on the second of two back-to-back training days under the direction of head coach Steve Knox, several took a moment to provide the Cricket Scotland Podcast with an insight into their day-to-day lives.
Katie McGill (Bowling all-rounder and PHD student): “My PHD has an engineering background, most of it spent at a computer modelling head impacts to see what happens in the brain. It’s like any nine-to-five job when I’m expected to be in the university. I’m lucky in that I can have a bit of flexibility on special occasions but it’s on me to make up those hours and if I don’t, it’s me that loses out.
“Most weekends there is something on in terms of cricket which means that a lot of my strength and conditioning is done outside of my nine-to-five, either first thing in the morning at half past six or straight after work.
“So, it gets through quite a lot of time, and when I’m not doing that it’s just catching up on sleep, I guess!”
Samantha Haggo (Bowling all-rounder and Marketing and Communications Executive): “It’s so different [to when I first played for Scotland] but in a good way. We are a lot more professional in how we go about our training. There are regular weekend camps with the whole squad that go across the whole weekend, and then Scottish-based only players every other weekend, and everyone just buys into it.
“The commitment levels are outstanding. We’re all accountable to each other now, everything is for the team. When I was younger, we had maybe one session a month, you went home and that was it, but now we’ve got our two strength sessions a week, two conditioning sessions, and training as well.
“It’s a lot, but it’s the choice we make [to get where we want to be in the future]. It’s not a question of I have to do this training; it’s that I get to do it. We’re not professional, but we love the game and we love playing for Scotland, and hopefully more opportunities will come.”
Abtaha Maqsood (Leg-spin bowler and Dentistry student): “This weekend has been pretty intense. On Saturday we did some bowling accuracy testing, which was quite helpful to see how well we’ve progressed during the winter, and today we’ve been doing some T20 scenarios. In terms of balancing my Uni life with cricket, it’s just one of those things where you have to be as organised as possible and try not to procrastinate as much.
“When it comes to full weekend camps like this it’s tough, especially when you get home quite late and just want to relax, there’s less time to do that because of Uni work. But I try not to think of it as a sacrifice, more that I have the opportunity to do something big here, to play cricket for my country, and that really helps with the mental side of things.”
Ellen Watson (Wicketkeeper-batter, student and pastry chef): “It’s a lot to juggle sometimes, especially for some of the others on the team who perhaps don’t have the same level of support from their University. I’m lucky that at Strathclyde they support my cricket and I’m on a programme with them that means I get gym sessions and support at exam time and things like that to fulfil my commitments to Cricket Scotland. I’m also fortunate that as a pastry chef I work for my mum, who is head chef of the section and is very nice and gives me the time off to come here on the weekends!
“I’ve gained a lot from going to Uni. It’s that hard work ethic of you have to do it yourself, which translates to cricket as we’re not professional, you do it yourself – you wake up in the morning and you run and you gym and you go to work or Uni, it’s very self-driven. And pastry chef-ing is a hard job, it’s long hours and hard work, but if you can get through a shift til twelve o’clock at night you can stand for fifty overs in the hot sun and catch the ball when it comes, so it’s all very translatable.
“And I can make a good brownie as well!”
Hannah Rainey (Pace bowler and Vet student): “A typical week at Uni [is made up of] about ten to fifteen lectures and ten hours of practicals. I also have to study outside of that, revising the lecture content, and because we don’t have much time between exams for revision there is quite a lot of work to fit in. If I know I’ve got a busy day I’ll go to the gym before Uni so that by nine o’clock I know that I’ve done my gym stuff [for the day].
“On Wednesday evening we have Eagles training and on Friday mornings I train with the Performance Academy at Napier, which is great, but that generally means missing lectures, so I have to watch them and catch them up outside of that. Sometimes it feels like you haven’t had a weekend because you’ve been so busy, but it’s fun to play cricket which makes up for it.
“I really enjoy the training weekends. Even though you’ve done seven hours of hard work in a day, it’s what you like doing. It’s having fun at the same time.”
The International Women’s Day edition of the Cricket Scotland Podcast is now available to download via Podbean and Spotify. Follow us on Twitter @ScotlandPod