NEWS: Night of Long Knives At Academy as Keightley Departs

In what must have been pretty-much her last act as England Academy coach, Lisa Keightley has culled almost a quarter of last year’s class in announcing this year’s expanded intake.

Sonia Odedra, Carla Rudd and Paige Scholfield have all been dropped; and whilst the door has been left open for Georgia Hennessy, she has also not been included at this time.

For 27-year-old Odedra, who was technically in the full ‘Performance’ squad and who has been part of the Academy setup since 2009, this looks likely to close the door on her England career. She may have only a single Test cap to her name; but it is one more Test cap than most of the rest of us will ever have, and it is something that she should remember with pride as she moves on.

Rudd and Scholfield have both been victims of other’s successes rather than their own failures – namely budding Lancashire glove butler Ellie Threlkeld and Middlesex tonker Sophia Dunkley. However, both Rudd and Scholfield should keep heart and look to the opportunities that next year’s new Super League will provide to get their cricketing careers back on track.

Warwickshire’s Hennessy is also not named in the current squad, after dropping out of the Academy program this summer with personal issues. However, an ECB source has told CRICKETher that the way is open for a possible return in future.

Finally, one other person not returning this winter is Academy Head Coach Lisa Keightley herself, who is going back to her native Australia to take up a job with the Western Australia Cricket Association in Perth.

England Academy – Winter 2015/16:

  • Georgia Adams (Sussex)
  • Hollie Armitage (Yorkshire)
  • Ellen Burt (Sussex)
  • Stephanie Butler (Staffordshire)
  • Freya Davies (Sussex)
  • Sophia Dunkley (Middlesex)
  • Sophie Ecclestone (Cheshire / Lancashire)
  • Katie George (Hampshire)
  • Alex Hartley (Middlesex)
  • Evelyn Jones (Staffordshire)
  • Emma Lamb (Lancashire)
  • Sophie Luff (Somerset)
  • Alex MacDonald (Yorkshire)
  • Bryony Smith (Surrey)
  • Eleanor Threlkeld (Lancashire)

6 thoughts on “NEWS: Night of Long Knives At Academy as Keightley Departs

  1. It is difficult to understand how Lancs have three players in Academy when none of these players could perform in Div 1 matches. This is injustice to all other players in Berkshire or Surrey who managed to keep their team in Div 1 whereas Lancs are relegated and could not score a single win. Ecclestone is from Cheshire who are now in Div 3 and she has not done anything special to demand this elevation. After omission of Sonia, the only representation of British Asian is also diminished. I personally can not understand this selection. If there is anything that you know that we public don’t know, please share….


  2. I struggle to understand the senior selections sometimes so no chance with Academy.
    Its certainly not pro-Lancs, given Dickinson, Doshi, Marshall, Titmuss and Holmes have reached Academy level before but have been omitted from this selection.
    To get any semblance of idea what the selectors are up to I guess one has to get a grip on what the Academy is for. In theory it should be about potential rather than absolute performance (compared to the seniors where performance matters most) so if they see someone with potential they will and should prevail with them, even through some lean periods. Granted this doesn’t explain why, say, Scholfield has been dropped whilst, say, Lamb has survived, but in general the younger players get a bit more nuture (hopefully) than the older players.
    There is a bigger picture here beyond the selection of individual players – why is the Academy producing so few break-through players into an England team that, certainly in terms of the bat, have really struggled ? In the last 5 years the following players have made it to the England senior level for the 1st time :
    Elwiss, Jones, Winfield, Sciver, Farrant, Langston, Cross, Grundy,
    Dibble, Odedra and Butler (squad but never played). Of these only Sciver is always selected for a starting XI.


  3. The Academy selections seem so random, but I guess there must be some method to it, but can’t fathom what it could be. Personally I’m not sure why Hartley, Luff or E. Jones are still languishing there, they should be with the full senior team.

    It’s a shame if it is the end of the England road for Odedra. She’s been unlucky in my view and another player let down by the system.

    I still think we need a more flexible system whereby non-contracted players are available to play more easily. You could argue that’s what contract places are for, but if we are struggling to get the players we need contracted due to nobody being able to lose their contract even if playing badly…it seems the best solution.

    It’s a good point John makes about Asian / black players. With Rainford-Brent and Guha front and centre of the media presence for women’s cricket (and Jones and Sthalekar representing Australia in this regard), but the current England (and Australia) teams being white, you could be forgiven for thinking time was moving backwards…


  4. Most of the talent is transferred to the ECB pathway at an early stage of development maybe too early and then it seems easier to retain the status quo for potential rather than performance.

    Having met Paul Shaw he’s a nice bloke and obviously a knowledgeable coach who has been key to developing the ECB talent pathway over the last few years. The academy is his baby but without a scouting network his talent pool is limited just like his influence.


Comments are closed.