INTERVIEW: Mark Robinson – The Quiet Man In It To Win It

If there is one thing that stands out about Mark Robinson, it is his determination not to stand out. Listening back to our interview in a crowded Starbucks, I have to turn the volume all the way up to 11 before he comes through loud and clear:

“It should never be about the coach,” he says. “Always about the players!”

Perhaps that is the reason why, whilst other candidates announced themselves to the media, Robinson slipped his application in quietly under the radar. We might have missed it, but Clare Connor didn’t, and her enthusiasm for her new coach was palpable:

“We are absolutely delighted to appoint Mark,” she says. “He has a superb coaching record… and is highly regarded.”

After spending an hour with the man of the moment, CRICKETher starts to understand why.

We begin at the beginning: Why apply for this job?

“It’s international sport!” he says, with an air of almost school-boyish wonder in his voice. “The opportunity to participate in World Cups and compete at the highest level – it was hard to resist. But that’s where the women’s game has got to now – it just feels like a great time to be involved and the more I looked at it, the more excited I got.”

Robinson is quick to acknowledge the strengths of the current England setup and the debt he owes to his predecessors, Mark Lane and Paul Shaw:

“Anything can be improved, but it doesn’t need a revolution; it doesn’t need ripping apart. There’s really good stuff that has happened under the two previous coaches. I have to build on all that good work.”

But he also seems to have an intuitive understanding that there are problems which need addressing. Reflecting on the recent Women’s Ashes loss, he sums it up succinctly:

“It just looked at times like they didn’t quite believe in themselves enough.”

So how will he address this?

“I’m less of the technical coach,” he admits. “My job is understanding the person. I will always endeavour to try to understand somebody and how they behave; how they react. Then I’ll commit everything I can to the player to allow them to be the best they can.”

CRICKETher can’t help but think of Lauren Winfield as he goes on:

“There has got to be accountability but there has also got to be forgiveness and empathy. Nobody dies when somebody plays a dreadful shot. We want the players to be going out and expressing themselves, but we can’t be then shooting them when they get caught on the ring. You can’t have it both ways. Mistakes are okay.”

Coming from a background in The Other Game, Robinson is humble about some of the challenges he faces:

“One of my potential weaknesses is I’ve not got enough knowledge [of the women’s game]; but I also come in with brand new eyes. I wouldn’t know some of the players if they were in this room, which is a potential danger, but it is a strength as well. I’ve got a lot of homework to do!”

But he is nevertheless determined to rise to the challenge in 2016, looking forward to a T20 World Cup in India in March, plus crucial Women’s International Championship series which will determine automatic qualification for the 2017 (ODI) World Cup:

“When you are one of the biggest teams in the world, you set out to win,” he says. “You can’t do anything else!”

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NEWS: Mark Robinson Appointed England Coach

The ECB has announced that Sussex boss Mark Robinson has been appointed as the new head coach of England Women.

Robinson took 800 wickets in a solid, if undistinguished, First Class/ List A career, but is mainly remembered as a player for being one of the most genuine Genuine No. 11s ever to have graced The Other Game.

His move into coaching therefore proved to be something of a revelation. Appointed to the top job at Sussex in 2005, over the decade that followed he won two Men’s County Championships and four limited-overs titles. Although Sussex were relegated this season, he remained a popular figure at the county and was expected to be given a chance to turn things around.

He will now face an even bigger challenge – turning around an England Women’s side which has underperformed recently and where morale is pretty low after this summer’s Women’s Ashes defeat.

Meanwhile Chris Adams – the only other serious candidate to apply for the job – has been left disappointed, tweeting:

NEWS: England’s Enid Bakewell Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Former England international Enid Bakewell was last night honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Sunday Times and Sky Sports Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

The award “recognises a lifetime of sporting success”, and Bakewell, who averaged nearly 60 with the bat and took 75 wickets over her 14 years as an England all-rounder, is a worthy recipient.

Born Enid Turton in Newstead, Nottinghamshire in 1940, she first played cricket aged 9 in a field in the village with some of the local boys. Several years later, while attending the local grammar school – where they were not permitted to play cricket – a teacher recommended that she join a nearby club in Nottingham, advice she duly accepted.

She went on to study at Dartford College of Physical Education (now part of the University of Greenwich), which was a hotbed of women’s cricket, producing many future stars of the game including Rachael Heyhoe-Flint. This enabled Bakewell to continue with her sport of choice, and she toured Holland with a Young England side in 1959 while still at Dartford.

Her full England debut came in December 1968 at Adelaide on England’s tour of Australia and New Zealand. She hit 113 in that match, and went on to score over 1000 runs and take more than 100 wickets on the tour – the first woman to ever achieve the feat. It earned her a full page feature in the 1970 edition of Wisden – the first time ever that a woman had been awarded such exposure.

It was a remarkable achievement partly because by this time Bakewell was married and the mother of a two-year-old daughter. In order to tour, she had to leave her daughter behind in the care of her husband and parents, at a time when it was exceptionally difficult to combine motherhood and playing international-level sport.

She went on to represent England in the first ever Cricket World Cup in 1973, and played a large part in their victory against Australia in the final at Edgbaston, hitting a century and taking 2-28 as England triumphed by 92 runs.

Six years later, in her last Test against West Indies, she became the first England player, male or female, to score a century and take ten wickets in the same match. By this time she was a mother of three young children, but she continued to play international cricket until the 1982 World Cup in New Zealand.

After retiring from international cricket, she remained involved with the Nottinghamshire and England set-ups, eventually going on to coach a Junior England team which included future stars Arran Brindle (then Thompson) and Charlotte Edwards.

Now aged 74, she can still be found shouting encouragement from the boundary at most England matches, both at home and abroad. Even more remarkably – as CRICKETher reported earlier this year – she is still playing regularly, both for her club Redoubtables and for MCC.

She was named one of Wisden‘s 5 greatest ever female cricketers in 2014, and this latest honour is undoubtedly thoroughly deserved. Congratulations Enid!

NEWS: Priest Reads Last Rites As New Zealand Bury Sri Lanka

New Zealand have hauled themselves up to 3rd in the Women’s International Championship table with three crushing wins over Sri Lanka, pushing England back to 5th, meaning they need to win all three of their WIC ODIs(1) in South Africa next February to put themselves back into a secure qualifying spot for the 2017 World Cup(2).

The star of the show was glove-butler-batsman Rachel Priest, who hit 108, 51* and 157, the latter off just 167 balls, opening the batting with skipper Susie Bates.

All in all it has been quite a week for the White Ferns. After being humiliated in a warm-up match by their own ‘A’ side last weekend, collapsing to 69-8 and then watching the ‘A’s pile on the runs; it seems as though that was the wake-up call they needed.

The 1st ODI was as close as Sri Lanka came – a 96 run victory for New Zealand, after they had posted 283, with Priest backed-up by a 69 from Amy Satterthwaite. Former Scotland international Leigh Kasperek then took 4-27 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 187.

In the 2nd ODI, Sri Lanka were put in and crawled to a meagre total of 126 – bowled out in the 46th over, with Bates taking 3-27. In reply, it took Priest and Bates just 15 overs to make the runs without loss.

In the final Championship ODI(3) it was Susie Bates (80) who again played the back-up role, as Priest hit 23 4s on the way to her 157 – the highest score of her 115-match international career.

————–

(1) Assuming all 3 matches are completed.

(2) If England win the series 2-1 they will be tied in 4th with South Africa.

(3) There are two more, non-WIC OIDs to follow.

EXCLUSIVE: Full Details of Holly Colvin’s New ICC Role

As we reported yesterday, former England and Sussex spinner Holly Colvin is off to Dubai to take up the role of Women’s Cricket Senior Officer at the ICC.

But what does a Women’s Cricket Senior Officer actually do? CRICKETher has seen the official “Job Spec” prepared by the ICC prior to the interview process (which took place in September / October) and can reveal that it is primarily an administrative role, with wide-ranging responsibilities:

  • Managing the ICC’s “pathway” competitions, including the Women’s International Championship.
  • Coordinating certain aspects of the Women’s World Cup and the Women’s World Twenty20.
  • Scheduling and appointing umpires for women’s internationals.
  • Preparing briefings and discussion papers for the ICC Women’s Committee, chaired by Clare Connor.
  • Implementing the decisions of the ICC Women’s Committee.
  • Coordinating the ICC’s marketing and promotional activities for the women’s game.

Holly Colvin is a super-smart cookie – a Straight-A student at Brighton College, with a science degree from Durham University, all achieved alongside an international cricket career that started at aged 15 – so there is no doubt she will be a massive asset to the ICC.

CRICKETher just feels sorry for the other candidates who applied… they wouldn’t have got a look-in!

BREAKING: Holly Colvin Permanently Retires To Take ICC Role

Former England spinner Holly Colvin has been appointed by the ICC to the role of Women’s Cricket Senior Officer at their secret desert lair offices in Dubai.

Colvin, who took over 150 wickets for England, has also now officially, permanently called time on her international career… and living in Dubai it seems unlikely that we will see her play county cricket again either; although CRICKETher still holds out hope that a T20 Super League billing might possibly be on the cards in 2016?

NEWS: West Indies Sweep Pakistan in T20s

Reigning Asian Games gold medalists Pakistan found out the hard way that it is a whole different ball game at the top level of international women’s cricket, as the West Indies followed up their 3-1 ODI series victory with a T20 clean sweep at the National Stadium in Grenada.

West Indies won the first two matches with relative ease. As they had in the ODIs, Pakistan once again simply failed to score quickly enough, totalling just 74-9 in the 1st game and 95-7 in the 2nd, allowing their hosts to cruise to victory on both occasions with wickets and balls aplenty in hand.

In the final T20 Pakistan at last found some form – Sana Mir taking 4-14, with only Kycia Knight (49) making it out of double-figures, as West Indies were restricted to 88 and found themselves all out off the penultimate ball of their 20 overs.

After a sluggish start to their reply (12-2 after 5 overs) Pakistan finally found the gas in the middle overs to bring them to within touching-distance of a Duckworth-Lewis adjusted victory. But needing just one run to win off the last two balls of the final over, they instead lost their heads, as Sana Mir and then Sania Kahn were both run out – and it was the West Indies that won the resulting Super Over to take the series 3-0.

CLUB OF THE MONTH: Orpington Nomads

Here at CRICKETher, we’re passionate about women’s cricket at all levels, including club cricket. It’s our mission to offer coverage of women’s (and girls’) club cricket wherever we can! Our ‘Club of the Month’ feature will focus on one women’s or girls’ club every month, giving you the lowdown on their highs, lows, and everything in between.

If you’d like to see your club featured here, get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!

Kent Nomads WCC were formed way back in 1948, by a group of women who wanted to play organised cricket matches. They were originally a wandering side, before finding a home at Orpington Cricket Club over 40 years ago. In the 1990s they merged fully with Orpington CC, and changed their name to Orpington Nomads WCC. One of their founding members was Cecilia Robinson, former captain of Kent and England.

Orpington Nomads 2

One of the oldest women’s cricket clubs still in existence, Orpington Nomads have a whole host of former members who were leading lights of the game in the Women’s Cricket Association days. The list includes Norma Izard (England Manager and last ever Chairman of the WCA, who oversaw the merger of the WCA and the ECB in 1998), Sheila Hill (Member of the MCC Laws Committee until very recently, who oversaw the last rewriting of the MCC Laws of Cricket), former England captains Sue Goatman and Mary Pilling, and too many other internationals and county stalwarts to mention in a short article.

At their home ground they have two squares, with the likelihood of a third being added soon, meaning that they are always able to get a pitch on a Sunday. They have a fantastic 4-lane enclosed outdoor net facility, replacing two decrepit nets destroyed by the snow a few winters ago. They have sole use of the facility on Tuesday nights from 7pm until dark, when they can also use the practice wicket on the square and the roll-on cage. They also have a great bar lady who will open up whenever they ask her to!

Orpington Nomads 1

Though they do not have a girls section, they welcome all ages and all experience to the club, with members ranging in age from 17 to 50+.

They currently play in the Women’s Cricket Southern League, and have played in all leagues since women’s cricket introduced them. As current secretary Caroline Barrs puts it, “We play competitive cricket but always for fun. We like to win, but it is not the end of the world if we do not!” They always try to give everybody a go at either batting or bowling in their games.

The club also enjoys club outings and socials; Caroline tells CRICKETher that “the last social was to Greyhound racing, suggested by one of our members who said ‘shall we go dogging – it’s great fun’!”

Caroline herself has been involved in women’s cricket since the 1970s and represented England between 1988 and 1990. She says that women’s club cricket has changed immensely in the time since Orpington Nomads was formed: “We used to play friendly cricket both days of the weekend, most of the season – up to 30 games in a season! Now with league cricket we are lucky to get 14 games. The demographic of those playing has massively changed too: there used to be many adults in their 20s and 30s playing, but teams often mostly consist of 15 – 18 year olds now.” However, “in the early days there were very few clubs,” she says. “There are a lot more now.”

Orpington Nomads 3

Back in the days when women’s club cricket was played in skirts…

Sadly Orpington Nomads are currently struggling for players, so if there is anybody out there looking to play cricket with a friendly group of women who enjoy a good laugh, of any age of experience, get in touch with Caroline Barrs (cjbarrs@yahoo.co.uk). They’d love to hear from you!

WNCL Debrief – Bolton / Villani Unleash Fury & Laura Marsh Bogs Down Fire As Table Opens Up

A fascinating day in the WNCL saw the top two (Vic Spirit & SA Scorpions) both lose, opening up the table and leaving five teams with a realistic shout of reaching the final later this month.

Western Australia Fury (301-2) bt Vic Spirit (285-7)

Centuries from Nicole Bolton (128) and Elyse Villani (142) in a massive opening stand of 267 saw the Fury post 301 as Spirit captain Meg Lanning was reduced to bowling herself… and subsequently found herself punished for 16 runs in 2 overs!

Victoria gave it their best shot, with a ton from opener Sarah Elliot (101) and half-centuries from Meg Lanning (51) and Danni Wyatt (58) but fell short at 285 for the loss of 7 wickets from their 50 overs, as the Fury finally clambered off the bottom of the table with their first points of the season.

ACT Meteors (169) bt South Australia Scorpions (151)

Amanda-Jane Wellington took 4-22 for the Scops as the Meteors were bowled out for 169, with plenty of batsmen making starts, but none pushing on – Sara Hungerford top-scoring with 37.

On a day for the bowlers, the Scorpions’ innings then painted a very similar picture. England glove-butler Sarah Taylor hit 42 off 40 before being caught behind off Sussex team-mate Erin Osborne, and from there SA subsided to 151 all out in the 46th over, with Angela Reakes taking 4-35.

New South Wales Breakers (277-7) bt Queensland Fire (138)

A century from Alyssa Healy (124) with strong backup from Ellyse Perry (78) put the Breakers in the driving seat with 277 from their 50 overs.

England’s Laura Marsh then took 4-27 as the Fire were cleaned-up for just 138, with only Beth Mooney (33) making it out of the teens.

TABLE

1 Vic Spirit 13
2 ACT Meteors 13
3 SA Scorpions 13
4 NSW Breakers 10
5 Queensland Fire 10
6 WA Fury 4
7 Tas Roar 0