Laura MacLeod: A Pro At Last

On a wet Thursday evening at Bowdon Cricket Club a group of cricket loving children and adults descended on the ground to see the launch of the Lancashire County Cricket Club Thunder & Lightning Roadshow.

As part of the evening there was a question and answer session hosted by former Lancashire captain and wicket keeper Warren Hegg, himself a former international cricketer.

Hegg interviewed man-of-the-moment Liam Livingstone, a product of the Lancashire youth system who has made a sparkling start to his first class career this summer.

Seated next to Livingstone on the stage was another cricketer who, thanks to the Kia Super League, can now also be deemed to be a professional player.

Whilst all of the children present knew of Livingstone thanks to his early season exploits there were fewer that would readily have recognised his colleague on the panel despite the fact that she is a veteran of 73 One Day Internationals for England as well as 13 Test Matches.

This week in fact marks the first time that Laura MacLeod, previously Newton, has had sight of a contract that will mean that she is paid to play cricket despite the service that she has given to her country on cricket grounds all across the world.

Refreshing then that, following the questions with Hegg and during the autograph session that followed, MacLeod found herself signing as many, if not more, autographs than Livingstone.

A contemporary of recently departed England captain Charlotte Edwards, 38 year old MacLeod left international cricket in 2007 aged just 29 due to the pressures of being an amateur playing in an increasingly professional environment.

Earlier this week MacLeod found herself in the nets at Emirates Old Trafford batting alongside current England players Danni Wyatt and Kate Cross who will be two of her teammates in the Lancashire Thunder squad later this summer.

Incredibly it was the first time outside of an international fixture that the former Lancashire and England star had actually trained in the facilities at the ground.

Her teammates in the Thunder squad are, happily, growing up in a time when their presence at such venues and in the presence of coaches such as Gary Keedy is becoming normalised. MacLeod, an outstanding coach in her own right, probably appreciates the opportunity that is being presented more than most.

Her impact upon the Kia Super League is as yet unclear but whilst the competition presents an exciting road ahead for the young stars of tomorrow it is already presenting opportunities for players like MacLeod to finally get the recognition they have deserved.

Just ask those kids that were at Bowdon who their new hero is.