OK, our affiliation agreement is with The Cricket Paper but All-Out Cricket caught up with Nat, who has given Stoke a massive plug in their “My First Club” section:
For those who can’t access the link the full transcript is here:
I started playing club cricket when I moved back to England [from Tokyo], at the age of about 13 or 14. I played football in the winter and, being active, I wanted to find a sport to play in the summer.
There was only one club in my area which had a women’s section, which was Stoke D’Abernon Cricket Club. I was lucky that it was quite local because I spent a lot of time looking around for one!
The girls team was in quite a good league. I couldn’t play any men’s cricket because I was playing for school, too. At the time, a couple of the girls were playing for Surrey age-groups.
Our coach, (Chris Hardy), and assistant coach, (Andy Page), played in the men’s team. Often, we would train with a few of the guys, (Ralphie and Timmy Handel were two to face me in 2008), and it was very welcoming. The awards evenings were great and they would put on big barbecues. There was a real sense of community at the club.
The coach was also a coach at Surrey, which is how I got into the county system. He recommended me for a trial – for the Surrey under 15s – and I managed to impress.
I was more of a batter, then. But obviously during net sessions you want to bowl and get involved so that’s how I developed my bowling and became more of an all-rounder for the team.
I was definitely a lot more leg-side dominant back then! I played a lot of hockey and tennis so hitting the ball quite hard and in that direction came quite naturally to me.
When we came back with the Ashes in 2013, we did a tour and I was able to bring the trophy back to the club. I went on a weekday evening during a girls’ training session and it was really good to see how it had developed. More and more girls had started playing. It was brilliant to see how much progress has been made.
I was the first girl to get into international cricket. Hopefully that can inspire some of the girls in the Surrey academy from Stoke D’Abernon to go on and be part of things like the World Cup and the Ashes, like I have.