Sophie Munro is a 19-year-old young woman who started off just as any other girl from Lincolnshire interested in sport would. She attended clubs, dipped her toe in the water and see what came out and how she felt. Just over a decade later she is mixing it with some of the best women cricketers in the world.
‘When I was eight a few of my school friends would play, and I would go to training after school with them at Lindum Cricket Club. I just liked to try every sport, so I’d try tennis, cricket, anything, I would be there.
‘I took my chance at cricket and found that I really enjoyed playing cricket, so I continued to play even when the rest my friends quit, I just carried on.
‘There were just two other girls at the time, but they only played for a year, then it was just me and the boys right up until U15 at Lindum. Only then did more girls start to play and cricket started to get bigger with girls participating.’
Munro’s resilience and desire has surely contributed to her now representing Lightning (formerly Loughborough Lightning) in the Women’s Regional Domestic structure in the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy & the new Regional T20 competition this summer.
But what was it about cricket that made her stick with it, despite being the only girl at the club?
‘I love being part of a team and everything that goes with it’, she says.
‘I also like how cricket has individual performances within the team game. I love having that challenge within the game.
‘The fact that a game can go either way at any point is quite exciting too. One over can switch the game in the other direction.’
Munro represented Lincolnshire girls at U13 level, but quickly had a desire to move on and test herself further with our Nottinghamshire neighbours. Her ambition to make something of herself was clearly with her from a young age.
‘I started young, but anything I do I always want to be the best at it. When I was younger I always wanted to play at the highest level possible, whether it was getting in the boy’s team, or as I got older, getting in the men’s team and then the men’s 1st team (at Lindum).
‘Ultimately, as it is now, I’d like to play for England.
‘I felt that, at the time, I needed to move to a major county to get anywhere. I was 14 when I made the move to Notts. Past the age of 13 I knew I wanted to play cricket, so I just thought, what is my best route?
‘I played for Notts U15 and straightaway, in my first year, I played up for the U17 team. When I was 15 I made my debut for the Notts Ladies team too, so it all moved quite quickly when I moved to Nottinghamshire.
‘Nowadays, all the counties around the East Midlands, with the new set-up, it has allowed girls playing for Lincolnshire to get the exposure and they can get seen by the right people’.
Last year’s introduction of the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Trophy saw Munro make her debut for Lightning. She took 3-32 and impressed.
‘It was memorable. It was also the first time I had played at Trent Bridge, and taking three wickets, as well as getting a run out, it was pretty memorable fortunately.
‘We didn’t get the result we wanted for the team, but it was a close and exciting game’.
2020 was also the year Munro played for Lindum 1st team in the Lincolnshire ECB Premier League, contributing to their successful campaign that saw them win the play-off final against Grantham last September.
She is one of only two women to have played in the county’s ECB Premier League, the other being a former England captain, Arran Brindle.
‘I was definitely a little bit nervous, especially as I was opening the bowling and I had almost come straight up from the third team.
‘I’d played a couple of 2nd team games, but it was almost like I just skipped the 2nds and went straight to the 1st team.
‘Obviously the teams I played against are quite a lot stronger. They hit the ball a lot harder, but as soon as I started bowling it was fine. I could relax and I think I took two wickets on my debut.
‘It was just about trusting what I have practised so long for and those are the situations when your practice definitely comes in’.
As well as playing for Lightning this summer, the long-awaited Hundred competition gets underway in a few weeks. Munro is pleased to have a contract with London Spirit and can’t wait to get started with them next month.
‘I go away on the 12th July until the 20th August, so I’ll be training from mid-July and the games are around that time.
‘Hopefully I can make my way into the side, but if I don’t it’s just a great learning opportunity being around all those players & being in that high-pressure environment’.
London Spirit will play their matches at Lord’s, the Home of Cricket, and will be captained by current England skipper, Heather Knight. Talk about a great opportunity!
‘I’ve met Heather before when she has been in and around games before the structure changed to the Regional set-up, but I don’t know her personally.
‘It’s an exciting opportunity. I can learn so much from her just by being around her and taking everything in, so it’s really exciting’.
Munro’s story can act as an inspiration for many other young girls from Lincolnshire who are just starting out in the game, or maybe haven’t even tried giving it a go yet.
‘Cricket is a good way to develop confidence around a team whilst also having fun & making new friends.
‘Women’s cricket is really developing now and very quickly. There’s so much more exposure, so much more funding going into it and women can actually make a career out of it now.
‘Whether it’s just for fun or if they do want to pursue it as a career, it’s a great sport to get involved in’.