Women’s BIG Cricket Month – Sleaford CC Interviews (Part 2)

Women’s Big Cricket Month (Sleaford CC) – Lisa Kelly-Tonge

What playing & non-playing opportunities are there for women & girls?

Sleaford CC is very much a family club. It has taken great strides to offer a variety of opportunities for Women and Girls. Starting with All Stars and Dynamos right through to our Softball team. This season has also seen our first Hardball Super 8’s team established and entered into the East Midlands Super 8s League.

What facilities are there that are family/female-friendly?

Sleaford CC offers facilities that are very much diverse and inclusive. There is still work to do with the infrastructure of the clubhouse but we certainly don’t go without.

Why is it a great place to come?

I personally, am very new to the club but have been fully embraced right from the start. I was extremely impressed with the turn out to soft ball training and how everyone really enjoyed the atmosphere. The atmosphere of any club is vitally important, it helps everyone to learn and enjoy what is a fantastic sport. The fact that we now also have a hardball team shows just how many Women and Girls are playing the sport.

How can cricket improve the lives of women in your community?

Cricket is a great sport to improve the mental and physical lives of Women and Girls in our community. It was important to the club, particularly during the recent pandemic, to ensure that the players continue to have connections with each other. The coaching staff created a virtual training session looking after the ‘mind, body and soul’. Offering opportunities at all levels of cricket will continue to be the foundation of the club.

How did you get involved in cricket?

I first started playing cricket in 2006, when I was in the Royal Air Force. The team was short of players so I was asked to make up the numbers. I enjoyed it so much that I kept coming back. I eventually went on to Captain the side and then develop into Head Coach before leaving the RAF in 2020. I have played club cricket for a number of years now and particularly enjoyed playing for my village Men’s side as Wicketkeeper. Cricket makes anything possible.

How has the game/club helped you grow as a person?

Cricket itself has definitely helped me both mentally and physically. The skills learned from cricket cannot be underestimated; from leadership to emotional intelligence. I have grown immensely as a person. Since joining Sleaford CC I have now learned how to play Super 8s cricket and the opportunities that it brings to players, especially in batting.

Why should other women get involved in coaching/scoring/umpiring cricket?

There are not enough Women getting involved in coaching etc but this is clearly improving. It’s the perfect pathway for any player to keep involved with the sport and enjoy the atmosphere etc from all angles. I would always encourage players to experience the other aspects of the game and if nothing else it will help them as a player.

What makes cricket great at your club?

It provides a fantastic environment for people of all levels, cultures and genders to have fun and to stretch themselves. The spirit of cricket is very much at the heart of this club and is very much looking at innovative ways to make it even better.