Meet the Wildcats 1 - Sam Haggo
How old were you when you first played cricket and where was it?
My earliest memory of learning and playing cricket was at the age of 7 at my current club, Prestwick CC. I started off playing Kwik Cricket, and I absolutely loved it. It was always a part of my life before that though, with my mum taking me in my pram to watch my dad and uncle play at the weekends as a baby.
What level of cricket do you play now?
I play cricket at a National level, for Scotland Women.
What teams do you play in?
As well as representing the national side, I play for Prestwick Cricket Club 2nd X1 (and occasionally the 1st X1) and Ayr Cricket Club Ladies.
Are you a bowler / batter / wicket keeper / fielder?
I am an all-rounder.
I generally bat high-middle order, and bowl first change, but this can alter depending on which team I am playing for.
Why did you take up the sport and why do you keep playing it now?
Cricket has been in my family for generations, with my grandfather playing and umpiring, my uncle representing Scotland men, and my father also playing and umpiring. With such a strong passion for cricket running in the family, it was almost inevitable that it would become a love of mine too. I keep playing it now because I love it - it's as simple as that. It's a great way to keep fit, I enjoy it, it's provided me with amazing opportunities and I've met some great friends through it. ·
Have you achieved anything in the game that has made you feel really proud?
This is a tough one as every time I pull on the Scotland shirt I feel so proud! There have been many and it's difficult to pinpoint a single occasion, but my first ever run, my first fifty, beating Ireland in Holland in 2011, and captaining the side against Japan last year were all proud moments. ·
Cricket is a team sport – what is it about playing in a team with other women/girls that you enjoy?
From a young age, I always played boys cricket, and so it is really nice to be in a team with other women. You can relate to them more, and it's so nice to be able to play a sport I love with other females who share this passion. Since playing with the Wildcats involves spending a lot of time with the team, you really get to know the girls and strike up friendships with them, and the banter and support that comes with that makes it a great experience. ·
Do you play with any men/boys’ teams? And what is better about playing in a female team?
I play with Prestwick CC in men's teams. I do enjoy it as I've known most of my team mates for many years and it's good to experience the power of the men's game. However, it's nice to be in a team with females as I find I have a lot more in common with them, which makes it more enjoyable.
Is there anything about cricket that you think makes it a good sport for women/girls?
It's a great sport for women/girls, highlighted by the fact it's the fastest growing female sport in Scotland at present. As well as being a great way to keep fit, it offers a variety of different skills, as well as offering a social side. Avoiding generalisation, there is arguably often confusion amongst female about what cricket actually is, with a general misconception being that "it's too hard", "too scary", or "too confusing". However, anyone can take it up, beginning with the basic skills involved in cricket, such as catching, throwing and 'hitting'. I have no doubts that it is a feasible, enjoyable sport for women/girls, and with wide coverage on the television it is easy to become exposed to and therefore familiar with.
How often do you play?
During peak season, I can expect to play three times per week on average, with this number often increasing/decreasing marginally. I tend to have games on Saturdays and Sundays, with a T20 midweek fixture.
How much do you train?
My cricket club has 2 set training sessions a week. In addition to this, I try to go to the nets myself and do some target bowling, or have a net session with team mates - this could occur anything from 1-3 times a week during the season. In terms of fitness training, I try to run regularly, and do S&C/gym work when I can fit it in around cricket/work commitments. The recent partnership with Nuffield health gyms will be beneficial, as it is such an amazing opportunity to allow me to work on cricket-related fitness.
Do you have a cricket role model or someone who has inspired and encouraged you to play?
My father got me into cricket, and coached me from a young age. He also acted as a taxi for as long as I can remember to games and training across the country, and has always supported me/given me tough love when it's been required! I admire cricketers such as Charlotte Edwards and Ellyse Perry also - I aspire to be like them in terms of the way they play and how they carry themselves. It would be silly not to mention my Wildcats coach, Kari Carswell. She first invited me to Scotland u16's training at the age of 12, and i've never looked back. As well as being a great cricketer, she has helped my development over the past few years, and is always there with advice, or even just a net session whenever required!
Any other comments about cricket as a woman’s / girls game?
I am delighted at how much women's cricket in Scotland has grown and is growing. As a little 7 year old, I remember going to Kwik Cricket tournaments and being one of only 2 girls there...now there are tournaments dedicated to girls, and Scotland have their own women's domestic league! Playing women's cricket has been one of the best things to happen to me, and has given me some amazing friends and opportunities, and I am so excited that more and more girls and women are getting the opportunity to also experience what is a great game. The establishment of the SWCA is another step forward in ensuring this, and I am delighted that the women's game is developing so well. ·
CONGRATULATIONS to the Australian women's cricket team who won the ICC T20 2014 on the 6th April.
You can read about the final against England HERE
Sean MacPartlin Blog on Women's Cricket
Sean McPartlin - Cricket Scotland Blogger
Sean McPartlin's latest blog praised the endeavors and efforts of Scotland
women's team, the Wildcats in a recent blog
I think for a male blogger to write about female sport requires an attitude somewhere between bravery and foolishness. At the end of each tentatively written paragraph there lies, waiting in the darkness, a shadowy figure equipped with a big club on which is written either ‘patronising’ or ‘ignorant’.
However. The time has come to be brave, or foolish, and write a few words in praise of the women cricketers of the Scottish Wildcats.
As a depute headteacher in High School for many years, my remit was support for pupils. Within that area, two topics particularly exercised me. One was the promotion of sport and wellbeing in cooperation with the PE Department, and the other was gender equality – especially in terms of opportunities for girls and raising boys’ academic attainment. As I’m sport daft and a supporter of fairplay and justice, these were natural areas of interest, and where they collided, as in girls’ participation in PE, my aims and efforts were re-doubled.
For boys, a lack of interest in sport can be a disadvantage at school, and may lead to bullying – another situation which needs awareness and careful handling. However, for girls, the whole sport thing can be much more complicated than the testosterone-charged locking of horns in which adolescent boys indulge.
Before I became involved in promoting PE in school, I suppose I assumed that the line of girls who had ‘forgotten their kit’ were simply not interested in sport and games – a common misconception. However, the day I got a group of girls together in class and asked them the reasons for their non-participation my eyes were opened.
The majority of them liked sport – or at least understood the benefits of exercise. The reason for their non-participation was context. They suggested that, while the talented sportswomen amongst them could stand up to the boys in the class – particularly when more skillful than them, those who felt they had less ability thought they were often ridiculed or ignored by the ‘alpha males’. Some felt the agenda and atmosphere was irredeemably ‘male’ and made them uncomfortable. Nearly all had concerns about body image, how they felt they were expected to look, and the idea, for both genders, of needing to ‘be cool’. They conceded that there were boys who had these problems too, but suggested ‘guys just get on with it’; the girls, they thought, were more reflective and hesitant.
None of these hindrances were the girls’ fault, and as a school we had to take action. We listened to the girls and tried to meet their needs. We consulted on sportswear, made sure changing areas provided privacy, and were clean and well equipped, including effective hairdryers – for both genders, and looked at the provision overall. We widened the sports on offer and extended choices, leading to the availability of more single sex groups and traditionally ‘female sports’; Girls’ fitness routines were introduced, zumba made an appearance, and women’s football was established. Sportswomen ‘Champions for Sport’ were invited in to school to work with pupils and to provide role models to offset the mainstream media bias; we introduced ‘Dance’, again for both sexes, up to Higher examination level, and provided school dance hoodies and sports gear to raise the subject’s profile. Girls were encouraged to choose Sports Leadership courses in senior school and participate in coaching at our primary schools.
Cooperation with local gyms and fitness centres gave girls another entry route to sport and activities, and school publications promoted the successes of the girls’ sports teams on a regular basis. It was a long, focused and committed campaign, based on school and PE department’s hard working determination to remove as many barriers as possible.
I know, therefore, from that experience, how difficult it can be sometimes for girls to commit to, and succeed, in sport – and especially a sport, like cricket, which is traditionally seen as male. I recognize, too, that this is not the case for all girls. Some – through encouragement at school, club level, or through family tradition – will see sport as a natural part of their lives – but not all are so lucky.
Thankfully, women’s sport in general is starting to receive more attention and respect, and the women’s game is being rightfully, if belatedly, treated as part of mainstream cricket, but there are still attitudes out there best described as neanderthal.
So, when I hear of Wildcats travelling the length of the country to train in the dark of winter, and I recognize the struggle to balance study, work, and cricket commitments; when I note the lack of mainstream media recognition for their efforts, and the comparative lack of publicity and resources, I take great pride in the individual and collective efforts they make to represent their country, and to promote cricket for women in Scotland. The men make many sacrifices too, but the women are starting from a different position, and often face indifference, or even hostility.
Most of all, when I see their teamwork, their joy in playing, and their commitment to being the best they can be, all without access to glory or fame, I remember why I fell in love with cricket.
Have a great year, Wildcats!
The link to the original article can be found HERE