Published: 5th September, 2018
Surrey Women’s Head Coach Richard Bedbrook believes his triumphant Stars team demonstrated the ever-improving quality within women’s cricket during their recent Kia Super League success.
Stars overcame Western Storm and Loughborough Lightning in front of the Sky cameras at a packed Hove late last month to win their first Kia Super League title.
Bedbrook became the first full-time women’s coach in the English county game in January this year and believes that investment from the club, alongside support from external media, will prove to the public the high standard of the matches.
“The investment the club has put in, in terms of building an age group programme and building a pathway was always going to take a few years,” he said.
“Whether the girls play for the Surrey county side or joined up for the Stars, they have ridden the wave of the enthusiasm that was created by shifting me into a position in which I can help these girls do more with their cricket.
“The swell within the game has been led by the England Women’s team. Their success has dripped down and that opportunity is now being provided to produce exciting cricket that will show people that these players are really good. They are athletes first and foremost and their skill levels are going through the roof.
“You get to the end of the competitions with a sense of success and it’s a funny feeling. It’s been a great six weeks alongside a squad that have been brilliant to work with.”
As well as Stars success, Bedbrook led his county team to T20 promotion and 50-over survival earlier in the summer.
With the thrilling victory on the south coast spelling the end of the season in the women’s game, Bedbrook will now enjoy a short break before preparing for the 2019 campaign.
He said: “I started full time in January so my operations this side of Christmas is set to be another learning curve as I work out how quickly we need to get back in to things. Our county girls are not professional and they’re going to need some time off to step back and come back refreshed.”
Focusing on the Kia Super League triumph, Bedbrook was delighted with how the international contingent of Nat Sciver, Sarah Taylor, Laura Marsh, Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp and Lizelle Lee were supported by a number of younger English players.
Bryony Smith opened alongside Lee while all-rounder Sophia Dunkley became the first uncapped player to hit a 50 in the tournament’s history in the season opener and bowler Mady Villiers claimed five wickets at an average of just 18.
“This has been all about people coming together. It was a new group with a quite a few new faces and it was great watching them grow with some poor performances along the way but they always bounced back.
“One of the most pleasing things with the girls that have been with us for three years is that they genuinely wanted to do well with us this year. At a certain point they may have thought they could take it easier but that’s not happened and everyone has contributed positively.”