Published: 7th March, 2018
Surrey’s Director of Women’s Cricket Ebony Rainford-Brent has paid tribute to Bryony Smith’s maiden selection for the England Women’s side.
Rainford-Brent, a board member at Surrey with responsibility for women’s cricket on top of her duties with BBC Test Match Special, has worked with Smith throughout her Surrey career, which began at the age of 9 when she was selected for the U11s.
“We are absolutely delighted with the news for Bryony today, this is a really special moment for her to enjoy on the journey of her exciting career. The announcement today is such a testament to her character and the hard work she has put in over the years with the Club from the junior age groups, into senior Surrey, the Stars and international recognition”, she said.
Her words were echoed by Richard Bedbrook, who last year became the first full-time Women’s Head Coach in the country, who added: “This is fantastic news for Bryony as it gives a clear signal that if you work hard, continue to improve and commit to wanting to make the next level that it is possible.
“Bryony has embraced the physical aspect to the game and has committed time in getting fitter, stronger and is starting to reap the benefits.
“Hats off to England and Mark Robinson for looking at the next players that could push for an England Women’s place in the Performance squad on what will be a tough tour.”
Whilst Smith’s selection is testament to her talent and the hard work she has put in over recent years, both Rainford-Brent and Bedbrook were keen to praise the contribution made to her development by coaches at different levels of the Surrey CCC system.
Rainford-Brent continued: “It is also a moment to celebrate for the club and in particular those who have been critical to developing her and our home grown talent such as Jeremy Greaves, Tom Benge and Richard Bedbrook.
“From a very personal point I have been impressed with Bryony’s attitude not only in training but her wider commitment and dedication to the club as a role model, and no doubt she will continue to inspiring others.”
Bedbrook added: “Whilst the Super League opportunities of the last two years will have opened her eyes to what the next level is, through seeing first-hand the International cricketers go about their business, it is the work with Jeremy Greaves, Krishna Dwarka and Ben Austen and others over the past 24 months that have culminated in her then being given further time to develop by the England programmes.
“The combined approach has allowed Bryony to simply get better at what she can do, understand what she can do better and now she has a great opportunity at continuing to learn about her game as well as put in some performances that continue to knock on the door of a full England contract in the future.”
Bedbrook concluded: “We really wish Bryony all the best for the trip and hope that any opportunities that come her way are taken and that the tour is a success for her and the squad.
“It’s a great reward for a really good twelve months of development and we sincerely hope this is just the first of a considerable amount of England Women playing time in the future.”