The following article was written by Charlotte Samuelson, Non-Executive Director of Surrey County Cricket Club, and printed in a special brochure about the women of Surrey County Cricket Club in the summer of 2019.
Today, we revisit this for International Women’s Day in 2022.
It’s ten past one on an overcast Sunday in June. Surrey are struggling with the bat but as a wise young woman once tweeted ‘if you can’t love them through the bad times, you don’t deserve them through the good*.’
Despite the score, the Kia Oval is alive. Families play catch on the outfield. Children are bowling to their parents and celebrating hard when wickets tumble. Other fans are inspecting the pitch that just a few days previously hosted some of the world’s greatest players during the 2019 World Cup. Picnics are shared, pints and ice creams devoured. The summer has finally arrived and where better to be on a Sunday afternoon than The Oval?
When people first hear about my involvement in cricket, they invariably ask whether I once played. The truth is I have only ever used one cricket bat – the plastic one my daughters use to practise their skills in our back garden.
My love of cricket is born out of the thrill and tapestry of the game – and scenes like that Sunday afternoon when the Surrey family was out in force and all was well at the People’s home of cricket.
That’s what we do best at Surrey. We marry the love of our sport with the love of our Community. We do it brilliantly and we do it consistently. It is not just rhetoric from Club officials when we talk about the Surrey family.
We believe it passionately and it sets the context for every decision made in the Club’s Boardroom. It’s a huge privilege to represent our members and one each of us takes very seriously.
It is the laser focus on the people of our Club which allows it to thrive. Yes, we are blessed with an incredible location, yes this helps to keep the bank balance healthy, but it is not concrete or pounds that makes us in my (admittedly slightly biased) opinion the greatest cricket club on earth.
When an organisation has a culture genuinely based on people, diversity follows. The Oval has a deep history of embracing the whole community. When it comes to gender diversity, women have been a part of the fabric of our Club for generations.
But if we are honest and take a critical eye (as we do on all things), looking round the Club’s visible history – our paintings, our photographs, the names of rooms – it is not always easy to see the legacy of the women who came before us.
This needs to change and the dedication of the Janette Brittin Room and this publication is a wonderful start.