Ahead of the tournament getting underway this weekend, and as the Stars seek to defend their crown, we talked to Player of the Match from last year’s final, 17-year-old all-rounder Alice Capsey.
How excited are you to get going in the second season of the Charlotte Edwards Cup?
It’s felt like quite a long pre-season, with county stuff and having played for the Stars out in Desert Springs – and I was away with the England Women’s Academy before that – so I’m just really excited to get started. We’ve announced our squad for Saturday’s game against Sunrisers at Chelmsford and we’re really looking forward to getting going.
It’s only the second year of the Charlotte Edwards Cup, does that add to the excitement?
Yeah, it’s all pretty new still. I was fortunate enough to be part of the first season that the regional structure was put in place and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy was played, but obviously that was just 50-over stuff, so it’s only our second year of the Charlotte Edwards Cup and that’s really exciting. There are more and more professional contracts coming out and the game is just improving all the time. As one of those South East Stars players to be given a contract I can see that there’s a massive difference between where we were five or six months ago at the end of the summer and where we are now.
Can you feel the improvement that being professional is bringing to the game?
Massively. I’ve been fortunate enough to come in at the right time and almost grow my career along with the professionalization of the game, and the more time that we get to spend in a professional environment the more the standard is going to keep rising. We’re fortunate enough now to get paid to play and train and the more the number of professional players rises the more that standard will rise, so each year we’ll see an improvement, I’m sure.
How much of the improvement comes from training all-year round in a professional environment?
Yeah, it plays a big role. You get judged for your performances and results on the pitch but not many people see the time and effort spent behind the scenes trying to get better. I know that from being within the South East Stars camp back in November/December, and then coming back after I’d been in Australia, even after that one month away I could see the results of the work, the time and the effort that my teammates had been putting in over that time, and the improvements they’d made. People say ‘practice makes perfect’ and it’s a cliché but it’s true, and as professional players now we have the ability to practice that much more and spend so much more time on task. It plays a role in the improvement of the domestic game, and it’s really important.
This year marks 20 years of professional T20 cricket (the men’s T20 Blast started in 2002), and for you you’ve always known T20 cricket, whereas for some of your teammates it was something that came in to the game. Is it weird to imagine cricket with T20?
It is a bit weird. Some of my fondest memories are from going down to The Oval to watch Surrey Men when I was younger, so I’ve always known T20 cricket. Hopefully we can continue to grow both, the Charlotte Edwards Cup and the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, because 50-over cricket is just as fun and exciting and we’ll see higher scores in 50-over cricket as the domestic set-up continues to grow and improve and players get more time working on their skills.
You won the Charlotte Edwards Cup last year with the South East Stars, do you have any particular aims this year as team?
It's about winning as many games as possible but we won it last year and it’s about trying to win it again this year. We’ve obviously set our standards high after the first year but it’s about pushing forward as a team, improving, and hopefully if we’ve done the work over the winter properly the results should go our way.