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29 Jun

YCC student makes Yorkshire Women’s 1st XI debut

Over the past eight years, Millie Gray, 18, a second-year student at Yorkshire Cricket College, has gone from playing amateur level cricket, with her local team Bradfield Cricket Club, in Sheffield to district level with South Yorkshire to seeing her make her debut for Yorkshire Women County Cricket Club 1st XI team in April this year.

Molly Halloran reports on Millie’s cricketing journey…

My first game for Yorkshire… was really exciting. Obviously, you’re going to have nerves on your debut. If you’ve been scouted, then you’re expected to perform but I think you have to turn those nerves into excitement and so I really enjoyed it – Millie Gray, Yorkshire CCC Women’s Cricketer

Having always been sporty in school, Millie knew from a young age that she wanted a career within the sporting world, but it wasn’t until her brother’s cricket side needed more players when Millie realised her love of cricket.

Despite being the only girl on the side, Millie’s love of the game continued to grow along with her confidence and so she decided to formally join Bradfield Cricket Club in Sheffield.

“I was the only girl at my cricket club so when I started it was very male dominated which didn’t really affect me in terms of confidence as everyone was really welcoming and the coaches were keen to get me playing with the guys,” Millie said.

Millie’s success began quickly after joining the club. While participating in a Round Robin Tournament with Bradfield’s under-11s and under-13s, local scout, John Eunice, asked Millie if she wanted to attend a few South Yorkshire sessions.

Despite advancing to District level, it didn’t take long before Millie experienced the next progression in her cricketing career – at the age of 13, during her debut with South Yorkshire, she was scouted to join Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

Millie explained: “I was really enjoying training for South Yorkshire and then I saw the scouts walking round at my first game.

“Once I knew there were scouts, I thought playing for Yorkshire might actually be something I am interested in but the thought of playing for Yorkshire wasn’t really on my mind until I saw them.”

This was the college that suited me the most and I’m so glad I’ve done it. I wouldn’t have done anything else looking back. It’s boosted my confidence so much more and I’ve become a lot more independent – Millie Gray, Yorkshire Cricket College Student

As her career continued to progress, Millie knew that she wanted to attend a college that incorporated both cricket and education in one. Three girls that she knew from the year above had recommended Yorkshire Cricket College, so Millie decided to visit the open day …

“I didn’t know what to expect as I didn’t understand how it could be education and sport in one. I had an interview and they said I would be the only girl on the course, but I didn’t mind that as I had been used to training with boys before,” Millie said.

She added: “Within the college, getting coaching opportunities has been really enjoyable and just meeting new people and growing my confidence has been the best part, I think I’ve grown a lot in the past two years as it’s been a really good and varied environment for me to be in.”

Playing for Yorkshires under-18s Development Team was when the opportunity for Millie to grow her career arose. The coach needed some of the u18s to play in an upcoming women’s 1st XI friendly. The opportunity was too good to miss so Millie took the chance and ended up being chosen to play with Yorkshire’s 1sts as a batter.

Despite her natural sporting talent, it may be surprising that Millie didn’t have much of an interest in watching cricket or sport in general when she was growing up. In fact, she still isn’t a big fan of watching cricket today!

“I didn’t really watch sport or cricket when I was younger – I kind of just fell into it,” Millie said. “I’d say maybe Jessica Ennis was the first person I saw who was multi-talented and I wanted to be like that – not have a set thing you’re good at, just to be healthy and strong.”

Millie added: “I wanted to know that if I didn’t do cricket, I’d be able to do something else, but it was just cricket that stood out to me.”

Pictured, Millie celebrates scoring the first 50 while on tour in Barbados with the Yorkshire Cricket College

To commemorate Millie’s impressive and rapid journey through the cricketing realm, we asked her what her biggest achievement has been to date…

“I would have to say my biggest achievement would probably be getting 50 at Barbados on the tour with college in the inter college game,” she said.

“I really wanted to do well and travelling to somewhere so amazing was definitely a highlight so obtaining 50 was a great achievement of mine. Captaining general teams within Yorkshire is also up there as being selected to lead your team is a huge but exciting responsibility.”

Looking to the future, Millie hopes to stay with Yorkshire CCC Women and then in a few years, get the opportunity to play in an academy.

Her biggest aspiration would be to play in The Hundred as that’s the format she thinks is most suited to her strengths and of course being named in the England squad would be the greatest achievement.

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