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22 Jul

Q & A: Yorkshire Cricket's Phoebe Turner on cricket rise

Phoebe Turner, 18, a former student at our award-winning Yorkshire Cricket College, made her full county debut for Yorkshire in the 2021 Women’s Twenty20 Cup, after progressing from her local club, Sessay in North Yorkshire, to the RDC and then to the Northern Diamonds.

To celebrate Phoebe’s achievements, Molly Halloran, spoke to the cricketer about her time at the college and Phoebe’s career in cricket so far.

Lauren Winfield-Hill presented me with my cap… she’s been my inspiration from a young age which was so incredible and now we’re team mates which is amazing – Phoebe Turner, Yorkshire CCC Women’s Cricketer

How did you first get into cricket?

When I was younger, I think around seven, I used to play outside in the street with my brothers and their friends. We’d get the garden bins out with one at each side of the road. I was bowling underarm and they’d keep telling me to play overarm otherwise I couldn’t play with them. I wanted to play with the boys, so I really tried to improve. I was used to a boy environment, so I already had that competitiveness from a young age and although it was harsh, that’s where I got the competitive side to me from, and I’d never have started cricket if it wasn’t for them experiences.

I then joined my local club when I was about nine. I was the only girl but a lot of mates were boys, so it was okay. I think a lot of girls can hold back when they’re surrounded by boys in sport, but I got stuck in straight away and really enjoyed it there.

How did your career progress when you were with Sessay?

I was about 10 or 11 and I went to a session on a Thursday where there were quite a few girls playing but I was adamant I didn’t want to play with the girls because I was used to being with the boys. I remember this man called Peter who spoke to my mum trying to get me to come and I was telling my mum I’m not training with them.

The next day I ended up going to the training session with my mum and I asked her to wait in case I didn’t like it. There were girls of different ages, so I was a bit worried but of course they were very inclusive. After five minutes I told my mum to leave so I could get properly stuck in and that’s when carrying on with Sessay started and I’m so happy I did it.

If it wasn’t for Sessay, I don’t think I’d have been able to access the pathway that I was able to through to South Yorkshire and then Yorkshire.

How quick was the transition from your local club to being with Yorkshire?

During my time with Sessay, I got into North Yorkshire and then they referred me to Yorkshire all in the space of a year. It was a very quick transition; I wasn’t expecting anything but obviously you’re wanting it. I’d be waiting every night for an email to come telling me if I got in or not. The first game I played was against Lancashire and I think I opened the batting. I couldn’t believe it – I was just like oh my goodness I’m playing for Yorkshire this is mad. All of that was within one season which just happened so fast.

I think when you’re young, you’re just enjoying it when of course there’s a lot more pressure in women’s cricket. It was just about taking all the opportunities because I was just loving the game.

Have you experienced any challenges along the way, or have you had any regrets?

It’s been a whirlwind experience with Yorkshire, but I had a big setback when I was with the under 13s. I started as a bowler, and I didn’t perform amazing so then I never got selected. But I knew my place in the team and I knew I could prove myself, but I could have easily stopped. A lot of my friends stopped with cricket, some due to a setback but for me I’ve always loved this game and not wanted to stop.

It really put a bad mood on things because people would say to my mum – ‘why isn’t Phoebe being picked?’ and she wouldn’t understand the tactics so wouldn’t be able to give an explanation. Everyone knew me as the happy one with a smile on my face and even if I wasn’t playing I’d still be at the matches bringing drinks around or whatever because I wanted to be involved. I could’ve stopped and had the attitude that I wasn’t being picked but I worked my socks off.

I don’t have any regrets as everything has definitely worked in my favour and I’m still really enjoying the cricket even if there is that added pressure. I think I deserve to be in this position, and I can use the pressure to make me perform better. Back before it was more about how you played whereas now, I’m more aware of tactics and how to play mentally, with it still being really exciting.

How did your career pick up again after these setbacks?

The next season, within a space of a year, I got the Batting award, the Players Player award and the Chairman award all at Yorkshire so I then made a name for myself. In September time I got an email saying I had been invited to a Yorkshire Diamonds RDC and then after the training, I received one saying I was selected. I went from the silver pathway trying to make it to gold and then now I’ve made it into the Yorkshire Diamonds RDC – I’m so glad that I didn’t stop. If I can do it, then if anyone else has the same mindset, they can do it too.

I played for the Yorkshire RDC for three years and then it transitioned to the Northern Diamonds and their academy which I’ve been a part of for two years and then recently I got my call up for the Women’s 1st team on a rooky contract.

I got my first cap in the opening T20 game against Loughborough which we won! Lauren Winfield-Hill presented me with my cap and she’s been my inspiration from a young age which was so incredible and now we’re team mates which is really weird but amazing.

How did you find your time with the Yorkshire Cricket College?

My time with the college was really enjoyable and I learnt a lot about cricket and myself. I finished with the YCC last year… and I gained good friendships with other people on my course which was really good.

It was a different experience for all of us because Covid affected how we were taught and trained but I’ve learnt a lot of resilience during this time. In the first year we didn’t train indoors because of Covid so we had to do our exercises over zoom.

And then in the second year, we were meant to go to Dubai to play cricket, but we never got that chance to go because of Covid so we didn’t really get the same experience other college students have had. Of course, this set us back a bit but I made sure I kept my fitness up at home.

Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?

Aside from Lauren-Winfield Hill, I’d have to say my mum is a huge inspiration because, despite her not playing cricket, every game I’m playing she’s always there and if she isn’t there, I feel her presence like she is. Having her there means the most because we’re like two peas in a pod. No matter how far away I’m training, she’ll always be there and has always stuck by me which means the most to me.

What has been your biggest achievement within your cricketing career?

My biggest achievement was getting that first cap from Lauren Winfield-Hill and my mum was there which made it extra special. She gave me a hug and I just bawled my eyes out – it was so emotional. But being the shy young girl I was to now being a confident young lady I’m also quite proud of because I’ve experienced myself grow. Also, the way I dealt with the setbacks I had and the motivation I had has hugely helped me – I’m proud of the way I’ve approached everything.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I’m really enjoying teaching in the school with the children, and I love how I’m acting as their young female teacher role model which is really rewarding but when the apprenticeship finishes, I’m definitely going to prioritise cricket more so that my sole job is playing cricket.

Because I’m currently working in the school, this has caused me to miss out on some training sessions and opportunities because I’m not able to make them in time. Now I have the drive to really make it and be the best I can be so prioritising the sport should hopefully allow me to progress onto The Hundred and then the England team – that would be the dream.

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