Eight players linked with Nottinghamshire and Lightning joined 53 others for the PCA’s Rookie Camp on Tuesday.
Nottinghamshire’s Ben Compton, Toby Pettman and Dane Schadendorf, alongside Lightning’s Kathryn & Sarah Bryce, Lucy Higham, Abigail Freeborn and Bethan Ellis were part of a record number of PCA Members to attend the annual event.
Rookie Camp 2021 saw more players in attendance than ever before, with this year’s figure surpassing the previous record of 52 set in 2020, and the PCA has now helped over 350 individuals with their entry into the professional game through the initiative which has run since 2010.
Included in the 61 from 2021 are 30 academy players, as well as the new female members who will represent the eight new regional centres in the women’s domestic game.
Having been formally inducted into the PCA in November 2020, the women members were shown the benefits of being an emerging professional via a series of five seminars throughout the day on Tuesday.
The group of rookies were then given a full lowdown of the benefits they will receive via their PCA membership by association staff, before the series of sessions finished with a ‘Maximising Your Opportunities’ talk from Warwickshire’s Tim Bresnan and the recently retired Ollie Rayner.
Though the PCA was unable to bring the rookies to Edgbaston this year, as is the case under normal circumstances, the new members were nevertheless given a full lowdown of what it means to be a PCA member via Zoom.
Rookie Camp forms part of the PCA’s Personal Development and Welfare Programme (PDWP), which aims to improve players’ performance on the pitch by minimising distractions off it, as well as helping them to better prepare for life after cricket.
England Women and Western Storm cricketer Shrubsole said: “I really enjoyed taking some time on Tuesday to speak to the younger players during what was an interesting Q&A session with Rob Key and (PCA Personal Development Manager) Tom Jones. I hope I was able to use my experience to pass down some useful advice to the rookies, including the new female professionals who I look forward to competing against this summer.”
PCA Director of Member Services, Ian Thomas, said: “Despite the difficult circumstances, we are pleased to have been able to adapt and offer our rookies taste of what being a PCA member is all about and, as ever, we are grateful to the Professional Players Federation and the Tom Maynard Trust for their ongoing support.
“It’s fantastic to see a record number of rookies in attendance for a second year in succession, and particularly pleasing to welcome the new cohort of female members into the PCA, following on from their induction in October.
“Though I am hopeful of a return to Edgbaston for the same event next year, the knowledge that these players will have picked up from the likes of Anya Shrubsole, Tim Bresnan and Rob Key over Zoom will stand them in good stead for the early stages of their careers in professional cricket.”
Players in attendance: Georgia Adams (Southern Vipers), Ben Aitchison (Derbyshire), Ben Allison (Essex), Emily Arlott (Central Sparks), Jamie Atkins (Sussex), Sam Bates (Leicestershire), Lauren Bell (Southern Vipers), Ben Birkhead (Yorkshire), Maia Bouchier (Southern Vipers), Georgie Boyce (Thunder), Kathryn Bryce (Lightning), Sarah Bryce (Lightning), Will Buttleman (Essex), Amara Carr (Sunrisers), Jack Carson (Sussex), Kelly Castle (Sunrisers), Ben Compton (Nottinghamshire), Joe Cooke (Glamorgan), Aylish Cranstone (South East Stars), Henry Crocombe (Sussex), Blake Cullen (Middlesex), Robin Das (Essex), Naomi Dattani (Sunrisers), Alice Davidson-Richards (South East Stars), Gwenan Davies (Central Sparks), Josh de Caires (Middlesex), Harry Duke (Yorkshire), Bethan Ellis (Lightning), Abigail Freeborn (Lightning), George Garrett (Warwickshire), Danielle Gibson (Central Sparks), Phoebe Graham (Northern Diamonds), Cordelia Griffith (Sunrisers), Alex Griffiths (Western Storm), Harry Hankins (Gloucestershire), Georgia Hennessy (Western Storm), Lucy Higham (Lightning), Alex Horton (Glamorgan), Sean Hunt (Sussex), Manraj Johal (Warwickshire), Evelyn Jones (Central Sparks), Hannah Jones (Thunder), Eshun Kalley (Essex), Maria Kelly (Central Sparks), Ned Leonard (Somerset), Tom Loten (Yorkshire), Sophie Luff (Western Storm), Fletcha Middleton (Hampshire), Fi Morris (Western Storm), Tara Norris (Southern Vipers), Toby Pettman (Nottinghamshire), Nick Potts (Derbyshire), Nico Reifer (Surrey), Matthew Revis (Yorkshire), Dane Schadendorf (Nottinghamshire), Paige Scholfield (Southern Vipers), Will Smeed (Somerset), Bryony Smith (South East Stars), Ellie Threlkeld (Thunder), Nick Welch (Leicestershire), Nat Wraith (Western Storm)