Rebecca Stokell opening up on the injury that changed her cricket trajectory and the importance of the Dutch series
Ahead of next week’s four-match T20 International series against Netherlands, Ireland’s opening bat Rebecca Stokell has been talking about the upcoming fixtures, the back injury that ended her bowling career and her scholarship with Trinity College Dublin.
Dublin-born Stokell, 21, got into cricket at a young age, following the interests of her father and two older brothers. Originally a bowler, a back injury early on stopped her ambitions with the ball and she turned to batting out of a desire to stay in the game. She has made 15 international appearances since debuting for Ireland in 2017, with her highest score of 36 coming against the same opponents she will face next week.
Speaking ahead of training, Stokell said:
“It was so exciting to finally get back onto the field with all the girls in an Irish jersey back in May against Scotland. It was a long winter, with quite a few disappointments due to COVID, so to finally play a series against a decent opposition, in front of a home crowd, was an unbelievable feeling.”
“I haven’t actually had the best run of it in the Super Series this season - a few 20s and 30s, but I haven’t manage to convert into a big score, which has been a big aim of mine this year. So, next week is a great opportunity for me to spend time in the middle, and hopefully find some form to carry into the European Qualifiers at the end of August.”
“I can’t wait to play out in Malahide next week, I’ve always loved playing there and the fact we can have spectators is definitely an added bonus. We haven’t played a series in Dublin for two years now ,so hopefully we get a good crowd in for some competitive and exciting games.”
How important is this series ahead of the T20 World Cup Qualifier in August?
“It’s so good to get a series in before we go to the European T20 Qualifiers next month. It’s a great time for all of us to do things we have been working on in training, before we head to the Spain. We are likely to come up against Holland and possibly Scotland, so having played them both at home this summer will give us great confidence going into those games later in the summer.”
How is the state of women’s cricket in Ireland?
“When I look around, I definitely feel the women’s game in Ireland is definitely growing and it’s great to be a part of it at this stage. Several part time contracts have been introduced in the last couple of years which is such an exciting prospect for me going forward.”
“Also the Super Series is improving year-on-year. I was involved in the very first season it began, a good few years back and the standard has increased hugely, meaning the step up into international cricket is a little less daunting.”
You were recently awarded a sports scholarship by Trinity College Dublin – how is that going?
“Trinity have provided incredible support to me this year, as well as Leah [Paul] and Rach [Delaney], who are also part of the scholarship programme. To have that extra support throughout the year has been vital in finishing second year of my degree. It’s allowed me to focus more of my time at training when I need to and know I won’t fall behind with my academics.”
This will be the second T20I series at home in 2021 for Ireland Women after their 3-1 series win against Scotland in May at Stormont.
Netherlands was the first international side Ireland Women faced in their maiden internationally-capped match in 1983 (a One-Day match won by Netherlands). In the T20 format, Ireland and Netherlands have met 8 times in women’s T20Is, with Ireland winning on 7 occasions, and one no result. The two sides are heading to Spain for the T20 World Cup European Qualifier - where Ireland, Scotland, Netherlands, France, Germany and Turkey will battle it out for one spot in the T20 World Cup global qualifying tournament.
The fixtures are:
- 26 July 2021: Ireland Women v Netherlands Women - 1st T20I (Malahide, starting 4pm)
- 27 July 2021: Ireland Women v Netherlands Women – 2nd T20I (Malahide, starting 4pm)
- 28 July 2021: Reserve Day
- 29 July 2021: Ireland Women v Netherlands Women – 3rd T20I (Malahide, starting 4pm)
- 30 July 2021: Ireland Women v Netherlands Women – 4th T20I (Malahide, starting 4pm)