Knowling-Davies believes now is the time to be a woman in cricket
By Oli Dickson-Jefford
Nottingham cricket star Rhiannon Knowling-Davies believes there has never been a better time to be a woman in the sport.
Part of the Blaze set-up in the East Midlands, Knowling-Davies has made huge strides in recent times and began to take tentative steps into the senior game.
The recent T20 Women’s World Cup in South Africa and inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL) in India is shining a further light on the women’s game, which is continuing to grow significantly in both popularity and profile.
And having had to deal with preconceptions as a women’s cricketer growing up, Knowling-Davies has hailed the development of the sport.
“Playing against boys was an obstacle,” said Knowling-Davies, who is supported by SportsAid and Canterbury and was speaking ahead of SportsAid Week 2023.
“There was definitely that preconception: ‘Oh, she’s not going to be very good - she’s a girl’ but I managed to hold myself and I didn’t let that phase me.
“I just wanted to go out there and prove everyone wrong. That’s what I did from a young age.
“I feel like when they had that attitude towards me - ‘I’m just going to whack her out of the park’ - and then I’d go and bowl them out, they’d be like ‘Oh, she’s actually quite good.’ That was one of the best feelings, definitely.
“Women’s cricket in general, the amount of funding that’s gone into it and how competitive it is now, it’s amazing.
“I remember joining Notts when I was 11 and the county was begging for girls to play cricket, and now it’s hard to get into a county regional academy - it is very competitive.
"Boys didn't like that I was the only girl playing and the parents were quite hard on me as well."@Enderby_Mia shares the inspirational story behind her footballing journey alongside her mum @GenCMC and @SUFC_Women ⚽️
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— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) March 10, 2023
“Even watching the World Cup, that being broadcast on live TV will inspire so many young girls to pursue cricket and see what they can achieve.
“It’s a really exciting time to be a women’s cricketer!”
SportsAid Week 2023 is here, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.
This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.
The theme of ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ is an opportunity for the charity’s partners to highlight their own work in this area during SportsAid Week, with SportsAid athletes recently revealing that accessibility and the cost of sport are the issues they care most passionately about.
It will also open up discussions on the progress being made, as well as the challenges faced, in the sports sector.
For Knowling-Davies, it was getting that first initial opportunity to try the sport at school that fuelled her cricketing dreams.
“My first memory of cricket was probably when I was six years old,” added Knowling-Davies, who is funded by SportsAid and commercial partner Canterbury.
“There was someone coming to my primary school offering cricket on a Friday night and I knew all my friends and my class were going. Ever since then I absolutely loved it - I got excited for cricket.
“I was probably one of the strongest ones there in terms of fielding and when I started bowling, I was always known as the woman who could bowl quicker than the boys, so I think that’s what started it off.
“I started swimming when I was younger and a lot of people thought I was going to be a swimmer when I was older. I think it was quite a shock when I turned around and I said I preferred cricket more!
“Just for me I knew that was the sport I wanted to do.”
SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk