Following the announcement that Jane Powell has been nominated as the next President of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club, we bring you a blog from the former Yorkshire and England cricketer.
By Jane Powell
It’s an honour to be writing this blog having been nominated as the next President of the Yorkshire County Cricket Club. As the first woman to ever be nominated, I’m very grateful to the Board for recognising my achievements in this way.
I was born and brought up in Sheffield with a father who played Saturday, Sunday and midweek alliance cricket each week. That’s where I grew up, in those cricketing environments, with a very progressive father who was very keen to encourage me and my sister, Jill, to play.
We played for Yorkshire juniors and Sheffield ladies before getting the opportunity to play for first of all Junior England (U19) and then the Young England team, which at the time was under 25’s. We had some great experiences, including a seven-week tour to India where we played five Test matches and six one-day games.
From there, I broke into the full England team, initially carrying the drinks as 12th player, before making a breakthrough into the team during a Test against India at Stanley Park in Blackpool. Sadly, the great Jan Brittin had broken a thumb in the first Test which gave me a chance, and I ended up with 115 not out so they couldn’t drop me after that. That was the highlight of my Test career, and I also scored 98 not out in a one-day match which I fondly remember. We also reached a World Cup final in that time, losing to Australia at the final hurdle, but looking back that was a huge achievement for the side.
I had the great honour to play for Yorkshire from 1979 to 1991 and captained the team for many years as well. We won a fair few County Championships in that time and I played with some great players.
Following my playing career, I went into coaching, starting with the England A team, before taking an interim role with the full England team when we played Australia in 2000. I now work with ECB on coach development, focusing on bringing more female coaches into the game, as well as heading up the disability game as the Performance Manager.
I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to travel the world and work with a lot of different people as a player, coach, and now as an administrator. For all of my playing career it was a case of paying my way, including for kit, air fares and much more. It’s fantastic to see the development the game has made on areas like this and, in particular Yorkshire through its own Pathways Programme.
I never thought I’d see the women’s game grow in the way it has in my lifetime. When we first played at Lord’s, we had to walk down the back steps because they didn’t want us walking through the Long Room. Now I see girls playing freely there, being welcomed there and being applauded. Watching the Northern Diamonds win the trophy at Lord’s last September as a spectator in the crowd was outstanding. They did a phenomenal job and were very well managed, very well controlled and won it fairly easily in the end. It was just great to see the application. Lauren Winfield-Hill played a really good innings and the others played well around her. I just thought it was a great performance and was very pleased and delighted for them.
The way that women’s cricket is being embraced is phenomenal. I’m so grateful for where the game is now.
It’s difficult to point to words as to just how thrilled I am to be nominated to be the next President. There’s only one rose in this country for me, the Yorkshire Rose. I was brought up with a father who just loved watching Yorkshire and cricket was in our blood.
The nomination of a female president is a massive step forward for Yorkshire and cricket in general. Despite the pride I take in my Yorkshire roots, the opportunity to be put forward for the position was something that I had not previously considered because I’d not seen a woman in the role. I hope my nomination increases the chance that young girls will see that it’s possible and get the same chance in the future as well. I know that, if my father was here, he’d be unable to contain himself, he’d just be so proud.
If I’m voted in at the AGM, I’m hoping to come and support Yorkshire teams a lot in 2023. Whether that’s the men, women or disability teams, I want to show the players we care about them, that we’re interested in what they’re doing, and we want to help promote them. If there’s any cricket clubs out there that want me to come and speak or do anything from that perspective, I’m more than happy to contribute, and hopefully benefit cricket as a whole, across Yorkshire!
There’s not much more for me to say than that I will give myself to the role as fully as I’m able to. I’m just a girl from Sheffield, that has had a phenomenal experience and I’m very blessed to have done what I’ve done in cricket and other sports.
I’d like to finish by thanking everyone for taking the time to read this and hope everyone enjoys the 2023 season.