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Anya enjoys her return to Taunton

Anya Shrubsole was back at the Cooper Associates County Ground last week.

The former Somerset, Western Storm and England bowler was in Taunton to enjoy, commentate on and speak at the LV= Insurance Test match between England and South Africa.

Anya, who hails from Bath, first played for Somerset Women when she was 12 and was signed up to join the Somerset Academy soon after that. She made her international debut in 2008, since when she has appeared in eight Test matches, 80 One-Day Internationals,79 T20 Internationals and 189 List A matches.

Anya, who was predominantly a fast bowler, claimed 19 Test match wickets at an average of 33.42. In ODIs she took 106 wickets at 26.53, in WIT20s she took 102 wickets at 15.55 while in List A she claimed 217 wickets at 21.85.

Speaking ahead of the opening day of the Test she said: “It’s really nice to be back here watching Test Match cricket, which doesn’t happen too much for the women, so to be here for a Test is really special. I’ve got some really fond memories of being here, having spent a lot of my life here, so it’s always special to come back here.”

Anya, who played her early cricket for Bath CC also talked about how her career started.

“I was playing for Somerset Women when I was maybe 11 or 12 and I was picked up to join the Somerset Academy by Kevin Shine, who was the Director at that time. Then Jason Kerr took over from him, so I’ve been coming down to this ground for coming up to 20 years now.

“I think I was probably the first girl onto the Somerset Academy and guess I was lucky that ‘Shiney’ saw something in me. At that time there were some players on there who have gone onto do some pretty incredible things, like Jos Buttler and Jack Leach. We were all on the Academy at the same time, so it has produced some decent players.”

What were some of Anya’s favourite memories of playing at Taunton?

“I’ve got a number of special memories of playing here. One of them is playing for Somerset as a youngster when I think I got seven wickets against Surrey on this ground, so that’s probably my finest memory.

“Getting to play for England in a Test match here would be another special memory, but I guess that anytime you get to comeback to somewhere that featured in your junior and formative years it’s a bit special.”

Since Anya started to play senior cricket for the county there have been some quite dramatic changes in the women’s game.

“It’s remarkable where the game has come in such a short space of time,” she said. “In the past 10 years, or less than that, the game has gone through the roof, which is really exciting to see and I still don’t think that it’s got to anywhere close to where it could go.

“I am now the Player/Coach with the Southern Vipers so I’m still playing a bit and helping to coach the young fast bowlers. These are exciting times to be involved with women’s cricket and I’m enjoying what I’m doing now, and watching lots of youngsters coming through.”

What advice would Anya give to any girl wanting to get involved with cricket?

“What is available to girls playing cricket now is really exciting, so it’s a great time to get involved. Play it and enjoy it and see how it goes. Obviously, there is a career there and not just if you reach international level, but also at domestic level, so it’s probably the most exciting time now to be involved in women’s cricket, so take it up!”

During tea on day one of the Test match, a special presentation took place to recognise the outstanding contribution that Anya has made to the game over the years. Somerset CEO, Gordon Hollins and Vice Chair, Richard Brice presented her with an engraved watch as a token of our gratitude for her accomplishments.

She was also one of the guest panelists at a special Women In Sport Networking Breakfast, which was held by SCCC for our Business Club Members, influencers and members of the media.

Anya was in conversation with esteemed local journalist Richard Walsh.

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14/08/2022 11:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground