Exclusive: Interview with Scotland’s Upcoming Star – Sarah Bryce

Scotland’s teen sensation Sarah Bryce is a talented top-order batter who broke into the national squad in 2015 at the age of 15. 

Born in Edinburgh, Sarah attended George Watsons College where she played hockey for the school 1st XI along with cricket for both the boys’ and girls’ 1st XI. This upcoming female star Sarah Bryce was actively involved in music at school.

In August 2019, she was named as the captain of Scotland’s squad for the 2019 Netherlands Women’s Quadrangular Series and in October 2019 was named in the ICC’s women’s global development squad playing in a 5 match series in Australia. There’s more to her prodigious career. Read the interview to know more:

Female Cricket interviews Sarah Bryce
Female Cricket interviews Sarah Bryce. Pic Credits: cricketscotland.com

 

1. Tell us about your early days in cricket.

I was really lucky growing up that the school I went to had a girls’ cricket team which I joined when I was about 9 years old. I also joined my club team Watsonian Cricket Club, and although there wasn’t a girls’ team at the time, I played with the boys. I played with the same group of boys growing up, and still play club cricket with many of them today. I also joined the boy’s team at school when I was about 12 years old. I was really lucky that my school, George Watson’s College, was so supportive of this as I believe it was invaluable playing at that higher level. I also played a lot of cricket in the back garden, with my Dad being a keen cricketer.

2. During your stint at George Watson’s College you played hockey and cricket for both the boys’ and girls’ 1st XI. When did you decide to choose cricket over hockey?

I always felt like I had more potential with cricket. I was involved in the U17 Scotland program from 11 years old and then made my debut for the women’s team when I was 15. I loved playing hockey at school but never played much club hockey. There was never an active decision choosing cricket over hockey, it just kind of happened.

3. In your childhood, you learned to play violin and piano. How has music helped you in cricket?

I’ve always felt that music was such an important contrast to playing cricket, and sport in general, and gave me an opportunity to switch off from cricket. I think it’s easy to get caught up in cricket and be constantly thinking about it so I’ve always found music and playing the piano in particular, almost freeing.

 

Watsonians wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce. PC: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/
Watsonians wicketkeeper Sarah Bryce. PC: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/

 

4. Did you always want to become a wicket-keeper?

Right from the start I fancied being a wicket-keeper. I think I liked that it was a bit different from what everyone else got to do, and I also like that you’re always in the game as a wicket-keeper.

5. What does it take to be a good wicket-keeper?

You need to have a good concentration. That’s the hardest part. Switching on and off and being ready for every delivery is so important.

6. Who is your role model?

I always looked up to both James Foster and Sarah Taylor when it came to wicket-keeping in particular.

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7. Tell us about your 336 run partnership with your sister Kathryn when the two of you represented Scotland U-17.

It was a really special day as both our parents were there watching. I’ve always really enjoyed batting with Kathryn as we know each other’s games so well and are both pretty relaxed at the crease so it was just really fun. It was also my first century for Scotland U17s so that was really special and it was nice to have Kathryn, who’d obviously been there since the start, out there in the middle with me to share the moment with.

8. With 162 runs in five matches during the 2018 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament, you were the leading run-scorer for Scotland for which you were named as the rising star of Scotland’s squad by the ICC. How did that feel?

It’s always nice to contribute runs to the team and I felt like I’d had a pretty good tournament so that felt good. Despite that, it was definitely mixed emotions at the end of the tournament as we’d been one win away from going to the World Cup so that was disappointing.

 

Sarah Bryce and Kathryn Bryce. PC: Twitter
Sarah Bryce and Kathryn Bryce. PC: Twitter

 

9. How do you prepare yourself for opening the batting?

I like to keep it quite simple, by the time I get to a match day I feel like I’ve put in all the training so it’s just about doing a few drills to get my feet moving and mind working.

10. You made your debut for Scotland in July 2015. How was that feeling?

I made my debut for Scotland back in 2015 with my first international cap being against Papua New Guinea in Thailand as part of the Women’s World T20 Qualifiers. The introduction of T20I status in 2018 will make a big difference for Scotland going forward though as it will make matches against us more attractive as there will be ranking points at stake. It was really special sharing that first T20I cap moment with the whole team. Every time I get to wear the thistle and go out on to the pitch I feel extremely proud and that day was no different.

11. How does it feel to play for Scotland alongside your elder sister Kathryn?

It’s really special that we get to share both the highs and lows with each other. We’re always there for each other and also push each other to keep getting better. We also know each other and each other’s games so well that on the pitch she can have quite a calming effect on me and also just give a sense of familiarity in what could otherwise be quite nerve-racking situations.

 

Women's Global Development Squad
Sarah Bryce in Women’s Global Development Squad

12. How happy were your parents when they came to know that both their daughters were making their international debut on the same day?

They’ve always been so supportive of us and driven us for miles and miles around the country to take us to games and watch us, so I hope we’re doing them proud and making all those many miles worth it.

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13. In July 2018 and October 2019, you were named in the Women’s Global Development Squad (WGDS) which included players from associate countries, how was it playing with cricketers from different parts of the world?

Everyone comes from different backgrounds and therefore have different ideas so you can learn so much even from just spending a small amount of time playing with people from other countries. It’s also just great fun.

 

ICC Women’s Global Development Squad
ICC Women’s Global Development Squad

 

14. While playing against the English super league teams and WBBL teams, what was the key learning?

I think you can see that the best players have a lot of clarity with everything that they do – they know exactly what their plans are and what their roles are in different situations.

15. In May 2019, you were named in Scotland’s squad for the 2019 ICC Women’s Qualifier Europe tournament in Spain.

It was a disappointing tournament for us on the whole – we didn’t achieve what we set out to do and we didn’t play our best cricket. I think we were able to learn quite a lot about ourselves though.

16. In August 2019, in the absence of your sister Kathryn, you were named as the captain of Scotland’s squad for the 2019 Netherlands Women’s Quadrangular Series. How was it captaining the side?

It was an honor being asked to captain the side and I really enjoyed it. It gave me a really good insight into the thought processes as a captain and all the different things that you need to think about, so hopefully going forward, with Kathryn returning as captain, the experience will make me a better and more useful vice-captain to her.

17. At just 20 years of age, you have already featured in 20 T20I for Scotland, how do you see yourself growing as a cricketer?

I’m really lucky that with the women’s game continuing to grow there are so many opportunities presenting themselves. Since going to Loughborough University in 2018, which has a great set-up in itself, I’ve played for Nottinghamshire and now I’m playing with Kent in the Div. 1 County Championship. With the introduction of the new regional center of excellence in England as well, I’m lucky to be involved with Lightning Cricket, so there are so many learning opportunities that I can hopefully keep making the most of.

 

Sarah Bryce. Pic Credits: Lightningcric / Twitter
Sarah Bryce. Pic Credits: Lightningcric / Twitter

 

18. What is your message to the young and budding women cricketers in Scotland?

The best advice I can give to youngsters is not to feel like you have to choose one sport too early. There are so many transferable skills across sports and you may even pick up something unique that isn’t usually taught at a cricket session. And have fun!

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