A former Gateshead College student has been bowled over after being scouted for a prestigious national cricket development programme.
Rachael Petherick, 18, from Houghton-le-Spring, is one of only 21 women chosen from across the country for the 12-month England Women’s Development Programme after success on the North East’s cricket pitches.
The former Gateshead College student began her cricket career when she was only seven-years-old, playing for local team Philadelphia Cricket Club before moving to the big league three years later with her current team, Durham County Cricket Club.
She then went on to combine her sporting passion as part of her post-16 studies at the college’s Academy for Sport at Gateshead International Stadium, where she gained her an Extended Diploma in Sport through the Cricket Studies Programme
Rachael said: “Cricket has always been a passion of mine since a young age. It’s something I have learned a lot about both practically and academically, so it was obvious that it would be the perfect career for me.
“I was delighted to secure a place on the England Women’s Development Programme. It’s not only an opportunity to further develop my skills and knowledge but the chance to play for my country, which is the highest honour any sports person can achieve.”
The England Women’s Development Programme is based at the National Cricket Performance Centre in Loughborough. Those selected attend a 12 month programme run by industry experts, which includes practical and classroom-based study sessions alongside batting and bowling skills development and analysis. Rachael will spend her time between attending the programme and continuing to play for Durham CCC.
The all-rounder remembers being inspired by the success of the England women’s cricket team when she was in her early teens, and credits that for encouraging her to follow the sport more seriously.
“I decided to study cricket at Gateshead College because it provided the best course and the best facilities, despite it not being the closest college to where I live. Other colleges didn’t offer the same sort of learning, and I knew that the course and the coaching would give me an excellent foundation to build my cricketing career on.”
The cricket studies programme at Gateshead College Academy for Sport includes practical lessons, technical lessons, nutrition and body conditioning, sports massage, anatomy, physiology and injury prevention.
Rachael is also carrying out voluntary work with Durham CCC, where she visits local schools to introduce the sport to children, as well as helping out with some coaching.
During her rapid career rise, Rachael’s also secured the opportunity to travel to Dubai in 2013 to compete in the U19s Arch Trophy, which was sponsored by the Gateshead College Foundation.
The Gateshead College Foundation is the colleges charity which provides financial support to help people like Rachael continue and build their education.
Rachael’s former coach Michael Armstrong at Gateshead College said: “Rachael was a consistently good performer whilst at College and the course really provided her the basis to progress.
“She went from strength to strength during her time here, and the fact she has gained a place within a national development programme, proves that she is up there with the best female cricketers in the country.”