Cambridge University Women’s Cricket Club stayed busy in lockdown with Zoom meetings – and a lot of press-ups, sit-ups and burpees.
Thwock! If you thought Pandemic Stopped Play this summer, you would be reckoning without the creativity and tenacity of Cambridge University Women’s Cricket Club (CUCC Women).
Scattered to all corners of the UK at the start of lockdown, CUCC Women decided they had to keep in touch – and keep each other’s spirits up – so quickly set about replacing team picnics and nights out with weekly Zoom meetups to swap news and play online games.
Physical training continued too. Music postgrad Joy Lisney (King’s) put her teammates through their paces once a week, with routines designed for small spaces with no equipment (the team report having never done more press-ups, sit-ups and burpees in their lives). “I think everyone felt a bit lonely after having been sent home,” Lisney says.
Above all, the team stayed focused on the prospect of playing again. “We were optimistic the whole time that we would get some cricket this summer, and that really helped keep people motivated,” Lisney says. Happily, their faith was rewarded when restrictions eased. Thanks to the organisational prowess of CUCC Women president Holly Tasker (Caius) and captain Chloë Allison (Selwyn) the club pulled off a mini season in the last two weeks of August, with outdoor practices on campus followed by a short run of matches.
“A lot of my teammates said they really looked forward to the sessions, and I certainly enjoyed doing them.” And then there was the team video. Lisney asked her fellow cricketers to contribute clips of themselves throwing or hitting a ball, which she then edited into a film showing squad members in their gardens, on sofas and, in one case, up a tree. “We’re keen to promote the club and get more visibility, especially for the women’s side, so that freshers know cricket is a serious sport at Cambridge,” she says. “It was also a good way for everyone to have fun and feel connected.”
And as difficult as their time apart was, Lisney says it made the team’s reunion even sweeter. “I got a bit emotional when we had our first club training session. The excitement of coming together after being separated for all those months really made us appreciate it.”