Rosy Ryan Paving the Way for Women in Cricket

by | Jan 12, 2022

Cricket Scotland’s Rosy Ryan is paving a positive pathway for the development of the women’s side of the game through the CricHIT programme.

The aim of the programme is to try and change negative attitudes towards cricket and make it accessible to all women and girls.

In 2019, Ryan was awarded the ICC Innovation of the Year accolade for the development of CricHIT which has been a successful venture.

The Dumfries-born says although there has been strides to improve the women’s game, there is still a long way to go to ensure that there is more mainstream media and corporate support.

Speaking with Selina Munsamy, Ryan shares her cricket journey and completing the ICC 100% Cricket Future Leaders Program.

 

Thank you for taking time to chat to gsport! Please tell us who is Rosy Ryan? 

I was born in Dumfries in the Southwest of Scotland along with my twin sister, Kate. We grew up with my mum looking after us both and encouraging us to try different things each weekend from going to art museums to hunting for fairies on the beach.

I first came across cricket when I was around 17 years old and was asked to go along to an indoor women and girl’s tournament that we still run called, “The Wee Bash”, from there, all of my misconceptions of cricket vanished, and I wanted to be part of it. 10 years later, I am now running the programme that initially ignited my love for cricket.

 

Please tell us more about your journey into cricket.

I played for my first football team called Dumfries Girls F.C. Sue Strachan, the first female president of Cricket Scotland, oversaw the team as her daughter played in the same team as me. At the age of around 15/16, Sue encouraged me to take an opportunity to start coaching the under 13’s girls football team and obtaining the necessary qualifications. I remember so vividly having the problem between doing football coaching voluntarily or continue to work at a local restaurant where I could make money. I wouldn’t call it a dilemma as such, but I knew that coaching and sport was going to be my career, so it was important that I start somewhere.

Coaching then led to playing cricket which Sue again encouraged me to try. Initially, I’d say we were up for some fun but my small 6 aside team from Dumfries went on to win the tournament. I was then asked to play Scotland age group cricket from that tournament which would not be the case now. But it shows how much the game has grown over the past few years.

I was drawn to my first experience because it was so inclusive. I was in a completely new environment and surrounded by women and girls of all ages, abilities, and different backgrounds. All of teams were extremely encouraging and I felt like I was in such a different world to what I was so used to in sport.

 

Who was your role model growing up?

My mum, who has supported me in every aspect of my life and helped me whenever I have needed it. She is the definition of a strong independent woman who has grafted to provide for my sister and me. My confidence has been built from the foundations she provided for me. I think she is one of the most selfless people I have ever met. As a single parent, she had a full-time job whilst trying to juggle two children, clean, cook, care and love. My mum has always loved me unconditionally and has always made sure to give my sister and I the best life experiences. She has taught me to follow my dreams and it will lead me to happiness.

 

In 2019, you were awarded the ICC Innovation of the Year accolade for the CricHIIT programme. What is the programme about and what did it mean to you to receive the recognition?

CricHIIT is a unique fitness-based programme that we created at Cricket Scotland to encourage more women and girls to pick up a bat and a ball. The sessions are action-packed with music and last around 45 minutes to an hour. We created the programme to try and change negative attitudes towards cricket and also make it accessible to everyone. A lot of people’s perceptions of cricket that do not play the game are that it lasts too long, it’s boring, there are lots of standing around and that everyone needs to wear whites. We wanted to change that and this programme we felt was key to getting a new audience through the walls of cricket clubs.

It was amazing to have the recognition from ICC and a testament to all of the people that have helped bring it to life. We have some exciting news about to launch with the programme, so if you are interested you can keep your eyes peeled – even if you live in South Africa.

 

What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

I used to find it a challenge when I speak in front of people with a lot more cricket knowledge than me and many more years behind their back. I soon realised that not all people wanted a young girl bouncing through their door telling them why women and girls cricket was the best thing since sliced bread. However, I’m not changing that, but I do believe the game has changed over the past 5 years since I have worked at CS and perceptions of women and girls’ cricket has transformed. The real turning point for me was when I used to go to clubs to try and encourage them to try women and girls’ cricket and now we have clubs popping up left, right and centre. It’s an exciting time for the female game in Scotland and there are so many opportunities to play at all levels. A lot of clubs, volunteers and coaches have worked tirelessly to transform this so positively.

 

You have just completed the ICC 100% Cricket Future Leaders Program, please tell us about this and what you hope to achieve with the acknowledge gained?

I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to complete the ICC 100% Future Leaders Program. The program was led by cricketing royalty Belinda Clarke who was extremely insightful with a wealth of knowledge. I was lucky enough to be paired with William Glenwright who is the Head of Global Development at the ICC. Will and I have worked closely over the past 6 months and he has guided me through my strengths and weaknesses as a leader and challenged my thinking. It’s been an eye-opening experience for me and one that has taken me out of my comfort zone at times. I have loved setting new goals and objectives for myself and can’t wait to test myself further. What I have absolutely realised is that I am at the start of my journey, and I have so much to improve on.

My top 3 points are:

  • Seek discomfort.
  • Seek those who think differently from you.
  • Feedback provokes change and fuels growth to be a successful leader.

 

How effective has mainstream media been for women’s sport in recent times?

The media has absolutely improved over the past few years. We have been able to watch The Hundred on mainstream TV this summer which has given the women’s game so much exposure in the UK. We had three amazing Scotland women’s national players in the tournament – Abtaha Maqsood, Sarah Bryce, Kathryn Bryce. It was fantastic to see them on live TV and hopefully inspired a lot more girls to pick up a bat and ball!

I do feel like there is so much more that needs to be done. It is so important for girls to be able to see their role models in mainstream media and be able to connect to powerful, strong athletes. I believe gender balanced coverage is so important but it’s in the hands of major media outlets to make a significant change. We shouldn’t feel ‘grateful’ that one game is on primetime TV, and neither should we be surprised when it is. It should just be available and especially when 50% of the population are women.

Women’s sport in mainstream media is vital, and it is just assumed that there is no interest in it rather than taking away opinions and bias. The media can shape the women’s game because if you can’t see it then you can’t be it. I really hope we continue to move in a positive direction with media coverage but it must happen faster.

 

What do you think of gsport and its impact on women’s sport?

I think gsport is fantastic and it is great to see the range of sports that are covered throughout the website! I believe you are making a real difference and allowing voices to be heard throughout the world. It is so empowering to read the stories of others and their success. It just shows the importance of sport and how it can have such a huge impact on people’s lives.

 

What advice would you give to young females wanting to pursue a career in sport administration?

I would say be your authentic self and take your personality into what you want to do! Do not be afraid to do something out of your comfort zone. Put yourself forward for new opportunities and make sure that you create opportunities if you can’t see them. More people in the world are willing to help you along your journey than you think, so give up your time and connect with people that you want to connect with.

 

What are you favourite sport teams outside of cricket?

Celtic F.C for football and for American Football, Seattle Seahawks

 

Who is your favourite woman in sport and why?

Kari Carswell, which of course I must put a famous female Scottish cricketer! She not only captained the Scotland side but her playing/coaching/administration career spanned over a total of two decades. She has built up a pathway for women and girls’ cricket in Scotland and now has a role at MCC and Middlesex as Head of Women’s Cricket. She is extremely passionate about growing women and girls’ cricket and has provided so many opportunities that has created positive momentum for our game. I am extremely lucky to be able to ask her advice whenever I want and call her a dear friend.

 

What is your greatest ambition? 

I have no idea how to answer this because I don’t think I have found my end goal yet! I just want to see how far I can push myself and see who comes along for the ride!

 

Photo 1 Caption: Cricket Scotland’s Rosy Ryan is paving a positive pathway for the development of the women’s side of the game through the CricHIT programme. Photo: Supplied

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About the Author:

<a href="https://gsport.co.za/members/selina_munsamy/" target="_self">Selina Munsamy</a>

Selina Munsamy

I am a sports enthusiast. I am newly appointed KZN Women's Cricket Manager for the 2019/2020 season. My passion lies in cricket, technically I live and breathe cricket. I am a Scorer affiliated to KZN Cricket Scorer's Association. I also coach mini cricket for Tongaat Cricket Union. Live, Laugh and Love with Sport.

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