Wednesday, December 26, 2012

At the wicket with Anna Peterson

Teapots - this?
Anna Peterson is living the dream – a lifestyle many of us imagined as young children hitting a taped-up tennis ball in the backyard. She may not be the Malcolm Marshall or Martin Crowe figures we had “dibs” on as we wiled away long into the summer sun, but she lives and breathes cricket – at work, play and recreation.

To have debuted wearing the hallowed silver fern of your country would suffice for most, but “Wolfy” is working hard to add to her international caps. She is carving out a strong record for herself as part of the Northern Spirit, juggling her time between a congested domestic season and her operational role with Waikato Valley Cricket. Anna has also found time to edit a magazine for her association – spreading the word on our great game in her local community.
Or this?

Anna talks to a cricketing Buddha about what she needs to do to regain her spot in the White Ferns, her work with young girls wanting to give cricket a go, and ascension of a woman to the coach’s job (that plug should help with the first point…) . She also enlightens us about her love of teapots - there’s far more to the young Hamiltonian than just cricket.

A cricketing Buddha: You made your New Zealand debut in the series against England earlier this year – we hear all the clichés, though most of us will never live them, but how emotional was it when you were awarded your black cap?
Anna Peterson: I was awarded my cap in the changing rooms before the game against England and to be honest, I was more excited to be playing than emotional.

ACB: Is your cap presented like it is for the men at test level, with a great of the game involved to make it a special moment? Who presented yours?
AP: I was awarded mine by Suzie Bates, who in my opinion is a great of the women's game. I didn't actually realise that you got presented a cap so I was just sitting there listening to all this stuff being said about me thinking “oh, this is nice - where did she find that out from”, then clicked what was happening. I was obviously very focussed on the game ahead!

ACB: After getting a start in three ODIs against England, did missing out on the World T20 in Sri Lanka throw your confidence? 
AP: No, not really. The players that went deserved to go, they had performed domestically and internationally for a few years, so now I have to do the same. I know there are steps that need to be taken to get to the top and I need to take it one step at a time.

ACB: Your team mates call you “Wolfy” - did you torment Scott Styris or is there another reason?
AP: Ha! No, it's simply a nickname I got from my first Development tournament when Nic (Browne) was manager. She got us to play a game called werewolves and villagers and I was a very, very good werewolf. My other nickname is “teapot”, because I collect teapots - not even joking!

ACB: It has to be pleasing to open the season with 5/24 (best figures by a Northern player against Canterbury) – has it given you the confidence to push on with your all-round game?
AP: Most definitely! Bowling will always come second to batting but I love contributing with the ball. Just keep bowling full and straight - grip and rip!

ACB: You work in an administrative role with Waikato Valley Cricket, including editing a fine online magazine - tell us a bit more about what the role entails, the magazine, and how being employed within the game benefits your cricket?
AP: I basically run the day to day operations of the association - I do everything except run the cricket (though I have an input into that too). The magazine came about reading others online and thinking it would be a great marketing and promotional tool for WVCA. And it is - we've had over 350 people read it from all over the world. I wanted it to make Waikato Valley Cricket a community again.

It's great working for WVCA, it's made me appreciate all the people behind cricket so much more – a lot of hard work goes into a game of cricket. Plus it’s great for when I go away for cricket, they're very good with time off.

ACB: Now you’ve had a taste of the international game, what do you need to do to force your way into the White Ferns on a permanent basis?
AP: Pretty simple, get lots and lots of runs - easy peasy.

ACB: Cricket isn’t a clear choice for girls in New Zealand - what got you into our great game?
AP: Dad. Both my brother and I were about two or three when he made us our first cricket bats. When I was five my brother started playing club cricket for the Takapuna Orange Stars - I had to give it a go, so I played for the Red Stars. We both got “Player of the Year” for our respective teams and Danny Morrison presented the medals.

ACB: While NZC has live scoring and covers all your domestic matches, it pales into insignificance against the men’s game, or against the coverage given to netball. At times do you feel like second class citizens who aren’t taken seriously for what is an obviously talented group of women?
AP: We try really hard to get more exposure by playing exciting cricket but at the end of the day, the men will always come first. For us to get better as players we need exposure to crowds, cameras and pressure. I think it’s great that netball gets good coverage; after all it is the most popular female sport in our country. We need to look at the way netball is promoted and start to follow suit.

ACB: With a limited pool of players in New Zealand, how do you get the experience; the tough edge, to help you move your game to the next level?
AP: It’s great to be able to train with the Northern Districts and New Zealand coaches during the off-season. But with the domestic season being so compact, it's been very beneficial to be able to play against Australia “A”, and playing in the North versus South series a couple of years ago.

ACB: I see a good amount of social media about the work the White Ferns do with young girls to promote cricket – how do the girls react to being coached by international cricketers?
AP: They love it! I loved it when they came to my school when I was younger, and it's still the same. Girls love to learn, so when role models like the White Ferns players get to go and do some coaching in schools, the girls just get stuck in and soak up as much cricket as they can. 

ACB: Talk me through your routine during the condensed domestic summer – to an outsider it looks like travel, play for three days, travel again, work, and repeat (all in the space of a week).
AP: I turn into a cricket zombie during this time. Work for four days, train before and after work, travel on the Thursday or Friday and play straight away. Then come home and try and get a good night’s sleep before doing it all again. I wouldn't trade it for the world!

ACB: Katrina Keenan has recently been named as the new White Ferns coach – is it heartening to see a woman coaching our premier women’s side? Not to say anything against the likes of Mike Shrimpton or Gary Stead, but do you think Keenan’s promotion to the job will inspire other women to progress through the coaching ranks?
AP: It's awesome! She is a great coach and definitely deserved to get the job. I hope it inspires more females to get into coaching after playing; it's something I’d be keen to do.

ACB: Given the semi-pro/amateur nature of the women's game, do you think it dissuades some women from committing to cricket as they put their careers and family first?
AP: I think it is the main factor in women giving cricket away. For a lot of people it’s either, have a great career and give up cricket or have a long cricket career and be content with working part time for maybe 10 years or so - not many people can squeeze both in. For some people, if you're not making New Zealand squads, it’s nine months of training for 15 games of cricket!

ACB: I struggle sitting next to someone for 40 minutes on the train without getting bored of their company – with such a condensed domestic season, how do you find it living in the pocket of your team mates for six or seven weeks? Is the atmosphere a little strained by mid-January?
AP: Never! The great thing about the Spirit is that we’re all really good mates. We have dinners and movie nights, and hang out away from cricket – it’s basically playing cricket with your best mates.

ACB: A couple of quick fire questions to finish things off – no deep thinking, just whatever comes into your head. Let’s call it an honesty test…

ACB: How would you team mates describe you in three words?
AP: Awesome tea lady! Haha, no that's what I would say, so I asked Morna (Nielsen – Northern Spirit captain) and she said “fun, conscientious and loyal”. Cheers, captain! (ACB – after the grief you gave Morna over her maths in choosing four words, I figured you would have just provided a straight forward answer)

ACB: Tests or T20?
AP: Test (but not Black Caps’ tests, they don't last very long usually!)

ACB: Beige or black?
AP: Black

ACB: Day/night test cricket?
AP: How could they!? Test cricket is traditional; keep it that way, please.

If you get the opportunity, get along to see Anna and the rest of the Northern Spirit do battle in women’s T20 and one-day domestic fixtures – it’s a good watch. You can follow her on Twitter - @AnnaPeterson06

Give the Waikato Valley cricketer magazine a read - Anna has done a fine job as editor.


  1. Nice article. Great to see characters like Anna Peterson working hard behind the scenes.

    1. The women impress me in that they all either study or have a "real" job yet they still put a lot of time into their training. They've all been pretty open with me in sharing their thoughts which I am very appreciative of.


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