The Hundred: Alice Capsey tells Sky Sports News about whirlwind month and getting back to a normal life
On Saturday evening Alice Capsey was celebrating becoming a history maker at Lord’s, by Monday morning she was back at home with her parents getting back to being a normal teenager again.
As I arrived at her family’s dairy farm at 9.30am her mother Bridget informed me she’s just had to wake her up and get her out of bed. It was almost reassuring.
While Capsey’s school friends had been enjoying their summer holidays and relaxing she was trailblazing her way through the Hundred and it is certainly a month she’ll never forget.
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There aren’t many cricketers who get to play in the opening game of a new exciting tournament, fewer still score a 50 at Lord’s – Capsey did it on her debut aged 16.
Her second trip to the historic venue was just as memorable, she played an instrumental innings with the bat and ball as the Oval Invincibles beat the Southern Brave to be crowned the first Hundred champions in front of 17,000 fans.
“It was honestly incredible, I don’t think I will play a game like that anytime soon, that will live long in the memory. It was so special. We were so proud to play in the opening game then to go all the way to the end and win it was very very special,” Capsey said.
Capsey’s half-century at Lord’s was one of Nasser Hussain’s highlights of the competition – it’s one of hers too but as she sits in her parents’ garden with her shiny and very heavy medal around her neck that she slept in on Saturday night, it’s still hard to take in the whirlwind of what’s happened over the last month.
“One of my best memories was batting with Marizanne Kapp in the final, we did it in the eliminator and we were pretty good,” she added. “Then watching her first 10 balls blow Southern Brave away was amazing too. It was nice to be fielding second it meant when we did win we were all on the field together a lovely moment.”
Capsey wasn’t part of the original Invincibles squad but the year’s delay to the tournament due to Covid-19 and the travel restrictions that prevented some players competing saw her given an opportunity – one she certainly seized.
Senior members of the team, including South African pair Dane van Niekerk and Kapp, kept a close eye on her during the intense month of training and the challenge of the bubble.
“It was hard but the team was bought together by it and that helped during the competition,” she continued. “It’s been a long four or five weeks but I wouldn’t have changed anything, it was amazing.
“I think it has exceeded everyone’s expectations. The crowds and support, especially on the women’s side, and people who don’t follow cricket seem to have suddenly started watching it. Young kids from my clubs and other clubs are looking up to us and this is what this competition is supposed to be about.”
Trying to keep up with it all have been mum Bridget and father Mike, both juggling their farming commitments with those of taxi driver and of course cheerleading.
Bridget has had a few extra jobs too including chief Invincibles Group WhatsApp and media monitor due to Capsey’s age.
They have loved watching their daughter thrive in the professional environment.
“Alice decided she wanted to be a cricketer at the age of six, there were a few raised eyebrows but she has always been competitive and determined. It’s amazing that it is possible to do this as a female now,” Bridget said.
The Hundred put gender parity at the heart of the competition and when Capsey and her team-mates lifted the trophy on Saturday night in front of an electric crowd it was alongside the Southern Brave men’s team.
Attendance across the tournament was the highest for any global women’s event and almost 60 per cent of those who watched the drama unfold in the tournament over the last few weeks were new to cricket. Having won these fans it’s now about how the sport can build on it.
“England play New Zealand later this summer and you hope the crowds from the hundred can filter in. This should be the new starting point for the game and we have to push forward and grow women’s cricket,” Capsey added.
She was back off to bed as soon as the interview was over to catch up on some much needed rest and there’s another busy week to prepare for. Capsey will be reunited with some of her Invincible team for the Charlotte Edwards games and Rachel Heyhoe Flint trophy matches then it’s school cricket. Yes, just imagine you are playing for the U17 boys or girls team, up against Capsey knowing her exploits over the last few weeks.
After that she grimaces as she tells me it is time to go back to school – the worst bit, Capsey says, is she hasn’t finished her assignments or in fact even started them.
What she does have to fall back on are some epic stories from her school summer holidays that few will ever be able to come close to.
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