Former Western Fury and Australian Women’s squad member, Renee Chappell, chats about her junior career, Premier Cricket player mentor role and family life away from the game.
Could you tell us a bit about your junior cricket career and your rise through the ranks of elite female cricket?
After locating to Perth from the country as an eleven-year-old, I began playing junior cricket at Whitfords JCC. By chance I was asked to subfield for Melville Women’s CC in a B Grade Grand Final at the age of twelve and from there grew a love for the club, before progressing to state junior cricket at the age of 13.
You were known for your fighting spirit, unorthodox spin action and energetic passion in the field – what were some of the best parts of playing for the teams you did?
Highlights throughout my time have certainly been WNCL and WT20 Finals and the opportunities to play for Australia at junior and senior level. It’s a unique experience to be involved in pre-season training or away on tour with teams and like almost everyone playing the game. I’ve made life-long friends. Time spent with those people on and off the field has certainly been a highlight. And yep fighting spirit and competitiveness are certainly in my makeup, so competing at those levels is certainly an area now that I do miss.
You were a member of the 2013 World Cup Squad – what was the best part of being part of an Australian team?
The pride of representing my country and the knowledge and reward of the hard work paying off. Playing for the best team in the world and being able to say you were part of a world cup winning team is something that is almost still hard to comprehend. It wasn’t only an achievement to reach that level for myself but also for my family who were part of that journey from the very start, and for them to come to India and be a part of the experience was special. And the symbolism of receiving and pulling on the cap and uniform was a moment that will always be with me.
It is an exciting time for young girls aspiring to higher goals with cricket in Australia and also globally. The move towards professionalism for women’s cricketers is exciting and participation rates for girls are increasing all the time – how can we ensure cricket remains a good choice for all girls to enjoy now and into the future?
I think the move towards females now being professional and full-time paid athletes can only ensure that success and make cricket a great choice for young girls and their families. The profile and publicity of the sport is integral in promoting cricket as the choice for young girls. We want young girls to want to be the next Alex Blackwell after watching her on the TV, knowing they can be a professional athlete.
What role have you played in helping to drive the next generation of female cricketers through Premier Cricket in WA?
I’ve always been passionate about Premier Cricket. I try to give back in whatever ways I can and hopefully replicate previous players before me. Mentoring, coaching and the development of players has always been something that I’ve enjoyed being a part of. Aside from that I help out where I can in terms of being on our club committee as secretary and assisting the club in a volunteer capacity where I can.
You won the Karen Read Medal for the best female player in the WACA Female Premier Cricket competition this year – this must have been a rewarding moment for you?
It really was. Karen was a mentor of mine from my very first days of playing cricket at the Melville CC. I loved the way she went about her cricket and how much of true competitor she was on the field. So, to receive an award like that from someone you admire and grew up wanting to be just like was a nice moment.
Throughout your cricket career you always prioritised your off-field personal development including working and studying. You currently work full-time as a General Manager for Callidus Process Solutions – what do you enjoy about this role?
I enjoy the challenge of an operations environment and in particular, being in the business world given the Mining, Oil and Gas industry is traditionally a male-dominated work place. There are parallels between the sporting environment and now my business career in terms of leadership, communication, teamwork and culture. And luckily for me, my role involves plenty of travel and gives me the opportunity to catch up with friends who were once teammates or opponents in different parts of the country.
Away from the field, you are fond of red wine and spending time with your family and dogs – how do you relax in your down time?
I really enjoy getting to spend time with my friends and family more often now that my playing days are finished. My time is usually spent with a good meal and a nice glass of wine in hand with people close to me. I don’t mind the odd comedy show, paddle boarding on the Swan River and now have just started getting interested in areas of the stock market.
How has the ACA supported you on your personal journey?
The ACA played a significant role for me particularly while I was playing representative cricket through the financial assistance with my university degree. The support in that area really encouraged me to complete my studies and progress myself as a person to set up my career post-playing days. I’m really thankful for that.