Author: Dafydd Jones
Welsh Fire’s Women were represented in The Hundred by one Welsh player.
But Swansea-born Alex Griffiths, at just 19 years of age, took it upon herself to build a Welsh culture in the group to great effect.
Learning the language, exploring the capital city of Cardiff and watching popular Welsh television series were just some of Griffiths’ methods to spark a Welsh side to her team-mates.
For Griffiths, representing her country on the biggest stage saw The Hundred mean more.
“It’s really nice to have the backing of the whole of Wales. It means a lot.
“I’ve represented Wales all through my cricket career, which I’ve been lucky enough to do.
“In the Hundred, it’s on a higher level, so I just hope I’ve done people proud. It means so much.”
The Welsh Fire squad was made up of a great mix of nationalities.
The Welsh franchise were represented by 11 English players, two Australians, as well as one Welsh and one West-Indian player.
For Griffiths, the importance of the Welsh Fire taking on a national pride was paramount.
“A lot of them didn’t know that there was a Welsh national anthem initially. But I was teaching them,” she revealed.
“A few of the girls were asking me for a few Welsh phrases and were taking on the Gavin and Stacey phrases.
“All the girls were really keen to know everything about Wales. It was really nice to show them the culture.
“They were in my part of the country, so I felt a bit of responsibility to show them what’s what.
“My nationality means a lot, probably a lot more than some people think. Obviously, I was only Welsh player in the Welsh Fire team, but to have the different nationalities connected closely with one another was massive for us as a team.”
One of Welsh Fire’s big-hitters in the competition was Australian batter Georgia Redmayne.
As well as her classy performances on the pitch, she was also one of the top performers in Griffiths’ Welsh classes.
“Georgia Redmayne has been especially keen to learn Welsh,” Griffiths revealed.
“She’s smashed out a bit of Welsh town names, which has been really funny to watch. It’s been really nice to show them where I’m from, which is quite rare in cricket.”
Redmayne capped off the competition with an impressive 35 from 28 balls in the final game against London Spirit.
Despite the disappointment of finishing at the foot of the table, discovering the Welsh culture has been a personal highlight for the Aussie.
“I took it upon myself to learn to pronounce the famous long-named town.
“I did a bit of a Welsh pronunciation challenge and I’m proud to say that I think I got one right, but that was the one I spent all afternoon practising!
“Wales is a beautiful country and it’s been a bit of a shame that we haven’t had a chance to explore it too much during our time here, but hopefully I can come back one day and see a bit more.”
Despite a restricted crowd at Sophia Gardens for all but the final game of the competition, the reception from the fans was hugely positive.
The Hundred has been a success for Griffiths and a massive step for the women’s game.
“I hope we resonated with the fans. We had a lot of restrictions with Covid and people coming to the games, but the crowd were great.
“I really hope that we can inspire a new generation of cricketers. There were a lot of young children coming to the games and when they got to see Hayley Matthews and Sarah Taylor interested in coming here, it’s really exciting for the future of Welsh cricket.
“When they’ve been asking for photos, it’s been really surreal.
“I haven’t had anybody know who I am before, so it’s been great!”