Sarah Glenn believes the environment created in the Derbyshire Cricket Foundation’s Women and Girls’ Pathway has been key to her and Bess Heath’s rise to international cricket.
Glenn, 24, has played more than 60 times for England, and picked up her 50th IT20 appearance earlier this month, while Heath, 22, could make her international debut against Sri Lanka at The Incora County Ground on Wednesday.
The Derbyshire-born pair came through the ranks of the Women and Girls’ Pathway before moving on to play in various tournaments, both domestically and abroad, becoming key players wherever they have been.
Glenn returned to Derbyshire Women earlier this year, meaning this will be the first time playing for England at Derby while representing the Club, and she believes the foundations laid for both players within the Pathway helped to propel them to successful careers.
“It’s all about where you start,” she said.
“Cricket careers generally go on for quite a long time and you will experience different teams, but where you start is such a big thing. I always found that enjoyment was my number one priority and I got that at Derbyshire.
“I have friends for life which I made in the system at Derbyshire, even now we all meet up and we talk about cricket, it’s really special to have that. I’m so close to Bess as well, she’s made it to this level and doing all she can to show what she can do on the international stage.
“We’ve both shared that fun experience at Derbyshire and that’s what makes you stick at the game and keep going, like we have.”
Glenn has been a key player for England throughout a historic summer for women’s cricket, as England defeated Australia in two white ball series during The Ashes, in front of record crowds across the country.
The homegrown spinner has often cited the likes of Wayne Madsen as her sporting hero, stemming from growing up supporting Derbyshire, however, she believes the growing accessibility of cricket will mean young girls can easily identify female role models in future, and understand that a career in sport is open to them.
“I actually grew up kind of having to have male role models for sport,” Glenn added.
“Up until I watched the 2017 World Cup at Derby, I only really had male sportspeople to look up to, but the game is so much more accessible now. We play around the country so regularly and young girls can come and see us play.
“I think it’s really special, the point of difference now is that girls know sport is a career path for them from a young age, if that’s what they want to do.
“The crowds are growing all the time and they’re really invested, they’re always looking at what’s next for you and that only helps to grow the game.”