Photo Credit: Cricket Netherlands
Some girls will do anything for their sport. In the past, Annemijn van Beuge, Jolien van Vliet, Heather Siegers, Sterre Kalis, Robyn van Oosterom, Babette de Leede and many others went abroad to work on their cricket skills for a few months. Robine Rijke recently returned from six months in New Zealand. An interview.
- How long have you been in NZ? In which part/city?
I spent a total of six months in New Zealand playing cricket. I lived and played in Christchurch on the South Island. In between I flew to Thailand to play matches with the Dutch national team.
- Who did you play for and at what level?
For the Premier League club North West in Christchurch. In addition, I trained with the Canterbury district team, the Magicians. The Magicians have become both National T20 and One Day Champions this year. So the level in Christchurch was very good. We did all matches and almost all training sessions on grass, which was the most normal thing there, but a huge luxury for me.
- What were your best performances?
Overall I had a very successful season in New Zealand. I finished top scorer in the Premier League with 563 runs. My high score was 104 not out in a “Fizz format” match, which was basically two T20s in a row as a one day match.
My achievements have been rewarded with several awards. I was voted Premier Womens Club Player of the Year by the Christchurch Metropolitan Cricket Association and won the Stead Rose Bowl for most runs in the Premier Womens competition. In addition, I am part of the selected Christchurch Metro Premier Womens Team of the Year. My club voted me MPV of the season.
- Did you bowl there too?
Certainly! I worked a lot on my bowling. It was nice to try out new techniques with new coaches and to be able to practice without pressure in the matches there. I have benefited greatly from the Magicians’ bowling coaches and one-on-one sessions with Dayle Hadlee. I ended up taking 19 wickets in the league. I would like to be of permanent value again this year as a bowler for the Dutch women’s team in addition to my role as a top order batter.
- Do you advise girls to do the same?
I absolutely advise everyone to play cricket abroad for a season. You can learn a lot and develop yourself both inside and outside the cricket field. You step out of your Dutch comfort zone and get to know many new people. It is also super cool to play and live in a country where cricket is really alive.
- What should they pay attention to if they want to do something similar?
Make clear agreements with your club about, for example, work outside of cricket. It is also nice to see if people in your network can tell you something about the club, the team culture and the level of cricket so that you have a good idea of what to expect.