Photo Credit: Cricket Scotland
Scotland bowler Hannah Rainey’s summer has just reached new heights, after she received a late call-up to the Oval Invincibles squad for The Hundred, beginning this week.
The 26-year old, who works as a vet, was attending an emergency call at a farm in Cumbria when she received a message from Invincibles Head Coach Jonathan Batty. A few days later, she’s had her first experience at the home of cricket, and is preparing for her maiden Hundred experience with the two-time defending women’s champions.
Rainey joins Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce (Manchester Originals), Sarah Bryce (Welsh Fire) and Abtaha Maqsood (Birmingham Phoenix) in the high profile ECB competition, with the Oval Invincibles beginning their campaign at Lord’s on Wednesday afternoon against the London Spirit.
“I’m just really excited to be involved and get an opportunity like this to play with some of the best cricketers in the country – and the world,” said Hannah.
“I just want to see if I can learn as much as I can from them, and develop my cricket – even if I don’t get the opportunity to play, just being around the group and asking questions and learning as much as possible is fantastic.
“Lord’s is amazing! This has all happened very last minute, and I’ve never even been to see a cricket match at Lord’s, so to be training and possibly playing there, it’s crazy.
“I’ve watched a lot of cricket played there on TV, but never been there myself before this week. The lawn is so perfectly cut, it’s just like a carpet. It’s just amazing to go to the home of cricket and train there. Regardless of the game, it’s just cool to be there. The lunch was pretty amazing too!”
Hannah’s call-up came last Tuesday evening, when she was attending to a crucial situation uncommon to most international cricketers.
“It was around 7pm, and I had gone to see a cow that had injured its tail, and had to amputate it, so it was quite an evening. I hadn’t done many amputations before so I was a bit scared, if I’m being honest. It was a good thing the call came afterwards.
“As I was leaving, I picked up a text from Jonathan Batty, introducing himself and asking if he could give me a ring. I had quite a long drive home, so was able to chat to him. He basically said, “I’ve spoken to a few people, heard good things about you – would you like a contract with us?” I didn’t really expect that. I was really surprised and, if I’m honest, my brain was a bit overwhelmed. I had no idea it was coming – it came completely out of the blue.
“When I spoke to him, I explained that I have a job [with Capontree Vets in Brampton] so I would need to speak to my work, but that I would absolutely love to say yes to his offer. I then texted my dad and said, “You’ll never guess what’s happened, I’ve been offered a contract by the Oval Invincibles in the Hundred.” He was like, “What?!”
“My work have been really supportive of my cricket anyway, and my dad suggested they would understand it was such a great opportunity, but he did do the fatherly thing and tell me not to get too excited!”
Since receiving the Invincibles call, Hannah has been preparing mentally for arguably the biggest test of her career so far, whilst juggling her veterinary duties over the weekend. The challenges don’t end there – beyond The Hundred, there is the small matter of Scotland’s T20 European Qualifier in Spain next month to look forward.
“I was on call until Monday morning, and then got the train down at 11am that day, met up with the squad for the team meeting in the late afternoon, and then went out for dinner with them.
“Everyone in the squad is lovely, but it’s a bit daunting coming into an environment where you don’t know any of the players at all. I’ve not really played against any of my teammates, except Cordelia Griffiths – when I was at Edinburgh University she played for Durham, maybe five years ago.
“I haven’t really played for the Thunder yet either, but I think they are all really happy for me; the coaches there just think this is a great opportunity. They said it shows that I’m progressing really well, which has been good feedback.”
“There’s no better preparation for a big international series than training with the best players in the world. I was having a bowl at Suzie Bates today, so you can’t really get much better prep than that, being challenged in that environment and playing in games. It’s just brilliant.”