In a groundbreaking move for the cricketing world an all-female grounds staff is taking centre stage at Edgbaston Cricket Ground preparing the venue for the highly anticipated England Women vs. Australia T20 Ashes game this Saturday. Led by Meg Lay a talented groundswoman with a passion for cricket and an agricultural background this trailblazing team aims to revolutionise the industry while encouraging young girls and boys to consider a career path in grounds management.
Hailing from an arable farm in New Zealand Meg Lay embarked on an unexpected adventure when she arrived in Bristol last year. With a strong agricultural background and a lifelong love for cricket she found herself drawn to the world of groundsmanship. In New Zealand, opportunities in this field were scarce but in the United Kingdom she discovered a plethora of possibilities. Joining the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club's grounds team Meg began honing her skills under the guidance of Sean Williams, specialising in producing international and county pitches.
During her tenure as a member of the Women in Cricket Board at the ECB, Meg Lay discussed the idea of an all-female grounds team with Claire Daniel (Head of Operations at Edgbaston). Inspired by the success of the all-women's grounds team at the US Open Meg saw an opportunity to bring this groundbreaking concept to Edgbaston. Over the past two months she dedicated herself to recruiting a talented group of groundswomen from various sports backgrounds assembling a team she believes will deliver a fantastic Ashes pitch on Saturday.
Meg and her team have been fortunate to receive unwavering support from their male counterparts and Edgbaston's management. Gary (Edgbaston’s head groundsman) will be giving his team the day off on Saturday, acknowledging the importance of women preparing stages for women's sports. Embracing this opportunity Meg has taken charge of all pitch preparations since Monday showcasing her skills and determination. The purpose of this event extends beyond empowering women. It aims to shed light on the often-neglected grounds industry and inspire young individuals to explore this promising career path.
While the Edgbaston ground staff industry has welcomed Meg and her team with open arms the lack of visibility of women in this field remains a significant barrier. Meg believes that breaking the stereotype of a male-dominated industry requires increased representation and better advertising of groundsmanship as a potential career path especially in schools. By sharing their experiences and leveraging social media ground staff can showcase their work and ignite the curiosity of aspiring individuals. Meg encourages everyone regardless of gender to get involved by volunteering at local clubs or aiming for higher positions in county jobs.
With the support of her team Meg is determined to inspire young girls and boys to explore the exciting world of ground management emphasising the rewarding aspects of working outdoors, collaborating within a team, and being closely connected to the world of sports. Her advice to aspiring grounds men and women is simple: Just do it, embrace the opportunity and don't be afraid to take the first step.
Good luck to Meg and her team on Saturday!
Find our video with Meg here https://youtu.be/QuTx-B0h314