Georgie Heath: Cricket, Sports Journalism & the Women’s Ashes
From Tammy Beaumont’s double century to the Southern Vipers’ domination of domestic cricket, there were a number of key storylines, headlining the 2023 women’s cricket season. The 22 players on the pitch may be the visual spectacle for fans but there are hundreds who work behind the scenes to deliver accurate and quality coverage of these matches. Polly Starkie spoke to Georgie Heath, a multi sports journalist and broadcaster and host of the Women’s Cricket Chat podcast who covered the Women’s Ashes and lots of domestic cricket in the 2023 season.
How did you get into cricket?
Georgie: When your mum’s from Yorkshire, you can’t not be into cricket! When my older brother was born, my mum was actually listening to TMS [Test Match Special] during the ordeal, so I think it was always going to be a thing. I remember so clearly, we were on our family summer holiday when the 2005 Ashes was on and it was when it was still on Channel 4. It would be this gorgeous day and we were like, ‘we can’t leave, we’ve got to finish watching this session and then we can go during lunchtime!’
What are some of your memories growing up & playing cricket?
Georgie: I joined my local cricket club where my brother was playing, and my friend’s dad ran the girl’s team. I remember meeting Charlotte Edwards when I was playing there, and I remember her telling me that I was good at batting because I top scored in this tournament. That was the best day ever!
How has cricket impacted your life?
Georgie: When I first went to boarding school in my first term I was really, really homesick – I cried so much I burst a blood vessel in my eye! There was a magazine called Spin magazine, it doesn’t even exist anymore, and we weren’t allowed to read magazines, but I got special permission from the headmistress that I was allowed to read the magazine. I would wake up and sit reading my cricket magazine.
What did you get up to as a Sports Journalist over the cricket summer?
Georgie: I was in charge of TalkSport Women’s Cricket and so I was doing all their updates and reports on the game. They would say, ‘coming to you’ and I’d give an update on what was going on. I also did a lot of random appearances on different radio stations, I did a lot of BBC local rounds as well, and I’d sit down for an hour and different radio stations would call me up.
I featured on Woman’s Hour a couple of times as well, that was good fun! My friend’s dad sent me a text saying, ‘don’t judge me, I’m listening to Woman’s Hour and this person was going on about women’s cricket and she’s so passionate!’ He got to the end and they said ‘that was Georgie Heath’ and he was like ‘I know her!’ – that was quite funny.
What was your highlight from the Ashes?
Georgie: Bristol was really cool with Kate Cross batting with Heather Knight, that was awesome. I remember standing with Alex Hartley and she couldn’t believe this was happening, that moment was really cool.
As the summer went on, the hype around both the women and the men playing simultaneously was so exciting, the lights on Tower Bridge, that whole campaign with two Ashes. People actually wanted to talk to me about the women’s!
What did you enjoy about regional cricket this summer?
Georgie: Georgia Adams is a great friend of mine, so seeing her just dominating domestic cricket and getting the recognition that she deserves, collecting a million awards and then getting picked up to go to the WBBL [Women’s Big Bash League]. I really like to see that road in the women’s domestic game as well.
Who is your player of the summer?
Georgie: Nat Sciver-Brunt but that’s quite obvious! For me, it has to be Tammy Beaumont. She was absolutely phenomenal, scoring the double century in the Test Match – incredible! She’s really great on commentary too, which I love, but I would much rather she was out on the field.
What more does she need to do to get back in the T20 team?
Who should we look out for in the England v India series?
Georgie: One player who is always on fire and doesn’t get the plaudits she deserves is Sarah Glenn. She’s my player to watch because she’s so often great, but she so often plays second fiddle to Sophie Ecclestone – everyone knows she’s the best bowler in world.
Glenn works so hard and quite often makes those differences, but you just don’t realise what an impact she’s having. I think perhaps in India with turning wickets she’ll do really well.