Issy Routledge has a summer to remember with Thriplow, Old Leysians and Cambridgeshire
It has been an impressive summer for Issy Routledge.
Two scores over 150 would be enough for some, but the 18-year-old’s displays with bat and ball have not just been about fine-tuning a game, they have also delivered success for multiple teams.
Routledge’s record for 2021 takes some beating.
From 28 games, she has a high score of 179 and an average of 69.13 from 21 innings, with five not outs.
Then, with the ball, there have been 33 wickets claimed, with a best performance of four for 15 for Old Leysians against Waresley.
It has all helped Old Leysians men to promotion to the Cambs & Hunts Premier League, Division One and Thriplow triumph in the maiden Women’s East Anglian Premier League title, and lifting the national ECB Vitality Women’s Club Plate T20 final.
“The summer has been busy but really enjoyable,” says Routledge, somewhat modestly. “I’ve been playing around five games a week which can be rather draining when you’re out of form but great when you’re on a run of good innings.
“I’ve also played at some of the best grounds I’ve ever played at this year, including Fenner’s, Teddington, Kibworth and Dumbleton.”
It is the knock at the home of the University of Cambridge that stands out, coming as it did on a rare opportunity for Cambridgeshire under-18 girls to play at the ground, and they seized on the chance by beating Norfolk.
“The highlight of my summer was definitely 171 not out at Fenner’s because I’d never played there before this year and that was my highest ever score by a long way at that point!” she explains.
“My dad also watched and he’d never seen me get a century before.”
In the plate final, Routledge made an unbeaten half-century, with 58 runs off 48 balls, to guide Thriplow to their first national success.
“Winning the national plate with Thriplow surprised us all I think because we had to vary the team we put out each week depending
on EAPL fixtures and we just kept progressing to the next rounds,” she says.
“The final was kind of strange in that out of all the sides in the country we were playing Mildenhall, who have been on our circuit for the last few years, but that definitely removed the nerves for me as we’d played them the week before so I pretty much knew what was coming.”
Routledge first appeared for Old Leysians in Division Two at the start of July.
She has gone on to make her mark, taking 12 wickets in five matches, and the chance to experience a different side to the game has been beneficial.
“Old Leysians have been amazing as it’s been really good to play in a different role to what I do in women’s cricket,” she explains.
“It gives me a game where I can just focus on bowling and it has the best community of any cricket team I’ve ever been in.”
The batting and bowling heroics of this year are not the career highlights though. They come from last summer, and one was a display for The Leys School.
“My favourite innings ever was last year against Copdock where I finished on 123 not out and saw Thriplow home with a few overs to go,” says Routledge.
“It was my favourite because of the pressure of the chase and how it became a tactical game of manipulating the strike to defend the other batsman.
“My favourite bowling display is difficult to decide as I began bowling off-spin in October 2019 so it still feels very new and every wicket is exciting but I have to say my first ever five-for for the school 1st XI against the MCC.
“I’d always dreamt of getting on the honours board for batting and I ended up on it for bowling, which was strange!”
Another string to Routledge’s cricketing bow this summer was selection to the Sunrisers Academy, which is one of eight regional hubs competing in the new Women’s Elite Domestic Structure.
It covers the region of the three first-class counties of Middlesex, Essex and Northamptonshire, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), and the national counties of Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire.
“The Sunrisers Academy has been eye-opening as I’d been involved with regional centres before but with the whole new women’s regional set-up, the academy feels so professional, from having to monitor your health on an app each morning to having five members of staff at the side of your games,”explains Routledge, who is also part of the Essex women’s set-up and was called up to compete at the School Games National Finals, where she won a silver medal.
“I’ve particularly enjoyed the emphasis the academy puts on fielding as a small margin where you can beat your opposition.”
Fenner’s could be seeing far more of Routledge in the coming years as she will be attending Cambridge University to read history from the autumn.
As for what happens next with the bat and ball?
“Cricketing wise I have always played the game because I enjoyed it so I’ll keep playing until I reach my ceiling,” she adds.
“Again, I’m not sure where that will be yet but I would definitely like to push into the Sunrisers full team over the next year.”