By CONRAD SUTCLIFFE
IT’S a long way from Ottery St Mary CC to Lord’s – especially if you go via Sydney – yet that is the journey taken by Trevor Griffin on his way up cricket’’s coaching ladder.
Little more than 10 years ago Griffin was the Exeter-based regional manager of a building society. He jacked that job in to open a cricket kit shop, trained as a coach and has never looked back.
From playing and coaching the youngsters at Ottery St Mary, Griffin has worked hard to become one of the leading coaches in the women’s game.
This summer – Covid-19 regulations permitting – Griffin will be coaching Lord’s-based London Spirit in the new Hundred competition. When the team plays at home they play at the Home of Cricket.
Griffin, 46, is far too modest to make claims about his standing in the coaching world. To be fair he does not have to. His record speaks for itself.
Griffin coached Western Storm to three grand finals and two outright wins (2017 and 2019) in the days when the Kia Super League was the pinnacle of women’s cricket in this country.
Experience gained in men’s cricket with Somerset, Hampshire and the New Zealand side Canterbury added a bit more gravitas to the Griffin CV.
Success with Western Storm led to a gig coaching Sydney Thunder in Australia’s Big Bash T20 competition. Having learned the ropes in 2019, Griffin tweaked the squad in 2020, which led to victory over Melbourne Stars in last November’s Big Bash final.
Griffin has a busy summer ahead as he is also the coach of the Sunrisers Franchise team in the 50-over Heyhoe Flint Trophy competition. Amara Carr, the former Plympton and Devon player is the team captain.
Training starts in earnest next week and, after a winter at home, Griffin can’t wait to get back into his tracksuit.
“Winter training has gone well and, because we have elite status, the plan is to start some one-to-ones leading to working in small groups,” said Griffin.
Griffin said the 2020 season was a learning experience for the Sunrisers, for whom things can only get better as they finished bottom of the South Pool.
“We were a brand new team with no experience of playing together and there were plenty of disruptions because of the Covid crisis,” said Griffin.
“In any competition you look to make it into finals and, building on what we learned last year, that is what we will be trying to do.”
Griffin said the Hundred ‘excites’ him because of what it represents. England captain Heather Knight is team skipper, re-uniting him with a player he has enjoyed success with before.
“The Hundred is not just another tournament but the chance for the best players in the world to play against each other and showcase the game on television, which has to be a good thing,” said Griffin.
“Again, my focus will be on making the finals.”
Knight was Western Storm’s captain when they won both Kia Super League titles and as skipper led England to the Women’s World Cup title in 2017.
One of the ‘tweaks’ Griffin applied to the Sydney Thunder team was to lure Knight away from Hobart Hurricanes, a move that proved decisive.
“Heather was outstanding,” said Griffin. “She averaged more than 40 with the bat, had a strike rate of 120 and showed how to win games. What more could you want?
“She just keeps growing as a T20 player and long may that continue.”
Although Big Bash cricket in Australia has a cachet of its own, Griffin is reluctant to rank his achievement as coach at the top of his own list.
“It’s up there for certain and the experience of working overseas in different conditions with different players has been fantastic,” said Griffin.
“Also up there was the first win in the Kia Super League and the 2019 season, when we only lost one game. It is not easy to pick one out.”
Griffin would like to go back to Sydney later this year for a third coaching stint with the Thunder, although that is not decided yet.
“Covid makes everything a challenge, never mind sorting out a contract, I hope to be able to go back out there,” said Griffin.
In the meantime Griffin his plenty to keep him busy on the domestic front and the Lord’s experience to look forward to.
“I have been there as a spectator and also as a coach with the University of Exeter when they played a final on the Nursery Ground,” said Griffin.
“All our games are going to be on the main pitch at Lord’s, which is going to be an experience the players will never forget.”