Rising Redmayne right on time
A rising young 'keeper who juggles cricket with a medical degree, Georgia Redmayne's story is a very impressive one
Susie Giese joined CA Digital this summer as WBBL content producer having worked as a sports journalist in country Victoria for the past six years.
Timing is everything in cricket – Georgia Redmayne knows that as much as anybody.
It applies to the Hobart Hurricanes wicketkeeper twofold.
Firstly, as she tries to juggle an elite cricket career with the final years of her medicine degree.
Secondly, as it proved crucial in keeping said career alive.
It was the first summer of the Women’s Big Bash League and Redmayne had missed out on a contract with either Sydney side – disappointing, but not entirely unexpected given the depth in the New South Wales cricket system. But for someone halfway through a demanding degree with the University of New South Wales, it gave her some food for thought.
A heavy study load and the increasing expectations as the women’s game became more and more professional made juggling a busy schedule an art form. The frustration of limited opportunities with NSW Breakers peaked with the WBBL snub, and Redmayne got to thinking.
"I missed out on the first WBBL season, which was a bit disappointing from a personal point of view, but it’s always really hard to break into the system in New South Wales, the depth that they’ve got there,” Redmayne told bigbash.com.au.
"It was getting to the point when my uni was probably getting a bit more full-on and I’d been doing a lot of training without actually really being able to play too much and I was tossing up whether I wanted to continue doing rep cricket or whether to focus on uni.
"And it just so happened that I got a call from Julia Price at the right time asking me to come down and play for the Roar and the Hurricanes.
"I always just look at that and think that it was just bizarre, the luck that it came at that time. I consider myself pretty lucky to be able to get the opportunities that I have done in Tassie and I love playing down here and hope to keep repaying the favour, really.
"I always feel that I was given an opportunity out of nowhere."
But her Hurricanes and Roar coach Price saw something in Redmayne that she wanted in her playing group and she hasn’t been disappointed.
Outside of the ‘keeper’s developing game, she brings something extra to the team.
“She’s a very competitive person, she’s got a good, fighting spirit, and I love that part of her character,” Price said.
“She’s got a really good sense of humour, she’s easy-going. We give her a lot of grief down here and she takes it very, very well.”
After capturing attention with some of her performances behind the stumps last season, Redmayne has taken more strides in her keeping in WBBL|03.
As she continues to develop her game, Price said the 24-year-old was getting better all the time.
“She’s got excellent hands, but her keeping (early on) – we’d probably call it ‘ugly’ keeping,” Price said with a laugh.
“And she’s worked really hard on getting better with her keeping and being more consistent. She’s going to continue to keep improving that and she’s been excellent.
“She’s just great to have around the group, a real team player and someone who can really get the team going and lead by example.”
Coffs Harbour: home of the Big Banana. The monument and amusement park, teamed with the city’s beaches, are the big appeal for most tourists making their way along New South Wales’ northern coast.
For Redmayne, it was home for the fifth year of her six-year medical degree.
She was based at Coffs Harbour Rural Health Campus during the cricket off-season, doing satellite coaching, forced to train and do strength and conditioning work on her own while the bulk of her Hurricanes teammates were three states south. It was a next-level problem for Redmayne – the previous summer, her first with the Hurricanes, had been on the back of a research year, making it easier to juggle the two commitments.
“It was just something that had to be done and it’s really nice at the moment to be finished and be back in Hobart and training amongst the group has been a lot nicer,” she said. “To have uni out of the way for the time being is good.
“Trying to balance both, it’s something I’ve done for a long time. I kind of just always did it through school.
“Although it’s getting increasingly difficult to managed both study and cricket with the increasingly profile and professionalism of the women’s game, I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do what I do and by supported by Cricket Tasmania and through the UNSW Elite Athlete system.
“I really enjoy doing both, but it gets a bit hard and stressful at times, but it is nice to have more than one thing. To take your mind off one, you can go to the other.”
Just days out from her end-of-year exam in November, Redmayne fronted up for a CA XI team in its three-day tour match against England during the latters’ Women’s Ashes campaign.
While not the ideal build-up to her exam, there was no way Redmayne was going to pass up the rare opportunity to play a three-dayer with the invitational side.
There have been a few times already in her life when Redmayne has made a temporary call to choose one over the other. In year 12, she put cricket on the backburner to focus on her studies. But the competitive side of her that usually found its fill in the sporting domain found other ways of getting out.
She had long had a thought to pursue a health degree, looking at physiotherapy and “a few other things”. And then the seemingly obvious choice – for Redmayne at least – presented itself.
“I’ve just always wanted to be in health and help people, and then I’m probably a little bit competitive and I saw medicine as quite a challenge to get into,” she recalled with a laugh.
“You’re not really restricted to one domain, it’s so broad and it’s always changing, which really interests me as well. So the challenge of getting through medicine drew me in, but maybe five years in I’m thinking, what was I thinking?”
Another laugh. She’s joking. But there are the moments of stress she has eluded to. However, there has always been cricket to take her mind off studies, albeit briefly.
It’s something Price says is a benefit, rather than an issue for Redmayne.
“Sometimes when you’ve got something else to distract you, when it’s not a full-time job, then the cricket is something that you’re pumped about going to do and it’s a break from that sort of toil of having to do studies or working in a hospital all the time,” she said.
“It’s difficult for us with her up in Coffs Harbour - we don’t see her too often with her studies – but down here all the time now, she’s bugging me about having hits and catches.
“It’s great – I love it when players do that.”
After Redmayne finished her HSC, she went the other extreme – trading schooling for cricket. She packed her bag and travelled to England, playing a Northern Hemisphere summer with county side with Worcherstershire, and playing club cricket as well.
“I loved it,” she said. “It was really good, not just from a cricketing experience, but just a life experience, to move to the other side of the world and have to become a little bit more independent.
“You kind of grow up a bit when you’re at that age, when you’ve just finished school. It was just a really good experience and I was lucky enough that it was 2012, so it was when the Olympics were on so it was a great time to be around England.”
After her return from England, she joined the Sydney grade competition with Universities and was invited to be part of the NSW Breakers development program and then the Breakers’ squad in the WNCL, before the Tasmania opportunity presented itself.
After playing in finals the first two seasons of the WBBL, this summer has proved a tougher one for a different-look Hurricanes team.
But the signs of improvement have been there and, after throwing away a handy start against the Renegades on Sunday, the team in purple redeemed itself in the best way possible, breaking through for its first win of the season.
Redmayne played her role, making 20 with the bat and taking a tough, tumbling catch behind the stumps.