After dedicating 13 years to playing Rounders for England, Rachael Cooke decided that 2017 was her year to retire.
In the season of 2016 I decided that 2017 was to be my last year of playing Rounders for England. The last 13 years have gone so quickly. Rounders has been such an important part of my life, and will continue to be, just in a slightly different way.”
Rachael’s Rounders journey began when she was quite young, as she spectated while her Mum played in the local Harborough league. Obviously inspired by being on the sidelines, Rachael’s playing career was launched at 12 years of age. With her keen attitude she went to the England Squad Trials after her first season. She recalls her experience vividly:
My gosh there was a lot of competition! With over 100 girls competing for a place on the squad I was so excited to get down to the final 26, but sadly didn’t make it into the top 13.”
Rachael’s first, unsuccessful attempt to play Rounders for England spurred her on. She continued to practice, she played locally and at the age of 16 decided she was ready to trial again. Even at the end of her career she remembers that day like it was yesterday; standing in a rather soggy cold field, trialing as a deep fielder and having a number of incredible hits. She recollects being welcomed into such a strong team with open arms with Rachel Hurst as her first squad coach.
From thereon, Rachael developed her Rounders skills and tactics, and annually, played up the year ranks; under 17’s, under 18’s, under 19’s, under 21’s, Adult A and then into the Seniors. During her service she has had the honour of being vice-Captain and Captain on a number of occasions.
Rachael attributes her love of Rounders to:
playing with the most amazing group of people, who I am lucky now to call friends.”
While Rachael played Rounders, she also had to endure the normal ups and downs of life; sitting through her GCSEs, then her A-levels, and eventually on to University. She even managed a few TV appearances to boot, surfacing on Total Wipeout in her England Kit, aptly named Rounders Rach! Rachael has always been a proud advocate for Rounders and Rounders England. Raising awareness of the game, back in 2011 she pitted her skills against BBC Sports Presenter, Mike Bushell. She also narrated on the Rounders Rules, Skills & Matchplay DVD produced by Rounders England in 2013. More recently, in 2016 she represented Rounders England in a Rounders v Softball challenge. Among her many experiences of Rounders, her greatest, she says, was meeting her future husband, Joseph, at a mixed rounders event.
I look forward to going to support the England girls at matches and who knows, never say never…”
Rachael’s dedication to Rounders and all she has done to raise awareness of the game has been notable. Everyone at Rounders England wishes her the very best on her future endeavours.