Rachael inspires 'The Dockettes' at indoor and outdoor cricket


Rachael Sander in her running kitPembroke Dock Ladies Cricket A team has done really well in the 2022 Ladies Indoor Cricket competition and although she would typically be quick to pass the credit for its growth to others there is no doubt that a major driving force has been the club’s captain Rachael Sander.
She loves being involved at Pembroke Dock, whether it is on the smashing playing surface at Imble Lane or in the indoor game, where her batting has lead the way because she had the first eight games where she had to compulsorily retire on 25 and reached 22 in the last match but then gave a catch to spoil her amazingly consistent record.
“The indoor game suits me because I am a bit of a ‘nurdler’” she told us with typical modesty, the nickname given to someone who is not a big hitter but can manouevre the ball into spaces to make up for a lack of power – but there is no doubt that she plays strokes and accumulates her runs in a positive manner!

Started sport at an early age . . .

Rachael now works as a Legal Assistant for Price and Kelway Solicitors, Milford Haven, but in her early years she grew up in Australia, loved sports and the outdoors from an early age, taking part in athletics, gymnastics and cricket in junior school.

“Schools there are eager to promote fitness and so we had much more emphasis on being outdoors and I gained my love of cricket by watching my dad Alastair play the indoor format – and we used to go to the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch some fantastic players take part from all over the world.”
She has been Pembrokeshire-based since her early teens, and whilst in Bush School, Pembroke she competed in athletics, cross country and hockey.

“Then I studied Law in Aberystwyth University in 2005 where I played for the university ladies’ cricket team, where they were mainly ad-hoc friendly fixtures but we trained every day, which I thought was great.”

. . . And in a wide range too!

Following university she attended the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, became a Captain in the Royal Logistic Corps and served in the Armed Forces for seven years, where she was encouraged to compete in a range of sports in different countries.

“In the Caribbean I did quite a bit of sailing and gained my skipper’s licence – and there was plenty of kayaking in Cyprus so I did that too. I also skied for my regiment in the championships at Rupholding (Germany) but my sport was brought to an abrupt halt for quite a while after I snapped my ACL.

Rachel as captain of Pembroke Ladies indoor team

Family matters . . .

“Then I returned to Pembrokeshire, where I still live in Pembroke with my husband Sandy, who is still in the army after 27 years, and two teenage sons.

“My older son Finlay is registered blind but still spent many years competing for Pembrokeshire Special Needs Gymnastics club at various national competitions – and although he’s called a halt now he is very adept at the gaming on computers that so many teenagers enjoy today.
“My younger son Rhys has loved cricket almost since he could walk and is already a regular in the second team as a good leg-spin bowler and strong early-order batsman, as well as being in the Cricket Wales West U15s performance team which he loves.
“He also plays football for Pennar Robins and the Haverfordwest County under 15s team coached by Steve Batty – and he’s repaying the time I’ve spent taking him all over the place by sometimes scoring for ‘The Dockettes’.

Rachael and Co at the charity match

Long-time involvement at Imble Lane after a stint with Cresselly

“I have been involved with Pembroke Dock Cricket Club for around 17 years in various capacities, including taking on the role of scorer many times for the second XI and junior sides- and my son Rhys started playing there as soon as he learned to walk.  I have been a scorer for the club, usually for the Second XI and youth teams for many years.
“I hadn’t actually played since university but I joined Cresselly Ladies team in 2016 where I played for two or three seasons and was taught how to play with a good straight bat by coach Ryan Lewis, whilst also learning a lot from Lucy Johnson and Lauren Arthur.

Amazing response when ‘The Dockettes’ started

“In 2021, with the help of PDCC stalwarts Nick Daley and Pete Kingdom, I took on helping to form the first Pembroke Dock Cricket Club Ladies’ team, now known as ‘The Dockettes’.

“The response was amazing. Women, girls, girlfriends and wives of players, mothers, daughters, sisters - we had a huge eclectic mix of ladies turn up to train and play. Some had experience in cricket from school but some had never picked up a bat in their life.
“A good example is when Kelly Midgeley brought her daughter Ava to play she turned out to be a very good player – and mum is also now playing regularly with us and doing really well. With the help of the lads at the club we started to train and the ladies began to learn the game and the rules.
“We quickly decided to jump straight in at the deep end and entered the league. A friendly against Cresselly Ladies cemented our enthusiasm and we played every one of our fixtures, although we lost them all early on – and perhaps that is why when we beat Neyland and Kilgetty late on it was a joyous time for everyone.

We also enjoyed playing (and hosting) various softball tournaments in the summer. Seeing over one hundred ladies playing in our softball festival at Imble Lane in the summer of 2021 made me burst with pride”

Rachael celebrating a good catch

And finally . . .

“Captaining PDCC ladies team has been one of the best things I’ve ever done sports-wise. The amount of ladies getting involved in cricket in Pembrokeshire right now seems very special and something I love is the involvement of so many people at Imble Lane that was encapsulated by the Helen Griffiths Memorial Match, which raised so much money for charity.
“We played a curtain-raiser to the men’s game where we invited Cresselly Ladies and we randomly mixed up the teams and it was brilliant to remember our lovely lady scorer.
"There are already plans to repeat the day in 2022," Rachael Sander told us in conclusion, "and I know our ladies’ team will be very eager to take part again, as they have been in everything else at Pembroke Dock Cricket Club."

Awards evening (front left) with Pembroke Dock CC