Getting to know Somerset Women Head Coach Dave Roberts

Dave Roberts has been Head Coach of the Somerset Women team for several years, but beyond that many people don’t know too much about him.

With this in mind, we sat down with Dave to discuss his journey within the game.

“I started playing cricket as a kid in Cornwall when I was eight or nine years old,” he explained. “I then got into the Cornwall set up from where I eventually went onto play for Northampton. I had seven years as a professional cricketer, which was great experience, but I got released when I was 23 and moved back to Cornwall.

“I spent 14 years back home in Cornwall and then the children were offered cricket scholarships at Taunton School and we decided to make the move to Somerset so they could live at home with us.

“I got involved with cricket coaching again thanks to Bridgwater Cricket Club where an opportunity opened up and I then got involved with Somerset from that point. It’s just kicked on from there, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting to be back involved in the game.”

How did his cricketing journey begin?

“When I was growing up, my local club was Mullion and I first went there when I was about six after badgering my dad to take me along to join in with some cricket coaching.

“I then got involved with the Cornwall youth set up and played for the Under 11s when I was nine. It carried on from there really. I got lucky enough to be involved with the West of England set up and got to play for England Schools and was then picked up by Northamptonshire.”

How did Dave get picked up by Northants?

“Tony Penberthy’s (a fellow Cornishman who also played for Northants) dad saw me playing as a kid and sent me there for a trial when I was 14. I signed a schoolboy contract then. There were a few people here at Somerset who told me not to sign for Northampton before they’d had a chat with me, but I did sign for them and if I’m honest I probably wouldn’t have changed that.

“The captain when I joined was Allan Lamb. David Capel, who was one of the nicest blokes I ever met, was there along with Kevin Curran, Curtly Ambrose and John Emburey. There were some good cricketers at the club.

“Probably the one who I played alongside who never went onto get the international recognition he deserved was David Sales. He was a good mate and I spent a lot of time with him. He probably should have gone on to play for England, but there are a number who you could say that about.

“I had a couple of tough seasons and some injuries and then in the end I didn’t get on with the coach and left Northamptonshire when I was 23. I trialed at a few other places and did alright but nothing worked out that would enable me to continue my career.

“The move back to Cornwall came about because my wife was pregnant with our daughter and was offered a job back home. That seemed to sit quite nicely with us, so we went back and brought our two children up there.”

What did Dave do when he went back to Cornwall?

“I was offered a job with the Cornwall Cricket Board and the original plan was to go back and become a cricket development officer, but my dad then decided to retire as a farmer and was looking for something to do outside to keep himself busy and decided he was going to build Cornish hedges stone walls.

“I helped him out for a week and during that time so many people came and asked us if we were going into business, so we sat down and talked about it and decided to give it a go. We then went into business together and built stone hedges. I did that for 14 years. my dad, who is now 78, is still doing it now!

“We were also lucky enough to take over looking after a holiday home in Cornwall, and had a 10 acre garden which all dovetailed together well for us.”

What about playing cricket during that period?

“I played a few Minor County games for Cornwall, although probably not as many as I could have because of job commitments and having a young family. I played club cricket for St Just for nine years, during which we were a successful side. As well as winning in Cornwall we also got to a couple of national T20 finals that were live on Sky.

“We didn’t win, but from a local cricket perspective we had ten boys in the team from the same local school and myself who came from just down the road at Mullion, so 11 Cornish boys were quite successful.

“The original plan was for us to be here in Somerset and see the children through school and then move back to Cornwall and continue building stone hedges, but a couple of job opportunities came up in cricket coaching at Bridgwater and I dropped into the cricket development role at the club, which worked out well.

“Some of the guys at Bridgwater then put me in touch with Somerset and I did some coaching for the Cricket Board. It’s just progressed from there.”