SACA Scorpions batter Emma De Broughe (Picture: Cricket Australia, Design by Will Cuckson)

A former hockey player for the Adelaide Fire, Emma De Broughe is making her way through the cricket pathway for South Australia, currently starring for the South Australian Scorpions. Playing both sports through school, she still hopes to get back to the hockey field later in her sporting career.

At only 22 years of age, up and coming South Australian athlete Emma De Broughe has already represented her state in both hockey and cricket. Recently having to make a choice to focus on cricket for the short-term, De Broughe has excelled in her batting as a result.

Emma De Broughe spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her sporting journey from her schooling days to representing her state and even her country at underage level.

“I tried to play heaps of different sports through school [but I] really focused on hockey and cricket because I was making state representative teams for both and being different seasons back then it sort of worked out okay,” De Broughe told The Inner Sanctum.

“[Back then] there was just some sort of training clashes and that sort of thing, but both sports really go hand in hand with each other [especially with] the hand-eye co-ordination.

“I played both all through, I’m still playing both but I’m just playing club for hockey at the moment and then really concentrating on cricket this year.”

One of the highlights of her junior cricket career was being named the co-vice captain of the South Australia Under 18s team, De Broughe reflects on being given a chance to develop her leadership.

“That was [a] really good [experience and] it’s something that I enjoy,” she said.

“Especially in cricket, there’s a lot to think about in the game [and] a lot of strategic moves to be made and I really like thinking about the game on almost a deeper level.

“Knowing what’s going on benefits your own game as well but I think having a leadership role is a really cool thing and being able to make decisions on behalf of your team is something I really enjoy and would love to keep going in that leadership space.”

Making the difficult decision to step away from playing professional hockey in favour of chasing her dream of being an elite cricketer is only temporary says De Broughe.

Feeling like she can still play both sports at the highest level, she is concentrating 100 per cent on the WNCL in the hope it will make her a better hockey player when the time comes.

“Going through all the way I felt like I could play both at a high level, I made some Australian representative teams for hockey and then obviously went through the whole junior pathway with cricket until I got my state contract in 2019,” she said.

“I have just got contracts in the years since then but in the last couple years, there’s been a lot of clashes with hockey and cricket really [and] it was like I was always missing a major tournament or major games for both each year and I felt like it got to the stage where I really did feel like I needed to concentrate on one [sport] to get a whole lot better.

“The decision really made itself, I missed a lot of major hockey events just because they couldn’t reschedule them [with COVID].

“I missed out on some major opportunities there in the last couple of years with hockey and obviously cricket still went ahead so that’s sort of where the decision came from.”

“Going through the ranks I really thought I would be able to play both for a long time but as I said it sort of got to that stage where I wasn’t really progressing enough in both so I definitely want to reach the ultimate goal of really playing for Australia [in both], that’s sort of the [goal] I wanna aim for.”

When asking De Broughe what she has enjoyed about playing at the South Australian Scorpions, she describes the culture and the “professional environment” which has helped them excel the last few seasons.

“I love the professional environment around it all. There’s lots of coaches, lots of support staff, facilities, things like that as well as playing with the best players really” De Broughe explained.

“I think having people from a lot of different age groups, even people from interstate [or] overseas coming in, it creates a really good environment.

“I think that’s what I really love about the elite-level sport, it’s just the best players and everyone is there trying to get better and all the coaches and support staff are trying to do the same thing.”

More Crossing Codes

    With a few female cricketers also having played hockey within the WNCL and WBBL, it begs the question; what is similar between hockey and cricket and how do they cross over in skillsets?

    De Broughe explains what she loves about the two sports and how she’s enjoyed what both sports bring out in her.

    “They are both really high level skilled sports. What I loved about hockey was how it was so run and gun, you got to use your skills and also be really fit, so it was really a good fast-paced game,” De Broughe said.

    “Cricket is a little bit different in that aspect because it’s a bit slower and more strategic, it’s maybe even higher level skill based [because] you can really break-down individual skills and work on them.

    “[Within] both sports, you can never get good enough at any of the skills really, there’s just so much that you can keep working at with both.

    “There was a lot of cross-over [between them], one of my roles in hockey was in defensive penalty corners and that was almost the same as just batting in cricket, you just have to try and stop the ball on the goal-line and your hand-eye coordination just helps so much with that.

    “I always found that going back after having a break from one sport and going into the [other], that there would be so much cross-over that I wouldn’t need to really pick up those skills again after having a break so that was pretty good about playing both.”

    Being around many phenomenal athletes playing for the Adelaide Fire and the Scorpions has helped De Broughe to develop in many ways. She describes some of the players that have influenced or mentored her in their time in their respective domestic teams.

    “When I was younger and any of the Australians were playing [cricket and] it’s probably still the same now, when they do get to play Scorps games and I’m playing as well, I don’t know it creates that [atmosphere] where everyone is up and about,” she said.

    “You know that it’s the best team possible playing when they are all available so that’s always something that I’ve found pretty cool [when] Megan Schutt and Tahlia McGrath and players like that are playing.

    “[It’s the] same thing with the hockey, when Jane Claxton would come back and play for the Fire, [as well as] Karri McMahon [from Australia] and Gemma McCaw from New Zealand, any high-calibre player was really awesome to be around.”

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