One to Watch: Ellen Marson
Updated: Feb 23, 2022
Sports reporter, Paolo Iantosca spoke to footballer and cricketer Ellen Marson about her journey into both sports and overcoming stereotypes as a female.
When you ask people, ‘what do you think teenagers or students are doing in their spare time?’, you are likely to get some unpleasant answers. Unfortunately, that’s the stereotype branded among that generation now, and whether that’s right or wrong, it’s up to people among that age-group to prove them wrong.
One athlete that’s certainly banishing those stereotypes is footballer and cricketer Ellen Marson. A midfielder for Peterborough United Women, and cricketer at county level for Leicestershire and club level for Market Overton. Two different sports, at which Marson is competing at a high level for both at the age of 19, spending the majority of her life involved in the two sports.
Through the power of Zoom, due to the ever-changing covid-19 restrictions, Marson, who is currently spending a gap year after finishing A-levels, described her journey into cricket, bringing a smile upon her face as she reminiscent back to when she first started and her love for the sport.
“When I was around eight years old, there was a local cricket club in my area and I just started playing with some friends from school, really, and then just took off from there. My mom used to run the cricket club, and I just kind of had a love for the sport from there.
“It was more the social aspect for me, just having fun. Although, I do love the elements of when you're in the field throwing yourself around chasing after balls or being able to hit the ball hard and see it go far was really satisfying to me.”
Marson has seen a similar journey in football, from just having a kick around with her brother and dad in a field to joining a local boys’ team in her area, mainly due to lack of options for girls at the beginning of this decade to join an all-female team. Unfortunately, Marson had to battle through years of stereotype and unwanted comments, including from her own teammates from U9s to U10s.
“In terms of the difficulty of being a female in a men's environment, football has been the most difficult one to kind of stick with. In cricket, you get the odd comment saying she can't bowl or stuff like that, but it's easily fixed when you bowl them out and get wicked.
“Whereas in football, it's just like the boys didn't used to shake my hands at the end of the games and my own teammates wouldn’t pass to me. It was hard for me with the boys, as they were meant to be my friends, but I just viewed it as a positive and it helped to spur me on. It's just one of the things you just have to get over with and I just thought there's no point giving up now because it's a sport I love.”
Thankfully Marson continues to compete at a high level in cricket and football. However, both can be time-consuming and physically demanding, especially matchdays in cricket which can last from a few hours to five-days. She admits the intensity of playing both sports can be challenging, but she thrives on that.
“Cricket is more of a summer sport. However, we do train in the winter. So there have been times where I have had to make decisions on which one I think is best for me, and at the end of the day, it's my decision. I chose football in times where I didn't feel cricket was going right, and then cricket in times where I thought football wasn't going right. But, the balance has been hard for me, especially in the summer, for preseason training.
“My cricket training. I'm training twice a week and then matches once a week, but the matches are like four-day matches, so it does take out of you. But I'd rather be busy than not be busy. I love both sports, so I don't have it any other way.”
Cricket and football are different sports, but there’s one element that Marson outlines which has helped her journey in both, and that’s the people around her. Teammates are a huge part of any sport, creating those relationships and maintaining that social aspect which is so important for teenagers at crucial parts of their years, and she is ‘grateful’ to have met the people she has in both journeys.
“They're both quite similar in terms of the teammate aspects of both team sports. But what you take from both is that you're going to have times where it's not going well, but you just have to stick with it. In terms of effort levels, I just try and put in 100%, and what you put in is what you get out of it. I'm grateful for the people I've met and the coaching staff around me in both sports, which have just helped me progress further.”
This summer, Marson had to make the difficult decision of leaving Corby Town Ladies to make a considerable leap to tier four level at Peterborough United Women, who compete at FA Women’s National League Division One Midlands level, and joined a completely new environment which many teenagers would have struggled to adjust to.
“Joining Posh was not a difficult decision for me. It was quite an easy decision, but obviously it's a massive step up from playing tier six to then playing tier four. So, it's been a lot of getting used to the intensity and the physicality of how we play initially, but as I keep referring to, the girls have really helped me settle in. The coaching staff have been good with giving me feedback, but I'm just taking each game as it comes.”