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Trevor Griffin: 'I'd love to be the England women's head coach'

The coach with WBBL and Women's Super League titles talks about how he came into the game and his plans for the future

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Trevor Griffin on Sydney Thunder's win: "We said to the girls that the teams that embraced hub life would be the ones that got through to the finals"  •  Getty Images

Trevor Griffin on Sydney Thunder's win: "We said to the girls that the teams that embraced hub life would be the ones that got through to the finals"  •  Getty Images

It is 13 years since Trevor Griffin left his job as a district sales manager at Nationwide, the British building society. He had been playing club cricket in Devon at the weekends, but was not getting the time to train like he wanted. He was going through a divorce and decided that it was time to quit his job too.
"After I took that decision, I woke up at two in the morning and sat there thinking: What am I going to do? I've got a house with a mortgage to pay, and no job," he recalls. "It was a huge decision."
Griffin had realised during his time in financial services that his passion was "people development". He saw an opportunity to combine that with his love for cricket through coaching and took on various roles over the next eight years through the Devon Cricket Board, Chance to Shine, and at the University of Exeter, but it was in 2015 that his career really started to take off.
That winter he took a punt on travelling to New Zealand after getting in touch with Canterbury Cricket, investing some inheritance in flights and accommodation. The following summer he was offered a role as analyst and assistant coach at Western Storm during the inaugural season of the Women's Super League, and when Caroline Foster stepped down, he took over as the side's head coach.
Two KSL titles later, he took over as the Sydney Thunder's head coach ahead of the 2019-20 WBBL season. His side won the competition this season, and he has since returned to the UK to start pre-season training with the Sunrisers, the North London and Essex-based side in the new women's domestic set-up in England and Wales.
"We talk about 'work', but for me, it doesn't feel like work," Griffin says. "This is me combining a hobby and a passion - I'm very fortunate to do it. I know that it's sport and contracts come and go, so you could be out of a job at short notice. But I just focus on what I do and thoroughly enjoy it. Helping these girls go on and develop is an amazing feeling, to have that influence and that opportunity."
Griffin's stock as a coach is now high within the women's game, but before the 2020-21 WBBL season, expectations from the Sydney Thunder were low. After a sixth-place finish in 2019-20, the side lost Alex Blackwell and Rene Farrell's experience and started this season as the competition's youngest side.
Griffin brought in England internationals Heather Knight and Tammy Beaumont, and subsequently, thanks to Knight and captain Rachael Haynes' form in the middle order, the variety in the bowling attack, and a willingness to embrace the oddities of life in the tournament hub, they won the title.
"Not long ago, some of these girls were paying £5 match fees to contribute towards teas and balls; now they're getting paid to do what they love"
"Quite a lot was made of us being a young unit at the beginning of the competition," Griffin says. "What I found was that our youngsters brought this energy and enthusiasm, and the senior players were genuinely excited by it - they thrived off that. It worked so well for us.
"We said to the girls that the teams that embraced hub life, understanding that things might not be perfect but making the best of the situation, would be the ones that got through to the finals. I think we saw that with the Melbourne Stars and ourselves."
Griffin sees similarities between the squad he helped mould at Western Storm and his Thunder group, and thinks that despite lifting the trophy this year, there is still plenty of room for improvement and growth.
"It took three years for us to build that 2019 side [at the Storm] with a stable group of players. We took that long to get to that level and be able to play that attacking, exciting brand of cricket. We've got some really exciting youngsters. Phoebe Litchfield, for example, is only 17, and we've only just started to see the best of her.
"To see someone at that age, in high-pressure games against [Sydney] Sixers, reverse-sweep Dane van Niekerk for three fours in a row… that shows something very special. Hannah Darlington is another one who is only going to get stronger and quicker. Tahlia Wilson will get better and better. Our headache now is about keeping the 12th, 13th, 14th players in the squad happy and engaged even if they might not get as many opportunities."
On his return from Australia, Griffin went home to Devon to see his wife Gemma, but has now begun the early stages of Sunrisers' pre-season training.
"I felt a bit like a student - I went home with my washing, had a good feed, picked up some clean clothes and then left again," he jokes.
"This is an amazing opportunity for us to see how far the women's game has come in the space of four or five years. Not long ago, some of these girls were paying £5 match fees to contribute towards teas and balls; now they're getting paid to do what they love. What we have to be careful of is that now that they're professional cricketers, there will be more scrutiny without there necessarily being that senior pro around telling them what they can do."
That will not be such an issue in the Hundred, where Griffin's London Spirit side will be captained by Knight and feature West Indies' big hitter Deandra Dottin.
"One thing I've learned from Sydney Thunder is to make sure that London Spirit won't just be an extension of Sunrisers. They have to be two very different teams. There will be [many of the same] players in both squads, but you want them to feel like it's a different team; in the past at the Thunder, it had felt like an extension of the NSW Breakers."
And while Griffin hopes to continue in his current roles for several years to come, he has no hesitation in declaring his long-term ambition.
"I'd love to be the England women's head coach. That's what I'm eventually working towards. I really enjoy working within the women's game.
"If there was an opportunity within the men's game? I don't know. I get such enjoyment out of what I do at the moment. Someone asked me a few years ago where I wanted to be in five years' time, and I'm not sure I'd have dreamed of being where I am.
"I just want to help these women and girls get better at what they do, perform, develop, and go on and play international cricket. What happens to me after that will take care of itself."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98