Ariana Dowse graduated from the Aldridge Cricket Academy (ACA) in July 2019 after finishing her studies at Portslade Aldridge Community Academy (PACA).

She has played cricket from a young age captaining Sussex age group teams and playing for the Sussex ladies 1st XI before moving to Hampshire for more wicket-keeping opportunities. She worked her way up to getting the gloves for Hampshire Women’s 1st XI team in her first season and she has experienced much success with them, including being promoted to Division 1 for the Women’s T20s, and a trip to the House of Lords to have a medal awarded for winning the Women’s 50-over Division 1 title 2018.

Ariana joined PACA, excited to utilise the facilities and training at the Aldridge Cricket Academy, which are unique in the state school sector. She explains that the strength and conditioning support at ACA has really added to her cricket experience and coaching. “Just before and after ACA’s tour to Sri Lanka our strength and conditioning coach, David, devised a keeper-specific programme for me, which I have never had anywhere before. It was really impressive.  All of the keepers said it was the first time they have had this anywhere.”

Ariana was also fortunate to benefit from one on one training with Sussex Women’s captain Georgia Adams, who has been Assistant Coach at ACA since 2017.  “Georgia was doing her Level 3 coaching qualification, and we had loads of sessions working on my sweep shot, as we decided that could help my game.”

Ariana was part of the ACA tour to Sri Lanka in 2019, and although she has been fortunate to go on tours with other clubs, this was the first time that she had to fundraise for the privilege. “I think it was better because you worked to go on the tour and it made it more motivating to perform well and go and enjoy it.  It really got the team spirit up beforehand too.”

Alongside her cricket, Ariana also managed to find time to complete 3 A-levels. Having originally opted to take two maths A-Levels and a Sports BTEC, she was encouraged to take on a third A-level instead. “I had taken GCSE PE, and my teacher said that the BTEC Sport was too easy for me. I felt I could excel at the A-Level PE and so I agreed with them and swapped. They really encouraged me to work harder.”

From 6th form Ariana progressed to Southampton Solent University to read Accounting and Finance.  “I feel really happy with where my cricket is going, and I’m excited for the future!”