National head coach role for ex-Karratha cricketer

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Corey Rutgers with the European Cricket League cup, which he won with Dutch team VOC Rotterdam this year.
Camera IconCorey Rutgers with the European Cricket League cup, which he won with Dutch team VOC Rotterdam this year. Credit: Supplied

Former Karratha cricketer Corey Rutgers has been appointed head coach of a European national cricket team after a rapid rise through the ranks of the European competition.

Rutgers was hired as head coach of Belgium’s men’s cricket team several months ago — just four years after he began coaching.

The 30-year-old said his progress to the level of head coach in European cricket had happened quickly, but had long been his aim.

“Growing up I wanted to be involved in international and high-level cricket, and then I set myself a bit of a game plan when I got into coaching, setting some goals with the aim of being an international coach by the age of 35,” he said.

“There’s a saying in sport that once you break through, that if you’re doing a good job and you take chances, you get a lot more opportunities, and I’ve noticed that ... once you’re in the door a bit, if you’re wiling to pack your bags and fly around the world there are lot of opportunities out there.”

Rutgers, who spent most of his adult life in Karratha, played cricket from a young age including for WA at the Australian Country Cricket Championships, but only began coaching professionally at the age of 26.

He was appointed cricket academy head coach for Dutch domestic side VOC Rotterdam and this year led the team to victory in both the Netherlands national competition and inaugural European Cricket League championships.

He also worked as assistant coach for Pakistan Super League team Islamabad United for almost two years.

Those successes led to him attracting the attention of the Belgian Cricket Federation and winning the role of national men’s team head coach this year.

Rutgers said cricket had “taken off” in Europe in the past 10 years driven by the influx of immigrants to the continent, making it an exciting time to be coaching there.

“On the Belgian team we have some natural-born Belgian players but because of immigrant influx ... there are also quite a lot of Pakistani, Indian and Afghanistani players that have come through and there’s some crazy talent,” he said.

“Most of them haven’t had professional coaching before so offering them the proper structure and regime for games is only going to bring the best out of them, and the sky’s the limit for this group.”

Rutgers said he planned to continue coaching in Europe for at least another 2-3 years.

He hopes to run cricket clinics in Karratha in December and January.

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