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First ladies of cricket: Rachel Pearce

Adelaide city girl with small town Darwin boy. Rachel Pearce is the leading lady in Jake Weatherald’s story. Effortlessly elegant, Rachel can light up a room with her ear-to-ear smile. We spoke to the bubbly beauty about life with her six-hitting, milk-drinking partner in Jake.

Occupation?

I graduated last year with a Health-Science degree and now I’m taking a year off, working at Kookaii. I’m looking to get into medicine next year but if not I would love to get into physio. Jake keeps asking for massages but I tell him I’m not a physio yet!

Family background

I’m Adelaide born and bred with mum from England and dad from South Africa. I also have a brother who is 13 years older than me. I think I was a bit of a surprise for my parents actually! My brother and I have always gotten along really well, perhaps because of the age difference rather than in spite of it.

Hobbies

I love reading, travelling and cooking. I do a fair bit of the cooking at home at the moment but Jake maintains more of an ‘elite athlete diet’. I’ll bring him into the kitchen a bit more at some stage … we’ll see how that goes! It sounds really nerdy of me but I guess study is one of my hobbies too. It has to be … studying medicine will take four more years so I might as well enjoy it!

How did you and Jake meet?

I was invited to a party by a girlfriend who wanted to meet up with a certain guy there and she needed a wing-woman. I initially considered pulling out but didn’t want to let my friend down so went along and before I knew it I’d met Jake. Perhaps it was karma – we hit it off! I was 16 and Jake was 17. He’s very funny and kind and there was just something about him that caught my attention.

To those who don’t know him, what’s he like on first impression?

I think when he first meets people he’s quite reserved but when you get to know him he’s very outgoing and very funny. My favourite thing about him is his wit – he’s great with those one-liners.

How long have you been together?

Four and a half going on five years together. Being quite young we take it pretty easy. Our motto is as long as we’re having fun, then it’s working.

What’s his favourite thing about you?

He says he likes my smile. He also gets a laugh out of my poor form when it comes to maps and directions! If I think I should be going east, chances are I should probably go west!

What’s your attitude towards cricket?

With dad being South African I’ve been exposed to cricket from a young age, and I really enjoy it. Jake will kill me for saying this but when I first met him he used the line “I play for the Redbacks” and I had to admit I had no idea who they were. I’m definitely into cricket more now having been with Jake!

Rachel with Redbacks partner Jake Weatherald at the 2016 Neil Dansie Medal

What’s it like being the partner of a cricket player?
It’s not all the glitz and glam everyone thinks it is actually! It’s great but I think that for Jake it can be very stressful – he takes it seriously and dedicates mind, body and soul to the sport – he eats, breathes and sleeps cricket. He’s a massive perfectionist. So when we’re at home there’s a ‘no-cricket’ policy – we try to talk about other things.

Everyone else coming into this world of cricket seems quite used to it. For Jake and me it’s still very new. Jake still feels like that small-town Darwin boy. He’s so excited that he’s now playing the sport he loves for a living but it’s such a massive transition for us both – everyone has to be ‘all in’ – partners too.

How would you describe the support role to a cricket player?
I attend his home games and cricket events and I try to get to the interstate games when I can. I like to think that I’m a sounding board for him.

Tell us about Jake behind the scenes?
It’s no secret that he’s a mad fisherman and it drives me up the wall! I was dragged out with him not long ago and let’s just say I got a lot of reading done.

Something that most people wouldn’t know is that he’s quite a good dancer. He will tell you he’s a bad dancer but he’s really not and doesn’t mind a bit of a shuffle. I’d describe his style as hip hop. Would you believe he’s also got a great eye for drawing. When I was studying one day he whipped up a portrait of me and it was amazing.

Oh and Jake loves milk – normal milk. He’ll drink three cartons in one sitting!

Rachel with Vivienne Webb (partner of Alex Gregory) and Stacey Hein (partner of Kelvin Smith) at the 2017 Neil Dansie Medal