We're thrilled to announce the following people for our Sports Panel
Chemmy Alcott - Olympic skier and sports presenter
Chemmy Alcott is a 4 Time Winter Olympian who represented Team GB throughout a 20 year sporting career reaching a high of 8th in the world. She became the first British ski racer to win a run in World Cup.
Since retiring from alpine skiing after Sochi in 2014, Chemmy has spent her time challenging herself partaking in the Worlds Toughest Ski Race in Greenland in March 2015, 100 mile road race Ride London, The Great Amazon Raft Race in Sep 2023 and other sporting endeavours whilst in 2021 being promoted to lead presenter of BBC’s Ski Sunday TV Show, alongside Ed Leigh and fronting the BBC Olympic Coverage. In 2018 and 2022 she was the Winter Sports Expert alongside Clare Balding for BBC’s award winning Winter Olympic Coverage. Their coverage over both Olympics had viewing figures of over 100 million viewers!
Alongside this, Chemmy created the initiative X-Elle, to develop young girls confidence in and through sport with United Learning and toured the UK visiting schools with an eventual reach of impacting the lives of 10,000 young girls.
She frequents the pages of national newspapers, red carpets and Hello magazine often, holds 3 Guinness World Records, came 5th in the very popular ITV Dancing on Ice in 2012 and as someone used to racing downhill at over 80mph doesn’t look to be slowing down soon despite being mum to two young boys!
Chemmy is passionate about sustainability and making the right choices to protect the world we live and the mountains that she calls home. She's also an Ambassador for the Right To Play charity, helping them raise funds for children in areas of conflict, as well as supporting Ski4Cancer.
Jane Powell - Former England Cricket and Hockey player, and first Female President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club
Born in Yorkshire, Jane played cricket for England between 1979 and 1991. With a batting Test Average of 35.12, Jane also captained the side during the 1988 World Cup in Australia, where the team reached the final only to eventually lose to the host nation. In addition, not content at representing her country in one sport, Jane has also represented England at hockey and badminton.
Jane has a number of claims to fame one of which is she is the answer to a trivial pursuits question- who were the last twins to play cricket for England – answer Jill and Jane Powell.
Regarded as one of England's leading female coaches, Jane holds Level 4 coaching qualifications in both hockey and cricket. Jane coached the England women's 'A' Cricket Team to two European Cups and has also held the role of Head Development Coach with the English Cricket Board. Jane took on the role of Head Coach of England prior to the arrival of John Harmer in 2000. Between 1988 and 1998, Jane held the position of Head Coach with England Hockey at U14, U17, U18 and U21 level. She has also worked as a Talent Identification Coach and acted as a consultant to England Hockey on tutor training, assessor training and coach assessments. Jane also spent over 20 years as a PE teacher, including Head of PE at the Chase School, Worcestershire.
Jane was Head of Coaching for England Hockey where she was responsible for a wide range of coaching issues. These include communicating the technical development from the Performance Team to hockey coaches throughout clubs and regions, leading the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), leading and managing the Level 4 Coaching Qualification, communicating cutting edge sports science and medicine to clubs and regions and leading the recruitment process and management of centrally contracted and National Performance Centre coaches. Jane worked with the GB Head Coaches in 2 Olympic games and was a key member of the background staff for London 2012 where the men's team finished 4th and the women's team achieved a bronze medal.
In 2013 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for services to British Sport, so is now a Doctor of Science from the University of Worcestershire.
Jane was also Chair of Governors to the Governing Body of Magdalen College School Brackley for 9 years and used her experience of education, performance and governance to good effect to impact on the next generations. She went on to lead Performance at English lacrosse and set up the Talent Pathway system – guiding the National squads to European Golds in all disciplines U20, Boys and Girls and Senior Men’s and Women’s.
After working in the Coach Development Team at ECB she is now the Performance Manager for England Disability Teams at the ECB.
In April this year she was appointed as the first Female President of Yorkshire breaking the glass ceiling after 160 years!
Layla Guscoth - Doctor and England Netball player
Having found the love for her sport aged 11 and a passion for medicine whilst at college and not wanting to sacrifice either, Layla continued to play while studying and training as a doctor, graduating from Oxford and UCL. Once she had qualified Layla took the difficult decision to step away from Netball to focus on her medical career. But in 2019 she decided she had stepped away too soon and still had much to give to the sport she loved. Encouraged by team mates and coaches she returned to the sport and went to play amongst the best in the World in Australia for the Adelaide Thunderbirds. She rejoined her England Netball team mates for the home World Cup in 2019 but in a cruel twist of fate tore her achilles in the second match and was ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
After months of rehab Layla was fit enough to return for a second season in Australia in 2020 when the pandemic hit where Layla felt duty bound to help with the frontline effort. She flew back to the UK and worked at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for 5 months before returning to complete the season in Australia.
Layla returned to the UK in 2021 where she joined Team Bath for two seasons as well as making her Commonwealth debut in the home games right here in Birmingham in 2022.
2023 saw Layla make the move to Surrey Storm and make history with the rest of the Roses returning from Cape Town with a Silver medal after reaching their first ever Netball World Cup final.
Carly Telford - former England goalkeeper and new Commercial Player and Relationships Manager at Chelsea FC
Hailing from the North East, Carly began her senior football career with Sunderland in 2002 before going on to join Leeds United in 2007. She made her senior international debut in the same year and was one of the first 17 female players to be given central contracts by The FA, going on to make 28 appearances for her country during her career.
Carly was signed by Chelsea ahead of the inaugural 2011 FA WSL season before spending time on loan at Perth Glory during the 2012/13 season, and ultimately making the move to Notts County in 2014. Carly returned to Chelsea in 2017 and spent a further 5 years at the club, before transferring to NWSL expansion side San Diego Wave where she made a number of appearances over the following season before announcing her retirement from football in March 2023.
Carly’s list of footballing achievements is one to be noted – domestically she has won 3 WSL titles, 1 WSL Spring Series, 2 FA Cups and 2 League Cups with Chelsea, and on the international stage was named in the final squad for multiple major tournaments, including 3 FIFA Women’s World Cups, the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euros and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. She was also named in the 2015 PFA WSL Team of the Year for a standout season at Notts County, with the team reaching the FA Cup Final for the first time.
Ahead of the 2023/24 season, Carly has returned to Chelsea to act as the club’s first Commercial Player and Relationships Manager, where she will work closely with club partners and future prospects to promote Chelsea’s brand value to business investors and help to support the growth of the club on a global scale. Carly has also started to build a name for herself across multiple media and broadcasting outlets, appearing regularly on Sky Sports and various radio channels, and in 2022 collected an honorary doctorate from Nottingham Trent University where she had previously studied a BA (Hons) Media degree.
Kate Cross - England Cricket and Lancashire Cricket Club player
Pace Bowler Kate played cricket for Heywood Cricket Club from the age of eight and was selected for the Lancashire Women's senior side aged just 13. In 2006 Kate became the first female cricketer accepted into the Lancashire Academy.
She made her England debut in the West Indies in October 2013 and in her first spell of bowling in international cricket she dismantled West Indies' top order, taking 4 for 51 and winning Player of the Match. Her Test debut, at Perth in early 2014, was equally special. Her pace and accuracy saw her remove three of the Australian top order and play a crucial part in England's victory. Cross finished with figures of 6 for 70 in the match.
In July 2015, she was signed by the Brisbane Heat for the inaugural Women's Big Bash.
Kate Cross made her debut for the Manchester Originals as captain of the Hundred team in July 2021. During the match, she made history by hitting the first 6 in hundred ball cricket. She was also the leading wicket taker for Manchester Originals with 12 wickets. In February 2022, Cross was awarded the ESPNcricinfo Women's Bowling Performance Award for 2021, for her 5/34 taken against India.
Kate also hosts Test Match Special’s “No Balls: The Cricket Podcast” alongside fellow cricket player, Alex Hartley.