Photo Credit: New Zealand Cricket
During the 2022/23 summer, a dedicated group of Nelson volunteers; namely, Tony Pratt, Gareth Lawes, Jolene Cotton and Win addressed the lack of all-girls playing opportunities in their region by creating a “Town vs Country Series – The Claudia Green Cup” – for Year 6 – 13 girls still developing their skills in the game.
Due to having three all-girls teams at three different clubs and levels, the devoted working group of volunteers wanted to create an environment for girls to extend their cricket skills and enjoy the company of other female cricketers.
Key volunteer, Jolene Cotton, helped to explain the rationale behind the initiative.
“In Nelson, girls do not get the opportunity to play together as there are no ‘girls only’ competitions (other than representative), and a range of skills and ages playing play against boys,” Cotton explained.
“We wanted to get away from clubs, get girls playing in an all-female environment to create relationships and appreciate the importance of playing together – understanding the girls’ game is different than the boys.”
The volunteers planned “upskill” sessions fortnightly on Monday nights from November to March, allowing females the opportunity to train with one another and learn new skills.
Following this, the volunteer group scheduled four ‘Town v Country’ matches throughout the 2022/23 summer, also on a Monday night.
Inspired by the English competition, matches were played using ‘The Hundred’ format.
“The Claudia Green Cup” was aptly named after Nelson local and Central Hind, Claudia Green’s, achievements and the role she has played to help develop female cricket within the region.
Green is an inspiration for many young cricketers in Nelson, having come through the Nelson Cricket and CDCA pathways, all the way to selection in the 2022 WHITE FERNS Commonwealth Games Squad.
Green is also an inspiration to students that she teaches at St Paul’s, a local primary school in Richmond, Nelson.
For Green the opportunity to support an all-girls competition in her local town was a privilege.
“I felt really honoured when Jo approached me about the naming of the cup for the Town vs Country competition,” said Green.
“It’s really heart-warming seeing the mahi parents are putting in to support their daughters’ love of cricket, whether it’s organising competitions like this or simply being there to dish out throw downs before the game,” Green continued.
I’ve loved watching these matches; getting to know the girls better, seeing their skills and witnessing their wonderful camaraderie as a group,”
“It would be fantastic to see this become an annual competition and hopefully it continues to gain traction over the coming seasons,” Green concluded.
‘Team Country’ officially won the inaugural “Claudia Green Cup” and look forward to defending their title next summer.