Cricket NSW: Hornsby, Hills District, launch brand new cricket girls’ competition

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Photo Credit: Cricket NSW

In the beautiful suburb of Hornsby Heights, Friday evenings at Montview Oval turn into a carnival-like atmosphere. There’s music, dancing and lots of cricket, played by girls who just can’t have enough fun.

Montview Oval is equipped to run two cricket matches next to each other, and come Friday this season, Stage 1 girl players (8-12 years-old) who have, until now, mostly played Cricket Blast, or haven’t played cricket at all, gather in the afternoon sun to play against each other’s teams.  

This is a celebration of girls’ cricket all the way. The ball is pink, the kit is colourful, and no one needs to wear white unless they choose to. There’s music playing on a boom box and the girls are dancing with their bats, inventing cricketing moves and perfecting their legwork all in one. A few pink hoodie-wearing fielders are around the field, ready for a catch, or to stop that opening batter’s boundary attempt. 

This year, during Women & Girls Week on November 20-26, Cricket NSW will celebrate stories of success for seven days, bringing forth extraordinary stories of ordinary women and girls who have thrived on and off the cricket field because of their love of the sport.  

The stories will feature a volunteer on the Far North Coast who gathered 250 girls to come in and try cricket, an umpire who juggles a legal career and motherhood and loves being on the cricket field too, how the Central Coast became a female cricket hub in the last five years, and a female coaches’ collective in Newcastle that has infused fresh blood into cricket in the region. 

Also in the offing are workshops to upskill women who would like to be involved in cricket. On November 26, during the Weber WBBL match at SCG, 100 girl cricketers from clubs funded by the Growing Cricket for Girls Fund will walk a lap of honour around the field.  

Meanwhile, at the scorers’ corner in Montview Oval, stands Amanda Fraser, who is responsible for the competition being played in the first place. Among New South Wales’s cricketing community, Fraser needs no introduction. Crowned Cricket Australia’s and Cricket NSW’s Volunteer of the Year a few months ago, Fraser has made an impact on grassroots cricket in a short span of time like few have.  

She built her club, Glenorie District CC, of which she is president now, to be one of outer Sydney suburbs’ most successful clubs with a 50% female committee, uniting the local community with her leadership. Doubling as the girls’ cricket coordinator for the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai & Hills District Cricket Association (HK&HDCA), she has inspired the entire district to focus on girls’ cricket, increasing the number of girls playing cricket in the district by over 30 percent. 

SIGN UP TO PLAY GIRLS-ONLY CRICKET HERE 

It was only natural progression, with Fraser at the helm, that the Association would this year begin its first girls’ Stage 1 competition in the association’s history. The Stage 1 HK&HDCA girls competition took off in their own region this season, with seven of the 13 clubs putting together girls-only teams, and two clubs putting forward a merged team. This year, four clubs in the association have Stage 2 and 3 teams as well.  

Last season, the number of females playing cricket in the association increased from 508 to 660 in one season. There were four girls’ only Stage 1 teams, formed after Fraser met multiple times with club volunteers to make sure all their questions were answered to keep a focus on growing female participation.  

Whilst the association didn’t manage to get their own Stage 1 competition off the ground last year, the four teams that were generated played cricket in different neighbouring competitions around the North Shore or Central Coast. This year, the HKHDCA girls are playing cricket on their own turf, with teams from their own communities.  

There are specific strategies that clubs have employed to have more girls register to play. Some, like Hornsby District Cricket Club, have made registrations free for girls. Others, such as West Pennant Hills Cherrybrook CC, have found equipment and kit sponsors for their teams. 

Some of the girls play in mixed teams on Saturdays, so HK&HDCA decided to hold the girls’ only matches on Friday evenings at grounds such as Hornsby and Montview Ovals, under lights, with music and dance thrown in. The idea went down so well that some of the girls are just happy with Friday night girls’ cricket now. Liesl, Fraser’s daughter, for example, loves her all girls’ cricket, and the fact that she can wear green pants to play.  

Jacob O’Sullivan, Cricket Manager, Sydney North West, said: 

“Cricket NSW and HK&HDCA have been able to start the girls’ Stage 1 competition after two seasons, primarily due to Amanda’s efforts. She is a powerhouse and has been able to build those club connections in the district for clubs to buy into the idea. We were also bolstered by the Hornsby Council’s support of growing female cricket participation in the area. 

“It is a clear strategy for Cricket NSW to have more girls, especially in the 5-12-year-old age group, play and love cricket. The mission has been transformed into reality with the Stage 1 girls’ competition, made possible by our strong female volunteers in the district. We are grateful for their efforts and are excited to provide more opportunities for girls to play cricket in the Hornsby and Hills area.” 

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