NORTH METRO CRICKET ASSOCIATION VS CRICKET SOUTHERN BAYSIDE WOMEN’S REPRESENTATIVE CRICKET MATCH
“Platon comes charging in from the Tyler St end, her team have posted a respectable 101 and they will need her to bowl tightly to contain the opposition. She approaches the crease and… BOWLED! Middle stump goes cartwheeling and the NMCA have the breakthrough!”
MICHELLE PLATON (HOLY TRINITY) CLAIMS THE WICKET OF PENNY CALLAGHAN (CARNEGIE)
Friday 22nd February 2019. An ordinary night in the Northern Suburbs of Melbourne, where the lights at Ruthven Reserve are shining, and a large crowd has gathered to watch a game of T20 Cricket. If you had been driving past, you would have looked twice and wondered who all those people were there to watch. If you were visiting friends close by you would have muttered to yourself about not being about to find a park within 800m of the ground. If you were walking your dog, you might have wondered what all the noise was about. But very few would have realised if you looked a bit closer, you were witnessing a moment in history.
On that night, several hundred people gathered at Ruthven Reserve in Preston, to witness the first ever Inter Association Representative Women’s Match in Victorian Cricket history. Whilst women’s cricket has been played in Victoria for over one hundred years, there has only ever been one association, the Victorian Women’s Cricket Association (VWCA), who administered this and thus, no opportunity at a local level for representative games between associations. Until now.
A SECTION OF THE CROWD AT RUTHVEN RESERVE WATCH ON
Back to the Beginning…
The North Metro Cricket Association created a competition for adult women beginners in 2015. The competition was unique as it was the first time a senior female grade had been introduced within an existing men’s competition. The NMCA had previously only offered grassroots opportunities for men and boys since 1922. Across the four seasons since its inception, the NMCA has grown from four teams to eighteen teams, with sixteen currently participating in the 2018/19 Summer Season. Female players aged from fourteen through to their sixties now play for their local club, the same team as their Dad, brothers, husbands and partners and most often at the club where they grew up.
Cricket Southern Bayside developed their competition in 2017, following the NMCA model and adapting it to address the needs and composition of the region. This model, having been created within the NMCA and allowed to grow and evolve since the inception, has focused on participation through increasing access and the opportunity to play.
NMCA & CSB 2019 REPRESENTATIVE TEAMS
Practically speaking, increasing access means shorter seasons before and after Christmas, T20 and 30 Over One Day Formats, the provision of Equipment Kits for clubs, pre-season Masterclass sessions to develop skills and most importantly creating teams based out of existing (& traditionally men’s) clubs who already have administrators, support staff, scorers and coaches, has allowed both associations to build sustainable, competitive and social competitions that welcome women who have never previously had an opportunity to play. The comment passed most often by players about why they love playing is not about the season length, or the different formats but instead about the friendliness, the camaraderie, the support, the kindness and encouragement that is shared between the teams. This is not something you can legislate or demand, it is something that grows when you hold the space for it to do so.
THE NMCA FAST BOWLING CARTEL – RHEE SHAW (PBCC), CAPTAIN MAREE WELLS (DONATH), MICHELLE PLATON (HTCC) & ELLA STALLWOOD (FAIRFIELD)
An idea is born…
At the commencement of the Cricket Southern Bayside initiative in 2017, CSB General Manager Warren Griffin and NMCA Women’s Cricket Manager, Lenore Smith, joked that in a season or two once the second competition was established, the two would be able to play a representative match against each other. After CSB’s first successful season, the phone call was made ‘Let’s do this Rep Match’. (They have both been banned from joking about any more good ideas for at least a year!)
There ensued a process of several months of nominations, statistics analysis, training sessions, team dinners, many emails about Roast Chickens and text messages about fielding rotations, meetings to amalgamate and refine the rules, the recruitment of two marquee coaches – Sarah Elliott and Kristen Beams, and most importantly the selection of representatives from each of the twenty four clubs within both competitions to participate on the night.
MASTER OF CEREMONIES LIDDY CLARK (CHCC) AND THE TEAMS DURING THE PRE MATCH CEREMONY
Match day arrived and the CSB team made the trip north of the Yarra to the heartland of the Northern Suburbs. The sun shone brightly, an air of anticipation encompassed the ground as the National Anthem rang out. Much to the amusement of those present, and perhaps feeling the sense of occasion, it launched itself into the rarely heard second verse!
NMCA PLAYER OF THE MATCH – SINA MASON ON HER WAY TO 24*
At 6:00pm, the teams took to the field, and as the home side, the NMCA batted first posting a total of 2/101. Notably, Sina Mason from Camrea CC made 24 and was ably supported by Judi Donovan (Dennis CC), Melissa Tripodi (Laurimar CC), Danielle Toull (Olympic Fillies) and Brooke Nam (Keon Park CC) who all retired not out. Paige Hinrichs (Cluden CC) was the lone wicket taker for CSB, bowling Laura Cullen (Holy Trinity CC) for 7 in the fourth over, whilst Lucy Roze (Clifton Hill CC) was run out in the thirteenth with some sharp fielding.
THE STUMPS IN DISARRAY AS LUCY ROZE (CHCC) IS RUN OUT
After a quick innings break, the lights started to glow as CSB commenced their innings in a quest to chase down the NMCA total. They were stopped early on when Captain Maree Wells (Donath) dismissed Omega’s Jordon Cooper caught behind and then Michelle Platon from Holy Trinity CC had CSB Captain Rhiannin Bretherton (Omega CC) caught, and sent middle stump flying as Penny Callaghan (Carnegie) looked on. When Danielle Toull from Olympic Fillies held on to a brilliant catch well into the second innings, an audible roar could be heard from the crowd who had delighted all evening by such an incredibly entertaining game of cricket.
DANIELLE TOULL (OLYMPIC FILLIES) CELEBRATES A SENSATIONAL OUTFIELD CATCH WITH THE TEAM
In the end, the NMCA emerged victorious. Whilst we may smile ironically and say that ‘cricket was the real winner’, to do so would be selling this game, these players and this moment in history short. Cricket is many things to many people, it has been for several hundred years. At the local level in Victoria, and more broadly across Australia it brings people from different walks of life together, it creates communities, it encourages endeavour, self-improvement and mateship, it brings joy, frustration, exhaltation and most importantly a sense of camaraderie and achievement. This game did all of those things, and for the first time ever it held a space for adult beginner women in local associations to be the beneficiaries.
A new group of participants joined together, in the Spirit of Cricket, in front of several hundred witnesses to play the game we all love, but haven’t always all had the opportunity to play. From now onwards, local female cricketers and aspiring female cricketers of all ages in Victoria will look at this and be able to say, if she can, I can. If they could, then we can too. We can be, what we can see.
THE NMCA – FIRST WINNERS OF THE INAUGURAL WOMEN’S INTER ASSOCIATION REPRESENTATIVE SHIELD
Local Grassroots Women’s Cricket is important for cricket. Over 300 spectators could tell you that. The countless cars that drove past over those three hours and witnessed the lights and the large crowd could tell you that. The many council and cricket administrators who stood amazed at what they were watching could tell you that. The people who could not find a carpark for twenty minutes could tell you that. The family members, the daughters and sons, the fellow team mates who were present and who come to watch every weekend could tell you that. The players who will go on to higher levels, and the players who will continue to have long and enjoyable careers at their local clubs could tell you that.
Cricket is a game for everybody, at every age and every stage.
Friday 22nd February 2019. It was an excellent day to create history.
THE FIRST EVER NMCA WOMEN’S REPRESENTATIVE TEAM BACK ROW: COACH KRISTEN BEAMS, WOMEN’S CRICKET MANAGER LENORE SMITH, LAURA CULLEN (HTCC), BROOKE NAM (KPCC), MELISSA TRIPODI (LAURIMAR), LAUREN BYRNES (CHCC), RHEE SHAW (PBCC), DANIELLE TOULL (OLYMPIC FILLIES), JUDI DONOVAN (DENNIS), TANAE CREEK (LALOR), COACH JON HYDE, SCORER LISA HUI FRONT ROW: ELLA STALLWOOD (FAIRFIELD), BIANCA ADDAMO (PYCWD), VICE CAPTAIN LUCY ROZE (CHCC), CAPTAIN MAREE WELLS (DONATH), VICE CAPTAIN MICHELLE PLATON (HTCC), SINA MASON (CAMREA), SAROZA SHARMA (PHCC), KEELY MERCER (HWCC)
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