Cricket Victoria has announced the go-ahead for the Barwon Region’s first senior women’s competition set to take place this November.
The eight-week home and away season starting November 17 is still in the beginning stages of planning, however the interest from local clubs has exceeded expectations.
Cricket Victoria’s Manager of the Barwon Region, Mitch Reid, said he was surprised by how many clubs have shown interest.
“Our initial thought was that if we have four teams, we can create a competition,” he said.
“We held our information night on Wednesday August 14 and we had 13 clubs from around the region say they have a really strong interest in fielding a side.”
While the Geelong region’s development of female cricket has been slow, recent years have shown a spike in the number of girls participating.
The Geelong Renegades Girls’ Cricket Competition has gone from strength to strength with 22 teams now playing across Geelong and the Bellarine Peninsula.
The competition, which caters for girls aged nine to 19 was one of the main reasons why Cricket Victoria and the Geelong Cricket Association wanted to introduce a senior women’s league this season.
“We don’t want those girls to stop playing junior cricket at around 18 to 19 years old and have nowhere to play senior cricket in the region,” Reid said.
“Geelong is a very big town, there is no reason why people should have to be travelling to get cricket as an option.”
The push for the women’s competition has been seen as a positive step for increasing female participation by making more sports accessible.
“We’ve seen with the AFL Barwon how well they have done with women’s footy and it’s fantastic that women can play a wide range of sports. It would be silly to not try and tap into all that great work they have done by getting more women playing non-traditional female sports,” said Reid.
Since the end of last cricket season, a subcommittee was formed to work with local clubs to develop the competition. The league was established quickly under the idea that it was impossible to join what did not exist.
“We have seen with senior women’s competitions across the state once you build it, it does grow. There is a big appetite for female cricket but unless there is a competition they cannot play,” Reid said.
The competition will see a few modifications including nine players per side as opposed to 11, who will be participating in a 20/20 format on Sundays at 2 pm. The idea behind reducing the number of players makes it is easier for clubs to field teams as well as increase the involvement of each player.
Cricket Victoria and the Geelong Cricket Association are both confident that with nine-player sides a large number of clubs will be able to enter the competition. The reduced length of the match is said to be the more viable option as people are becoming more time poor.
Reid said he was excited to be a part of the inaugural season and the first of its kind for the region. He believes it will provide an avenue for women to be more involved in both sport and their communities.
Cricket Victoria aims to get more people involved in the game, emphasising that cricket is a sport for all walks of life.
“It is really important for us that we are providing programmes for competitions so that any person can feel like they have the ability to get involved,” he said.
Cricket Australia has invested large sums of money into the ‘growing cricket for girls fund’ that can be accessed by clubs looking to start a women’s team. Vic Health and Connected Community grants exist around female participation and are available to individual cricket clubs to minimise perceived barriers.
Cricket clubs have until October 18 to enter their side ahead of the seasons-opening.