GIRLS cricket in Bathurst could be heading into a promising new era this summer thanks to a push from Cricket NSW.
The Bathurst Junior Cricket Thunder Girls Cricket League will give the city’s under 13s, 15s and 17s players an opportunity to take part in weekly matches starting this October.
One of those eager to expand the women’s game is former Australian test player and current Cricket NSW Female Participation Specialist Michelle Goszko, who recently visited schools in Bathurst to promote the new competition.
Goszko, who is remembered for her stunning double century on test debut for Australia, has been thrilled with the early feedback she’s received.
“To talk about girls-only cricket with girls in Bathurst has been awesome. I’ve been lucky to have such great input from the schools up here, their teachers and the local clubs,” she said.
“We have a goal that in five years time 50 per cent of the people playing cricket are female. It’s an audacious goal but it’s something we’re aiming towards.
“There are a number of girls playing, but a number of them are not. That’s because they sometimes get self conscious or they feel uncomfortable playing mixed cricket. Our aim is to get those girls out there playing with their friends and having fun.”
Goszko said there has been a substantial growth in exposure for women’s cricket over the past few years.
“We asked questions at the schools like ‘Do you know what the WBBL [Women’s Big Bash League] is?’ or ‘Do you know who the Sydney Thunder are?’ and more than 50 per cent of the girls put their hands up. Three years ago you’d be lucky to get five kids,” she said.
“What’s great is that now you can play cricket as a career. We’re lucky in Australia that you can play for Cricket NSW or for Australia and make a full time job out of it.”
Bathurst has seen the recent rise in the profile of Lisa Griffith, who was named as the 2017 Country NSW Player of the Season.
Goszko said it would be wonderful to see more country girls coming through the ranks.
“When I was a kid I wanted to be David Boon or Merv Hughes. Now girls are growing up saying I want to be Alex Blackwell or Ellyse Perry,” she said.
“I’d love for the girls from here to one day say I’d like to be like Lisa Griffith or I want to be like Lisa Keightley, who was from Mudgee and one of the most famous Australian players.”
The new Bathurst competition will run on Wednesday afternoons with two hour Twenty20 matches.
Anyone looking for more information can contact Cricket NSW Development Manager (Central West) Matt Tabbernor on 0425 297 719 or visit playcricket.com.au to register.