C’mon girls, pull on the whites

SIMON SAYS
Nanjing Night Net

EVER since Michael Slater and Geoff Lawson left Wagga to pursue careers as professional cricketers, the City of Good Sports has been waiting for its next baggy green wearer to appear.

But perhaps we have been focusing on the wrong gender.

Women’s cricket is a virtually untapped pool in Wagga but a new female-only competition to debut in February could be the answer to producing our next Australian cricketer.

Female sport in general has struggled to make it big compared to male sport in the country.

The W-League gets a token broadcast on the ABC on weekends and netball gets a pretty good run.

But aside from that, it is hard to think of a female-only competition that gets any decent exposure.

In Wagga there are a number of sports for females but cricket has never seemed to attract many members of the fairer sex.

Perhaps it is the sport itself that women do not enjoy playing, but I think it’s more to do with the saying “people attract people”.

In this case it should be females attract females.

A young girl is less likely to play a sport if she is the only one in a competition filled with boys.

I know that was the case when I was playing junior cricket.

There was always a handful of girls playing in the competition each season but generally they would play for one or two years and stop simply because none of their friends were playing.

A couple of them stuck with it and turned out to be very handy cricketers.

In Wagga it is a similar situation.

There is a handful of girls playing in the junior ranks but when it gets to senior level there are basically none.

So to establish a female-only cricket competition in the city is a no-brainer.

Organiser Phil Jenkins and Australian vice-captain Lisa Sthalekar have identified the need for the competition and are working tirelessly to get it off the ground.

The reasoning is simple – the Australian and state teams source players from cricket academies, but with no grassroots competition the academies will be empty.

Hence the need to get girls playing cricket at the very bottom level.

The only issue is Jenkins and Sthalekar can not simply click their fingers and create a competition.

They need it to be supported and filled by players before a ball can be bowled.

Jenkins is hoping to run separate junior and opens divisions with four teams in each.

But at last count he only has enough players registered to fill four teams.

With little more than a month left until the competition begins, the onus is on Wagga’s women to jump on board and support the concept.

Simply by signing up and playing five rounds of cricket you could be helping to groom a future Southern Stars representative.

It’s been a long time since Wagga farewelled Slats and Lawson and it’s about time we produced another professional cricketer.

If this female-only competition is a success we should have Wagga girls filling cricket academies in no time.

Anyone interested in registering or for more information about the competition contact Phil Jenkins on 0407 202 713 or at [email protected]南京夜网.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.