The sun is out, the mercury is rising and the threat of summer is well…
Last night’s match might have not been the result that Australia had hoped for in the Women’s Ashes T20 Series, but for Club Cricket, yesterday remained a cause for celebration.
Yesterday morning, Australian Captain Meg Lanning took to Kaleen Playing Fields to lead a Training and Development Clinic for the Western District Junior Cricket Club. The Clinic marked the launch of the CommBank Cricket Club Sponsorships 2018, an initiative that provides important funding to grass roots cricket.
“The CommBank program aims to level the playing field for Australian cricketers to help encourage players of all genders, cultural backgrounds and abilities to get out on the field and give cricket a go.”
“I think grass roots cricket and young girls coming through is a very important part of the growth of the game, and it’s great to see CommBank supporting that.”
Like many sports, cricket is seeing a welcome surge in female participation, and programs such as this facilitate the change.
“I think the good thing is that there’s so many opportunities for young girls to be involved in cricket now” says Meg. “When I grew up, there was only really boys teams to be involved in. Now there’s a lot of all-girls competitions around, and that’s great because it means that a lot more girls will be involved.”
For Meg and her teammates, their involvement in this program is an opportunity to give back to the cricketing community, and act as the role models for the younger generation of cricketers.
“I think it’s a really important part of being involved in the Australian team, that we do give back to grassroots cricket, because at the end of the day, we all started there. I think it’s the best place to try and give them some of our knowledge and inspire young girls to want to go on and play for Australia.”
The program itself is now in its fourth year. 65 clubs across Australia, including the Western District Junior Cricket Club, are set to receive funding after being awarded a Sponsorship in the 2017 program.
“It’s all about club cricket,” explains Meg, “specifically women and players of all abilities coming through. It helps them to buy equipment, with coaching, and things like that – things you might take for granted or assume come along easily. It gives clubs a helping hand to grow the game and give young girls opportunities to get involved.”
Applications for the 2018 program have now opened, allowing local clubs to apply to receive a two-year sponsorship that provides $2,000 a year to the club, as well as new equipment for training and matches.
The elation from the young girls participating in the clinic was visible, clearly relishing the opportunity to learn from Meg.
“It was great” she says. “They’re very enthusiastic and always keen to learn. Passing on a little bit of knowledge about the game and things like that to young girls coming through can hopefully help them get to where they want to go. You want to inspire the next generation to take up cricket. It’s such a great team sport and a lot of fun.”
Her parting words to girls and women who’ve yet to try cricket?
“It might not be the normal sport for girls to play – although it is becoming more like that. I think if you go out there and have a go at the game and see if you like it, that’s the biggest thing. You just never know until you give it a crack. I’ve seen a lot of girls coming through who are unsure but once they give it a go, they really enjoy it.”
You can find more information on local cricket on the ACTIVE Directory.