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4 reasons to watch the Women’s Big Bash League

Ashleigh Went

Women’s Big Bash League player Sam Bates began her cricket career the way most athletes do: in her backyard.

Since then, she’s built an impressive career as a bowler, making the move to Canberra to play for the ACT Meteors and more recently being drafted in the Sydney Thunder to play in the Women’s Big Bash League.

Competing in the Big Bash is no easy feat, with the team training extensively in preparation.

“Yesterday we had a gym session from 10am to 11am, and then we had a half-hour break” explains Sam. “Then we went straight into a three-hour training session where the bowlers bowl, batters bat, and we had a centre wicket.

“It’s kind of line game scenarios, where we actually play a game against each other. Then we had a running session after that.”

While I can appreciate the incredible athleticism and skills of sportspeople like Sam, I struggle to engage with cricket in its traditional format. I simply don’t know that much about it, and find it difficult to follow. And it goes for a really long time.

Perhaps you’re rolling your eyes at my ignorance, or breathing a sigh of relief that you’re not to the only one who feels that way. Regardless of which category you fall into, here are four reasons not to miss the Women’s Big Bash League.

Supporting women in sport

 This is a pretty exciting time for women in cricket. Last year, the Australian Cricketer’s Association and Cricket Australia agreed to a MOU which sees a move toward gender equity in pay, with female player payments increasing from $7.5 million to $55.2 million.

For women cricketers, this gives them the freedom to focus on playing cricket without the challenge of having to hold down a job at the same time—a challenge which, as a student studying a medical degree, Sam knows first-hand.

“For a time I was juggling uni and a job and cricket, and something had to give.”

“We’re actually now classed as semi-professional, so if you want to, you can live off what you make from your contract. We also don’t have to have training sessions at 6am anymore because people have to get to work. We can focus more on our training.”

Watching the Women’s Big Bash League is a way you can support women cricketers in a small yet significant way.

Convenience

When compared to a traditional cricket match, the Big Bash is a less taxing experience for spectators.

“Big Bash is a shorter game” says Sam. “Cricket usually goes for a whole day, so people have to take work off, or organise a babysitter, that kind of thing.”

The shorter match means more action and less lulls, meaning more excitement from the crowd.

The shorter format means that you can simply turn up with your friends and family, and enjoy the game.

Entertainment

Cricket will always be entertaining for fans. However, the fact that the game is shorter means that it’s easier to follow for those less familiar with cricket, as does the structure of the match.

“The boundaries are smaller now” explains Sam, “so it will be a lot more entertaining. There’s half time entertainment, it’s always a good atmosphere, where I think in the other games, it can be a little more dull because it goes for the whole day.”

Fun for the family

The double-header at Manuka Oval is on Wednesday 24 January—well within school holidays. An afternoon out at the cricket is a great way to get the kids out of the house and entertained.

The cost of tickets includes access to both the men’s and women’s matches, so the whole family will be happy. Manuka Oval has excellent facilities, including food and drink vendors for when the kids get hungry.

the essentials

What: BBL & WBBL Double Header featuring the Sydney Thunder and the Melbourne Renegades
When: Wednesday 24 January
Where: Manuka Oval
Tickets: premier.ticketek.com.au/

Feature image via Getty Images

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Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author