Reflecting on the last month, things have been busy on the ambassador scene. On a personal note, it’s been great to be involved with the role in a number of different ways.
I have been busy with diamond cricket and secondary schools cricket games in Brisbane, MILO in2CRICKET boy free zone in Ipswich, school sports awards in Brisbane south, and photo shoots in Sydney.
What I really enjoy about the ambassador role is the wide variety of projects and the different people we meet.
Each Friday afternoon for six weeks at Allan Border Field, Queensland Cricket has been running a girls diamond cricket competition.
We have had a consistent turnout of girls aged from about 8 to 15 years.
It has been great to see the enthusiasm of the girls and we have been pleased to find the skill level has increased each week.
There have also even been some younger brothers who joined in and had some fun.
I really feel that diamond cricket is a great modified game which gives younger girls a chance to experience cricket at a basic level but gives them an opportunity to play with their mates without the pressure of having boys around.
Along with my fellow Queensland Fire teammate Courtney Hill and Women’s Development Coordinator Joanne Broadbent, we have run a number of 8 a side cricket matches in Brisbane between private girls schools.
Once again, I have been impressed with the standard of skills involved but also the way the girls have a lot of fun playing the game. Many of them have not played cricket before, or are involved in other sports like softball and tennis, but bring to the table a positive attitude towards the game.
Even if they get out for a duck or cannot quite master the straight arm action of bowling, there is always lots of encouragement for one another. Somerville House is a private school in Brisbane famous for its sporting curriculum and it is encouraging to see a minimum of four cricket teams playing and training regularly.
The secondary school pathway is an important link between primary school girls cricket and transferring players to club level and we feel the stronger this competition gets, the stronger the link will be between club and school and therefore club competitions should benefit largely.
I spent a morning with the year five, six and seven students of Woodridge State School in late November at their school sports awards.
This school is largely made up of a diverse multicultural environment of students and I was impressed with the sporting talent at the school.
They had basketball, volleyball, athletics, and netball champions.
I was really impressed with the positive attitudes of the students and when I reflect on that visit, it makes you realize how important sport is for some children.
I spent an hour playing diamond cricket with about forty grade seven girls, and to see how excited they were to be outside and having a good attempt at the game was inspiring for me.
Some of these girls have experienced tough childhoods, but I could see that they have a lot to give and particularly to their classmates. There was a real sense of teamwork about the school and I was really inspired by this.
I also spent a day in November with a young group of IN2Cricket boy free zone girls some as young as five years old.
Milo In2Cricket is such an important part of cricket participation not only for boys but also girls.
The girls looked great in their hat and shirt and were very protective of their own bats.
It was great to see the parents of some of the girls volunteering to help out with the skills work and you sensed the great community spirit about the group.
I didn’t have an opportunity growing up to be involved with In2cricket, so to see what is available to girls today in a cricket sense is encouraging.
I grew up as the only girl playing cricket with the boys at school and club level. Sometimes this was a daunting process particularly as the boys sometimes didn’t like being caught out or bowled by a girl.
However, I feel playing with the boys was great for helping with my mental toughness and I am sure that most girls who have been involved in male sport would say the same thing.
On a cricket note, I know the Southern Stars are gearing up for an exciting series in January in Sydney against the Kiwis in our annual Rosebowl Series.
January is a big month for women’s cricket with National League finals and the tour.
The Christmas break comes at a good time for all players to have a break and freshen up leading into a big 2012 which includes a month long tour to India and World Twenty 20 in Sri Lanka.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia