Westmeadows Cricket Club isn’t mucking around with trying to develop its girls’ cricket program, signing one of Victoria’s most talented young players as coach for this season.
The club’s junior co-ordinator, Dean Burgess, knew Emily Smith through his daughter, and when he approached Smith to coach the girls’ side, she had no hesitation in saying yes.
It’s the second year the club has had girls’ cricket. “They’re very passionate about their cricket and I can’t wait to get it off the ground,” Smith said before the first training session.
“I’m looking forward to the coming season. It’s a really exciting time for not only women’s and girls’ cricket, but women’s sport in general.”
Smith began playing cricket after following one of her friends into the sport, with neither of her parents being fans of the game, and she hasn’t put the bat or ball down since. Smith played with the juniors at Sunshine Cricket Club before joining Victorian Premier Cricket side Essendon Maribyrnong Park. Since then, the game has taken her around Australia and the world.
“The past three seasons I’ve played with Tasmania Roar and, recently, the Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League,” Smith said.
“I’ve been lucky to train with the Vic Spirit again this summer. I was in the rookie squad four seasons ago before I went to Tasmania. The last two Aussie winters I’ve spent playing for Essex in England. It was a bit cold, definitely a different experience but not one I’ll forget in a hurry. They take their cricket very seriously.”
The wicketkeeper says she’s unsure whether she’ll be playing in this year’s Big Bash, adding that the excitement of the first year of the competition had surprised everyone.
Smith has done some coaching overseas and mentoring at Sunshine, and says she’s excited about coaching the Warriors’ girls. The team trains Monday nights for its matches in the Renegades north-west girls’ competition.
The Warriors are hoping to enter teams in the under-13 and under-15 age groups, both of which focus on developing skills.
“I’ve been very lucky to have some incredible former Australian players as coaches,” Smith says.
“Out at Essendon we have Karen Rolton, and the level of experience she has is just incredible. Hopefully, I can pass on anything I’ve learnt along the way, but as long as the girls enjoy the game that’s all that matters to me. There’s a lot of talent in the area and, hopefully, we can convert a few of the girls from footy to cricket in the off-season. That’s how I started.”
The girls’ training is at Willowbrook Reserve from 4.30pm on Mondays.
Competition starts on November 7.
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