Newcastle cricket female participation officer Sharyn Beck described the response to the inaugural Sixers Social Women’s Cricket Newcastle competition as “incredible”.
Beck said the social Sixers competition was the first step towards hopefully establishing a women’s league for the future.
The competition is open to females aged 16 and over and will be staged over five Sunday afternoons at Smith Park, Hamilton North from January 29.
It is a pilot program and follows on from the girls’ under-13 competition, played under the Sixers Girls Cricket League banner Friday nights at Smith Park last year.
They played modified, two-hour T20 games over a 10-week period. For the first six weeks they used soft balls and no protective gear then for the last four weeks used protective gear and a harder ball.
Beck said the junior competition was “received really well” and another one is scheduled to start next month.
“We had four teams and we’ll probably have six teams in the next competition,” Beck said.
Indications so far are that the women’s competition will also be well received.
“There’s nothing at all in Newcastle for women who want to play cricket,” Beck said.
“When we were running the under-13 competition we thought it was also a chance to run a pilot program for women as well.
“Honestly, I cannot believe the response; it’s been incredible.
“I’ve already got 30 registered, which doesn’t look like a lot but it is considering we didn’t have any at all.”
Beck was expecting eight to 10 teams to take part in the inaugural competition and said it was “definitely filling a void”.
Hunter women’s cricket product Maisy Gibson, who plays for the NSW Breakers in the domestic competition and Sydney Thunder in the Women’s Big Bash League, said it was an exciting time for the sport.
She grew up playing in boys’ competitions and said she lost interest in the game for a while in her teenage years.
“I think it's good to see the rural areas follow what's happening in the big cities, and the only way the women's game is going to get bigger and better is the promotion and support from the bigger rural places such as Newcastle, Tamworth and Maitland,” Gibson said.
“You lose a lot of girls at the ages of 13 to 16 as the boys get bigger and faster and a little meaner … now the girls have the opportunity to play with other girls who want the same thing. It's so good to see.”
Registrations are still open for the inaugural Sixers Social Women’s Cricket Newcastle competition through PlayCricket.com.au.