Cricketers relish return of representative sport

More than 120 of the state’s female cricketers will battle it out this week for the Combined High Schools Girls Cricket State Championship in the NSW Riverina.

Two female cricketers and their coach discussing tactics Two female cricketers and their coach discussing tactics
Image: NSW's best female school cricketers are on show in the Riverina this week

Ten female cricket teams representing regions from across NSW have travelled to Albury-Wodonga on the southern border to compete for the Belinda Clark Perpetual Trophy and to be selected to represent NSW.

Riverina Schools Sports Association executive officer Terry Willis said the calibre of players continued to grow each year with matches kicking off yesterday.

“We have the very best cricketers from across the state battling it out over four days,” he said.

“At the end of the competition there will be two state teams selected.

“We have had fantastic support from the Albury City Council and also Cricket Albury Wodonga; when you have quality people and fantastic facilities in a region like this, it was a no-brainer for us to host the event.

“Girls cricket is taking off, there are not many opportunities like this they get to play against consistent, quality opposition.”

The teams play two 20-20 matches on day one and two followed by 50 over matches on the third and fourth day.

Riverina team manager Nathan Brookes from Mount Austin High School in Wagga Wagga has been a part of the event for 13 years and said it just keeps getting better.

“Some of the girls have gone on to represent the country, so it is a very real dream for these girls to have,” he said.

Mr Brookes’ team includes cricketers from eight different high schools including sisters from Corowa High School.

“We have had a great start to the comp but there is plenty more cricket to be played,” he said.

“There are some really talented cricketers here this year and it is great to see all the teams and support coming and staying in our part of the state.”

Teams of 12 representing the Hunter, North Coast, North West, Riverina, South Coast, Sydney East, Sydney North, Sydney South West, Sydney West and Wester regions are staying in Albury until Thursday.

The cricketers are looking to follow in the footsteps of current Australia representatives Ashleigh Gardiner and Nicola Carey as well as former captains Lyn Larson, Belinda Clark, Lisa Sthalekar and Alex Blackwell who all played in past NSWCHS state championships.

Cricket manager talking to his female cricket team Cricket manager talking to his female cricket team
Image: Riverina cricket manager Nathan Brookes talking tactics before the big game
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