ALTHOUGH most talent scouts would be keenly interested in those with the bat and ball at this year’s under-18 female national cricket championships, Ashlee Kovalevs and Claire Polosak are turning heads on their own as the first women to umpire at the nationals.
Western Australian Kovalevs, and Polosak, from New South Wales, were appointed to the national competition in August last year as part of the Cricket Australia pathway for umpires program after impressing in their respective state competitions.
Neither had umpired at this level before but were still happy to make the trip to Ballarat to take the next step in their development.
“Umpiring at nationals is the peak for me so far – this is only my second year in umpiring so coming here is pretty special,” Kovalevs said.
“It’s been very fun – everyone in Ballarat seems to be very friendly and very welcoming and all the clubs and the players have been very supportive,” Polosak echoed. “The aim for us would be to umpire the final, but there’s eight of us and they’re all very good umpires – and there’s only two positions available in the end.”
Kovalevs umpires A grade cricket in both men’s and women’s competitions in WA, while Polosak is the first female to umpire a female first grade final in Sydney.
As far as the pair are aware, they are the only female cricket umpires in their respective states.
“We’re definitely limited in numbers, but Cricket Australia is definitely trying to increase our numbers which is good to see, and there’s lots of support out there if girls do want to take up umpiring,” Kovalevs said.
“The girls that are here are on their own pathway to represent Australia as well and that makes it really good quality to watch and be a part of,” Polosak said.
Yesterday’s seventh and final qualifying round saw Victoria lose its first match for the series, going down in a nail biter to South Australia.
Round seven yesterday:
New South Wales 7-225 (L Smith 63, M Molloy 61, M Cameron 3-40) d Western Australia 10-56 (L Smith 4-7, B Vakarewa 2-9, TJ Heddo 2-15, A Horton 2-20) at Northern Oval
Victoria 7-133 (N Hancock 50, A King 26, TM McGrath 2-26, SL Oates 2-29) lost to South Australia 7-135 (AJ Wellington 31, R O’Donnell 2-9, S Molineux 2-19) at Wendouree Turf
ACT 308 (Z Cooke 69, S Darney 48, N Westenraad 45, KL Austin 36, J Hicks 35, S Nichols 4-63, D Rooke 3-38) d Tasmania 156 (M Phillips 42, NJ McDonald 2-24, KL Austin 2-35) at Napoleons Turf
Queensland 7-263 (AE Godfrey 73, JL BARSBY 61*, H Birkett 51, C Crooks 2-30) d Auckland Schoolgirls 10-91 (AE Godfrey 3-10, M Dixon 2-11) at Eastern Oval
Victoria v New South Wales at Eastern Oval
Queensland v South Australia at Wendouree Turf
Western Australia v ACT at Northern Oval
Auckland Schoolgirls v Tasmania at Napoleons Turf