A NEW cricket program in Ballarat aims to fill a gap and encourage more women to have a bat or bowl.
Social Sixers, which comes into play next week, is an hour-long program that will run alongside the booming junior girl blasters program in a bid to entice mums, aunts or sisters who take girls to training to try the game. The program is also open to women who want to learn or get back into cricket.
Sports Central executive officer Michael Flynn said the program was part of a focus on driving social and modified sporting opportunities for women and girls across the region.
Ballarat junior girls cricket has long been strong and a new state league women’s team Ballarat Bolts is showing good form in the Victorian Women’s Community Cricket Competition.
“We see Social Sixers another key part of expanding on this and the growth of junior girls,” Mr Flynn said.
“We want to build a strong and sustainable pathway to introduce women and junior girls to cricket. Social Sixers can be for women if they’re not quite ready or wanting to join a serious team for women.
“But it’s about maximising opportunity.”
Ballarat’s female cricket program was a key focus for Sport England chief executive officer Jennie Price, who visited the city at the end of a fortnight-long Australian working tour. Ms Price was keen to look at they keys to success in a regional women’s sporting program.
The visit was also a key step in bringing Sport England’s edgy This Girl Can participation campaign to Victoria in a partnership with VicHealth.
Mr Flynn said cricket’s popularity among females was helped by increased prominence and strength in the women’s elite game, including the Women’s Big Bash League and a successful Australian national women’s team.
“That’s a really important part of it, having role models is such a key thing, particularly girls in seeing pathways in who they potentially could become and take their game to the next levels,” Mr Flynn said. “I think cricket’s doing really well in this space in women’s sport...There’s also a lot of exciting opportunities to play the game locally.”
Social Sixers will run on four successive Friday afternoons, starting from November 16. Sessions will include 15 minutes of skills and drills before a modified game in a fun, relaxing and inclusive environment.
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