IT HAS flown under the radar coming nearly two months into the cricket season, but a landmark occasion will take place on Friday night with the launch of an all girls cricket competition for our local area.
Full credit must go to the Goulburn Murray Cricket organisation for pushing for this competition (for girls aged 11-14) to get off the ground, while the same credit also goes to the clubs of the area for giving it support.
But the GMC in particular seemingly recognised the significance of getting the competition started. Board member Cam Kervin told The Riv the six-team competition would have gone ahead with as little as four entrants.
The reason? ‘‘We have to start somewhere,’’ he said.
And truer words haven’t been spoken.
Women’s sport is coming from a long way back, and if a lack of numbers is allowed to be an excuse not to push forward, society will never get anywhere in terms of moving towards sporting equality.
In the same way fewer people play women’s sport in many cases, fewer people watch as well.
Although in recent years, the boom in women’s sport has seen many examples, such as AFLW, WBBL and Super Netball, where it has out-rated male sporting alternatives quite considerably.
Many might be quick to dismiss this as unsustainable and the result of an initial excitement as these leagues kick off.
But the point remains that we indeed have to start somewhere, and there’s every chance exposure of various sports to a wider audience will continue to build a foundation of supporters for the leagues.
The great work of organisations like GMC at the local level is so vital in conjunction with increased media exposure.
Young girls, like their male counterparts, have more and more pathways to elite level sports where they can emulate their heroes.
When these new leagues get a chance, they are delivering on expectations — and then some.
When the AFL women’s exhibition matches between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs got a chance, it showed how much public enthusiasm there was behind the sport.
Instead of waiting for the end of this decade as previously floated, the AFL rushed forward, bringing in plans for a league to be operational by 2017.
And the competition this year was a complete success.
Much in the same way, the initial season of the Northern Country Women’s League in our local area was a complete success.
So successful that AFL Goulburn Murray and AFL Central Victoria have agreed to split the league in two for next season, citing the bigger-than-expected growth of the competition in the inaugural season.
Let’s continue to give things like this a chance. When women’s sport has been given a true chance, it has delivered.