TONGALA Primary School’s team of rising cricket stars took their talents to Melbourne’s sporting cathedral on Thursday, and delivered on their exciting potential.
Looking to win School Sport Victoria’s girls’ cricket state finals, the team made up of grade five and six students stumbled early on the Melbourne Cricket Ground before hitting stride for the rest of the day.
They lost to eventual champion Skipton PS in the first game of the day, before knocking off Glen Waverley South PS and Oak Park Primary to qualify for the third-place play-off.
And the team’s sensational form continued, beating St. Joseph’s PS from Wangaratta comfortably to seal third place.
Proud Tongala principal Rob Hogan said the girls had performed brilliantly.
‘‘They lost the first game by 30 or 40 runs; I think the girls were just a bit overwhelmed being on the MCG,’’ he said.
‘‘But from there they won every game by 50 or 60 runs. It was a great day and they did extremely well.
‘‘And they just loved the experience. A few of the girls had never been to the MCG before let alone played on it, and there were heaps of parents there too supporting them.’’
Hogan said the girls could hardly contain their excitement before the tournament kicked off, and drew plenty of praise from those in attendance for their spirit.
‘‘They were extremely excited about being there; we had to wait outside the ground for a while and they were champing at the bit to get in and get amongst it,’’ he said.
‘‘They just loved the opportunity to get on the ground, they did extremely well but if we played Skipton again I think it would be a lot closer.
‘‘And again, the umpires and opposition coaches were complimenting the way the girls played the game. They were humble in their victories and really made the most of their opportunities.’’
Tongala has led the area’s push for girls cricket, last season entering an all-girls team in the boys’ competition.
Hogan said the group would be playing cricket for a long time.
‘‘It’s fantastic; I’m a major cricket buff and to see girls’ cricket so popular and these girls so passionate about it is great,’’ he said.
‘‘This group is going to go through and play together for a long time, and they’re starting to be recognised by co-ordinators up this way for how good they are.
‘‘The Tonny Cricket Club has done an amazing job with them helping to build their love of the game; at this age it’s all about enjoying the game and that’s exactly what they’re doing.’’