As we near the end of the first season of women's cricket at Clifton Hill (there's another season starting in February - don't worry!), it's time to reflect on the amazing achievements of our inaugural CHCC Women's XI.
With one home and away game to go, Clifton Hill sits third on the ladder, one win behind Camrea and Dennis, and still in with a slim chance of a Grand Final appearance in December.
It worth remembering that this time last year there were no women playing for Clifton Hill Cricket Club. In February and March this year, we ran a successful women's training squad, attracting more than 25 women, the vast majority of whom had never played cricket before. From that solid beginning, we found a core group who were interested in playing competition cricket and started our journey to forming the inaugural Clifton Hill Cricket Club Women's XI.
Our first ever game was against the Preston Himalayan Strikers out at Keon Park. We fielded a team of eleven women who had never played a competitive game of cricket before - and won!
Five rounds later and we are third on the ladder with a round to go and a chance to play off in the Grand Final!
Along the way we have uncovered a dedicated group of cricketers who are keen to train, keep learning all aspects of the game - and compete! We have found a great leader in captain Liddy Clarke, who has also joined the CHCC Committee, some destructive batters, including the two Claires - Burns and Williamson - Rebekah Drake and Karen Dreher, some fantastic bowlers, including Steph Spilsbury (who is leading Harro on the club bowling stats - but who's counting...), Emma Crimmings, Danielle Halloran, Rebekah and the two Claires, and a genuine wicket keeper in Tejal Kulakarni, who put the gloves on for the first time two months ago.
Singling out star performers is one thing but the real success of the group has come from the strong team ethos, with everyone contributing on the field, at training and behind the scenes. Players like Parshana, Ellyn, Danielle Meyer and Giovanna have all batted, bowled, taken catches and contributed on and off the field. Playing and training as a team has been the cornerstone of our success this season. The following list of players who have played at least one game for Clifton Hill have all made a massive contribution:
Our last home and away game for the season is against top of the table Camrea Stingrays in Reservoir on Sunday 26 November at 9am. Camrea have only lost one game this season and it was to the second placed team, Dennis. Realistically, to progress to the Grand Final we need to beat Camrea and hope that Dennis loses to Donath in their last game. (No doubt Giggs will now work out all the other mathematical possibilities of how we might still get in the GF to prove me wrong...)
Whatever happens in the last round, our women have made a fantastic start to competitive cricket and have done the club proud. Let's get around them and make sure they know what they've achieved.
I'd like to mention the women's and girls' team sponsor, Message Media, and the club gold sponsor, FIIG Securities, and the City of Yarra for their support of our women's cricket initiatives.
Season 2 kicks off with a T10 tournament on Sunday 21st January and then continues with a series of T30 games. If you know anyone who is interested in playing for Clifton Hill and wants to join our fantastic team, let them know to contact Liddy Clarke or Ralph Saubern.