Junior Girls eager to get season under way

October 29, 2020 BY

Torquay Tigers Junior Girls' team ahead of their practice match against Grovedale.

THE Geelong Junior Cricket Association’s (GJCA) Geelong Renegades Girl’s League set to get under way on Sunday (November 1), with players eager to get back on the field.

Torquay Junior Girl’s coach Chris Speldewinde said he was delighted the players could enjoy their sport again.

“The girls are so excited. Torquay’s got two Junior Girl’s teams in the Stage 1 competition, and there’s room for more.”

Geelong Cricket Association (GCA) Junior Committee chair Werner Weigl said the enthusiasm was widespread, as participation levels were high across junior divisions.

“I think boys and girls that have missed out on playing football and all the other winter sports are probably keen to get into sports over summer.”

Yet the cricket season will still look different due to COVID-19. Weigl said while the junior season would stay the same length, there had been some adjustments to formatting.

“What we have changed a bit to accommodate the current environment is trying to have divisions with no more than eight teams (divisions normally include up to 12 teams), so that once seven games are up everyone has played each other and if the pin gets pulled on the season halfway through it then it’s easier or more equitable to make a decision as to who may be premiers.”

Match-day conditions have also been altered to fit COVID-safe protocol.

Torquay’s Junior Girls side also recently played a practice match against Grovedale to trial some of the new procedures ahead of the regular season.

Speldewinde said he was glad to have this opportunity.

“I think it was really important to do that, just to really tighten up the protocol of the sanitising of balls and equipment, and tracking player movement.

“We’ve automated it so everybody is using a QR code to log in their personal details: name, date, location, time of arrival, time of departure, just so heaven forbid any incident with COVID we know who’s where and when.”

Weigl said he was pleased to see clubs using practice matches to adapt to the new protocol.

“That is what we strongly encourage and that is part of the reason why we delayed the season by a week, just to give clubs the opportunity to have one or two practice games and get across the protocol from a practical sense and see what works and what doesn’t.”

He said this year would put particular emphasis on participation over performances.

“We’re really geared for kids’ participation and we’re very mindful that with COVID it can swing one way or another very quickly. We’re trying to send the message that being able to play cricket in this current environment is a privilege and not a right.

“Particularly in junior sports, we’re not playing for sheep stations, and we’re very much trying to send a strong message that junior sport is about participation and not about winning and losing.

Speldwinde agreed results were not the priority.

“It’s really about getting the girls to play the game, to love the game, and to just to be part of a team.”

Torquay Cricket Club is still eager to have more junior players join and is also searching for a senior women’s team coach.

Anyone interested can contact the club by emailing [email protected].