Healesville Cricket Club’s first women’s side take to the field

The inaugural Healesville Cricket Club's women's side. Picture: CALLUM LUDWIG

By Callum Ludwig

Tuesday 6 February marked a monumental day in the Healesville Cricket Club’s illustrious 136-year history.

It was the first time an all-women side donned the Bloods colours together, competing in the RDCA Women’s East’s Mid Week Twenty20 competition.

Captain Shannon Maile said it was very exciting and was a pretty big honour to be named captain.

“The girls have been training really hard and it’s just great to be out there having some fun and hopefully it’s something that can continue,” she said.

“A lot of people, not just me, put a lot of effort in to try and get this up and running, there’s a lot of work behind the club to try and get this all organised, everyone’s done their bit to help in recruiting and it’s all worked out well.”

Healesville took on Montrose at Montrose in their inaugural game, losing the toss and being sent in to bat by their opponents.

Healesville Cricket Club President Chris Handasyde said progress to get the team together started slow but came together after Christmas.

“It started with six girls that were really keen at the start of the season and then Shannon =went out and started recruiting and it gained a bit of momentum,” he said.

“We’ve got a few junior girls and a few girls playing in the senior Saturday comp which is mainly men but to provide an avenue to a female-only team is really good, though it doesn’t stop them from playing with the other seniors on a Saturday as well if they want,”

“Hopefully we get more than one team in the future and hopefully, people will be driving past and see that there are ladies out there playing cricket in the red colours and join the club.”

As reasonably expected, it wasn’t a fairytale first outing for the Bloods, finishing on a respectable 9/81 off their allotted 20 overs which Montrose chased down in eight overs with only the loss of one wicket.

Coach of the team Phil Deuart said they’ve got a good variety of players from those who’ve never played before to some who are seasoned cricketers.

“For a lot of them, we’ve just been trying to learn the rules and the basics really, I’m fairly sure that out of the 11 of them, there is seven that have never played before so it’s a great achievement to get a team out on the paddock tonight on a Tuesday night,” he said.

“I think we’ll just take these four games that we’re playing as a bit of a chance for growing, to work out where our strengths are and work out what we can work on for the season ahead.”

Opener Belinda Harding’s knock of 27 off 22 balls top-scored for Healesville, followed by a solid 18 not out off 40 balls from Summer Caldicott and a late 14 off 15 from 10th batter Megan Schelfhout.

Summer Caldicott also took the first and only wicket for the team so far while also going for only 10 runs from her two overs while Megan Schelfhout was also pretty economical in her three overs, going for 26 runs.

Ms Maile said overall, she thinks the team is pretty well-balanced.

“I think everyone has different strengths, we do have a lot of bowlers and are more of a bowling side, but we do have some really good batters and some are really good at fielding,” she said.