WARRNAMBOOL cricketer Gemma Gibbins and Hawkesdale’s Grace Linke will get a taste of the big time at Horsham this weekend.
The Western Waves pair will line up with Victorian Women’s Cricket Association (VWCA) club Essendon-Maribyrnong Park (EMP) as part of a premier grade match.
EMP will take on Melbourne at Horsham City Oval in a day-night match on Saturday hoping to strengthen its ties with the Waves, its Cricket Victoria-aligned region. Gemma and Grace earned selection for the match on the recommendation of Waves regional manager Stephen Field.
EMP president Lisa Gale said she was looking forward to having Gemma and Grace join the Bombers’ playing group.
“In women’s cricket we have a metropolitan and country-aligned region and our country-aligned region happens to be western,” she said. “Before these two girls, we’ve had nine Waves girls come through. We’ve had a good record and numbers come through from that way.
“We thought it was worthwhile giving the girls a run and them getting a taste of what premier cricket is like.”
Gale said she was confident Gemma and Grace would hold their own at premier cricket level.
She said the relationship with the Western Waves ensured teenage female cricketers from the region had a pathway to the top of the sport.
“It’s making sure they know there is a pathway in women’s cricket and giving them a contact point in,” she said.
“We find it’s extremely valuable.”
EMP has won the past two VWCA premier grade one-day finals. It sits on top of the ladder in the one-day and Twenty20 competitions this season.
Gale said she believed women’s cricket was moving forward.
“I think we’re moving forward in the right direction. We’re now aligned to Cricket Victoria and Victorian Premier Cricket,” she said.
“So the support structures are a lot stronger than they have been in the past.”
Meanwhile, female cricketers will take centre stage at Cobden Recreation Reserve this weekend.
South West Cricket (SWC) clubs Cobden and Heytesbury Rebels have teamed up to organise a women’s match at the ground on Saturday.
The match — for the partners, wives, girlfriends, daughters and sisters of the players of both clubs — starts at 1pm. It serves as a curtain-raiser for the clubs’ SWC division one match, a day-night fixture starting at 3pm.
The two clubs are using the day to support the McGrath Foundation, which aims to have a breast care nurse available for every Australian regardless of where they live.