OPPOSITION teams singing in the warm-up and Miss Japan taking photos with fans were part of Terang cricketer Grace Lee’s first overseas trip.
Lee, 18, spent 10 days in Japan as part of her second Cricket Without Borders experience.
The all-rounder was part of an Australian invitational team which competed in a World Cup qualifier, the East Asia Cup. Lee, one of four Western Waves’ cricketers in the squad, said it was an eye-opening experience.
“Japan are 13th in the world in women’s teams,” she said.
“We were an invitational team and we played the best teams from Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Cook Islands and Samoa. We beat the Cook Islands and went close in matches against PNG and Vanuatu.
“PNG ended up winning the whole thing. They upset Japan.” Lee, who travelled on a Cricket Without Borders trip to Darwin last year, said the East Asia Cup had a festival feel.
“A lot of them were singing on the boundary to support their teams and PNG in their warm-up were singing and that’s not something you see in Australia,” she said.
“At the final they had marquees set up everywhere and Miss Japan was walking around. They made it a great deal.
“Everyone was going up taking photos with her.”
Lee said she played a role for the invitational team, without producing any standout performances.
“I was a leader of our group,” she said.
“They picked three of us to help the young ones. I got to wicketkeep for three games which was pretty cool.
“I enjoyed it but I am not that good at it.”
Cricket Without Border offers tours annually to girls who love cricket and are willing to promote the game,
The Clare Cannon-founded organisation has toured England, Singapore, Darwin and Japan so far.
Lee is studying PE teaching at Federation University in Ballarat.
She played for Victorian Premier Cricket women’s club Essendon-Maribyrnong Park’s seconds, as well as Terang’s division two men’s side, last season and hopes to combine the two again this year.