NO longer will aspiring female athletes be locked out of one of country cricket's best-known traditions.
More than 25 players from 11 clubs will represent Warrnambool at the inaugural female country week carnival in Hamilton next week.
Warrnambool - who will field sides in both under 17 and under 13 divisions - is set to lock horns with Geelong, Hamilton and Colac-centric teams.
Under 17 coach Jacoba Mungean, who is tied to Brierly-Christ Church, said country week was an exciting prospect.
It's definitely exciting because when I was growing up, I just had to play with the boys.Jacoba Mungean
"It's definitely exciting because when I was growing up, I just had to play with the boys," she said.
"So it's definitely exciting watching all these girls - I've known a couple of them for a long time - it's really exciting.
"They should have a good few days."
Warrnambool will play matches on Tuesday and Wednesday, vying to secure a place in Thursday's final.
It will compete without two of its best players.
Both Milly Illingworth and Maddie Green will miss due to Victoria Country commitments.
"They're both really good players," Mungean said.
"It's good to see them playing representative cricket.
"But there's five other girls competing in a Youth Premier League grand final on Monday and the rest of the team is made up with really good local girls.
"It's definitely a very competitive team."
Nirranda and Nestles have the equal most representatives in the under 17 side, with three apiece.
Brierly-Christ Church is the most represented in the under 13 competition, boasting four players in the 15-player squad.
Warrnambool and District Cricket Association chairman Gordon McLeod said female cricket had grown "tremendously" since its inception two seasons ago.
"We started off with association-based competition and now that's evolved into clubs taking ownership of teams," he said.
"It's great to give these girls an opportunity to play against the best players of the region."
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.