THERE is little that Phillipa Hodgens loves more than cricket.
The Bessiebelle resident has proudly helped out Port Fairy Cricket Club for close to 30 years.
The now 69-year-old first arrived at the Avery's Paddock-based club when her son Richard, who is now the Warrnambool and District Cricket Association's junior delegate, took up the sport as a 12-year-old in the under 17s.
Since that season, where Hodgens provided the afternoon teas, she has been a true Pirate.
She has scored over 300 games of cricket, dedicated 15 years of her life as club secretary, one as president and 29 as a committee member.
Beyond the official roles, she has also cooked teas, sold raffle tickets and raised countless funds for the coastal club she serves passionately.
Hodgens said she fell in love with the club from the moment she entered its fold all those summers ago.
"It's a fantastic club and it is a great group of people to be involved with," the former teacher said.
"They are family friendly and although we haven't had much success the last few seasons, I am hoping there will be heaps of success in the coming years.
"It is a fantastic club and (when I joined up) I wanted to help it build into something better and that drive is still there now."
Hodgens, who scores up to two games a weekend during the summer months, says dedication and a love for the club is what she believes is the key to being a good volunteer.
The committed Pirate's love of cricket is also a key reason she travels across the region to watch her favourite club play week in, week out.
"I have always enjoyed cricket. I am a bit of a total cricket fanatic and tragic," she said with a laugh.
"I have learnt a fair bit over the years and one thing I noticed is it can become all encompassing and can take over your life."
Tune in to the latest episode of The Standard's podcast - The Booletin and Beyond
Hodgens' cricket addiction is not just reserved for grassroots level.
She has watched and thoroughly enjoyed Amazon Prime's documentary series on the Australian men's cricket team The Test.
Hodgens is also a big fan of Australian players including south-west rising star Georgia Wareham, number one women's all-rounder Ellyse Perry, number one men's Test bowler Pat Cummins and Brisbane Heat power-hitter Chris Lynn.
"Chris Lynn, when he is on song batting, is great to watch, Patty is just a real good all-rounder as he is a fabulous bowler, as we all know, and is also handy with the bat," she said.
"Ellyse is absolutely fantastic. To be able to play two sports and represent Australian in both of them is amazing and she is also a great bowler and bat with her cricket."
In recent years Hodgens has had to alter the way she scores as cricket takes a more modern approach for grassroots matches.
But the introduction of scoring via an iPad has not bothered her in the slightest.
"It's wonderful," she said. "I really thought I would be struggling with it being old and technically challenged but it is so much easier than scoring in the book.
"The WDCA has a system where if you play away matches you score in the book and then home games you score on iPad.
"I enjoy the book still as there is some things you can do with it that you can't with the iPad.
"For example you can look more easily and see how many dot balls a player has faced, which is a lot quicker in book than the iPad."
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic Hodgens believes her sport will be one to emerge stronger than ever.
"This could be the best thing to happen to cricket," she said. "There will be plenty of people looking for a sport to play as I don't think footy will take off this year and with some luck we will be able to pick up some players."
When cricket does return next summer, which Hodgens is very confident it will, so will she.
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.
- For National Volunteer Week The Standard is celebrating the people who help sports across the region continue to run smoothly and efficiently. From Tuesday to Saturday a new volunteer will tell their story of service and dedication.