ROCHESTER’S cricket sides have united to field a team in Goulburn Murray Cricket’s inaugural season of all-girls competition.
As women’s sport continues to boom, the GMC will launch the competition this Friday night, with the newly named Rochester Renegades to host Echuca South at the Rochester High School Oval.
An enthusiastic Tigers’ president Ray George said the competition would bring the town together.
‘‘We just wanted a side, and instead of going with United or Tigers we’re the Rochy Renegades,’’ he said.
‘‘We think it’s something that will bring us together and be a lot of fun.
‘‘The appeal is that it’s girls versus girls, there’s a lot of little daughters and young girls playing cricket in the backyard but they haven’t really been able to play the game. GM Cricket has been able to structure the whole league around giving them that chance.’’
The competition will run for six weeks, with five weeks of regular season fixtures before a grand final on December 22.
As well as Rochester, teams from Echuca, Echuca South, Tongala, Kyabram Fire Brigade and Bamawm-Lockington United will also compete.
George said the Tigers had the numbers to field a side but were still looking for more players.
‘‘The girls can’t wait, they’re rapt it’s happening,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s just a short series, which is about testing the waters, but it’s a growth industry; look at the Australian side dominating and Ellyse Perry. Now the girls get a chance to be like that.
‘‘We wanted to get the town together to do it, and we’re looking forward to competing as a town. It should be a lot of fun.’’
GMC board member Cam Kervin said the league was committed to giving the girls an opportunity to compete.
‘‘Even if we only had four teams we were going to run the competition, because we’ve got to start somewhere,’’ he said.
‘‘Now we’re really excited we got six together, and that’s comparable to other leagues like Bendigo and Shepparton.
‘‘We’ve benefited from Rochester Tigers and United co-operating to have one side, and from the great work of Tongala last year fielding an all-girls side in the boys’ competition. Tongala really proved it’s a do-able thing.
‘‘Some teams were surprised with the support and how quickly it’s been taken up. We’ll play this season by ear and see how it’s running.’’
The competition will follow the same rules as under 12 play, with 11 players per side but only nine on the field at one time, with the aim of giving more opportunity to improve fundamental skills.