BEING a mum is no barrier to being part of the team at Bentleigh as the club starts its second season in the Cricket Southern Bayside Women’s Competition.
While the team loves to hit a boundary and take a wicket, the primary focus is to create an environment where women and girls of all ages and abilities can enjoy the physical and social benefits of playing in at an inclusive and supportive club.
VicHealth recognises that attracting and retaining women and girls in sport is a challenge. Mothers of young children face added barriers to participating in sporting activities when time and money are particularly scarce.
Bentleigh Cricket Club has looked to address these barriers by making its women’s team a place where kids are accepted as part and parcel of training and match days.
Ten of the 17 players on Bentleigh’s list have schoolaged children and half of those are single mums.
The flexible approach has also helped other women on the team. We have a number of women who love to play but find that study or work commitments mean they can’t make every training session or match. By having a larger playing list we can rotate players through to adapt to caring responsibilities, exam schedules or shift work.
Another key aspect to the success of the side is the focus on developing players of all levels of experience. While we have a couple of more experienced players and juniors who are looking to gain some extra experience, the majority of the team are newcomers to the sport. We delight in taking a novice and helping them discover a set of skills they never knew they had.
No one was more surprised than me to find myself taking up cricket in my 40s, but it has been such an amazing experience. I’m loving every moment of it.
Being able to bring my kids along means I know I can have some “me time’’ without having to feel guilty and the kids love it too.
The introduction of a women’s team is a key element to the exciting things happening at Bentleigh.
In addition to a first-grade premiership for the men, the past few years have seen strong growth in the number of junior sides and an explosion in the Friday night Woolworths Junior and Master Blasters programs.
The creation of a women’s team strengthens the club culture and we are looking forward to increasing the participation of junior girls to provide strong pathways through the club for years to come.
The women’s team is open to women and girls from age 13 of all abilities and levels of experience.
Details: www. bentleighcc.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org