Sport

Women’s competition to start with United keen to impress

By Alex Mitchell

Goulburn Murray Cricket’s new senior women’s competition starts on Sunday and while what the competition will bring is an unknown, the region’s teams are excited.

Shepparton’s sole representative — Shepparton United — begins its campaign with an away trip to Leitchville-Gunbower, and the side is still looking for players for its inaugural campaign.

Team co-ordinator Tony Giblin said getting a team together had been hard work, but it was ready to fly the Cricket Shepparton flag.

‘‘It’s been a bit slow getting it all together, and our team comes from all different parts,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got players from Euroa, Shepparton, Tatura and Tocumwal, they’re coming from everywhere to play under our banner, just to get the competition started. We’re still happy to have more if they want to play.’’

One of seven clubs represented in the competition — Kyabram Fire Brigade has two entries — United does not boast a stack of experience, but will look to Cricket Shepparton lower-grade player Stacey Lothian to lead the way.

And Giblin said a quick learning curve had been on display through pre-season training.

‘‘Our girls in the last couple of weeks have improved dramatically,’’ he said.

‘‘Stacey has played lower-grade cricket with us and a couple more have played men’s before. A couple are beginners, but everyone is improving a lot, particularly with the batting.’’

Results aside, the most important fact is the women’s competition is starting; Giblin said the side was committed to giving Shepparton locals a chance to play the game at the senior level.

‘‘We’re just making it happen, and making a start, we’re getting the ball rolling and each year there should be more momentum,’’ he said.

‘‘It means girls coming through now playing under-10s, under-12s, there will be a clear pathway for them rather than just ad hoc games with the boys.

‘‘We’d hope in four or five years there’d be half a dozen clubs in Shepparton and that same amount in Bendigo. If anyone aged between 15 and 50 wants to play, they should contact me on 0407246778.’’

●Sunday’s other fixtures have West Bendigo hosting Kyabram Fire Brigade Red, while Fire Brigade White will travel to face Maiden Gully Marist.

Nathalia hosts Echuca in the other game.