By Romy Stephens
Two sporting clubs in Montrose will join forces this summer to encourage young girls to participate in sport.
With local netball competitions being cancelled due to Covid-19, Montrose Netball Club and Montrose Cricket Club have aligned, in a bid to get girls playing sport when netball’s not on.
The idea was first raised by Montrose Cricket Club junior coordinator, Mark Farrell.
Mr Farrell’s daughter plays both netball and cricket, but like so many others she hasn’t been able to take the court for netball this year.
“The impact has been in routine, there hasn’t been an activity routine. She’s an active person, she loves to play her sport, she loves training as much as she loves to play the game,” Mr Farrell said.
“Just not having that regular organised structured sport has meant constantly having to find other ways to exercise.
“When you’re limited as to what you can do outside, and with who, it’s pretty hard to get motivated.”
But with his daughter now getting ready for a cricket season likely to start this summer, he thought other young girls could do the same.
“Netball isn’t really getting off the ground right now and there will be girls who are looking for something to do, cricket is an option,” Mr Farrell said.
Montrose Cricket Club is entering two junior girls teams into the Ringwood and District Cricket Association this summer, Under 12s and Under 14s. The club hopes that some netball players will help make up the teams.
When approached by the local cricket club, the staff at Montrose Netball Club thought it was a great idea.
“We were very positive about it…we thought it would be a fantastic and great opportunity for some of our players to keep active and get some new friendships,” club secretary Sue Reynolds said.
“It’s great for local sport groups to come together.
“I’m hoping that some of our players will take up the opportunity to go out there and participate in a different sport, try it, keep active and meet some new friends.”
Ms Reynolds said despite getting some training when Covid-19 restrictions allowed, it had been a disappointing year for members.
She said it would be great for some of the younger players to socialise through sport again over summer.
“There’s been a lot more work for the committee to try and get everyone out training, let alone thinking about competition,” she said.
“Even though we didn’t get to that stage it was still hard work just to get the players out training.
“I’ve been getting feedback from a number of members who are missing the social side of sport.
“They play for the social side, not for the competitive side, so they are missing that.”
When asked if he thought the netballers would be competitive in the cricket competition, Mr Farrell said it was participation that was more important.
“The first level of girls cricket is designed for participation. There are finals at the end of it but that’s not how we go about it, the game is structured so that everybody gets their opportunity,” he said.
“Number one is they’ve got some support, they will be able to pick it up quickly and number two is that they get a go.”
But Mr Farrell did say importantly some of the skills between the two sports would overlap.
“They do go quite well together. There is a lot of hand eye ball coordination in netball and there is in cricket, it’s just a different type of ball,” he said.
“For the fielding side of things you need a bit of athleticism and absolutely that’s needed in netball as well so they are complimentary.”
He added that team spirit was typically very strong in the junior girls’ teams.
“I coached a girls team for the first time last year and the team comradery amongst the girls, the vibe, was very different.
“They are very keen to learn so what I hope is they have a fun season, they feel engaged and they learn to love the game.”
Both Montrose Cricket Club and Montrose Netball Club are encouraging juniors interested in cricket to give it a go, no matter their ability.
To find out more, visit www.montrosecricketclub.org.au.