Who says no one cares about women’s sport… because the 1000 people at Howell Oval this afternoon who came to see the Sydney Thunder take on the Sydney Sixers in the first ever Sydney derby for the WBBL were certainly there to see some quality cricket. And can I assure you – they weren’t disappointed.
It was a perfect afternoon for cricket in Penrith. The sun was shining. It was a perfect Sydney Summers day – one where you need sunscreen and a hat if you have skin the colour of mine. The slurpee machine had multiple flavours going, children were running around in their Thunder and Sixers jerseys and the fans were waiting for the women to take the field.
The only person who may not have been enjoying themselves was Thor, the Sydney Thunder mascot – I think his costume was very warm.
It was a pretty momentous occasion this afternoon and I was overjoyed to be there. The launch of the WBBL this year has topped off what really has been an incredible year in women’s sport. It’s very hard to pick a favourite moment but it’s clear that we are starting to gain momentum and I’m looking forward to seeing what 2017 will bring.
It was an impressive performance from the women in green. Lauren Cheatle, who is only 17 years old managed 4/17. We knew we were in for a show when she was 2/2 after only her first over. Not only were the Thunder handy with the ball in hand, but they were also very handy with the bat. Enter Stafanie Taylor and Alex Blackwell. What a combination! What a partnership! Taylor finished the game on 59 from 38 balls and she did it in style with the game’s only 6 and with nine 4’s.
The final result never looked in doubt but it was absolutely emphatic with the Thunder winning by 9 wickets. The Sixers failed to form and real partnerships of significance and Stafanie was just too strong with the bat. I’m looking forward to some more tremendous innings from her as the WBBL continues.
I’m not sure what my favourite part of the day was. Was it the number of children lining up for autographs from the female athletes? Was it the absolute joy on the faces of the Sydney Thunder team when they knew they had the game won? Or was it simply seeing the number of people who turned up to support these tremendous athletes. It’s a tough call.
Perhaps it’s knowing that I am hearing flippant comments like ‘no one cares about women’s sport’ less and less. Part of the solution is exposure. By making all the WBBL games free this season, people are being given every opportunity to come along and watch. The more people that watch, the further and the faster word will spread and that word is that these women are seriously talented.
I’m looking forward to a future where young kids continue to queue just as long to meet their female heroes as they do for the men. I’m looking forward to a future where our women play in Stadiums, just like the men and fill them. I’m looking forward to WBBL10 and remembering this game and how far the game of cricket has come.
But for the moment, while I wait for all that to happen, I’ll just be content with a Thunder win.
Who says it’s not easy being green?
Ladies who Legspin xxx
P.S. Thanks Getty Images for that cracking photo – almost as cracking as Taylor’s shot!