FIVE of South Gippsland’s premier female cricketers left Melbourne at the weekend bound for Japan to contest the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) East Asia Pacific Women’s Trophy.
Chelsea Moscript and Rachel Brown (Koonwarra-LRSL), Hannah Keily (Inverloch), Holly Forsyth (Wonthaggi Miners) and Tegan Lourens (Phillip Island) have been picked in the 14-girl ‘Cricket Without Borders’ squad.
Under the guidance of former Victorian and Australian leg spinner Bryce McGain, the girls will compete against teams from Japan, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa and The Cook Islands.
Cricket Without Borders (CWOB) was instigated in 2010 when it was recognised that there was a lack of opportunity for young female cricketers to undertake international tours like their male counterparts.
It’s just as much a cultural experience for the girls, with cricket being the vehicle for them to travel and meet cricket lovers in other countries.
There’s also a strong focus on including country players who may not get the chance to play in representative all-girls sides.
The girls played a friendly match against Japan on Monday, before training and the event’s opening ceremony which was held on Tuesday.
The competition is run over a jam-packed schedule from Wednesday through to Sunday.
Holly Forsyth from the Wonthaggi Miners said she couldn’t wait to get over to Japan and get into the competition.
“I am so excited,” the 16 year-old said.
“It’s a great opportunity to go over there and learn new things and to enhance women’s cricket. It’s always good to try and promote it.”
Holly and the other four girls have been able to take part in the Japanese Tour thanks to significant support from their local clubs, businesses and organisations.
“I am so grateful for all the support I have received through sponsorship from many people. It would have been so hard to be able to go without that local support,” Holly said.
“The Wonthaggi Miners raised a lot of money for me as well as other groups such as the Wonthaggi Lions Club, the Leongatha and District Cricket Association, the Wonthaggi Workmen’s Club, Evans Petroleum and a lot of local families.”
The squad held a training day in Koonwarra in April to have them ready for the tour in which they will be coached and supported by Bryce McGain, Victorian and Australian female cricketer Sarah Elliott and former Cricket Victoria CEO Ken Jacobs.
“Cricket Without Borders’ is designed to provide opportunities for young girls aged 15 to 19, not only to further their cricketing careers but also to enhance their life skills generally and we jumped at the opportunity to take part in this tournament,” Mr Jacobs said.
“They usually have six countries represented; Japan, New Guinea, Vanuatu, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Fiji but Fiji couldn’t go so they asked us. “Ours will be a younger age team but it will be good experience all the same.
“The tournament is a qualifying stage for the World Cup so we won’t be eligible for that but we certainly plan to be competitive.”
As well as playing in a round-robin tournament, the players will enjoy several cultural opportunities.
Local girls take cricket to Japan