How Holly Ferling is paving the way for future generations of women’s cricket

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Holly Ferling, 22, helping run a cricket clinic at Citipointe Christian College in Brisbane for the 2019 Global Games launch. 

When Holly Ferling was asked by a schoolmate to try out for the local cricket team, she had no idea that only five years later, she would debut for the Australian Women’s Cricket Team at just 17-years of age.

Holly, now 22, grew up in Kingaroy, a small town north-west of Brisbane. Throughout her childhood, she played every sport under the sun, but surprisingly, cricket didn’t cross her radar.

With little knowledge of the game, when Holly was 11-years old she agreed to a trial for the representative girl’s cricket team for her district, and within only months, was playing for the regional team, with state duties just around the corner.

“It all well and truly escalated considering I had no base of cricket, aside from going to see how many of the boys I could bowl out during their training,” said Holly.

Over the next few years, Holly found herself climbing the ranks, making her A-Grade debut in the men’s competition at age 14, where she had a start few could only dream of.

“I took a hat-trick off my first three balls bowled and it was pretty surreal for my first game.”

Holly began playing for her state team, the Queensland Fire while still living in Kingaroy, which required her to travel two and a half hours to Brisbane to train and play on weekends, only to drive home to go back to school on Monday.

Only six months later during her first four weeks of Year 12, Holly made her debut for the Australian Women’s Cricket team, where she was clocked at bowling at speeds of up to 120km per hour.

As a female playing in what was once considered a predominantly male-dominated sport, Holly says she has enjoyed playing the game but has experienced her share of off-field challenges. The National Cricket Facility Audit conducted in 2016/17, states that only 20 per cent of change rooms throughout the country are appropriate for female players.

“I would quite often have nowhere to change with only an open area in the toilets, but I was lucky to have people who would look out of me and watch the door for me while I got changed,” Holly said.

But as women’s participation in the game continues to grow, Cricket Australia is committed to supporting the delivery of 600 more female-friendly changerooms by 2022.

“After many years of playing cricket, the game is definitely changing with more girls playing in boy teams, but also more girl teams are now playing within the boy’s competition and even stand-alone women’s leagues.”

Holly says it is important to reflect on the sacrifices that women before her have made in order to create the opportunities that now exist for girls to play cricket.

“Whether it is five or 30 years down the track, when women’s cricket is at its peak, female players need to remember what happened in the past and stay humble to that fact.”
“Women have worked hard to train and to show that we are on an equal level as men and we deserve equal coverage because of the things we are doing. Not just because it is a novelty, but because we are athletes doing great things.”

Holly Ferling’s story is part of Community Champions, an initiative from Cricket Australia to share the stories of local heroes who are making cricket a great game for all. Do you know a Community Champion? Nominate them today