Opportunity knocks for a rural team
For the Wulguru T20 Blast Girl’s Cricket Team, flying to Brisbane to compete at the Queensland championships was more than an honour. It was also the first time the girls had ever gone on a plane.
Located in a low socioeconomic area of Townsville, the girls from Wulguru State School may find it a challenge to play cricket at club level, but that doesn’t deter their passion for the game.
“Cricket has helped to create a culture of persistence for the girls and helps to keep them motivated,” said Sandi Burt, a teacher at Wulguru State School.
“I couldn’t even begin to explain the challenges these girls have faced and grown up with, but the friendships they’ve formed through cricket is incredibly helpful.”
“They can take a bat and a ball down to the park now, it gives them something to do after school and on the weekends,” she said.
After winning the North Queensland T20 Blast Regional Championship in 2015 and 2016, the girls were flown to Brisbane to compete against other regional winners across the state and were the only team to have majority indigenous girls.
“When the girls flew to Brisbane, they were excited beyond measure, and for all the kids, it was their first time on a plane,” said Sandi.
When the T20 Blast Competition started three years ago, the Wulguru State School didn’t have a cricket team, nor did the girls have any experience with cricket.
Brook Wilson, who was the school’s sports teacher at the time, put together a small team of girls to play in the competition and although they had minimum experience, he spent time training them.
“One of the biggest things is that it’s usually the boys at the school who play rep and are on the stage, but when the girls had their time on their stage during T20 Blast, it made a big difference to the perception of who they are as athletes,” said Sandi.
According to Sandi, the next step will be to transition the girls from playing in a school cricket team to playing at club level.
“The local clubs are interested in helping us out financially to give these kids a chance to be represented at a club level.”
“They are even willing to let the girls play in their school shirts so that they would not have to buy new shirts and are even prepared to let us use their gear,” said Sandi.