Outback Alice Springs no barrier for these aspiring women cricketers
Amber Ashton, 41, is not just another volunteer. She is dedicated to creating equal opportunities for women in cricket and more specifically, women who live in rural areas.
Based in Alice Springs, NT, Amber wanted to create a pathway for women to progress further in cricket and it was this idea that stemmed into the creation of a local female T20 series.
Today, Amber has successfully implemented a league known as the KFC Summer League Series, made possible by the sponsorship of the local KFC in Alice Springs and other local businesses.
The series is composed of several sponsored T20 teams in the area and open for all ages and abilities, with players ranging from 12 year olds females to 60-year-old women.
Amber said the creation of the tournament is a means of demonstrating to local girls that living in a rural area shouldn’t limit their ability to achieve their dreams.
“Our main goal is to help the local girls progress their cricket, in particular, the girls who want to play National Indigenous Cricket Championships (NICC) cricket and country champions as the tournament provides them with the opportunity to experience the format before selection.
“We want the girls to understand that anything is possible if you put your mind and effort into it,” said Amber.
As the president of Alice Springs Women’s Cricket, Amber has successfully grown the female competition to 45 girls playing across four female-only clubs, with 28 registered players in the T20 competition.
Amber said her main focus is participation and for the girls to enjoy cricket, while experiencing the physical and mental benefits of the sport.
“We want women’s cricket to be fun and we want people to have a good time, have a laugh and enjoy it enough that they return the following week.
“I had junior players who initially were so shy and wouldn’t talk to anyone and only came down to play a game of cricket, but these same players are now supporting and coaching all the other players on the field.”
In 2017, Amber helped raise funds that permitted local female players to attend a 10-day invitational cricket match in Chang-Mai, Thailand where the team went on to win and were invited to run cricket coaching clinics with local Thai women.
Amber said her current goal is to continue to grow the competition in Alice Springs and eventually produce individuals who can play at a professional level.
“We want to continue to grow the sport and make it bigger and better. We want to give the girls an opportunity to have a dream and run with it and we’ll help them get there.”
Amber Ashton’s story is part of Cricket Australia’s Community Champions initiative that aims to share the stories of local heroes making cricket a sport for all.