Booming women’s game has NT fired up

Happy days: Northern Territory players Matisse Hunter, skipper Bronte Stray, Rachel Hartung and Monet Hunter at Uni Oval. Picture: Mike Driscoll

Happy days: Northern Territory players Matisse Hunter, skipper Bronte Stray, Rachel Hartung and Monet Hunter at Uni Oval. Picture: Mike Driscoll

Northern Territory women might be outgunned in player numbers at the Australian Country Cricket Championships but they’re not short of ambition – declaring they are here to win the title.

 With a full squad of local Territorians for the first time at a major carnival the team stepped off a plane from a 2500km-plus trip to Wollongong late on Friday brimming with confidence for their opening match of the championships against South Australia at Uni Oval.

None of the squad have been to Wollongong before and it includes three 14-year-olds through to players with junior and senior rep experience.

They have students and teachers and professionals among their working ranks but are united by one goal – putting Northern Territory women’s cricket on the very large Australian map.

 And don’t suggest NT are here just enjoy playing in the seven team womens T20 championships.

  ‘’We’re here to win,’’ said Mark Sorell, NT senior manager of pathways and cricket Mark Sorell.

‘’We’re aiming to go all the way. You have to have the attitude that we can beat anyone or you might as well not be here.

‘’We have a talented squad and are here to do well.’’

 Northern Territory women’s skipper Bronte Stray reinforced the message of confidence within the squad.

‘’You’re only one good ball and one good partnership away from winning a cricket match. Why not think we can win; it’s why we are here.’’

 Stray  is a zoo keeper specialising in mammals in Alice Springs after leaving home in Victoria for work a couple of years ago.

She has been playing since age six and represented Victoria in state juniors and now at age 27 brings plenty of experience to the side.

 ‘’I’m been in Alice two years now and seen the women’s game grow enormously.

There’s a real passion for cricket in Alice and this is our second time playing in the Australian Country Champs.’’

   Among the Territory’s promising players are 14-year-old sisters Matisse and Monet Hunter, who are among the carnival’s youngest players. 

‘’Given how big the Territory is we have all come from different backgrounds but are united here at the carnival,’’ Stray said.

 Sorell estimated that the Territory has around 150 girls playing senior cricket in various competitions.

 Numbers are surging with a boom in interest in women’s cricket only lifted by the national exposure of the Women’s Big Bash League this season.

 Stray tipped NSW – who are playing in the championships for the first time – as the team to beat.

‘’NSW will have plenty of experience and they are always hard to beat at any national competition.’’

   In last year’s inaugural national women’s championships, NT beat Western Australia in their final game to earn their first win.

But Stray, Sorell and the entire Northern Territory squad believe it is only a taste of success to come.

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