The Bay of Plenty Cricket Association is working on initiatives to grow the female side of the game and when it comes to Rotorua cricket, two girls are leading the way.
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Last month, Sadie Stewart, 12, and Freya Lord, 13, were the only two players selected in the Bay of Plenty Under-15 Girls' invitational team, playing games against Hamilton, Waikato Valley and Counties Manukau.
Sadie's dad, Crispian Stewart, who is one of the volunteers at the Geyser City Cricket Club looking to grow the game in Rotorua, including in the female space, said it was great recognition for two young girls who "love their cricket".
"They played two Twenty20 games and both got wickets and a few runs - they held their own. [BOPCA women's development officer] Rebecca Yee has been brilliant and the other girls were great too. A lot of them play together but they included the ones from outside of Tauranga."
The girls play in the mixed Rotorua intermediate cricket competition for the Geyser Avengers, so it was a nice change for them to be able to play in an all-girl team.
"They were buzzing afterwards. I think just having an all-girls set up, which is so hard to find, they really enjoyed it," Stewart said.
Sadie said it was nice playing in an all-girls team for a change, although she felt she had mixed performances.
"It was fun. I bowled well in the first game but not very well in the second. It was different playing with the girls, everybody was so used to each other."
Freya said playing for the Bay of Plenty team was an opportunity to learn from older girls.
"I think I developed my fielding skills and my positioning when I'm fielding."
Obviously, there is no cricket on during the nationwide lockdown, which is tough on two girls who love the game.
"It's sad," Sadie said. "I don't really have anything to do on Saturdays."
Freya said life without cricket was "boring" and she was looking forward to playing again after the lockdown.
"I enjoy it a lot, cricket is my favourite sport. It's boring because I've got nothing to do. Sometimes I practise at home."
BOPCA women's development officer Rebecca Yee said Sadie and Freya showed they could cope at the next level.
"For this invitational team we rely on people in the community making us aware of players with potential and these two girls were highlighted. Including them in this team is how we develop our pathways so it means we get to see more of them playing and make a judgment of what teams they can be involved in for the future.
"There were two weekends, four games, Freya played one weekend and Sadie played both - they were both really good. Sadie battled middle order and bowled quite well. Freya was really good in the field and had a pretty exciting first over for Bay of Plenty, there was a run out and another potential run out, so it was all on.
"We were looking for new players who hadn't represented the Bay before - ones who had the potential to join our more formal tournaments. At that age group we run two tournaments a year."
Yee said it was "hugely valuable" for girls to be able to play cricket with each other.
"It's something we want to do more and more of in the future and being able to come up from Rotorua and meet the other girls who play in the district is also really handy - developing those relationships in the early stages is really good for them.
"We've definitely seen that the friendships created is a big thing in the girls' side of the game especially. If they can go back [to Rotorua] and share their experience with the other girls in the area, make them aware of the potential opportunities that could come their way. That would be fantastic.
"We're trying more and more to branch out into places outside Tauranga and the Western Bay. The more that we can do that the better.
"I think we are ticking along pretty well, we've got great in-school delivery and more and more girls are playing club cricket. Things are on the rise, which is great."