International cricket proved to be a hit at Junction Oval in October, with the women’s One Day International (ODI) series.
Australia took on the West Indies, coming away with an eight-wicket win on Saturday 14 October after Thursday’s match was unfortunately rained out. The win saw Australia take out the series 2-0.
Considered Victoria’s traditional grassroots home of cricket, Junction Oval has developed into a boutique venue for playing and watching cricket, with high-quality training and administration facilities, thanks to support from the Victorian Government.
Australian all-rounder Georgia Wareham said the opportunity to play in front of family and friends at home was a massive boost for the team.
‘The ODI series was the first opportunity I’ve had to play at the ground in a couple of years and I absolutely loved every moment out there. Whether it be with Australia, Victoria, or the Melbourne Renegades, playing at Junction Oval is always a significant occasion,’ Georgia said.
‘It’s a special ground which feels like home for many cricketers across all levels and since the redevelopment Cricket Victoria, the Big Bash teams and community clubs have benefitted immensely from the state-of-the-art facilities.
‘To be able to train, play and recover at one facility helps us to develop a strong culture of excellence and provides players with the tools to perform to the best of their ability.’
For Georgia, who developed her game by competing against men in the local competition in western Victoria, the opportunity for junior cricketers to watch the women’s game at the international level in Melbourne is crucial to the game.
‘It’s often said, ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’, so for junior cricketers to have the opportunity to attend matches and interact with players is vital to growing the women’s game.
‘We certainly felt the support throughout our two matches in Melbourne and one of the highlights of playing at Junction is the ability to interact with fans post-match. Plenty of photos and signatures with the next generation of Australian cricketers,’ she said.
Forging the way for Georgia and today’s current crop of players was the trailblazing 1973 Australian Women’s World Cup team. The team played in the inaugural round robin tournament in England, two years before the men’s equivalent.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of cricket’s first World Cup, members of the 1973 team gathered at Junction Oval to watch the second ODI along with junior cricketers from Bacchus Marsh Cricket Club.
For Georgia and her teammates, recognising their contribution to the game was significant.
‘They’re a very special team,’ she said. ‘We’re incredibly fortunate as modern players and there’s no doubt things were tougher during the 1973 World Cup!
‘Cricket Australia has led the way regarding investment and support in women’s sport, I’d hope the 1973 team see the opportunity women and girls have in cricket today and are proud of the role they played in helping develop the game.’
The 1973 World Cup team were among the special guests of a game day event which brought together female sportspeople, media personalities and government and business leaders for a panel discussion themed around ‘The Unstoppable Momentum of Women’s Sport’.
Ranked number one in the world across both ODI and T20 formats, Australia’s series win will be the perfect lead-in for the blockbuster summer of cricket to come.