SEVERAL Wimmera girls have been named in a 15-person squad to play cricket in Vanuatu this year through the Cricket Without Borders program.
Wimmera is a farming district in the state of Victoria, Australia.
West Wimmera’s Shanaye Alexander, Homer’s Penelope Drummond, Grampian’s Jessica Field and Hopetoun’s Chloe McGee will get the chance to play against the Vanuatu Women’s National Team and Vanuatu’s under-19 team in April.
Penelope Drummond traveled with the squad last year to Hong Kong, and said she was ecstatic to be a part of the program for another trip.
“It’s really cool and really exciting,” Drummond said.
“Vanuatu is a lot different (than Hong Kong) and being able to experience the different conditions over there and meet all the different people will be good.”
Drummond said getting to experience a different country with her teammates was an eye-opening experience.
“We get some really good coaching and also a lot of life advice,” Drummond said.
“I learnt leadership skills and a lot about how to conduct ourselves in different situations.”
The Cricket Without Borders initiative is aimed at breaking down divides with cricket. It encourages girls to participate and aims to provide valuable cultural experiences.
Cricket Without Borders director Ken Jacobs said he was looking forward to a great tour in Vanuatu.
“The whole philosophy is around providing opportunities for young girls but also giving them some cultural experiences, and that’s where the overseas tours come into play,” Jacobs said.
“We play cricket of course but every tour we always participate in some community programs as well.
“We might go to schools or local villages and the girls will conduct some programs with the children or their parents.
“We’ve got a really good blend for this tour with a mixture of girls that came away with us to Hong Kong last year and a number of fresh faces.”
Drummond’s Dad Peter said it was rewarding to see youngsters granted the opportunity to travel as a team.
“Even last year we noticed there were quite a few girls who had never been overseas before,” Peter said.
“To go with a group of safe girls and with some really good people and coaches, it’s an incredible experience.”
For the players, excited preparation will begin to ramp up in the coming months. While Peter was keen to ensure it didn’t affect Penny’s schoolwork, the cricket might encroach just a little.
“We’ll probably go down to Melbourne and have a few nets sessions and get to know all of our teammates,” Penelope Drummond said.
“We’ve got club cricket and then preparation for Vanuatu. It’s a lot of cricket at the moment.”