Positive signs, future goals as coach develops girls cricket
WHEN it comes to developing girls cricket, Brett Schmidt is always looking for more avenues to help them progress.
He's keeping a keen eye on an all-girls Brisbane competition that Ipswich may be able to participate in or replicate in the future.
However, while those goals are pursued, the dedicated Ipswich coach continues his productive work with the Marburg-Mt Crosby Thunder girls team playing in this year's Cricket Ipswich Level 2A competition.
The girls aged 12-14 play regularly against under-13 boys, displaying plenty of tenacity and improvement.
"They are battling on,'' Schmidt said.
"They are finding it a bit tough this year. They are in an older competition but they are having fun. That's the main thing.''
Having coached for 10 years, Schmidt is eager to see the girls progress.
The Thunder side has one win this season - against Fassifern - preparing for their final game before the Christmas break.
The Thunder girls play Brothers at Mt Crosby on Saturday, having faced Northsiders last weekend.
The Level 2A competition resumes in the new year.
In the spread of photos taken by Gary Reid, the 12-14 year-old girls demonstrate their growing skills.
"We've worked hard on their technique,'' Schmidt said.
"It is a good age to work with.
"Cricket is a hard game to join later on. The earlier you can get into cricket, the better because it's such a skill-based game.''
That's why the work being done by people like Schmidt is so important as more young girls want to try cricket.
"Girls sport is in the news at the moment,'' the Thunder coach said.
"It's very popular, especially girls cricket.
"The WBBL (Women's Big Bash League) was very good this year and it's just getting teenage girls going . . . active and get them into sport.
"This is another avenue that they can get into sport.''
The Marburg-Mt Crosby Cricket Club vice-president is a SEQ junior director of coaching for girls.
He works in one of the 12 Queensland zones, covering Ipswich, Beaudesert and Logan.
"We're basically tied up with the rep girls in that area, as well as trying to get development going in various places,'' he said.
He's noticed a growing interest in girls wanting to get involved.
The Thunder girls coach also works with the SEQ under-16 boys and Thunder senior first grade side.
Having coached a core group of Thunder girls for four years, Schmidt was delighted to see some of his players further their representative careers.
Teenagers Trinity Doyle, Arya Pal and Emily Titmarsh have this year advanced to the Ipswich Hornets Second Grade team playing in the Jodie Fields Shield Queensland Premier Grade competition.
"There is a pathway to higher cricket now so it's really good,'' he said.
However, the ongoing challenge is providing more opportunities for talented female cricketers as they get older.
"The problem we're having though is finding a competition for it - that's the hard part,'' he said.
"They're too old probably to play the boys at their level but they're not quite good enough to play the boys at their age.
"Once you get to Level 3, which is the next level, you are playing under-15 boys.
"You get a good 15 boys rep player and he's probably bowling quicker than a lot of the top females bowl so we've reached that point now where it's gets very difficult to place our girls.''
That's why he is closely monitoring an all-girls competition starting up around Brisbane.
"But they are still only in their infancy really so we're waiting to see how they go and that might be where we have to move next year,'' he said.
Schmidt is pleased a lot of his girls are playing in the Paul Pink under-15 Premier League competition organised over the holidays.
Some will be involved with the state under-15 titles.
A newly-formed Melissa Bulow Cup under-13 development carnival is also scheduled for the first week in January.
As those competitions provide more opportunities, Schmidt continues to monitor future ways to help girls achieve their cricketing dreams.