SAMANTHA McKenzie remembers her first game of cricket well – mostly because of the circumstances surrounding her debut.
Coragulac was short of players for a Division Three match about three seasons ago when it called on the then 16-year-old to make up the numbers in the field.
The humble beginning sparked a lasting interest in the game.
“I started probably about three years ago, they were struggling for players,” McKenzie said.
“I filled in for them one day out of the blue. I thought they were joking at the start but they weren’t joking. I came out wearing massively baggy pants,” she said.
“But I’ve become a part of the team over the last few years, it’s been great.
“I play netball – netball is my sport. I had played cricket before but that was in primary school.”
McKenzie is the only woman playing in Colac District Cricket Association’s senior grades and has become a regular member of the Beeac-based club.
She will play her first final, a knockout semi-final, after Coragulac defeated Colac West to hold its position in the top six.
Coincidentally, Coragulac will take on West in the fourth-versus-fifth match, a year after dropping its Division Two side.
“It is pretty exciting, it was a surprise this year for the club. I’m looking forward to it – all the boys are,” McKenzie said.
“Everyone has come together as a team – whoever rocks up gets a game. Most of the time we have enough but occasionally we don’t, but we all get in there and give it a go,” she said.
McKenzie said she was unsure how to get more girls playing cricket, but said the welcome she received from established Coragulac players encouraged her to stay with the club.
“The club is just great, they encourage anyone and everyone to play,” she said.
“They’ve even got a couple of younger boys in my little brother – he’s just started in cricket, he’s been playing for City United but rocks up every week and he’s only 13.
“And they’ve got a couple even younger who fill in when we don’t have enough players, they’re probably eight and 10.”