WOMEN’S sport got on the front foot this month when 15-year-old Bailey Achurch became the first female player to be crowned club champion at East Fremantle Junior Cricket Club.
The Chook doesn’t have a stats savant on staff, but we scratched around some cricketing websites and couldn’t find any other WA clubs where a girl has pipped the boys for the top award, while it appears to be as rare as hens’ teeth anywhere in Australia.
Bailey’s award came after a stellar season for the girls’ team with bat and ball in the T20 format, earning her the quadrella of highest run scorer, best batting average, highest wicket taker and best bowling average. Her best bowling result of 4 wickets for 5 runs was pretty memorable as well.
“I’ve been playing for a long time, and I think just this year was the one that kind of showed what I’ve been doing,” Bailey said.
She says six years ago her father Danny, a well-known Freo muso, and some friends were playing cricket and she joined in, deciding she loved the game.
She started playing in a boys’ team for the first couple of years until she reached the age when the gender lines become more strictly policed, but says she didn’t notice any difference in skill levels and wonders whether mixed teams might be the way of the future.
A right arm pace bowler, she’s also one of the quickest in the league.
“From the scorer’s bench I can tell you that she’s definitely quick,” says a proud Mr Achurch, who the Chook hears has also worn the odd bruise giving thanks to her thunderbolts.
Bailey says her teammates were really proud of her awards, and the club is encouraging her to pursue her cricketing dreams.
“I’d love to play for Australia if I could get that far,” she says.
Bailey’s stats were:
• Highest run scorer: 209 runs;
• Best batting average: 34.83;
• Best bowling average: 12 wickets at 7 runs; and,
• Highest wicket taker: 12 wickets.