Phoebe at the Australian Cricket Championships

 

After a lot of hard work, training and sweating it out in the gym and nets I got the call up for the under 18s Female National Championships in Ballarat, Victoria.

The team consisted of 13 of the best female players from regional and metro Western Australia to compete against the other states.

Team - Alisha Kozma (captain), Hannah Merritt, Melissa Cameron, Shenae Reichelt, Samara Williams, Zarlee Tovey, Jennifer Brown, Jazmyne Roberts, Caitlin Crocetta, Jessica Emery, Meg Thompson and Niamh Walsh.

Because of my hometown turf in the Midwest, I was dubbed the nickname "Geraldton Express"

Our first game was a 50 over against Victoria Invitational second XI, with wet conditions we decided to bowl first, I opened and got 3/16 off 6.3 overs. The rain continued and we were limited to play 38 overs each, We then restricted Victoria to 64 runs and within 17 overs, our captain Alisha Kozoma and Mellisa Cameron made the score with only one wicket down resulting in a double bonus point being rewarded to us.

After each game of cricket we went to the pool for recovery, this includes static and dynamic stretching and it helps prevent soreness which is crucial in a tournament atmosphere, after recovery we also have a debrief session about the game and how we played, what went well and our need for improvements.

The bad weather continued and the crickets gods delayed a second day of play as we scheduled to play Tasmania in another one dayer but were all washed out so we were given the points as a draw.

Day three of competition was sunshine and we were up against hard opposition facing New South Wales and Queensland in T20s.
The regaining premiers NSW proved to be a better side on the day with a successful 7/123. I picked up 1/7 off 1 over. We began the chase but never really got started after being down 2/7 early we finished with 8/46.

The afternoon T20 against Queenslnd was hard fought, we batted first and struggled against the bowling attack with 8/53 off the 20 overs, we then bowled but QLD prevailed with chasing our score in 14.1 overs with 8 wickets in hand.

Saturday 17th was a rest day which included go carting, laser tag and some much needed massages and rest after our first few games.

18th January and day 5 of play. After a day off we we're keen to get back into the competition. Another day of T20s against Victoria and South Australia.

We won the toss and made 10/73 from 20 overs we then sent Victoria into bat, in response the Victorian batting partnership secured their win with 9 wickets in hand, 1/74 off 13.2 overs.

South Australia were our next opponents and after our loss to Vic we were hungry for a win, we bowled first and I picked up a wicket with my figures of 1/13 off 3 overs. We kept SA to just 6/87 and then in a nail biting finish we finished with 5/81 off our 20 overs with Mellissa Cameron highscoring with 31 runs.

Our last game before finals was a one dayer against ACT/NSW country. I was 13th man. We lost the toss and were sent into bowl, the opening batters made a good start for Act but we bowled them all out in the final over for 179 runs. Chasing this Kozma (27) started us of well but after a loss of consecutive wickets we were defeated for 135 in 47 overs

On finals day and we played ACT/NSW country for 5th & 6th placing. Almost déjà vu from the previous day we batted first and with an impressive 30 from young gun Niamh Walsh along with 26 from Hannah Merritt we  concluded our batting innings with 133 runs. Vying for 5th position we played hard throughout our bowling. I got another 2 wickets of 39 and in a tight finish we need 1 wicket with ACT/NSW country needing only a few runs, in the thrilling finish they made the total in 38 overs. Special mention to Hannah Merritt for her five wicket haul.

Overall
NSW made it their 11th consecutive win with Victoria finishing 2nd. Queensland deafened South Australia to finish 3rd and 4th repectively and Tasmania overcame Victoria second eleven for final placings.

Along with the outstanding cricket we played I received some publicity in the local Ballarat newspaper "The Courier" featuring on the back page aswell as on win news.

Just like to thank the WACA, Steve Broberg, Leanne Bidwell, Chris Darlington, Towns Cricket Club, MWAS and Todd and the Crew at Central West Health and Rehabilitation. Also,m I wish to thank the many MWAS sponsors such as the Bendigo Bank Geraldton, Geraldton SportsPower, WA Department of Sport and Recreation, City of Greater Geraldton, Aurizon and Geraldton Toyota. 

Phoebe Vlahov

Above - Phoebe Vlahov (second from left) with some of her team mates