The pilot of a new Under 15 Women’s Premier Competition has commenced with the aim of providing a new starting point for female cricketers aspiring to senior level Grade cricket and beyond.
The pilot competition began on Sunday and will take place over the next five weeks. It involves 10 teams playing 35-over matches with a pink ball on turf pitches.
The age of players is restricted to between 12 and 15 years in an attempt to better prepare emerging female cricketers for higher levels of cricket.
If the trial is a success, the Under 15 Premier Competition would provide an additional stage in the pathway to First Grade.
This season the traditional underage pathway to Women’s Grade cricket in NSW, the Brewer Shield, increased its age eligibility from Under 17 to the Under 18 age bracket.
Success of the pilot Under 15 competition would mean that instead of only one underage avenue before entry in to open age Grade cricket, Women’s Premier cricket would involve two such competitions.
The pathway would then include five stages to First Grade Women’s Premier Cricket, including an Under 15 competition, the Under 18 Brewer Shield, Third and Second Grade.
The Under 15 competition would also align Premier Cricket with the age groups categorised by Cricket Australia and Cricket NSW to identify and develop emerging female cricketers during the high-performance pathway.
Under 18 and Under 15 are the two age groups for which the major underage National Championships are held during the season.
Coincidentally, the pilot started in the same week the Under 15 Female National Championships began in Canberra on Wednesday.
The Under 15 competition will also be a pathway for the many underage female cricketers participating in the Thunder and Sixers Girls Cricket Leagues throughout NSW.
The 10 teams involved in the trial include eight existing clubs within the Premier Cricket competition and one new club in Mosman who have not had a team compete in any Grade for 16 years.
Like in the Under 18 Brewer Shield, Northern District have two teams in the pilot competition, Blue and Gold.
During round one, Gordon overcame Mosman on a historic day at Allan Border Oval. Sydney defeated Bankstown at Ryde Oval, Northern District Blue beat Manly-Warringah, Universities lost to Parramatta and St George-Sutherland won its first match against Northern District Gold.