Port Stephens, in the New South Wales Hunter region, will play host to some of the best underage Girls’ cricketers next week when the McDonald's NSW Female Under 15 and Under 18 Country Cricket Championships begin on Tuesday.

After a deluge of rain beset Raymond Terrace this time last year, forcing the Under 18 carnival to be abandoned, Port Stephens Council will again support the dual Championships.

ACT Southern Districts will defend the Under 15 Marie Cornish Shield, on 8 and 9 October, with all eight of the Country Zone teams again considered a chance to claim the title.

Eight Under 18 teams, representing the same regions, will look for better weather in the contest for the Carolyn Sheehan Shield on 10 and 11 October. Both championships are T20 competitions.

The eight Country Zones represented are Central Coast, Newcastle, Greater Illawarra, ACT Southern Districts, Central Northern, Riverina, North Coastal and Western.

Each competition will comprise two pools with every team, in both championships, playing three matches to qualify for the preliminary finals and then Final.

These championships promise to be yet another indicator of the massive growth in Women’s and Girls’ cricket that continues to progress and will be celebrated at the Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia during February and March.

The best young female talent in Country NSW will be on display at Raymond Terrace, with the opportunity for the most successful performers to begin their journey on an elite pathway that can lead to state and national representation.

Many of the girls competing are likely to feature for the ACT/NSW Country teams to represent the region at the Under 18 and Under 15 National Championships early next year, in Tasmania and Canberra respectively.

Allrounder Lisa Griffith from Bathurst, who recently captained the Breakers for the first time in the absence of Alyssa Healy on national duties, joins many who have progressed through the Country Pathway to represent NSW in the Women’s National Cricket League.

Recent Breakers debutant, and emerging star of the future, 16-year-old batter Phoebe Litchfield from Orange is another.

They join Breakers off-spinner Lauren Smith, wicketkeeper-batter Tahlia Wilson and left-arm quick Lauren Cheatle, to have all come through the Country Pathway.

Cricket NSW thanks the Port Stephens Council for their support helping to reveal the next generation of Australian stars.

All squads from Regional NSW and match results can be found on the Country Cricket NSW website: http://www.ccnsw.nsw.cricket.com.au/