Girls put down stumps

John Almond with daughter Hannah.

Carole Levy

By Carole Levy

THE big upswing in live TV coverage of women’s cricket, and the adoption of such luminaries as Ellysse Perry and Meg Lanning as heroes of the game, are key catalysts to the growth of women’s and girls’ cricket at the grassroots level.

Female cricket players are finally receiving the kudos they’ve long deserved, with John Almond, the owner of Hoppers Crossing Indoor Sportz Centre in hearty agreement.

John, who is preparing to launch Under-11, 14 and 16 girls’ indoor cricket teams in April, says the indoor game is perfectly designed for young kids.

“It’s played in a much-reduced area, which allows plenty of fours and sixes to be hit; this gives the girls an early sense of accomplishment and maintains excitement,” he says. “Every player gets to bat, bowl and field in equal measure, an excellent way to learn the game and to reveal strengths in specific roles.

“And they play with a soft ball, while some equipment is modified. Kids can bring their own bats and gloves but we can provide them if they don’t have them. We’ve organised things around keeping down costs for parents, wanting to give every kid a chance to play Australia’s national sport. Games cost $12 to play – no other expenses required.

“We encourage the girls to try to wear the same coloured T-shirts within their team, paired with runners and what’s comfy – such as trackies or leggings.

“It’s really all about having heaps of fun as they learn, and it’s a great social outlet that forges friendships and teaches the importance of teamwork. We provide umpires and game supervisors, with the girls offered a safe and nurturing environment.”

John’s nine-year-old daughter, Hannah, is a keen cricket spectator, eagerly watching all the great women’s teams bash the ball around on TV.

“She’s pretty excited to join our Under-11 team, and I’m a pretty proud dad.”

John is running a “come and try” day at 11am-4pm on Sunday, April 11, at his indoor sports centre.

“Girls can rock up and register as an individual or with a ready-formed team, get the paperwork completed, and have a hit. We’ll be running free trial games so they’ll get a taste of what to expect from indoor cricket. A guaranteed fun day.”

Enquiries: John, 0413 472 079 or visit