This article has been months in the making, and many years in conceptual form, waiting for this dream of a moment to become a reality. The achievements of the Christchurch South Karamata Intermediate Girls team in 2021 have been one epic adventure!
Our tale begins in late February, featuring 12 young ladies trialling to make the cricket squad for the CJCA inter-school tournament. Immediately into the session, Mr McBrearty knew that the skills and talent on show in our grounds was going to do something unprecedented in his 7 year term as a coach. This team was going to go farther than any he'd been responsible for in previous years.
What made this team different? CSKI has always had a girls team where one or two players were competitive cricketers and were individually brilliant. The rest of the team tended to be made up of girls who wanted to try the game but had interests in other diverse sporting backgrounds. In 2021, the team was composed of 10 players with current, or recent, club experience! Every girl was capable of bowling, batting, catching and fielding. Speedy feet was a bonus. This was a plethora of riches for any coach!
The perfect storm of EOTC and beginning of the year haste meant that the girls came together with no time to gel until competition was upon us. We would need to grow as a team while we were in pool matches with other schools.
On March 11th the girls went to the two day CJCA tournament at Hagley Park, the same tournament in which the boys had performed so well in the week before. The fact the girls enjoyed each other’s company was immediately apparent. Supportive and constructive toward each other, the team vibe when we took the field was chirpy and fun.
In a blur of momentous team events we proved ourselves amongst the top 2 schools at that tournament. Our batting was stronger, thanks in no small part to our two Charlottes who reached half century milestones. Great efforts and personal bests from Catelin, Tessa and Molly ticked our scoreboard along at pace. Eadie also feasted on anything legside in a memorable opening stand. Our bowling options ran deep with Ayana, Georgie, Charlotte C, Charlotte W, Ella, Molly, Tessa, Rebekah and Annabel all among the wickets. The girls had a great time claiming wickets, cutting, driving and flicking for boundaries and sneaking runs on misfields or extras. Our team was sharp as!
That one school we lost to at Hagley was Heaton Intermediate, champions of New Zealand school tournament cricket for 5 of the last 6 years. We earned our chance to replay them some weeks later at St Albans Park. This was to determine automatic entry into the regional cricket finals.
Our bowling had picked up in pace, line and length and we were much sharper in the field in our second time against them. Compared to their first effort against us, Heaton scored 50 runs less. This was the great positive we could take out of that game. Heaton were so good with their bowling attack and field placement pressure that we struggled to score much of significance in that game, however, and we were shot out quickly.
From disappointment, though, is bred the quality of resilience. The girls needed to seize their chance to capture a second spot for the regionals by playing against Darfield High School on April 12th. The second placed Metro division school, which was us, needed to play the top placed Country division school to determine the two Canterbury finalists. Juggling commitments to other opportunities at CSKI, most of our team prioritised cricket and returned to the fray. And what a day they had!
Darfield High School had 2 representative cricketers in their squad. A disciplined CSKI attack, steeled with tournament experience now, did not shy from questioning where their batting edges were, though. Georgie, Charlotte, Molly, Ella and Tessa were all among a flurry of wicket taking deliveries. Ayana pouched 3 wonderful caught behind chances as our wicketkeeper in an extremely tidy performance. Darfield fought hard into the 14th over but ultimately were retired for a team score of 41.
In response, Darfield had no choice but to bowl at us with the two best players they had. With such a low score to defend, they needed to produce magic with every bowl being the effort ball. Initially we did struggle to adjust to their pace but we also learned that could be used against them, too. Playing late shots and looking for singles, the girls found gaps. Running on extras from overthrows, the CSKI girls were clear in presence of mind and fleet of foot.
Darfield wilted and the bowling erred in accuracy. After 6 action filled overs, we reached the target of 42 for the loss of 3 wickets. We had done it!!
Earning a spot to the regional finals is a truly incredible effort. Well done girls; the school is thrilled for you! Thank you also to the parents who have come along to support and encourage us through our adventure so far. We are super excited for what comes next in Spring.